Genre: YA, Fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass #1
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 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 four 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. -Goodreads
I purchased this novel a couple of years ago, but only got around to picking it up last month. I wish I had read it earlier though, it's the first novel in a series that I'm definitely planning on finishing before the end of the year.
I found this novel to be a little of an odd read, it had an odd pacing to it, some parts were very slow, and others very fast, so some parts were really easy to read, but some parts I really found myself having to slog my way through. To be honest this novel was heading for a 3-3.5/5 star rating, for this reason alone, I wasn't even sure if I would end up finishing it. Thankfully the last 25% saved it and me from missing a great series. The pacing was much better towards the end, it was action packed and a very enjoyable read so I bumped up its rating!! This last part showed just how good Mass' writing could be, and if it hadn't had picked up I can guarantee I wouldn't be reading the rest of the novel.
However, apart from the pacing issue, I couldn't find any other flaws with this novel. The characters were good, they were well rounded and developed and had likeable and dislikable aspects which made them feel real and life like. The main character Celaena is one of these characters. When I first met her, I really disliked her, she seemed extremely arrogant and quite unpleasant, but Mass' excellent storytelling means that as you figure out her backstory, you come to see why she acts the way she does. By the end of this novel I absolutely loved her, and I can't wait to read more about her in the rest of the series. She was kickass, strong, so independent and I loved her ability to face anything with confidence and bravery. The other two main characters; Dorian and Chaol are well developed too. They are both kind and brave men, in Celaena's decision she is not faced with a "bad boy" and a "good boy", like in many novels, instead she faces a tough decision between the two of them, both different but both likeable in their own ways. That being said, I'm definitely "Team Chaol", his journey from rough and distant to so caring is one that I always enjoy reading in novels, so he definitely gets my vote! Dorian is well developed too, we see his struggle to deal with his father's rule and laws as King, and how he disagrees with him, and he loved books so thats always a plus!!
My favourite element of the plot of this novel was definitely the trials/tests that the assassins had to face, I only wish they had actually lasted longer in the novel, a lot of them were only briefly mentioned, and I would have liked to have read all about them.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel, it was slow in places but overall the plot kept me interested and I love the characters I have been introduced to. I am looking forward to getting to the rest of the series soon.
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