This is the first book in a series of the same name. If you do not want to oblige yourself to a series that’s set to last a few more years, I suggest you leave this one be.
Celaena Sardothien has endured a year in the salt mines of Endovier, at the hands of a King who has orchestrated the fall of many kingdoms and lands, including Celaena’s own city.
As a well known assassin, imagine her surprise when the Captain of the King’s Guard, a man named Chaol, comes to collect her from the mines, only to plant her in front of none other than the prince to the King of Adarlan, the son of the very man that put her in the salt mines and slaughtered her own people.
The prince, a raven haired, arrogant, beautiful man by the name of Dorian, has a proposition for Celaena. His father has decided he needed a Champion. Someone to do his dirty work for him. In order to find this Champion, the king has decided to host a competition. In order to annoy his father in the way only a son knows how, the prince has decided that none other than the Assassin of Adarlan will be his pawn in the competition. He was not expecting, nor were the guards around him, to find out the assassin was a 17 year old girl, malnourished and beaten from the mines.
Celaena, with her honed senses only slightly dulled by the year in the darkness of the mines, finds this her only hope of ever coming out of the situation alive. She’s then faced with the dilemma, does she work for the king who killed her people, and so many other innocents, or does she stay in the mines to die like the rest?
She chooses freedom, even if that freedom comes with a different type of shackles. So now she must find her strength again, because there are a handful of other competitors that would love to watch her die. She must find out how far her hypocrisy will stretch when it comes to the king and his son. She must also decide what she is willing to do for her freedom.
She finds herself befriending the people of her enemy, realizing that they may not all be bad. She, and everyone around her, are bundled in their own secrets. Once bonds start forming, secrets start slowly trickling out, and they all begin to realize that none of them are who they appear to be.
This story, and the entire series, is a showcase of how we evolve to be either our own worse enemies, or our own warriors.
This book effectively weaves real world issues with the fantasy of elves, royalty, magic, and relationships. No one is who they appear to be. Everyone has a secret. And allies and enemies never end up on the side they began on.
I’ve recommended this series to everyone that asks for a good series to get invested into. The whole thing starts with a smart ass, sassy assassin who walks you through the different techniques it takes to kill a man, only out for herself and so immersed in her own lies, she sometimes forgets who she started her life out as, only to end up unearthing, not only her own past, but the lies and masks of everyone around her, for better or worse. The characters in this series are so multi-faceted, and have so many dimensions, they feel like real people. At times you wonder if these aren’t long lost figures that have drifted to the fringe of our consciousness, brought to real life by Sarah Maas. There’s witty banter, there’s touching scenes, there’s heart wrenching moments and there’s feel good interactions. This series has it all and it’s not done yet.