After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Don’t you just love when you finish a book and you feel all giddy? Well, that’s how this one made me feel.
I’m going to start with Celaena. This is one spitfire, kick ass chick. She’s gone through a lot. She’s suffered, and suffered, and suffered some more. But she’s survived and she’s still got all this strength to continue on. Even when she’s afraid she doesn’t allow it to blind her or affect her. She continues on. She says what she thinks and feels although she’s smart enough to hold her tongue when she must (like when speaking to the king who could hang her at any moment). I loved Celaena. She is a character that I truly loved completely. No annoying habits, no ridiculous behavior, nothing. There were times when I wish she’d tell someone of these secrets she was figuring out, but I understood why she didn’t, why she couldn’t, tell anyone. And Celaena might be a trained assassin, but she knows who her friends are and she’ll do what it takes to protect them. Even if she knows they should be her enemy.
Crown Prince Dorian has this personality that ‘s a bit teasing and him and Celaena have quite entertaining banter. While he’s a bit of a tease, he’s a gentlemen with Celaena and he’s a friend. You see that he’s a good person, that he cares about things. I don’t want to get into it too much because it’s easy to get a bit spoilery. But I really liked him, he was a fabulous person. On the same note, I also liked Captain Chaol. He’s darker, more broody, but he has this kindness inside. You don’t see it too much, but I liked him a lot as well. And right away when I started the book I saw that there would be a bit of a love triangle and that concerned me. It concerned me more as I discovered I really liked them both! But the way things slowly play out, with each of them growing to care for Celaena as a person and working to protect her while being her friend I really had no idea which way things would go. I guess I was okay with the triangle, but I’m very torn about things. And I guess I don’t like that. I want everyone to win, you know?
I found the story to be pretty fast moving. While there were periods that were slower, I never found myself bored at all. I liked the slower parts just as much as the more action’y ones. And the mystery of who the killer was, was a good one. I had suspects and even guessed at one point, but I kept going back and forth. And honestly, I really didn’t figure out all those twists. I thought it was well done.
Seriously, if you’re a fantasy fan, read this book! I totally and completely loved it and can’t wait to read more!
Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own, I was not paid or influenced in any way.