I had such high hopes for this book. The cover is stunning and screams amazing fantasy world to me, so much so that I had this feeling in my heart that I was going to love the story. And reading the blurb fueled my excitement even more. I swear that if I could be any character in a fantasy novel, it would be an assassin or mercenary of some sort. Preferably of elf origin. With this in mind, I hoped Celaena would fit me like a glove. However, little did I know...
So to me, an assassin, or my vision of an assassin character, is kind of quiet, calculating, doesn't trust anyone, and most likely has a past they would rather forget. Now Celaena does fit some of these characteristics. Her family was murdered, she's spent most of her life killing, and due to events that I'm still not quite sure of, she has spent the last year in the Salt Mines of Endovier, a place most people never leave alive. She is strong, a fighter, and you would think those characteristics would stay steady throughout the novel. And yes, we do see these characteristics again, but sadly only in fleeting moments. The rest of the time, from the moment she accepts Prince Dorian's offer to fight to become the Kong's Champion, she acts a spoiled brat. She is vain, almost sickeningly so, and acts almost as if she has a heart of gold. And the way she plays the two male characters is almost laughable. It is almost as if the author could have done away with the King's Champion nonsense. It just didn't seem to fit.
That said, I didn't mind that there was some romance. I just wish it had been handled differently. Celaena is still grieving over the last man she loved. Whether it be due to his betrayal (still not sure about that) before his death or whatever made her lose him, her heart should be more guarded. She should have resisted for as long as it took until she could no longer deny her feelings. I just think that whole aspect could have been planned and written better.
Also, her feelings toward the king were too calm. He is the one who basically killed her parents, whether directly or indirectly, it doesn't matter. It should have haunted her dreams and made her question if leaving Endovier was worth it. It should have made her think about killing him and running. Obviously something would stop her from doing it, but I wanted that tension.
Now, I am not saying that everyone will hate this book, some of you might like it, but for me, after all my expectations, it was a disappointment.
One last thing. The cover does not really match the main character's description. She has blonde hair, not white. She doesn't constantly carry around weapons, unless they are makeshift, although the weapons on the cover are cool and I kind of want them now, and she actually complained at one point that the clothes she was given were ugly and embarrassing (aka tunic and pants). Practical clothes for the task at hand. Huh?! How does that make sense.
Anyway, I probably won't read the second one, unless I check it out from an online library or get it free, but even then, my thoughts on it are kind of iffy.