Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Is Everyone Here Trained to Kill? a.k.a. My Throne of Glass Read-along

Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series, with its assassin protagonist, is one of the most popular YA literature series of the last decade.  I've seen it in libraries, bookstores, EVERYWHERE on social media, and had it recommended to me by numerous people.  In the midst of the acclaim, I've also heard some strong dislike for the series.

So of course I had to test it out for myself and thus picked it up one recent weekend.  For fun, I kept a running log of my reactions as I read the first seven chapters.  For all of you who recommended it to me as well as those of you who assured me that I'd hate you go.

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion (aside from a few editorial notes).  This is not an attack on anyone who is a fan of these books, nor is it a criticism of them or their choice of reading material or their opinions.  It is also not an open invitation for a defensive war of these books.  Furthermore, it is not a criticism of Ms. Maas herself, her editors, publishers, or fans.  If you can think of anything else I've missed, take it outside.

It is an opinion-slash-critique of the book itself (story and writing) from my perspective.


trained from birth to protect and kill = Really?  Because that's not cliché at all.  *eye roll* Though to be fair, I think Maas was near the front of the pack of those who have now made it cliché.

End of the first chapter and my current impression is: pretty standard YA fare that could benefit from a line edit.


How long are they going to pound into our heads that she’s an assassin?
Dear grief.  We get it already.  Blah blah blah, she’s been trained to kill.  She’s arrogant.  We get that too.
We don’t need it hammered into our heads.

Princes are not supposed to be handsome! They’re sniveling, stupid, repulsive creatures! This one . . . this . . . How unfair of him to be royal and beautiful. =  I’m sure this is supposed to be funny.  Instead it comes across as overblown and melodramatic. is very teenage, and since that's what she is...score one for them.

“There’s a ‘best part’?” the Crown Prince said, face caught between a wince and a smile. =  This is actually a good line.

Coming within strangling distance of the Crown Prince of Adarlan, son of the man who sentenced her to a slow, miserable death, her self-control balanced on a fragile edge—dancing along a cliff. =  This sentence should have ended with the word 'edge'.  It did not need the ‘dancing along a cliff’ addition.

Less is more, Ms. Maas and editors.  Less is more.  Adding ‘dancing along a cliff’, especially after an em dash and not a comma, detracts from the impact of the sentence and confusticates the point being made.
Confusticates is too a word, textedit, good grief.  What language are you set to.


After all, you aren’t Adarlan’s Assassin for nothing. = *groooans*
Sounds to me like this little brat deserved everything she got in those mines.  Though I wouldn’t wish such treatment on almost anyone.


Of course, he didn’t mention how different she looked now that she was clean. = why would he?  It's not his job to go around complimenting her or making comments on how different she looks from one phase to the next.  What an unnecessary, egotistical sentence.


When are we going to quit with the phrases about being people trained to kill without hesitation, trained to protect which involves being able to kill, everything's about killing.  Is anyone in here NOT trained to kill, other than her fellow slaves?
I mean, there's making it clear that this is an assassin story and then there's, wait for it...OVERKILL.
Ah, yes.  I amuse myself endlessly.


He found her beautiful, = can we please stop saying in fiction that people ‘found others beautiful'? 
Yeah, see?  The whole Eureka thing really doesn't work as well unless it's something equally as entertaining as Diogenes buck naked in the streets of Athens screaming off his head about something no one has any idea of.
I wonder if he was ever forced to explain himself for that stunt.


“Yes,” he said, “you’d vanish with three arrows buried in your spine.” =  THANK you.  It’s nice to know that someone around here is currently capable of giving this balloon-headed wisp of a popinjay a setdown.

The Crown Prince of Adarlan stared at his father unblinkingly, waiting for him to speak. =  He may have actually done this and be good at it, but it reminds me that every time I see this phrase in a story, I want to ask the author if they’ve tried staring unblinkingly—not the childhood game but adult, focused, serious—and if they could do it or not.
It's not as easy as the words make it sound, believe you me.

His father rose from his throne and pointed at the map painted on the far wall of his council chamber. “I am the conqueror of this continent, and soon to be ruler of all Erilea. You will not question me.” =  WHY must all fathers/kings in stories say ‘you will not question me’.
Sidenote, the default I usually hear in my head when I see this used is Anthony Head in his role of Uther Pendragon in BBC's Merlin.  Which was actually a believable instance of its use.
Point is.
Let's stop repeating the same old same old.  Why couldn't he say, "Feel free to question me all you like, if you fancy a night without supper."  Or if he can't manage snark, why couldn't he say, "Not another word, brat..."??

End of the seventh chapter already?  I must admit I'm not impressed yet. 

And there you have it.  My snarky but honest thoughts as I read the first seven chapters of Throne of Glass.  Have you read it?  Can you tell me why you like it without starting a war?  (I prefer to wait to go into a war until I have more information.)


  1. GOLDEN. I haven’t read anything by Maas so far, and I mostly doubt I ever will. (Too much smut in some of her books, for one thing. The abovementioned whining for another.) Your commentary is fabulous.

    1. Thank you! I'm delighted you enjoyed it.
      THE WHINING, OH MY GOSH. I hate whining. Real life, fiction, whatnot: I hate whining.
      Smut. Eugh.

  2. I've never read this book, and never heard enough about it to be that interested in picking it up. But now I kinda want to . . . haha. I don't know enough whether to agree with your thoughts or not, though they are kinda mean so I hope the author never has to see them ;p Also, I didn't think that one sentence was that egotistical, but that's just me.

    I don't know if I'll read or not? Tracey just said they have some "smut" for which I think means content? If that's so I'm not really interested anyways ;D

    1. Well, I have nothing against the author, like I said, and I'm sure she's a great person.
      And to be fair, apparently she was a teenager when she wrote and published the first two books.

      But still. With all due respect to the author, the fact that the books were published and loved doesn't change the fact that as far as standards of good writing go, this book doesn't measure up.

    2. Also, yes, smut means sexual content thrown in just for the sake of having it and/or graphic sexual content.

  3. This. Was. Gold.

    I read this about two years ago and just could not get invested enough to continue the series. It was okay, but definitely didn't wow me. And I've heard there's an insane amount of profanity and sex scenes and the like in the later books (whyyyyy???), so I'm glad I quit on #1.

    And your notes are pretty much exactly why I didn't keep reading. I just found Calaena pretty annoying (she had her moments, but was also such a brat). But I absolutely loved this post. Your snarky notes are life. XD

    1. THANK YOU! :)
      Yeah, euuugh. I'm going to keep reading and snarking for now because people keep saying the third book in the series is where it gets good.

      Awwwww, I'm super happy you enjoyed the snark!

  4. Hee! I love your snarky commentary. XD

    I heard about Throne of Glass once a while back, but wasn't interested in checking it out...and now I'm kinda glad I didn't. Probably, if the constant hammering that the protagonist is an assassin didn't turn me off, the clichés would. OY.

    Thanks for the chuckle. I needed that. <3

  5. I agree with most all of this! I actually enjoyed this book, it was rather entertaining in my opinion. So after finishing it, I found the second and third, but by then I was DONE. The first was the best. But the sequels...? It's like the author was testing the waters to see how far she could go and get away with---er, things. Morality (and language) practically jumps off a cliff in this series, and for that, I was extremely disappointed.


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