Blurb (from Goodreads):
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.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers and Netgalley.)
18-year-old assassin Celaena has been imprisoned in the salt mines of Endovier for a year when the Crown Prince Dorian of Adarlan comes to her with a proposition – become his champion, fight against other champions to become the king’s champion, and after 4 years of service – win back her freedom.
Celaena accepts; people don’t last long in Endovia, and she has already outlived many by surviving a year. Thus begins Calaena’s journey, only there is more to fear in Adarlan than she ever imagined.
I loved this book! I sometimes find fantasy books a bit slow and sticky, and feel like I’m having to drag myself through them – not this one though! This one is a real keeper!
Celaena is a great character – she’s strong, she’s independent, not afraid to stick up for herself or go for what she wants, whilst at the same time knowing her own limits, and knowing how far to push things. She’s intelligent, but knows when to ask for help, and has a keen eye for detail, she’s also happy to put the work in to her training, but at the same time appreciates a pretty dress as much as a fine weapon.
Celaena isn’t the only character to love though, with two equally gorgeous guys falling over themselves to get at her. Dorian, the crown prince, who is drawn to her even though he knows their relationship couldn’t go anywhere, and Chaol – captain of the royal guard. Both find themselves wanting to spend more and more time with Celaena, and both of them are so lovely, I really can’t decide who I think Celaena should end up with!
There’s more than just boys in this storyline though; we have champions, tests and duels, a foreign princess, outlawed magic, spirits of the dead, and nightmare creatures. This book is action packed, and there’s not a dull moment.
If I had to be picky, I would suggest that there’s not much said about Celaena’s past as an assassin; we know how it happened, we know who trained her, but we don’t know anything else then until she ends up at Endovia, or even how she ends up at Endovia – I wonder if this will be covered in later books or maybe in the prequels?
Anyway, that aside, this is a fantastic book, and a must-read this summer. If you have any interest in the fantasy genre at all – pick this up! You won’t be disappointed!
9 out of 10.