So I know that a lot of people really like this book. And I can kinda see why. But for me, this ended up being one of those books that never quite lived up to its potential. I can already tell that this is going to be one of those reviews where I spend all my time whining about the things I didn’t like rather than balancing it out with the things the book did well. So I’ll preface it all by saying that in general, the book was fine, it’s just that the things that annoyed me really annoyed me and kind of skewed my perspective.
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 number 1 thing that annoyed me? The love triangle. I’m pretty much never a fan of love triangles, but this one especially grated on my nerves. I think it’s because Celaena’s attitude pissed me off. On the one hand, she acts all oblivious that she’s totally coming onto both guys, but at the same time she gets all miffed if one of them seems to stop paying attention to her. And I really just wanted to slap her sometimes. Similarly, I feel like the only reason parts of the book were from Dorian and Chaol’s perspectives were so we could see how in love with her they are—those parts didn’t really seem to advance the story in any other way.
Another thing that got to me a bit was that Celaena never really acts like an assassin. The whole book she goes on about how she’s the best assassin in the country, but you never get to see that. You get to see her training a little bit and you get glimpses of the tests, but other than that, the rest of the book is about the love triangle and about the magic stuff that crops up, and it made me feel like Celaena was all talk and no action, and it frustrated me that the author did that when she could’ve made Celaena kick butt.
I also felt like there were too many plot lines. There’s the championship contest, there’s the love triangle, there’s the champions being mysteriously murdered, there’s the visitations by long-dead queens, there’s the stuff about Kaltain . . . it just felt like too much. Or at the very least, it felt like it wasn’t woven together very well. I felt a very obvious shift each time the story moved to a different aspect of the plot, and that lack of seamlessness made the story feel a little clunky to me.
Overall, it probably wasn’t as annoying a book as I’m making it seem, but man did I get frustrated with it sometimes—especially with Celaena. But I feel like everyone else I know enjoyed the book, so don’t let this review stop you if you think it sounds like something you’d like.
Rating: 2.5 / 5