I am going to start by saying Celaena Sardothien is one badass chick. Seriously. She is a trained assassin. The best in all of Erilea. She is clever, smart and kill you with her bare hands if you annoy her. Yeah, she’s pretty cool. After the death of parents she was found by the the King of Assassins and was trained as an assassin herself. She soon proved to be the best and most feared assassin until she was betrayed and sent to a Salt Mines of Endovier. It’s more of a death camp then salt mines as most people don’t live long but Celaena is not like most people. After a year there she is introduced to the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard who offer an escape of sorts. Be the Crown Prince candidate in a competition to the King’s Champion aka become the official King’s assassin. If she wins, she only have to serve the King for four years and then she will be freed. If she loses, she comes back to Endovier where she will most likely die. Celaena does not lack for confidence and sees this as a winning proposition and agrees. Soon she is taken to Rithfold, the capital of Adarlan, the country that has conquered most of Erilea, including Celaena’s home country of Terrasen. She swept up in the contest as she soon finds that it’s not going to be as easy as she thought. First, a year in the salt mines has sapped a lot of her strength and second, she has a formidable foe in Cain. The King of Adarlan has outlawed magic from the land but Calaena finds that magic and mysterious powers are not completely gone. Not only is she battling the other champions but also a mysterious threat as well.
The book is a sort of mix of Hunger Games and Game of Thrones that definitely works. Celaena is strong, smart. clever and despite her brashness she is not fearless. She knows that her situation is tenuous and that any mistake will send her right back to Endorvier or worse death. She’s real. She’s not a shrinking violet like many heroines. She obvisously knows how to save herself but she’s not too proud to accept help when she needs it and yes even the more feared assassin needs help every now and then. Of course this is a YA novel so yes there are going to be suitors. First there is the Crown Prince, Dorian, who chaffs at the control of his father. Picking Celaena as his choice for the competition was sort of a rebellion on his part but he soon finds that Celaena is more then he thought and of course starts to fall in love with her. There is a whole subplot as to why Dorian hasn’t married yet. In a kind of role reversal, it’s Dorian who is the romantic who wants to marry for love and not out of obligation and Celaena is the more practical one. Her other suitor, is the young Captain of the Guard, Chaol. Serious and hard working, he is Dorian’s best friend who is always looking out for him. He has a quiet strength about him that honestly makes him a better fit for Celaena, in my humble opinion (TEAM CHAOL) but I’ll have to wait to read the other books to see how it plays out.
All and all, I thought this was a great book. Great characters and a good story. Celaena is a great edition to badass women in literature and I can’t wait to read how her story continues.