Source: School Library
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
(My) Format: Paperback
Page Count: 404
Character Development: B+
World Building/Setting: B+
Star Factor: A
Overall Grade: A
First, Celaena who is a bad ass. Seriously, 10 Stars for Bad Assery. What I love about her is that she's so versatile. She can kick your ass, whip out the back-handed insults, sip tea, sneak with the best of them, and plunge into a bit of light reading all at the same time. Whenever this happens, my first thought is, That character is too perfect. She can do too much. The thing about Celaena, though, is that she still has her tiny faults everywhere. Yes, she can kick your ass, but she has to take a few punches too, and trains, like, all the time. She can blend in with slaves and high court, but she's still self-conscious. She's a bit of everything. A very well-rounded character.
Dorian , while the Crown Prince, has a great deal of duality to him throughout this story. At first I thought he would be the type to cower before his father, but by the end, while he never outright disobeyed him, still challenged him in a more subtle way. He really showed some backbone with Chaol's possible punishment. I was pleased.
Chaol , as head of the guard, really should have known better than to mess around with Celaena. He allowed her more leniency than he should have, though it really never backfired on him. I'm glad she did betray the trust that he did give her. He's definitely the tough love guy who really doesn't know how, or if he should, convey his feelings to Celaena. To me that makes him smarter that Dorian. He's much more cautious about pretty much every faucet of the championship and his duties. He's the kind of character I can admire for his will.
The king is a brute and a bully. However, he did show some character at the end. He could easily have had both Chaol and Celaena killed at the end, but he didn't. Which isn't all that gracious of a mercy, but it's more than I expected of him.
Lady Kaltain got just what she deserved in the end. I didn't like her from the beginning, but that's not much of a surprise as she's made out to be just a bad a villain as Cain, except sneakier and in prettier clothes. I really don't understand her motivation, though. I get that she wants to be the queen, and to do that she needs to marry Dorian. Okay. But what makes her think that he would want her even with Celaena out of the way? He's never shown any inclination toward her. Whatever.
I can't say that the characters developed so much as they weren't who I expected them to be. They were more.
The biggest shocker was Nehemia . At first I thought she was just a princess. I know, right. Just a princess? But yeah. She was noble and honest and awesome from the beginning. But I was surprised to learn that she was (view spoiler). She could also(view spoiler). Wasn't expecting that.
World Building/Setting The great thing about this world is that once you enter it, you don't leave it. There are no explanations, but then, you really don't need them. It comes off very medieval to me, and I think that's in large part to the castle itself (except for it being made of glass, of course). It has (view spoiler) and grand ball rooms, but I still get the feeling that it's rather dark.
I kind of wish we'd gotten more about the country though. What do people do? What are their jobs? Are there just slaves and royalty? Where are the in-between?
Oh, golly, do we have a love triangle. It's pretty obvious from the get-go that both Chaol and Dorian are going to be interested in Celaena. My pick for her? Chaol. Yes, he's the guard and not the prince, but I think he's the better choice for her. Here's why.
1. He knows her better. He's spent more time with her. He's trained with her. He's seen her at her worst, not just her best.
2. He knows what it's like to not be royal.
3. They have much more in common.
4. Their relationship would be a lot easier, and much less controversial.
5. He relied on actually communicating with her rather than getting her nice gifts.
6. He would and has (view spoiler).
With Dorian, it just feels more shallow. It could be because he's already been with every noble woman within five years of his age. It could also be because he's only seen her at her peak. He never had to watch her puke after training. I'm just not feeling it.
I'll admit the first fifty pages were grueling. I didn't think I would be able to persevere through the rest of it. But I knew that I loved Court of Thorns and Roses and this was very highly rated/recommended and I needed to know why.
I'm glad I did.
I'm going to try not to give so much away.
This story truly had a bit of everything. There was mystery. Who's offing the Champions? (Though, I thought this one was a tad obvious.) Romance. Hello, there, love triangle. Action. I mean, this girl was constantly getting into something. Fantasy. Obviously. It was just all there.
I still have questions about Elena and her part. That was kind of out in left field for me. I really wasn't expecting this (view spoiler) and I kind of wish she hadn't. I wanted Celaena to do it on her own.
This story is just so unlike anything I've read. I'd heard comparisons to Game of Thrones and Hunger Games , but I'd liken it more to Divergent . Still, this one really stands apart.