Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publish Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback, 404 pages
My rating: ★★★✩✩
Oh dear, oh dear. This book was painfully mediocre. After reading Maas’ other series, A Court of Thorn and Roses, and hearing all the hype from booktubers, fellow bloggers and friends, I thought this book would be… more. I’m sorry Ms. Maas, but this story fell woefully short of my expectations.
“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most notorious Assassin. But after a betrayal, she’s been forced to work as a slave in the salt mines of Endovier. The story begins when she is summoned to the castle for a chance to win her freedom. If Celaena defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition she will be released from prison and become the king’s one and only Champion. But soon after she arrives, her fellow competitors start dying one by one and Celaena’s quest for freedom turns into a fight for survival.
The synopsis sounds cool, right? I was expecting a high fantasy full of dark mystery, epic battles, and all sorts of badassery. But alas, it was not so. I’ll admit that I was entertained, this book is fast-paced and boasts some exciting scenes, but in the end, I found the story and its characters to be rather tame, especially for a fantasy novel.
I think the biggest problem was our protagonist – I had some very mixed feelings. Celaena is an assassin and might be able to take down a man twice her size with just her bare hands, but she is incredibly vain. I think the intention may have been to reveal an emotional, feminine side of Celaena (which I would have appreciated), but instead the outcome was an angsty teenager, worrying about whether the Crown Prince thought she was hot or not.
I also found there to be a lack of continuity. I found the storyline and world-building as well as some of our characters’ motives, to have holes, especially when it came to court politics. Like why wasn’t Celaena allowed to spar with the Eyllwe princess? Why wasn’t she allowed to attend the feasts? It was these and a couple of other instances that had me just plain confused…
But enough with all this negativity. I did find the banter between Celaena and her male counterparts to be highly entertaining (I LOL’d a couple of times). I was especially intrigued with Chaol’s relationship with Celaena (I ship it).
Don’t get me wrong. I did like this book. And I wont drop the series just yet – I think there’s some great potential, and I want to wait and see if the next book will take a turn for the better. I also just finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury (oh my god!) so I know Maas has it in her to write some really good stuff.
Until next time nerds,