Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: August 7, 2012
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 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.
Where to begin? I'll start with what worked for me. I'm a sucker for this kind of romance. The estranged kind that neither one of them wants to accept, but that's so obvious for the reader. The frustrating kind that has you on the edge because they interact often, have little teasing moments and then it's suddenly over. That was basically my favorite part of the story. Despite the fact that I'm aabout to tell you all the things I had issues with, I REALLY liked this book. I was engrossed most of the time and I fell for the male protag which is essential for me to enjoy a romance.
The writing was good, the storytelling captivated me more than once and the plot was mostly intriguing. Celeana was supposed to be my type of character too. Female kick-ass heroine. The most talked-about and feared assassin of the Kingdom. If only she would match the description. We get a lot of what she did and how scared people should be to even just hear her name. But what we get is a softened version of the character described. I would have loved to see more of that no-shit attitude she had in the first chapter.
Then there's the alternating POVs. To be honest, it really bugged me that I suddenly had to read from a random character's pov in the middle of the story. I don't think much would've been lost if it had been in Celeana's narration only. Lastly, the whole magic thing has me a bit unsure of how it fits in the story. I would wish away that part too.
I realized after writing this that my rating probably doesn't match my review. I guess a good romance kind of knocks out the rest in a way (for me). At least enjoyment-wise. So, if that's one of the most important parts of your reading experience, this is definitely for you.