The Fantastic Throne Of Glass Books Ranked Best To Worst

I read the Throne of Glass series as a teenager. Today, I’m putting the books in order of my favorite to least favorite. Come see what I think, will you agree?

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Spines of Throne of Glass, 'Crown of Midnight,' Heir of Fire,' 'Queen of Shadows,' 'Empire of Storms,' 'Tower of Dawn,' and 'Kingdom of Ash'
Please note: this entire article contains spoilers for the series!

Throne of Glass is an eight-book fantasy series mostly following protagonist Celaena Sardothien/Aelin Ashryver Galathinius, a young adult demi-fae — later full Fae — assassin and heir to the throne of the kingdom of Terrasen. This series — though it has its problems — has much to offer: love, friendship, betrayal, magic, courage, and more.

Throne of Glass

Isn’t the first book usually the best one? Well, I guess this is technically the second book since Assassin’s Blade is the prequel. But this is where the story starts: Celaena was freed from the Salt Mines of Endovier to enter a competition to become the king’s champion. On the way, she and others discovered secrets that could kill them and magic that somehow worked even though magic was unusable in Adarlan.

Throne of Glass book cover woman standing in front of a large door near a set of stairs

In an interview, Maas said that this book was loosely based on Cinderella. Both Cinderella and Celaena are invited to the castle, but instead of a ball, it was a deadly competition; instead of marrying the prince, she became the king’s champion and carried out his dirty work. So, I guess, sort of similar? Eh, I guess it doesn’t matter. But this book did a great job (at least for me) of setting up everything and giving me just a taste of what was to come.

Queen of Shadows

This is the fifth book in the series. Aelin has decided to take her throne back, but first, she had to do three things. She had to find her cousin, who was trapped under the king’s thumb. She had to free her friend, Prince Dorian, from his father’s control — both literally and figuratively. And she wanted to fight for the people of Adarlan and other kingdoms — especially those from Terrasen — who had been oppressed for too long. With the help of new friends and old ones, Aelin fought and won.

Queen of Shadows book cover with winding road leading to large castle with red sky

This is our first introduction to Aedion Ashryver, Aelin’s cousin, and to Lysandra, Aelin’s former enemy. Aedion was an impressive general and soldier who was completely loyal to Aelin, and Lysandra was a shapeshifter who had to work as a courtesan to survive. We also see the first of the witches from Manon Blackbeak’s perspective and Elide Lochan, Aelin and Aedion’s cousin. I really liked seeing the witches and Elide as they found out what was truly happening in Morath. It gave me a break from looking at what Aelin and Chaol were doing, and I thought the character development for Manon, Astrid, and Elide was wonderful.

Empire of Storms

Aelin and company set off to find more allies as the war drew ever closer. Elide had escaped Morath to find Aelin and help in the war and deliver a message and something that could change the tides of war, all while dealing with a pesky Fae named Lorcan, who was intent on destroying Aelin. Manon started rebelling against her grandmother, the Blackbeak Matriarch and eventually joined Aelin’s side. They all came together, and then the war started as Maeve sent out her fleets, and they fought. The book ended with Aelin’s surrender, and she was taken by Maeve.

Empire of Storms book cover with large waves crashing over a tiny boat with purple clouds and a purple sky

I like how the story threads came together in this book and the different perspectives and plot points present. Some parts were really long, and there was too much detail at times, so my attention wandered. But overall, I think this book was well-balanced. My favorite part was Elide and Lorcan’s developing relationship — though the age gap is still a problem for me. Elide, despite not having much physical prowess, was very clever, and she had the goddess Anneith watching over her. Lorcan was powerful and smart but not a match for Elide. I also love enemies-to-lovers.

Kingdom of Ash

This is the eighth and final book in the long series, starting with Aelin being tortured for months by Maeve. A group came to save her, while others sought to fight the war and secure more allies. Allies were gained and lost, and each side took heavy hits. But in the end, the real evil in the world was defeated, and Aelin was crowned Queen of Terrasen. Her allies gained their own titles and settled into rebuilding the kingdom.

'Kingdom of Ash' book cover hills covered with flowers and a castle with the sun barely peeking out and a deer facing it

This book was challenging to read mostly because of the torture Aelin endured. I won’t describe it here, but it was brutal and difficult to get through at times. It was just emotionally heavy in general; the book was very long, and there were few moments of rest or happiness for the reader and the characters. War is brutal and devastating, but I found it too heavy sometimes. But I admired how everyone pulled through and made sacrifices, ending in their ultimate victory.

