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 three 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.
The story starts with Celaena Sardothien serving a life sentence at the salt mines of Endovier. At 18, she is the most feared assassin. Betrayed by someone of her own kind, she had been caught and ultimately had ended up at the salt mines. She had accepted her fate of dying in the salt mines until the crown prince, Prince Dorian, turned up with an offer that she could not refuse. The king was planning to hold a championship, where the winner would serve the king for a few years and not only earn handsomely, but also at the end would also earn their freedom. Celaena arrives at the palace for the championship and with Chaol, the Captain of the Guards, acting as her trainer, she prepares to win. But with one champion after the other turning up dead, there is more going on than just the championship. It is up to Celaena to find out what exactly is going on in order to save her own life.
Ever since the book trailer was launched on the author’s website, I have been eager to read this book. With all the hype building around this book, slowly my eagerness had turned into hesitation about whether the book would actually be able to live up to my expectations. And well, now I can happily say that it has managed to live up to most of my expectations and I am glad to have had the chance to own this book and read it.
By now, most of you know how important the characters are for me. So I will start there. Celaena, portrayed as this teenage assassin who is widely known and feared is really a strong character. In fact, for me her character was what first attracted me to the book. Throughout the book she lives up to her reputation. We get to see her strength and her ‘expertise’ throughout the book. At the same time, she also has a softer side to her. She kind of takes another champion under her wings and her relationship with Prince Dorian and Chaol also gives us a glimpse of this unexpected softness. But what I also like is the air of mystery around her heritage and her capture. Prince Dorian, the crown Prince is certainly not his father’s favourite and he doesn’t really agree with his father. Being a prince, I find it kind of sad that he cannot stand up to his own father and rebels in his own small ways. He is a complete charmer when it comes to ‘ladies’ and harbors special feeling for Celaena. But my favor lays with Chaol, the Captain of the Guards! Oh the broody and handsome Chaol won me over from the moment he had pulled his hood down! I love his loyalty and his strength. I even understand his confusion when it comes to Celaena.
I am bit confused about the timeline though. The way the characters dress, act and speak at times that it makes me feel that the plot is set back in time. While at other times the characters behave and speak like modern teenagers. The plot is awesome and almost all the characters play an important role in it some way or the other. I love the way the author eased us into the thick mystery of this book. At times the plot took such twists and turns that I kept suspecting different characters but was still surprised by the last revelation.
I usually don’t pay much attention to a book cover. A good plot with good characters can come with plain white cover and I would devour the book just the same. But this the first time I made a conscious choice of buying a particular edition for its cover. Yes, I bought the UK edition just because of its cover! I first time for me…. But just look at it – how could I not fall in love with it?
Awesome and Must Read!