Celaena would eat Bella, Ana, and submissive heroines, alive. Trained as an assassin by the world’s best after her parents were murdered, Celaena was betrayed and locked away with thousands of others in what I would define as a death work camp. She’s presented an interesting option by the king’s son, Prince Dorian, to compete against other ruthless, murdering men to become the “King’s Champion” and in return gain her freedom after 4 years of service.
She’s paired with the captain of the guard, Chaol, to regain her strength and improve her stamina so she can someday regain the life she had before.
But, a mysterious force is at work and many of the competitors are being slaughtered in ways unthinkable by men. Celaena needs to discover what is killing them before it’s too late.
**NOT spoiler free**
Maas is a genius at creating genuine, realistic dialogue between her characters which also allows the reader to watch them develop from who they were presented as on page one to who they become by page 300. The pacing is perfect, and it’s exciting to watch Celaena transform from a bloodthirsty assassin to a somewhat normal girl who has a crush on the handsome prince. But, Maas doesn’t let the reader forget the true nature of her characters, and indicates in subtle diction about their true motives and possible next moves.
The love triangle between Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian is not something of Twilight frenzy because these characters, as young as they are in age, are in situations that have caused them to become mature adults, and understand the complexities of their lives to make it difficult for Celaena to truly be with or even in love with either of them. You want to root for both pairings to work because you so desperately want them to find some sort of happiness in this very dark, and death-filled world.
The characters emotions are pure, their reactions realistic to the horrible situations they face, their interactions witty and comical, and it is apparent that each character introduced in the book is necessary for the progression of the overall story.
I enjoy discovering the big reveals in books and pay special attention to detail, but Maas is tricky to figure out since she spends some time trying to not only throw off her characters but it throws off her readers, as well!
I’ll save most of the surprises of the book so there’s a lot to read for, but I will say, the ending is not one full of surprises but rather wonder at how Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian will continue to live together in a crumbling world.