Reviewed by Tamara Felsinger
Celaena is an assassin working in salt mines to serve her life’s sentence after getting caught. But the prince and his captain take her away earlier than anticipated in order to enter her in a tournament against the most brutal criminals in the land so that she might win the right to become the king’s Champion. Except, when she gets there, she discovers someone’s killing competitors in the most horrific ways, and she might be next.
I really wanted to like this book. A Cinderella retelling where she’s an assassin sounded cool. But I usually read books in a day, and months later I’m still only halfway through this one so I decided to call it quits. There are plenty of other books in my TBR (To Be Read) pile demanding my attention.
Why didn’t I like this book? I think it had something to do with the main character, because she was supposed to be this hardcore assassin, and yet she fawned and giggled over the guys as soon as they appeared in the picture. She’s supposed to kill noblemen like them, not flirt with them. I don’t buy the dual personality. How can I believe she’s an assassin if she doesn’t have the persona to suit it (and doesn’t assassinate a single person the entire book)? The author kept telling us how cool and dangerous Celaena was, but didn’t show us any of it. Also, the fact Celaena kept thinking of herself as “the assassin” or “Adarlan’s Assassin” annoyed me. Who does that?
Another problem was the emotional stakes, or lack thereof. Obviously it wasn’t enough to keep me enthralled, or I would have finished the book months ago. Not to mention the worldbuilding was flat, the love triangle was flimsy, and the potential for an amazing book was never reached.
The last little thing that bothered me was I found the author’s decision to throw in random points of views unnecessary and jarring. We followed Celaena’s story at the start, then thirty-seven pages in, the view jumps to another character for less than a page, before returning to Celaena. This continues throughout the book, making it hard to like or understand the secondary characters.
To be fair, there are plenty of people who loved this book, but I’d only recommend it if you like insta-love and love triangles. As for me, I think there are better fairy tale adaptations out there.