The Assassin’s Blade

This is the first book, s a collection of five novellas that help explain later events in the series. The first three novellas explained how Aelin was connected to the Pirate Lord Rolfe, the healer Yrene Towers, and the warrior Ansel of Briarcliff, all of whom are important later in the series. The last two were about Celanea and Sam’s relationship, what happened to Sam, and how Celaena ended up in Endovier. It is not a necessary read, but it does give insight and explain several parts of the series.

The Assassin's Blade book cover in the middle of a dark forest with a deer in the background

I enjoyed reading the novellas, but they were kind of meh for me. They weren’t terrible, but I feel almost like these events could have been summarized in a few sentences or a flashback. There wouldn’t have been as much detail, nor would we have learned as much, but we just needed to know a few things: she freed the slaves Rolfe was going to sell, she paid for Yrene to become a healer, she spared Ansel’s life after she tried to kill the Mute Master, Celaena went through a lot to try and fight slavery, and Arobynn betrayed Celaena by orchestrating Sam’s death and her imprisonment in Endovier. A bit simplified but effective.

Tower of Dawn

Chaol and Nesryn came to the Southern Continent to forge alliances and to heal Chaol’s injuries. They met Yrene Towers, an incredible healer who suffered at the hands of Adarlan soldiers and wanted nothing to do with anyone from Adarlan. As Yrene healed Chaol, and as Chaol and Nesryn worked to make alliances, they dealt with their enemy, following them to the shining city of Antica and striking where they didn’t expect. They had to work together with their new allies to survive.

Tower of Dawn book cover large tower surrounded by small structures in a desert at dawn

I’m glad we went to a new continent and got to see a different culture and everything, but this book felt like a filler arc in an anime series. It was important, and the last book couldn’t be understood without reading this one, but I don’t know that it needed its own book. Maybe Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn could have come together to switch between perspectives but still be two books. Though I guess that would have been a lot of points of view to keep track of. I don’t have a good solution — I just thought it was a little boring.

Heir of Fire

This is the fourth book in the series, and it’s the first one where we see a Fae setting and where we really see Celaena’s powers. This was also where the war slowly started, with all the fighting and plotting. And it fell on Celaena to start leading the resistance, to save the world. (Not in this book, or the series would have been shorter.) And we were introduced to a new, important character: Celaena’s love interest, Rowan Whitethorn. And I guess we also met Maeve, the fake Fae queen. She was important too, and Celaena pissed her off after freeing Rowan from her cadre.

Heir of Fire book cover a lake in a forest with a couple of bugs flying around

I know a lot of fans are going to disagree with me, but I don’t like Rowaelin (Rowan and Aelin). I did as a teenager, but when I got older, I realized how toxic it was. He pushed her to the point of breaking, always insulted her, and was very gross and toxic. Sure, they fell in love, but it still wasn’t quite equal. Think about this: he was over three hundred years old, and she was 19. This isn’t the only time Maas has done this, either. Not to mention his overprotectiveness and her tendency to keep secrets. This relationship may work in a fictional setting, but it wouldn’t in reality, and we shouldn’t idealize or normalize this.

Crown of Midnight

This is the third book in the series, and it’s the first — and only — book where we see Celaena as the king’s champion. But she hated the king for what he did to people from other kingdoms that he took over, and she went against him where she could. More people came together and fought for their own justice, and it ended in the death of Nehemia Ytger, the Princess of Eyllwe and Celaena’s friend. Her death hurt Calaena, and it served as a changing point for her where she would no longer be the king’s dog.

'Crown of Midnight' book cover a city separated by a winding river with a woman standing on top of a cliff

Nehmeia’s death ruined this book for me. She was the only character of color (besides in Tower of Dawn), and she was killed for a white woman’s character development. To make it worse, Nehemia was the one who orchestrated her death to get Celaena to start rebelling. I think Nehemia was a far better leader, and she could have worked with Celaena to create a rebellion. I’m sure she could have found a better way to motivate Celaena than arranging for her death, and we could have seen her continue to be a badass.

I’m sure not everyone agrees with me (some may even be angry), but remember: this is just my opinion. I’m looking at this subjectively.

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