Re-Reading the Throne of Glass Series

I'd planned to just write a paragraph or two about my Throne of Glass series re-read + the final book in my October 2018 Quick Lit post – since that's when I re-read this series – but I just couldn't contain myself. Especially after I realized that I'd never reviewed Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, or Tower of Dawn here on the blog. WHAT?! Since I basically wrote an essay on what this series means to me, I'll give these books the space they deserve.

For that Light Up the Darkness blog event, Kelly, Alexa, Rachel and I re-read one book per week leading up to the release of Kingdom of Ash. I'd technically already re-read the last four earlier in the year (on audio)... but I just turned around and did it again. No regrets! You know that you're obsessed with a series when you read it twice in one year (especially when the books are long). In the discussion post that I mentioned, I wrote about things like the setting, characters, plot, etc. of this series. So I mostly stuck to the feels for this post, which means it's spoiler free!

THE ASSASSIN'S BLADEI've read a decent number of novellas for various series, and these five are some of the only ones I can think of that were exactly what I want from that type of story. They weren't necessary in way that made me wonder "why didn't this make the full-length novel?" but they did expand on storylines that seemed deserving of a little extra attention. They introduce characters we see again later in the series, and those scenes carry more emotional weight when you have this backstory. You get to see the complex nature of Celaena's character – ruthless and arrogant but also kind and compassionate. And for readers who felt the first book didn't show off her skills, these stories give you a better idea of what she can do as an assassin. 

THRONE OF GLASS: This is my least favorite book in the series – and it's the only one that I originally rated "So Enjoyed It." It's a good introduction to the world and characters, but it only hints at what the series will become. Though I do love going back to it to see where it all started and how these characters have grown! From the hints of romance to the first moment you realize that there's a bigger mystery to be solved, you know that you're only getting part of the picture. On my first read, that bugged me. But now that I've read the series in full, I see this as the thread you pull that sets in motion in a total unraveling. And honestly, I probably like this one least because it doesn't have my favorite characters. How am I supposed to obsess over a book without Rowan in it?

CROWN OF MIDNIGHT: I credit this book with hooking me fully into this series! I don't think I'll ever get tired of this story or seeing how the stakes are raised. There's a lot of character development in this one, which I love. Plus, I love digging deeper into Erilea's past – and everything that threatens its future. This book feels like it delivers on what Throne of Glass always seemed to be lacking for me: better pacing, depth to the action, and a more detailed look at the characters. I can still remember that feeling of closing the last page and realizing I'd found a few favorite series. I'd never expected that a fantasy would so completely steal my heart! And if I had one complaint, it's once again that there's still no Rowan Whitethorn in this book. Which brings us to...

HEIR OF FIRE: My favorite book in the series – and not just because we finally meet Rowan! Though, could you blame a girl if that was why? It's a little slower than the previous books, but I love everything about it. I honestly wouldn't change a thing! There's a coming-of-age aspect to this story that makes it so special to me, and I think this marks a real turning point for the series. Everything gets more intense from this point on. New storylines, deeper emotions, higher stakes. It's all here! I know we get to see a lot of characters in this one, but I've always felt like this book belongs to Aelin. Seeing her confront her past, accept her present and move forward into the future is just unforgettable. If I could only re-read one book from this series, it would be this one.

QUEEN OF SHADOWS: My second favorite of the series! There are moments where this almost edges out Heir of Fire from my top spot, especially because it's got a slightly faster pace, but I've just got such a soft spot for that book. You know those characters that I mentioned missing in the first book? Here's the story where so many of them come to the forefront. I will always love Aelin, but I give Maas so much credit for creating a cast of characters that are all compelling in their own right. One of my favorite things about this series is that Aelin is at the center, but it's never been just her story. Even seemingly insignificant characters play crucial roles in the action! And no matter how many times I read this one, I still feel intensely emotional over so many scenes in it.

EMPIRE OF STORMS: There are so many things that I love about this installment, but it's also got a few of my least favorite scenes of the entire series in it. So, let me start with my nitpick. The romantic scenes in this one made me cringe so hard, and they felt really out of place in this series. Now, on the good stuff... Some of my favorite fight scenes are in this book! We get to see the squad working together a lot more in this story, and that's one of the most memorable aspects of it for me.  I just love when this group teams up and takes down villains together! And holy cow, THAT ENDING. If there was ever a time I regretted starting this series before it was finished, it was when I turned the last page. I needed to know what would happen next and hated having to wait! 

TOWER OF DAWN: The book I didn't know I wanted! I still remember how I felt when I heard that this novella had become a full-length book. I just wasn't that excited for it. And then I actually read it... and realized that I want to move to the Southern Continent. I love the added scope to this world and story, seeing another empire react to the threat in Erilea, and learning some truly shocking information about a villain who shall not be named. Chaol still isn't my favorite character, so the highlight was getting to know two more badass women: Nesryn and Yrene. I can see now why this story needed to be told, though I did prefer re-reading it before Empire of Storms. I feel like Empire is a better lead-in to Kingdom, even though it occurs at the same time as this book.

KINGDOM OF ASH: I read this 1,000-page book in a day, and I'm still reeling from it. There were moments that made me legitimately cry, and other much-needed moments of sass that made me laugh out loud. My favorite part of the book was how it emphasized the importance of every character to the momentum and outcome of this war. It's never been solely on Aelin's shoulders, despite what she believes. Once I was done and processed it, I did feel like it could have been shorter – which would have helped the pacing, too. But reading it in one sitting may have contributed to that impression, so I'm excited to re-read and seeing my feelings change and deepen. All in all, I very satisfying ending to a series that I've invested so much in. I'm sad to say goodbye, but so thankful for the journey.

I still can't believe that this series is over! I've spent the past six years obsessing over it – sharing all the feels with my friends, discussing where it was headed, and reliving my favorite moments with multiple re-reads. I'm so thankful for what it brought into my life, for what it's meant to me, and for all the memories I've made along the way. This series will always have a spot on my favorites shelf, and I can't wait to see what Maas does next.


  1. For first time readers of this series do you recommend starting with The Assassin's Blade or Throne of Glass?

    1. I usually suggest starting with Throne of Glass and then going back to read the novellas before you continue on with the rest of the series! As much as I love the novellas, I like starting with the full-length book and then reading the short stories afterward to give you a little more background on things that were briefly referenced in the first / on what the heroine was doing before the first. :)

  2. Love this catch up! I agree about the novellas, they give you more of what you want but it doesn't feel like you have to read them (although I think everyone should!). First books are often like that- I feel the same way about Harry Potter as in the first is probably my least favorite but it's still excellent and obviously sets the scene so to speak. And I loved Tower of Dawn! I felt in the minority haha but I loved the Southern Continent too, and I have always love Chaol. I still need to read Kingdom of Ash (I know I know) but I'm excited to get to it soon to see how it all wraps up.

    1. Yay, I love that you agree about the novellas! I always tell people that they have to read them, too, because I think it makes some of the later stuff feel more significant. And yes, you're right. First books in series aren't often my favorite – because things get so much deeper and more intense the farther you get into the series & the first just has to set things up for that. Hooray for loving the Southern Continent, too. That world was just so fascinating to me, and I loved that it felt so different from Erilea. Hope you enjoy Kingdom of Ash!

  3. This will always be a series of my heart! I just love it so much, whether I'm thinking about the world, the story or the characters. Sarah J. Maas just knows how to tell a good, compelling story that had me devouring each page and getting super emotionally invested! I already miss this series... and I definitely want to reread it again after you reminded me of all the things I love about it!

    (P.S. I'm so happy we don't have to fight over our favorite males in this series...)


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