“Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin.”
When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.
Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.
And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.
But something evil dwells in the castle—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.
This was a bit like reading two separate books in a way. I found it difficult to connect with the characters and the story in the first half, and it really dragged in parts. Now, I understand and fully agree that first books in a series will always be a little slower as the world is revealed and the characters are introduced and developed, and I made allowances for that, but this was just way too slow-moving in general. Given that blurb, I was expecting lots of kick-ass action which failed to materialize until the latter part of the book. However, once I hit the half-way point the action ramped up, the romance kicked in, the suspense intensified, and I became totally HOOKED. So much so that I finished the second half rather quickly!
Initially, I didn’t warm to either Celaena or Dorian. Honestly, she was so cocky and arrogant and he was so cocky and smarmy. Pretty much a match made in heaven. I liked Chaol from the get-go and I found his character to be the most consistent. By the end of the book I did like both Celaena and the Crown Prince, and in fact, I was most upset for Dorian in the last few chapters with how flippantly Celaena seemed to dismiss him. She seemed to resume her non-caring persona again which aggravated me on his behalf.
The fantasy element of the plot has me totally entranced and it was so mysterious and magical right up till the last page. I freaking LOVED it. I also love how bad-ass Celaena is and how she trounced all the other competitors. You go girl. Part of my disappointment with the earlier part of the novel was how limited the action was and little opportunity for Celaena to showcase her skills, but the latter part more than made up for that. I’m expecting way more action in the remaining series and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
The secondary characters were decent with a fair share of baddies and goodies, and confusion over who could be trusted. Love that in a book!
The writing, I felt, was a little amateurish in parts at the beginning but it flowed much more smoothly as the book progressed.
I loved the slow-developed romance between Dorian and Celaena but the love triangle is a mess. Not sure if you could even call it that yet. Guess I’ll have to wait and see how it pans out.
Overall, by the end, I really enjoyed the book and I’m glad I stuck with it. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.
Actual Rating: 3.75 stars.