Disclaimer: I am not in any way trying to engage in defamation or trying to encourage defamatory behavior against the author of the said series. I am simply writing my own opinion and experience regarding the series. There may be spoilers ahead.
If any of you are fantasy readers, then you must have definitely heard of the Throne of Glass series, written by Sarah J. Mass, a #1 New York Times Bestseller author. First published in 2012, the series has now grown into seven novels, becoming a favorite bestseller worldwide, translated in 36 languages, and is even being adapted into a television series by Hulu. However, today, I will discuss why I did not enjoy reading the Throne of Glass series.
Back in high school, all of my friends were reading books by Sarah J. Mass and some highly recommend me to read the Throne of Glass. Being a huge fantasy novel series lover myself, I decided to try it out and bought the first book of the series, Throne of Glass and read it. I loved it. There was romance, plot twists, suspense, and thriller which kept the readers wanting for more. I didn’t think twice before reading the second book or even the third book. However, by the time I reached the fourth book, my enthusiasm to continue finishing the series was slowly diminishing and I was starting to not enjoy the series anymore.
One of the biggest reasons why the plot became unappealing to me was the complete 360 character development of the protagonist. Of course, character development is important and necessary in any plot, rather it is a movie or a book, however, the development should also be kept realistic. The series starts with 17-year-old Celaena Sardothein, the protagonist, who is an assassin who possesses some mysterious powers, and is dragged out in front of the Crown Prince and must fight for her freedom on a condition. Celaena isn’t a very likable character and is extremely arrogant, vain, and conceited. Furthermore, she is also shown to be so skillful that she never loses against anyone, no matter their size, power, or status. However, Mass created the character intriguing enough for everyone to continue following the story.
Yet by the time Aelin Galathynius comes rolling out in the fourth book, Celaena becomes a much more likable character when compared. Both Aelin and Celaena are essentially the same person, but their personalities are worlds apart. Not only does this confuse the reader but it also ends up complicated everything in the plot. Celaena was a badass assassin with a sad and lonely past and the next second she is Aelin, a queen of a lost kingdom who is highly motivated to seek vengeance with a large group of followers who are always kissing her feet. Aelin and Celaena become such two different people that I ended feeling like the series switched its author midway through. Not only was it confusing, but Aelin becomes such an easy character to dislike due to her large ego, and the way she dismissed people around her really ended up really annoying me. Sarah J. Mass did a really good job in building the character backgrounds in the beginning however the way she developed them later in the series was just not it. One does not change itself by simply changing their name.
Another reason why I didn’t enjoy the series was due to the never-ending plot twists. I love plot twists. I really do. They excite the reader and change up the story, keeping it intriguing and anticipating. However, having endless plot twists can also result in loss of interest. This is exactly what happened to me here. There were so many plot twists that in the end I was frustrated in keeping up with them and trying to get my head wrapped around each of them. The groundwork set in the first book is very, very different from what the book ended up into in the end. In fact, the plot changed so much, that the setting set in the first book is a completely different world than the setting in the seventh book. This perhaps is one of the most confusing aspects of the series. Both the characters and the setting changed so much over the course of the seven books, that the initial story it had started, which attracted the readers, had completely vanished. The series was originally simple and easy to follow but by the fourth book, it was so complicated that I was barely keeping up. So much was happening in such a short span that it was hard to digest everything quickly. In fact, I can now only remember the first book properly and very few parts of the other books in the series. In the end, the endless plot twists just really boggled my brain.
Don’t get me wrong. Sarah J. Mass is an excellent writer and her style of storytelling is also very intriguing and captivating, however, this series just wasn’t it for me. The huge change in characters and the plot just really throws me off. Perhaps we should also remember that Mass wrote the first book when she was only 16 and by the time the last book was released years later, Mass was about 30 and her writing had matured a lot. This is probably why the series feels like it switched authors midway. I still admire Mass for her ability to create such worlds and people and in fact highly recommend her other series, A Court of Thorn and Roses (ACOTAR), which I am currently in the middle of reading. ACOTAR is another series by Sarah J. Mass, a separate idea from Throne of Glass and one of the best fantasy series I have read.