Celaena Sardothien is the best assassin in all the land. But, she got caught. She is sent to the salt mines of Endovier, where she will serve a life time sentence, or so she thought... After a year in Endovier, she is presented a deal; the king is looking for an assassin and is holding a tournament in which the best thieves, warriors and assassins will compete in. If Celeana represents the Prince in the tournament, and wins, she will serve the king for four years then she will be free.
Celaena agrees to compete in the competition, hoping for freedom. But during the competition, something starts killing of the contestants one by one. It is left up to Celaena to figure out what is going on. Will she be able to win the competition? Will she be able to figure out what is killing off the competition before it kills her?
Rate: 5 stars
I am really glad that I picked this book up, it's now one of my favourites. I went into this book with high expectations and I wasn't disappointed at all. The characters and plot were great. The love triangle was actually done well. It had great world building. I'm really excited for this series, it seems quite promising. And I'm quite glad that there are six books, most books are made into trilogies. I would recommend this to any fantasy fan, or just anybody who reads. If you don't normally read fantasy, this is a good place to start, it's a great introduction to the genre.
Right off the bat, we can see that Celaena is quite the talented assassin, as well as a smart mouth. I like how she is such a strong female lead and how she stands up for herself. She says what she thinks, no matter who she is talking too. It was also interesting to see the girly-er side of Celaena, you wouldn't think an assasssin would be too girly. I also liked how Celaena was always making plans to escape, plans to kill. That's how I thought an assassin would think. Even though the book was written in third person, Sarah J. Maas did a good job on showing what each character was thinking.
Speaking of the characters, I liked how we got to see not only through Celaena's point of view, but Dorian's, Chaol's and Kaltain's. This part was done really well. We got to see what Dorian, Choal and Kaltain thought of Celaena as the book progressed.
The characters in this book were great, although I hated some of them. But they were those characters that you loved to hate. I really hated Kaltain and Cain. They both reminded me of different types of people you would see in the real world today. Cain was such an arrogant jerk, I'm surprised Celaena didn't kill him herself after winning the battle. And Kaltain really irked me. She was willing to do anything to get to the throne, including poisoning Celaena when she thought she was in the way.
Now there were also some good characters in this book. I really liked Nehemia, she was a great friend to Celaena. I find in some books these days, the main female role doesn't have a close friend (i.e. The Hunger Games or Legend). Nehemia was loyal, kind, caring and brave. I'm glad she was put into the book, Celaena needed someone like that. Then we had the Prince, Dorian and Chaol, the Captain of the Royal Guard. These two were also great characters. I was glad that Dorian didn't turn out to be like his father or some spoiled Prince. The tension between him and his father was noticeable within the first 50 pages, and we could tell that not only did he not get along with his father, but he didn't really fit in with the rest of the royalty. I loved the banter between Celaena and him. Chaol on the other hand was more refined. I hope we get to see more of his true character in the next book. But in this book, we did see that he did truly care about Celaena, even when she was with Dorian. And I was really happy when he killed Cain when he went after Celaena after she won the final duel.
Now let's talk about the tournament, the whole reason Celaena came to the castle. Celaena had to change her name and hold back during training and the Tests in order to draw little attention to herself (although, people did eventually figure out who she was). I thought the tests were quite cool, my favourite was probably when the Champions had to scale the castle wall. I thought that it was very noble of Celaena when she caught Nox when he fell instead of getting first place. Another one of my favourite parts was when she went up against Verin, disarmed him, and nocked him to the ground, without a weapon.
As the tournament was going on, contestants were being killed off one by one. At first Celaena thought it was Cain, then Nehemia as she was acting oddly, but in the end, it turned out to be Cain. As soon as Celaena mentioned that Cain had gained even more muscle, I knew he was the one killing the contestants off, as before it was mentioned that whoever was using the ridderak to kill the contestants gained their strength. The whole thing with the Wyrdmarks was kind of weird.It'll be interesting to see how they play out in the next book. I was also wondering why Cain hadn't gone after Celaena first since he hated her so much, but we later learned that Nehemia was preventing that from happening.
Now, the final battle between Cain and Celaena was awesome. I was afraid that Celaena wasn't going to win for a bit, since Kaltain poisoned her. And it was a bit confusing with the portal from another world/dimension opening up. But, Celaena did pull through, thankfully, and won.
I am quite excited for the next book, or you know, the rest of the series. I wonder who Celaena will deal with doing the King's dirty work for four years. What would happen if she had to kill people she knew or someone innocent? It'll be interesting to see how she handles things.
Overall, I really, really, really enjoyed this book. I'm super happy that I picked it up, and can't wait to get my hands on the next books.