blurb from goodreads:
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 really wanted to like this. I loved that the author started on fictionpress and that led her to be published. That’s awesome. I’ve seen so much on tumblr about how awesome the heroine of this series is, and how great the books are, etc. I really wanted to be transported.
Within the first eight pages, Celaena thought about/commented on her looks, the captain of the guard’s and the prince’s. And not in simple description way. It was about beauty and appeal. I thought this was supposed to be an epic fantasy and I feel like I’ve just opened a romance novel. Perhaps I was mislead in my understanding of the genre of book, but there was way too much attention on the romance. This book felt like the equivalent of what Matched and The Selection are to the genre of dystopian. 😦
The world was cool, the magic seemed very cool, but it came in late. I rarely see Celaena do any type of assassinating of any kind. People sneak up on her all the time in the book. She sleeps in (?). I get that she’s 18, which is great, but being an assassin for so many years would give her more of an adult demeanor, and she comes off very young and shallow. I like that she enjoys dresses, and digs candy, but she focuses on stuff like that so much, it nullifies her as a threatening character. Which she should be on some level, because, again an assassin.
The prince, Dorian, (one part of the triangle) is not terribly impressive, or really that charming. He’s handsome, but I’m told that. I don’t feel it. I’m told he’s charming, but his interactions with our heroine don’t strike me as such. The greatest thing about him was that he was friends, close friends with the captain of the guard. That felt like an interesting relationship (didn’t get to see much of it).
Chaol, captain of the guard (another part of the triangle) was the character I liked best. He’s honorable and I don’t have to be told that. He distrusts Celaena, she is an assassin after all. I don’t know why because she doesn’t do anything all that dangerous. He does his duty and works hard and comes around to admiring Celaena (not sure why) and for that he has an arc. I’d read more books about him.
And the tests! Why wasn’t there more on the tests to become the King’s Champion? That could have been so cool and it was glossed over and not horribly inventive. The book could have been half the length if it had been more focused. It felt a little thrown together as far as plot choices.
Gosh, I really wanted to like this. There’s more that bothered me, but I feel like I’ve been harsh enough. I rolled my eyes a lot in this book (not figuratively, actually rolling of eyes) because of situations, characterization, and some dialogue. I’ve read comments on other reviews that one might enjoy the books better if you read the prequel novellas. Which might be true, but if this is the first novel as it seems marketed, it should stand on its own.
I’m gonna stop. I feel horrible.
Rating: ** (out of five)
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