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 (GoodReads).
- Originality: 7. This is fantasy, so Maas has free reign to include any elements she might like. I found the mystery of Celaena's background, outlawed magic, and mythic history rooted in the castle made for a fresh read (although the prison bit reminded me a lot of Finnikin of the Rock).
- Absurdity: 6. The NAMES. Celaena, Chaol, Dorian. Why is there no one named Mary in fantasy?
- Level of
ParanormalRomance: 3. Dorian was handsome but not very interesting, but I would read about Chaol any day. Not to mention the ending of the romance aspect of this story surprised me in a GOOD way. Celaena does not pander to handsome boys.
- Level of Harry Potter-ness: 5. This book is LONG and I think it could have used a bit of streamlining. That said, I was sick with a cold when I read it and it held my attention Harry-Potter-style for a full day of reading on the couch.