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Throne of Glass Reading Order: A fairy tale retelling by Sarah J. Maas

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“Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …”


Originally called Queen of Glass, Thrones of Glass is the first young adult fantasy series written by Sarah J. Maas – before A Court of Thrones and Ashes. The story follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom with a tyrannical ruler, The King of Adarlan.

Throne of Glass begins as a retelling of the fairy tale Cinderella before becoming its own tale along the way.

Trained from childhood to become an assassin, Celaena Sardothien is a 17-year old who lives in the Kingdom of Adarlan and has been imprisoned in a slave camp. She gets offered an opportunity to participate in a competition to become the King’s Champion. If she wins, she must serve the King for four years, and will then be granted her freedom and a full pardon.

She must survive every test and trial in order to proceed to the final, in which she has to fight her remaining opponents to death. As candidates are found dead in the castle, their bodies ruptured, Celaena finds herself delving deep into mysteries concerning not only her but her very own ancestors and the creatures of darkness that dwell deep beneath the castle.

This situation leads her to form unexpected bonds with Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, and Dorian, the Crown Prince of Adarlan.

And over time, Celaena is drawn into a conspiracy and a series of battles, leading to discoveries surrounding both the Kingdom and herself.


Throne of Glass Books in Order

The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas

Published after the Heir of Fire (the third book in the series), The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of five stories set prior to the Throne of Glass series

Those novellas explore the background of Celaena Sardothien shortly before her capture and imprisonment in Endovier.

  • The Assassin’s Blade (2014)
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    1. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (2012)
    2. The Assassin and the Healer (2014)
    3. The Assassin and the Desert (2012)
    4. The Assassin and the Underworld (2012)
    5. The Assassin and the Empire (2012)

When to read The Assassin’s Blade? There are a number of discussions about the best placement for this collection of stories. And mostly there are two possibilities:

  1. You can read it as a prequel, following the chronological order, before the main series.
  2. You can read it following the publication order, meaning after Heir of Fire (and before Queen of Shadows)

The Main series

Most of the series centers around Celaena, with the exception of Tower of Dawn in which she doesn’t appear. The books centers on Chaol Westfall and the events take place as the same time as Empire of Storms. It doesn’t mean the book is skippable, as some important plot points and characters are introduced in it.


Throne of Glass – In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

Crown of Midnight – Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion-yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one. Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie…

Heir of Fire – Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth …a truth about her heritage that could change her life – and her future – forever.

Queen of Shadows – Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past… She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

Empire of Storms – The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves.

Tower of Dawn – Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered. His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

Kingdom of Ash – Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day… With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction.


Companion books (and Game)

To stay a little longer on the Throne of Glass universe, a coloring book has been published.

You can also play Embers of Memory: A Throne of Glass Game (2019), a card game set during the events of Kingdom of Ash.


Throne of Glass Series Quotes

“Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”
― Throne of Glass

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”
― Throne of Glass

“With each day he felt the barriers melting. He let them melt. Because of her genuine laugh, because he caught her one afternoon sleeping with her face in the middle of a book, because he knew that she would win.”
― Throne of Glass

“I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.”
―  Crown of Midnight

“The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realised she was home.”
― Crown of Midnight

“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”
―  Crown of Midnight

“There had never been any line between them, only his own stupid fear and pride. Because from the moment he’d pulled her out of that mine in Endovier and she had set those eyes upon him, still fierce despite a year in hell, he’d been walking toward this, walking to her. So Chaol brushed away her tears, lifter her chin, and kissed her.”
― Crown of Midnight

“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”
― Heir of Fire

“You collect scars because you want proof that you are paying for whatever sins you’ve committed. And I know this because I’ve been doing the same damn thing for two hundred years. Tell me, do you think you will go to some blessed Afterworld, or do you expect a burning hell? You’re hoping for hell–because how could you face them in the Afterworld? Better to suffer, to be damned for eternity and–”
― Heir of Fire

“All she knew was that whatever and whoever climbed out of that abyss of despair and grief would not be the same person who had plummeted in.”
― Heir of Fire

“She looked at them, at the three males who meant everything—more than everything. Then she smiled with every last shred of courage, of desperation, of hope for the glimmer of that glorious future. “Let’s go rattle the stars.”
― Queen of Shadows

“Sometimes there won’t be a right choice, just the best of several bad options.”
― Queen of Shadows

“Behind them, across the hall, the dancers shattered their roses on the floor, and Aedion grinned at his queen as the entire world went to hell.”
― Queen of Shadows

“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.”
― Empire of Storms

“I’d walk into the burning heart of hell itself to find you.”
― Empire of Storms

“Aelin had promised herself, months and months ago, that she would not pretend to be anything but what she was. She had crawled through darkness and blood and despair-she had survived.”
― Empire of Storms

“A gift.
A gift from a queen who had seen another woman in hell and thought to reach back a hand. With no thought of it ever being returned. A moment of kindness, a tug on a thread.”
― Tower of Dawn

“Every step. Every curve into darkness. Every moment of despair and rage and pain. It had led him to precisely where he needed to be. Where he wanted to be.”
― Tower of Dawn

“It was agony and despair and fear. It was joy and laughter and rest. It was life, all of it…”
―  Tower of Dawn

“I once lived in fear of other people. I let other people walk all over me just because I was too afraid of the consequences for refusing. I did not know how to refuse.”
―  Tower of Dawn

“The male I fell in love with was you. It was you, who knew pain as I did, and who walked me through it, back to the light. Maeve didn’t understand that. That even if she could create this perfect world, it wouldn’t be you with me. And I’d never trade that, trade this. Not for anything.”
― Kingdom of Ash

“You are my people. Whether my grandmother decrees it or not, you are my people, and always will be. But I will fly against you, if need be, to ensure that there is a future for those who cannot fight for it themselves. Too long have we preyed on the weak, relished doing so. It is time that we became better than our foremothers.”
― Kingdom of Ash

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