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 king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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.
I am actually so surprised at how much of the plot I had forgotten. The best part of rereading is rediscovering the parts you have forgotten and loved the first time around.
In terms of the rest of the series, this is definitely my least favourite of them all. I see now this one is the slowest, it took me a while to get back into the story.
Its plot is nothing super original, in my opinion; the later books are better. I think the first time around my favourite was Queen of Shadows followed by Empire of Storms, I’m interested to see whether I’ll still feel the same.
This was a typical YA Fantasy, full of tropes – a love triangle starts but it is a bit of fun and I can’t hate it, despite its flaws. SJM’s writing definitely improves with every book, this is probably one of the weakest but it still isn’t bad.
I do feel the plot was a bit dragged out, it took too long to get to the competition – which is what the whole thing is about and then the competition was over in a chapter or so. I didn’t really care for the side plots, other than Dorian, the characters were pretty bland in this one.
I also realised I never liked Chaol. He’s just an ass and always has been? Can’t relate to the people who ship Chaol with Celaena at all.
Celaena: I like Celaena, I don’t love her – in this series I am far more attached to certain side characters.
Dorian: I LOVE DORIAN. He is such a babe. He’s so charming, swoon-worthy and lovely!! He’s adorable and I am so sad he and Celaena weren’t a think, like who picks Chaol over Dorian??!
Chaol: I have never liked Chaol. I have always found him so annoying, literally, don’t see what anyone ever saw in him. He had a few good moments and his friendship with Dorian is nice.
Rating: Still 4 Stars