How do I even begin to explain this series? I have been in a book rut lately, wanting something that was going to make me give a shit about the characters. I recently read Prince of Thorns and just wasn’t really engulfed in it the way I wanted to be. I was pretty let down, and didn’t feel like anything had really happened until almost the end of the book. (That doesn’t mean I didn’t go buy the second book, though). I just felt like Jorg (from Prince of Thorns) was constantly telling us how good of a warrior he was, while Celaena showed us. Before I get too into the review, let me give you the review from Goodreads.
Synopsis from Goodreads
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 exhilirating. 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.
Now, the synopsis is only for Throne of Glass, but the review is going to talk about all of the books. I don’t want to give away a lot of spoilers, but I will be talking about Celaena and her relationship with people sooo… spoiler warning, just in case. Warning: DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS.
First, Celaenaa Sardothien is one of my favorite main characters to date. She is so emotional, to the point where she can’t control how she reacts to almost anything emotionally painful. At the deaths of friends, she turns into a vicious killing machine, destroying people before they even know she’s there. Maybe because of her past, maybe because it’s just who she is, but every person she decides to befriend becomes an important person in her life, to the point where she will kill to keep them safe. (I have a feeling this has something to do with Sam, but I have yet to read the novellas, so I don’t know for sure). She is fiercely loyal to each of them, and because of this, she is hurt more by them than almost anyone else in the series and I love her for it so much.
Even though Nehemia didn’t make it to the third book, her character was so vital to Young Adult novels in general. There is a huge lack of POC representation in many fantasy novels, so bringing in an obviously non-white character from a non-white country is so nice to see. I would even go so far as to say that members of the Fae could be POC, especially one of Rowan’s two friends (where one was described as white and the other was described as black [like the actual colors, not the race]). Sorscha too, I could easily see as a POC. I don’t even want to get started on the witches, because any of them could be as well. A lot of people would have a hard time seeing anyone described with blue eyes and blonde/white hair as anything but having white skin, but there are many people all over the world who prove that stigma wrong.
The twists in the storyline were so well put together that there was no point where I thought, “Wait a second, what the hell just happened?” For every turn and twist, I could remember a point leading to it. Nothing was just thrown in for shock value; every thing that happened was for a reason and had been planned out in the beginning of writing these. (And if it wasn’t then holy shit Sarah. Holy shit).
No more spoilers at this point.
If you are looking for a good fantasy novel, with maybe a hint of romance and a lot of badassery, I highly suggest each and every book in this series. It is killing me knowing that the next book isn’t due out until September of next year, but I will wait diligently. I simply need to know what happens to Celaena Sardothien and Dorian and Chaol and everyone else in this series.