Warning: Mild fangirling ahead. And maybe spoilers.
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. 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
I’m going to start with this: Sarah J Maas is one of my favourite authors of all time. And yes, I have a lot of favourites, but she is different. Her books are the kind of books that I can sit and reread of months without getting bored.
Why? Not just because they are fantasy (and come on, everyone knows I have a huge weakness for anything fantasy) but because of the characters, and the magic and the plot and EVERYTHING. This is the kind of series you will devour, enjoying every second (even when your heart is being ripped out your chest) and then curse Maas for not writing quicker.
So lets talk characters.
Celaena. Where to start with her? She’s the most famous assassin in years, everyone knows her name. Yet she got caught. That’s where the story starts, with her as a slave for the kingdom. She’s given a choice- enter a competition to become the kings assassin and win her freedom. So.she does. What I love is that Celaena, although she has been captured and is in a place she hates, she has not been broken. She has a strong spirit and a strong personality and you cannot help but love her. (also, want to be her. I mean, she makes assassins look cool)
Then the royal family. Dorian, the Crown Prince, who ends up befriending our lovely assassin, despite knowing who she is. The King, who is just pure evil and you want to kill just to make everyone safe and happy.
And Chaol. I love Chaol. I have no other words to explain it, other than I want to reach into the book and steal him (although, I want to do this with all the characters, really) He’s so loyal and protective, although sometimes he makes the wrong choices.
That’s just the main characters from the first book. By the third book (which is my favourite one in the series so far) you have Rowan (I want to steal him), Maeve (I want to slap) and so many other wonderful characters you wished were real.
And then there’s the plot, with so many twists and turns and ‘gasp’ moments that make you keep reading. What I love is that, in the first book, the world is small. You follow Celaena as she lives in the castle, competing for her freedom, but as the series moves on, you see more and more of the world inside the book, and you realise how big it actually is.
What’s great about this series is you can clearly see Sarah improve as it goes on. Most series I read, I love the first book, tolerate the second and want to throw the third at a brick wall. But this one, the first book is amazing, the second book is even better, and the third one will leave you in a puddle of tears and wonder and waiting and waiting for the next book (September. QUEEN OF SHADOWS).
Like, you know when you read an amazing book and it leaves you feeling full of energy because it was so wonderful and you won’t be able to talk about it and breathe at the same time and you want to thrust it into the hands of any passing stranger screaming ‘READ THE BOOK?’
Well, this series is that kind of book. It’s the stay up all night and read series, the ignore the world for days on end series. So really. Its amazing.
I could go on and on about this series for hours, so I will stop here with just these words:
If you haven’t read any Sarah J Maas books yet, go and read them. Now.