Eighteen-year-old Celaena is a trained assassin, who’s serving a life sentence in the salt mines of Endovier. She’s offered a deal - to represent the prince in a tournament to become the King’s Champion. If she succeeds, she will eventually earn her freedom, if she refuses she’s likely to die in the mines, like many before her.
Accepting the offer, Celaena starts her training for the contest, keeping her true identity secret. We soon learn that she has been brought up as an assassin from a young age, and she’s a rather determined character.
For me, the first half of the book was the slowest, but this did comprise of some really good world building, which pays off later in the book – by the time the story really kicks off, the world and the characters feel real, and it really comes alive.
Calaena is an interesting developing character, but it was Chaol and Princess Nehemia who really caught my attention. Chaol is the Captain of the Guards sent to watch and train Calaena – he’s a rather guarded person himself, who doesn’t give much away. He appears to be very loyal, and caring when he allows himself to be.
Nehemia is a princess who befriends Calaena, and there is certainly more to her than first meets the eye. If there’s to be a follow up (which I hope there will be) I want to hear more from her.
As for the storyline, I don’t like giving much away, but it focuses not only on her competition and her own journey, but there’s also a supernatural turn of events which I thought was handled really well. The second half of the book doesn’t let go for a moment, as it comes to a satisfying conclusion.
This book is complete in itself, but it’s left open to continue, and with a world so well built up, I really hope it does. For those who want more, there are also four novellas available as ebooks.
Published by Bloomsbury 2/8/12