Celaena Sardothien, renowned assassin serving out her life sentence in the salt mines of Endovier. She is approached by the crown prince (Dorian) and his captain of the guard (Chaol) and given a choice, remain in Endovier and surely die in the very near future as a result of the harsh treatment and poor conditions, or take part in the king's competition against a assortment of twenty three other killers, theives, and warriors. The winner of the competition is crowned the king's champion. If she wins, Calaena must work for the king for a minimum of four years before being granted her freedom and having her name cleared of all crimes. The king is a vile and monstrous man, a man that Calaena cringes to think of serving, but worse yet is the fate of remaining in Endovier as a prisoner.
A dark force is at work in the king's castle; something that is killing off the competitors one by one.
I have heard that some people dislike Calaena's character because of her vanity, her slight immaturity, and her obsession with how she is portrayed. I kind of felt like I understood it. She was never allowed to just live, having first served under Arobynn Hamel the king of assassins through age eight to seventeen, then serving one year in Endovier until she was eighteen. She lead a harsh life, and endured a lot of hardship, and underneath it all I think that she is just reaching out for her humanity. Forced to grow up too soon.
And normally I do not like love triangles, but the love triangle that takes place here in the book is done very tastefully and feels very realistic. You feel conflicted on which man you want Calaena to ultimately end up with because both of them have such wonderful qualities to them and are much alike, and yet they are both so very different.
This is the first book that I have read by Sarah J. Maas and color me impressed. Her story telling skills are exceptional, her writing talents are exceptional, her characters are so finely fleshed out. I am eager to read the rest of the books in this series, and also any other books that she has written, or will write. I have found another favorite author.