Ultimately, I’m not sure I can recommend this book. The story of an assassin who becomes the right hand of the tyrant she loathes could have been a lot better, a lot darker.
I sometimes felt as though there was a lot of fluff in the prose. Descriptions felt overwrought, and sometimes didn’t shed as much clarity as I wanted. I was a little annoyed at how many different colors Chaol’s eyes were. But this book really hooked me until the end.
That being said, I’m hard-pressed to say I’m very enthusiastic about this book. It falls closer into the ‘guilty pleasure’ category. It lacks many characters who aren’t white and may be completely heterosexual, though sequels may prove otherwise. (I’m big on picturing romantic pairings and couldn’t help but match Nehemia with the prince, or with with assassin. I feel like the former is more likely to happen.)
There are several reasons I’m going to keep reading. First, I enjoy the feeling I get from the Wyrdmarks, which superficially resemble Chartermarks, and thus Chartermagic, which was used in the Abhorsen books, a favorite series of mine. Second, I believe the hype, and suspect that Maas will tighten things up in subsequent books as she goes on. Third, I heard a spoiler for a much later book in the series that gives me gut wrenching feelings about character development so interesting I have to keep reading. I need to know why that spoiler happens and can’t wait for the fall out drama.
Also, I think the new covers make this series look that much more interesting. I’m more inclined to read a series about the angry white-haired woman on the cover of this, than the golden haired courtier on the original cover. Does Celaena wear far too many dresses in this book? Yes, but I sincerely hope that changes in the rest of the series.
I described this book to a friend as though one were reading a show on the CW. The fights are awesome, the CGI is tasteful, but the soundtrack is almost perfectly chosen. Sometimes you think the characters stop doing something Very Important to have a Talk.
I’m not even sure Celeana really grew as a character here… I can’t help but feel that this feels like the debut it is. I still hold out hope that the writing improves as the series continues, as it often does. The premise may be a weak one, but hopefully it pans out in the end. I want a rebellion!
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Read: 22 Feb 2017 to 2 March 2017
Stars: 2.5 (it was ok/I'm curious)