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.
I was fully prepared to like this book. Guess it goes to show that you should never trust the hype.
The word that best describes my feelings when reading the first couple of sentences of this book is relief. The author’s writing style didn’t suck, so how bad could it be, right? Wrong. I feel like the gifs in this review express my feelings perfectly, but I’m going to attempt to review it anyway.
Thoughts While Reading
BEWARE, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
I had to set the book down several times because it annoyed me or bored me. It took me about a week to read it. Celaena (I keep thinking of Elena from Vampire Diaries when I read that name) got on my nerves A LOT. I expected a mature, witty, deviously clever assasin and I got an immature, capricious seventeen-year-old. This chick must have some miraculously good PR guys because I have a very hard time believing she used to be the greatest assassin her country has ever seen. Let me share some of the notes I took while I was still reading the book and maybe you’ll see what I mean:
- Why didn’t you tell me there was a love triangle, I would have picked up the book so much NEVER. I would have picked up the book NEVER. This love triangle is about as annoying as that in the Matched series and that’s really damn annoying in case you were wondering.
- Oh, she turns up at court, dons a pretty dress and every guy she sees falls in love with her. How original.
- “She couldn’t spend her time worrying about someone who clearly had no interest in her beyond the ridiculous competition.” Ok, so Chaol doesn’t make puppy eyes at you for like five seconds and you disregard him entirely just because of that? After you snapped at him. Gah.
- She has no idea who delivered that candy and she also knows she has enemies and someone is killing off the other competitors BUT SHE JUST EATS IT WITH NO SECOND THOUGHT WHAT. Have you not read Harry Potter, Calaena? DO YOU NOT REMEMBER THE LOVE POTION IN THE CHOCOLATES? Oldest trick in the book seriously. And then it turns out to be regular candy, what. There’s not even a punishment for so much stupidity?
- Is there ANY point to the multiple narratives BESIDES telling us how elegant and beautiful and BLAH Calaena is from each guy’s POV? No? DIDN’T THINK SO.
- And HOW is she constantly losing against Chaol?? Arrgh it’s just all so frustrating.
Unsatisfying on every level this book is
Calaena’s character kept throwing me out of the story. It was like the person she was described to be and the person she actually was were so fundamentally different that I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had schizophrenia. She complains about menstrual cramps and about how she’s supposed to train with them ffs. Don’t get me wrong, I know those can be really painful for some people, but wouldn’t she have figured out a way to deal with that in her years as an assassin? The only thing that was intriguing about her, her past and the year in the salt mines, got glossed over. There was an opportunity for something interesting when we saw a little bit of how her year in the mines impacted her and her body, but it was more of an alibi mention.
I tried again and again not to be pissed off by Celaena, but OMG. Dorian pours out his heart talking about those rebels who were massacred and all she can think about when he leaves is how romantic a ball on Yulemas is and that she’s not allowed to go and hey, was that maybe what Chaol had wanted her to ask WHEN HE WAS PROBABLY ALSO TALKING ABOUT FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE BEING MURDERED BRUTALLY??? Grrrrrr. Also, what’s with the books? It felt like the author wanted to shove Celaena’s love for books into my face just so that I would like her more. Instead it just seemed like her priorities were a little off. Like, girl, you just got your freedom back and tomorrow you’ll have to fight to keep it, why are you reading until early morning? This girl really got the wrong impression at job fair. The only redeeming quality she had was that she didn’t take herself to seriously. Like, every time I was about to throw the book across the room because she annoyed me so much, someone would tease her and she’d actually laugh it off instead of sulking for days. But that’s it really. Regarding every other aspect, I just can’t with this girl.
At times in the book, things were stated like they weren’t already perfectly clear and it seemed like the author wanted it to be some sort of big reveal/surprise when it just …wasn’t. Like, that one time Caleana asks something like: do you think he was murdered on purpose? Doesn’t murder kind of imply that? Doesn’t gutting someone and drawing marks on the wall with their blood imply that just a tiny little bit? And then she realizes that the great evil Elena wants her to find is connected to the murders and I got the feeling the author wanted me to be surprised, but that was like the most obvious thing in the history of obvious things?
Very surprisingly, I suddenly found myself almost enjoying the last 50-100 pages of it. I thought about continuing the series, but I don’t think I’ll waste my money and time on it. And I hate not finishing series almost as much as I hate reading them out of order, so that should be saying something. 2 out of 5 cupcakes.