By: Sarah J. Maas
Celaena Sardothien has made a reputation for herself as Adarlan’s top assassin and is spoken of in hushed whispers as the Queen of the Underworld. However, this queen no longer poses a threat to society. After being captured and thrown into a death camp, the guards brutally work her in the hopes that she will succumb to exhaustion, hunger, and winter’s harsh temperatures. Fighting each day for her survival, Celaena is shocked when she is called upon by the Crown Prince to compete in a competition that will guarantee her freedom.
Trapped in a castle surrounded by guards, thieves, murderers, and the very king that destroyed everything she ever loved, Celaena discovers she is not only fighting to win the competition but for her very survival against a hidden evil ready to strike at any moment.
May I just begin this review by saying I expected more from this book. I had heard such glowing reviews about it and seen other books in the series that I expected it to be like the next Game of Thrones. The name is even similar. But that was silly of me to put high expectations on a book before ever even reading it. I should have learned my lesson with 50 Shades of Grey, but apparently that didn’t happen.
Beginning with the things I didn’t like:
- Has the world not had enough of love triangles? I understand they add a little spice to a story because readers can pick sides, but the girl always seems to go for one character more than another rather than giving them both an equal chance. If characters are introduced as “oh, this guy is a super handsome, pompous jerk that I’m attracted to” and “that guy’s dutiful, quiet, and handsome in his own right” (those aren’t direct quotes but I’m giving examples of how this works), the girl always goes for the jerk! She never picks the nice dutiful one that isn’t dazzlingly beautiful compared to the other option! Yet another instance when women are portrayed as being particularly shallow. And thus we have the love triangle of Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol. I promise it doesn’t take long to figure out which suitor is which.
- This leads into my second point that this book is more of a love story of “will they, won’t they” then anything else. Yes, she is fighting in a competition for her life. Yes, there is a hidden evil that is killing people and no one knows what it is. Yes, those are supposed to be the two main focuses of the story. No, they are not actually the two main focuses of the story. I felt like all of the danger and adventure of this book was more of a side note to everything that was going on with the romance, which was really sad because it could have been so much more interesting. If you are looking for a romance with a bit of adventure though then this book is probably for you.
- We have all probably read those books where the villain is super obvious to see, yet the main character is so stupid that it takes more than half way through the book for him/her to figure out who it is when we got it right in the very beginning. This is one of those books. You can scream at the book “Celaena the clue is right there in front of you! It’s literally right there!” but obviously she can’t hear you. So you are stuck reading through the book as she pieces stuff together to finally reach the same conclusion you reached chapters ago. If you like books that keep you on your toes, then don’t read this book. If you are looking for an easy, longer read with some fantasy for shits and giggles, read this book.
- It tries to do a plot twist and fails miserably because then it reneges on the plot twist. You just can’t do that when writing a book. It screws with the intrigue.
- Fantasy is supposed to be far fetched, so I’m not going to harsh the mellow for that aspect of the story. I do, however, have a hard time picturing a castle made of glass. That’s some pretty special glass to hold that much weight. And wouldn’t you be able to see through the walls? How do people not break it? Isn’t there some metaphor about throwing stones at glass houses?
Now for the things I liked:
- Well that took a minute. Okay, no, I’m not going to say there wasn’t anything I liked. The characters were pretty interesting, and I felt like I knew them fairly well (even if they were a bit shallow). Celaena is the most well rounded of the characters which makes sense because she is the main character. We at least come to understand the personalities of the other characters. I especially liked Dorian and Chaol (even though I don’t like love triangles). The relationship between the two of them is pretty interesting, and I like that they weren’t really at odds with each other. They were friends.
5. The author had an interesting concept for the world as well. I just wish that she had expounded on it more. I suppose thought that’s what the next books are for. To do just that.
Overall Rating: 3
Also, Team Chaol.