Author: Sarah Maas
Published: May 7, 2013
Stars: 3 out of 5
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.
Most of this review I am going to focus on Celeana’s character. I apologize but her character bothered me the most. Before I get into what I didn’t like, I want to point out the overall plot was interesting and I enjoyed how Celeana could defend herself, and how strong and confident she was.
Celeana is Adarlin’s most notorious assassins. She is strong, determined, revengeful and over the top vain. Although she is a strong character, she also has characteristics that belong to a pampered princes. She has been granted freedom for the time being, given clothing, warmth, food, and training to strengthen her body. But she complains about the quality of her clothing and how she doesn’t get to go to all the fun parties. It’s actually a bit redundant how much the author highlights Celeana’s unhappiness in regards for material objects, sleep, and attention.
I was surprised by Celeana’s value for culture, literature, and knowledge. Although she often went with little to no sleep because she was up all night reading. Even when she had a tournament that could mean the end of her freedom, she would stay up late reading. I think the author was trying to make Celeana seem like a well rounded and literate character. But the way it was done made the tournament seem less of a priority and more of an annoyance that she needed to take care of.
There were some inconsistencies with Celeana and what she said, felt, and how she acted. I think this is more due to the adjectives the author picked. This inconsistency also shows in her interactions between Choal and Dorian. I don’t know if the author was trying to make things seem more of a mystery or what but I found it more annoying than anything.
Choal is caption of the royal guard and I really didn’t care for his character. For one thing, I didn’t feel like he had much of a personality. What little personality he did have was a contradiction at best. One minute he treats Celeane horribly and then the next he dose something sweet or gets jealous. I’m not sure if he just doesn’t know how he feels but it didn’t really make sense. For example, even though he takes the longest to trust Celeana, he gets jealous that his best friend, Dorian, likes her.
Dorian is supposedly Chaols best friend but they don’t really act like it. Maybe it was because I also felt like Dorian didn’t have much of a personality either, but they both seemed bland towards each other. BothDorian and Choal’s responses to situations seemed underdeveloped. At times when great emotion would have been acceptable, let alone expected, they showed little of anything.
I would say Dorian is an arrogant and bored Prince Charming without much of the charming aspect. He trusts Celeana almost instantly and sees a beautiful woman instead of a deadly assassin. I really couldn’t help but shake my head at him sometimes. He would flirt with Celeana but then openly stare, smile, and wink at other women. And yet this caused Celeana to fall for him.. But eventually something comes between Celeane and Dorian and just as you begin to accept his feelings for her as being genuine, Celeane decides otherwise. I felt like Celeane played with both Dorian and Choal’s emotions. This was particularly true with the ending of this book. I’m not going to give anything away but I will say her decisions and reasoning behind things didn’t make much if any sense.
By the end of the book I was left feeling a couple things: relieved that the book was over, angry at the emotional games played/still plays with Dorian and Choal, and overall not really sure how I felt about the book. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. I’m not sure I will read the second book in this series.