by Sarah J. Mass
Paperback, 404 pages
Released: August 7th, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
*Paperback ARC provided by publisher for an honest review.
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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 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.
In my opinion, this did not live up to all the hype. Sarah is a great writer; the details and the setting were convincing, and her characters were truly believable. However, I felt like there was too much talking and not enough doing. I went into this story thinking it was going to be an adventure from start to finish. Of course, I was expecting to get to learn about the main character and who she was in that particular period of time, but I was surprised by all the chapters it took to get things moving. There were times, in all honesty, I completely zoned out. I kept reading but nothing was connecting with me. Am I disappointed? partially, yes. But again, I do commend the author on her impeccable writing. She's a pro. It was a good story. However, the pace was a killer.
Aside from that slowness, the romance aspect of the story was too obvious. It would've been even greater to keep us guessing. And Celeana's supposed to be this badass assassin, but for some reason I found her to be quite softened to the lavish life of royalty. Like, the way she'd complain in her head about looking unappealing was just...girlish. Or in fact, maybe beneath all that butt kicking was just a regular teen girl wanting to live a normal life? And also, if she's so super skilled, how come she fell so easily for a particular trap which I will not spoil for those who haven't read the book as yet. Anyways, all I'm saying is some things didn't add up even though, once again, the writing was wonderful.
The story did get interesting towards the end but a bit too late in. Overall, I'm not even sure if I want to continue the series. But since I'm not one to give up based on the introduction, I just might be interested in finding out how Celaena's story end.