Read: June 4 - 6 Verdict: 5 stars.
Now, Celaena has the opportunity of a lifetime to escape the mines. Only the offer comes from Prince Dorian, the son of her worst enemy. She is to be the Prince's champion in a tournament that will eventually result in one competitor becoming the King's Champion. But can Celaena really work for the man who brought such destruction down upon her? And can she escape the attention of the Prince...and avoid falling for him at the same time.
I'm not going to lie, I've heard such great things about this series and for Sarah J. Mass's writing in general, I had some great expectations for this book. And they did not disappoint, I really really enjoyed it.
I found Celaena to be a fascinating character who, despite her history in the mines and tough childhood, remained whimsical, witty and just a downright fun character. Despite Celaena basically being a prisoner, she made it seem like she wasn't - making friends, and making the best out of a situation that she really had no other choice but to walk in, hands up.
I also loved how a slightly strange and magical subplot, that involved the investigation of murder and mysterious signs, introduced itself halfway through the book - once the reader had really become invested in Celaena, and other characters such as Dorian, Chaol and Nox, we suddenly had this new threat that really spiced things up. I also loved the character of Nehemia and how at first she seems like a normal, slightly lost, princess but she's SO much more than that and stronger and smarter than we could have imagined.
I enjoyed how Celaena did drop hints about her past in the school of Assasins and tidbits about Sam, her mysterious, deceased lover. I know there is a book of novellas out and these bits and pieces really make me want to read it to find out more.
**A few minor spoilers regarding Chaol and Dorian below **
I didn't really like Celaena's chemistry and relationship with the Prince despite him being a good guy. He's almost too good, without any real flaws, despite him being a prince and Celaena an assasin with a sentence. I also preferred Celaena's relationship with Chaol which was like a slow, blooming flower. Sometimes you almost forgot there was something there, until there was a glance, or a secret joke between them. While there's no doubt Celaena and Dorian have a great chemistry, I feel like Celaena has a beautiful, deeper connection with Chaol that goes into their souls. I also feel like Chaol knows Celaena better than anyone - and nobody, even him, realised it.
One thing I found rather annoying and unbelievanle was the fact that when Chaol killed someone under service, it turned out to be his first kill. I know he is only 22, but as Captain of the Royal Guard, surely he must have killed someone before, and how smart is it to let someone unseasoned in the way of taking life when duty calls, lead the guard?