Format Available: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle
A heart of ice. A will of steel. Meet the assassin.
BLURB from Goodreads
Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Adarlan, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition—she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king, facing the deadliest thieves and assassins in the land in a series of set-piece battles in the country’s stunning glass palace. But there is more at stake than even her life—for Celaena is destined for a remarkable future...
First of all I love the cover, with Celaena on it with all her kick-butt attitude! Celaena may look like a young slip of a girl but when you look at her face on the cover you see the determination of someone prepared to fight to the bitter end, may she win or lose.
The greys and ice blues on the actual pictured cover also go with the theme of the Palace that is built of glass upon the old stone foundations of a previously conquered palace.
I have to admit that I still love the ARC cover too, it has no blues in it just all shades of grey, which add an air of mystery to who the assassin is and what her past is too.
The book is really well written, in that it has plenty of descriptions to the point you can visualise what is being described to you. the book also has plenty of different things happening in it too, there's the training of the assassins, the false identity they gave Celaena of Lady Lillian the Jewel thief, Celaena's friendship with Nehemia as well as her relationships with Chaol (her guard and trainer), Prince Dorian, who seems to feel more than amusement towards her now, could it be love blooming? Then of course there is Celaena's relationship with the other champions. This book is packed with so many strings to the plot, yet it is so easy to follow when reading the book. There is mystery, intrigue, magic, and of course death.
Celaena has many roles in this book, she is pupil to Chaol, champion to Prince Dorian, friend amongst enemies to Nehemia. All the time Celaena is training she is also trying to solve the murders of the other champions. Celaena also has the spirit of Elena, former royalty and warrior speaking to her and trying to guide her with some rather cryptic clues.
Celaena is a strong female character, which I always enjoy reading about, she also has a past that we learn a little about as time goes on. Celaena has built herself a reputation of a ruthless assassin, which is why Prince Dorian and Chaol give her the false identity and past of Lady Lillian the jewel thief. Celaena has no choice but to play along even to the point of not standing out and having to take the middle road in the contests. Celaena treads a difficult path in that she has to show and do enough with her skills to pass the tests but not so well that she is a winner or stands out. Do the other champions find out? Can Celaena keep her true identity hidden?
I loved one particular fight scene (I can't specify which as it would give away spoilers which I always attempt not to), the excellent descriptions, made you feel the pain with Celaena, you feel her frustration, her utter degradation, then you feel her anger, her resolve to continue, you feel her drawing strength from seeing her trainer looking into her eyes, then she drags herself to her feet. her body almost broken and still she fights on with her determination to succeed with gritted teeth.
I read somewhere that this book was meant to be "Game Of Thrones" for girls, I think boys could still read and enjoy this book too.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes and truthfully it isn't the type of book I would normally go for either! So I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. Would I read a Bk 2? Definitely YES! Would I recommend? Definitely! Would I read more by Sarah J Maas? Would love to.
Available at Amazon.co.uk