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. – Goodreads
I read this book when it first came out and I was not kind. It was not a book for me. Wrong book, wrong time blahblahblah bullshit. In all honesty I’m not even sure I finished it. I have no memory when it comes to this book. Then all of my friends loved and adored it. Was I missing something? I had to be missing something. I knew this but then books come and go and this stayed on the back burner. Nothing personal. Just time and grad school and life. Finally two of my favorite book pushers got together in the same town, flailed about it and fiiiine, I gave it a second shot.
This Celaena is not the Celaena I remember reading the first time around. This one is snarky. She’s bad ass. She takes no shit. I love it. I understand the book has not changed, but me, the reader has. Or finally, right book, right time. I joke with my friend Lauren I can only read this genre when I’m on a plane. That’s the only moment I can get sucked in. So the fact I got caught up in this book while on the ground speaks volumes.
Celaena was chosen to fight, as she is an assassin and seriously this girl takes no shit. She doesn’t watch her mouth, she doesn’t care about what she wears, and it’s awkward for her to sleep on a bed. She doesn’t even look twice at the Crown Prince because puhlease there are more important things to be on the look out for. (Although, of course this slightly changes later on!)
Throughout the novel, Celaena love of books constantly gave me hearts in my eyes. What Celaena wasn’t aware of was when she came to court, that everyone would seemingly view her as the Prince’s harlot and she didn’t want that, there was more to her than that (and of course the fact it wasn’t true!) She hated being seen as Ms. Prim and Priss. She’s a bad ass and she’s fine who who she is. There were 23 men between her and freedom and she barely blinked. As someone who reads a fairly heavily amount of YA, it was fascinating to read a female character that she knew what she was getting into and she was fine with it. She wanted to be closer to her own freedom, even if that meant killing.
What was also fascinating to me was the dynamic Celaena has with men in this book. To be blunt: she doesn’t care for them. Her purpose is to get out of slavery. The Captain of the Guard, Chaol, and the Prince, Dorian, are just in the way of her victory. While yes, they are attractive that just is stopping her from the one thing she wants. Freedom. In her way are a gaggle of men who also want to be the King’s Champion. The 23 also have something that they are worth fighting for. They are just underestimating her because what everyone was told was that she’s a “jewel thief.” Because of this they without blinking underestimate her because what can a simple jewel thief do. And she uses that to her advantage, as she should! Then she shows them. While she is supposed to fly under the radar, and she does try, she also gets them all to shut up with a simple bow and arrow.
That being said, the Assassin is not perfect at everything, she sucks at pool and it annoys her that she isn’t perfect. Particularly because she was caught by Dorian. One half of the slow burn love triangle. A love triangle that I was actually okay with. Where love triangles rarely work for me this one did because it was slow and realistic. If at the beginning Maas would have had Celaena jump one of the boy’s bones I would have had problems believing it because she was so focused on her training. Slowly though, as time moved on, a realistic interest in both boys occurs. However, there is a point where the love triangle makes me start to shake the book because it started to seem forced. It seemed Maas tried to turn the triangle into something it wasn’t.
That being said, I will be reading Crown of Midnight because I heard it was even better and I also know if I don’t there are at least three people who will come to my house and force me into reading it.