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 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.
Well, it was almost good. 2.5/5 stars.
This looks like a book you write at 14 when you’re aspiring to be a reader. It’s good practice and has potential, but when it’s done, you move on to write something that’s actually good.
Take our heroine Celaena: The author crammed all the character traits she admires into one character: She’s skilled at everything, despite being barely 18. She likes to read, she has no patience for airheads, and she’s hot. She’s got a lot of contradictions. She’s vain enough to like pretty clothes and then complains they’re uncomfortable. She’s supposed to be a deadly assassin yet hates to be unnoticed: no sense of stealth whatsoever. I just could not buy that she was an assassin, let alone an experienced one. The series of contests, which is supposed to be the main element of the story, is included only as an afterthought.
There are so many cliches, especially at first. The heroine meets a hot guy who’s her enemy. Eventually he comes to see her softer side: She’s not a blood-thirsty killer but a girl with an Appropriately Tragic Childhood who likes to read and loves puppies. (I am not making this up.) And she’s hot. Oh, and it’s not enough for this to happen once, so we have TWO guys doing this. That way you can stage a love triangle for later. The writing itself is cliched and melodramatic.
The plot moves along okay. I wish there was a little more mystery involved. The obvious villain was the actual villain. That always disappoints me when a mystery is involved. There were some basic things that were left unexplained or not explained well.
I think the author has a lot of potential. Perhaps the writing improves with the series. This book just should have been set aside and used to gain experience only. As I said, it reminds me of stuff my friends and I wrote when we were 14, which I wouldn’t try resurrecting now.
Have you read Throne of Glass? What did you think?