RATING: 3.75 Swords
In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Like many book readers, I've seen the cover of this book at Barnes and Noble and online everywhere. It looked interesting to me, but for some reason I avoided it like the plague. I'm glad I gave it a chance though.
As the protagonist of the story, Celanea is strong, funny at times, and definitely sassy. I know this book is a somewhat retelling of the Cinderella story, but she reminded me of Black Widow more than Cinderella. She's the best assassin in all of Adarlan. She started training as an assassin at a very young age and there's a lot of mystery about her upbringing. She was a slave in the salt mines for a year and then chosen by Prince Dorian to compete in a tournament to be the King's Champion - the very man who conquered her land and lead to the death of her parents. (Yes, he's a big jerk). But if she wins she would have her freedom in four years. But that means being the king's minion and doing whatever he says for four years...0_o
The book starts off strong. I love the back and forth between Dorian and Celaena. However, I must say that I am team Chaol Westfall (Captain of the Guard). Maas does a great job with Celaena's personality. She doesn't seem like someone you would want to mess with. However, she does have a vulnerable side which you get to see later in the book. For some reason, I just can't imagine her as an assassin though. I think it's because there isn't enough detail about her training as an assassin or about her time before she was a slave. I need more detail. You say she's a great assassin - don't just tell me. Show me! I need flashbacks...legends...anything! There isn't much worldbuilding. As a huge fantasy fan, I expect a certain amount of worldbuilding. I know, it's a young adult novel, but I still expect more! There is a good amount of religion (I'm assuming based off of the roman/greek gods) and magic. I want to know more about them! This is probably my main complaint.
I think this series has a lot of potential. I enjoyed reading it and would definitely recommend it for readers who aren't into super detailed and long fantasy books. Plus, there's the love triangle teens are sure to love! Add a little more history to the world and I'll be extremely happy. I enjoyed the first book enough that I have already started on the second. Hopefully it'll be just as good if not better!
"You could be different," Elena said quietly. "You could be great. Greater than me--than any of us."
Celaena opened her mouth, but no words came out.
Elena took a step toward her. "You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if you only dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That's what scares you most."