3.5 out of 5 stars
147 hours and 43 minutes of audiobook.
Just over six entire days.
The complete Throne of Glass series.
To call the Throne of Glass series “epic” is a laughable understatement. Sarah J. Maas’s truest talent lays in the insane scope of her worlds. From one land to another, then to other dimensions, between powers and species and the shared humanity of it all, she thinks beyond big – and manages to get it all on the page.
So, what happens in the final installment? Aelin remains in Maeve’s clutches and is tortured for (p)ages and (p)ages. Seriously, does SJM get paid by the word? Rowan rage-races his cadre + Elide across the world in search of his mate. Dorian and Manon – this series’ redeeming backbone – try to recruit a Witch army. Chaol (still dreamy) and Yrene lead the Kagen’s forces on a slow trek north, just in time to face part of Erehwon’s host. Aedion, Lysandra (best character) and Co. battle the rest.
The writing is fine for the first book (TOG). Once you’re past the shine of the world and begin to live there, SJM’s pulpy romance prose grates. It’s fan fiction-quality at best, and the only reason I hesitate to recommend these books to some. To me, it became unbearable in book three. And for seven whole books, I shouted “Phantom wind!” every time she used that phrase to avoid driving off the road in a meltdown. (It was A LOT.) She refrains every thought three times. Three. Three times. Kill me. Unless it’s, “I burn, I pine, I perish”, then Shakespeare you are not. I’ve said it with every volume, and now that we’ve reached the end: “incarnate”, “marked”, “sculpted”, and a host of other used-up words and phrases are hereby removed from language forever. They weren’t that good to begin with; you won’t miss them. The next character who refers to their “mate” gets punched in the throat. SJM can do better – and she does in ACOTAR, making that series the superior of the two.
Kingdom of Ash is the singed, blood-soaked, and thoroughly exhausted bow that ties up the TOG series. Not everyone gets a happy ending… but most do. Don’t despair, your 10,000 hours are not lost. You’re not throwing the last Divergent book across the room. (For the record, I liked that end.) To complete 100% predictably, Sarah J. Maas Match.com can’t resist coupling everyone up. And throwing in a groan-inducing ACOTAR cameo… yeah, it’s really dumb. But after a hundred thousand hours of plotting, pleading, lusting, killing, enslaving, and suffering, it is a relief to save the world and most of the people in it. Even (spoiler!) Fleetfoot is happily wagging away in the final pages. (Thank God.)
In the end, finishing the Throne of Glass series is a great accomplishment for both SJM and her readers. Kingdom of Ash finishes the job well, and not a page too soon.