“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 as 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.
I recently finished this book and gave it five stars. But now, after giving it a few days, I think it actually deserves four stars.
The main reason being: not a huge amount happens in most of the book. There’s some relationship drama (romantic and friendship), a little bit of mystery, learning a new language, a murder, and some rush at the end to finish the book with a bang.
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved what happened in the book, but the pace made it a bit too easy to put the book down and not need to get back to it in a hurry. There’s a lot of exposition and a bit more figured out about the King and the drama surrounding him, but nothing really gets resolved, and I felt like the riddles that Celaena solves only took so long in order to drag out the plot the book actually had in order to fill out a novel.
The book itself kind of gives off vibes of a sequel film – not quite as good as the first, less character building, and just feels like a filler till the next film comes along.
I don’t know if that’s partly because I’m a big fan of the structure of a competition in a book and how that forces the pacing and keeps me interested, and this book moved outside of that structure into a free-er style, but it just felt like it was meandering a bit.
Now that I’ve stomped on this book enough for one review, and of course – given the four star rating – you still know I really liked the book, I’ll move on to the positives!
Celaena is still one of my favourite characters in fantasy novels recently. She’s hot-headed and stubborn but also very confident and driven. She’s a three-dimensional character with even more hidden depths that get revealed in this book, and it’s nice to see more of those for women to look up to. (Yes, even with the whole ‘assassin’ thing!)
Also, the fight scenes are written really well in these books – which you’d hope given the main character does it for a living – they’re not easily rushed, they’re full of details but not boringly so, they’re dramatic and well-described. I know exactly who is stabbing who and where without reading it through 50 times to check.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend this book, and will be getting the sequels myself to continue the series, but make sure you push yourself through the slow bits, it’ll be worth it in the end!
(On a side note, I’m still waiting for more of the advertised characters to arrive like Manon and Rowan, but I’m told these only happen in Empire of Storms?? This feels like so far in the future, and I don’t know how they get into the books and are well-rounded enough given the speed of these books so far… maybe they speed up? Anywhoo, I’ll keep not-so-patiently waiting.)