Rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.
It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie…and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.
This was a very fast paced novel, which I have a love/hate relationship with. The reason is because although a fast paced plot is meant to keep you gripped to the story, many times it can fall . . . flat. It feels like so much is going on, in such a fast paced matter that you just start getting bored. As contrary as that seems.
Celaena: love the girl. She’s one of the most ferocious female protagonists I’ve ever read about. It’s not often that you find a character like her where she really doesn’t hesitate in the slightest to kill. AND I LOVED IT.
I’ve always found it so annoying when the protagonist will leave someone alive when they could easily kill them because 1.) their conscious gets in the way or 2.) they want to be the bigger person and let them live, ending their little revenge plan, even though if the roles had been reversed the other person wouldn’t hesitate to kill them. But NOOOOO . . . they have to freakin’ let them LIVE. Even though it obvious they’re just going to come back for revenge and probably kill a lot of people doing so. But ignore that little fact.
Call me harsh and brutish if you like, but I loved that Celaena does neither of these things. In many ways, she’s truly heartless in the way an assassin needs to be. She doesn’t think twice about the assassinations, but she also embraces that their faces will probably haunt her in some way. Not in an in-your-face way, where Celaena goes on and on about her guilt for killing people, but more of the way where she’s a sponge and soaks up the guilt and any other emotion she might have had about killing people, embraces it, and then lets it go.
In many ways, Celaena likes killing. It’s what she’s always done, and she has no qualms about it. It’s very refreshing to read about.
“I don’t think you realize who you’re dealing with.”
The man clicked his tongue, “If you were that good, you would be more than just Captain of the Guard.”
Chaol let out a low, breathy laugh. “I wasn’t talking about me.”
“She’s just one girl.”
Though his guts were twisting at the thought of her in this place, with these people, though he was considering every possible way to get himself and Celaena out of here alive, he gave the man a grin. “Then you’re really in for a big surprise.”
The love interests: they were actually okay.
They both get on my nerves in their own rights, but if an author is able to write about a love triangle and end the first AND second books in the series without me already able to tell who Celaena is going to end up with, well, my applause goes to you.
Dorian is, well, kinda stupid most of the way through the novel. But he gets mildly better by the end. He won’t stand up to his father, won’t fight, and is just kind of a horrible prince. But I must be the only one who thinks this, because everyone is talking about how charming, kind he is.
NO. He doesn’t DO anything!
Chaol is better, but still annoyed me at times. I do enjoy the romance between him and Celaena better than her and Dorian’s. They have more of a . . . well . . . attraction.
But he has this one little thing about him that just ruins EVERYTHING.
He doesn’t seem to trust Celaena to take care of herself. He seems to completely ignore the fact that she’s an assassin who’s been doing this her whole life, is easily the BEST assassin, AND can best him at fighting almost any day.
But NOOOOO . . . because the stupid fact that she’s female and he cares for her gets in the flippin’ way of common sense.
“I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.”
I get it. I really do. He cares for her a lot, and worries. Whatever. But SHE doesn’t have a problem with him going out and doing dangerous stuff, and doesn’t belittle him for it. But the second she needs to do something dangerous, or gets back from doing something dangerous, he’s all over her.
I’m fine with him caring for her and not wanting her to do dangerous stuff – that’s instinctual. But he can’t do it when he doesn’t expect her to treat him the same way. In truth, she’s a better fighter than he is.
Also, it’s kind of like not trusting and respecting her enough. He needs to get over himself and realize that she can take care of herself, and she doesn’t need to him to hover over her and try to fix everything. In fact, he’s going to make it worse for her if he keeps trying to help. Some worrying and fretting is okay, but Chaol just overdid it.
I also really liked that we get to see a side of Celaena that we haven’t seen before. She does show some intense emotions for a period in this novel, and I loved everything about it. I don’t belittle her for her emotional turmoil because she honestly deserves to have one.
Plus, she goes out on a killing spree afterwards, so it’s all good. 🙂
I also really, really love that Celaena isn’t the type of girl who’s going to ever get used. She’s too smart and talented. People can try, but they’ll fail. There also isn’t a platoon of new information about her past, who she is, etc, etc, being thrown at her, because – guess what? – she already knows most of it! She’s the one keeping the powerful secrets, and I’m glad to be reading about a character that isn’t blind to the most obvious things about themselves, one who holds all the cards and knows it.