Hardcover, 416 pagesExpected publication: August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
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 exhilarating. 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, this was different. Good different. A young beautiful girl, Celaena, is the best assassin in the land. Somehow she gets caught and thrown into the salt mines, which, no matter what book/world/genre, is always a bad place. Then suddenly she is plucked out by none other than the Crown Prince, Dorian. Well technically it is his Captain of the Guard Chaol Westfall that does the plucking, but still, it is the Prince’s order. She is brought to the castle to compete in a silly tournament to be the “King’s Champion” (so basically kill whomever he wants killed, no questions asked). After doing that for several years, she can earn her freedom.
Of course she is the only girl in the competition. Which means everyone underestimates her. And then people start dying all over the place, and she starts falling in love with both Prince Dorian and Chaol (Go Chaol!). She makes friends, and enemies, discovers secrets, and has to save the day. So it is a very good, if typical and somewhat predictable, fantasy book. What I had a hard time with was she was so young, and had built up such notoriety through the whole kingdom as the best assassin. I just don’t see how that was possible. Now, I know there are several prequels, which I have not read and they may explain this, but I still don’t see how that is possible. And that she is “so pure” … please. Yes this is a YA book, but even then, with the life she had? I don’t think so.
Along the same lines, Chaol is too young to be Captain of the Guard. And he has never killed before? Maybe I am confused, but how can one be promoted to Captain without having killed? Maybe that is not the point. If it were my kingdom, my Captain would be ruthless, not soft and cuddly. I like Chaol, but think he would have been better served in some other capacity. Prince’s personal servant who became friends with after years or service maybe. I just can’t see him as the Captain. Even just a regular guard, fine.
Those two character points aside, I thought this was a good, predictable, book and an easy read. It was one I thought about when I went to bed, and wanted to see what happened next when I woke up. I have to admit, I did dream about it occasionally, and woke up one morning after I had finished it wanting to find out what happened next, and was sad when I remembered it was over. THAT is a sign of a good book. I really would like to read the next one.I enjoy reading books that don’t continually stress me out or leave me hyperventilating at the end. Of course I love those books too, I just can’t read them all the time!
This book gets 4 baskets from me. You should check it out.
*I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.