Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this ARC!
So let’s get straight down to what everyone is thinking: will the sequel live up to the first?
Short answer = :(. It wasn’t as good as the first – maybe even by far.
The strange thing was, while I was reading this book, I was loving it, but I also saw many flaws and problems which I didn’t like as much. Nevertheless, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book.
Warning, may contain slight spoilers/ spoiler hints!
Summary (from goodreads)
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
The first half of the book was good, in this sense, because Celaena had ended things with Dorian and had stuck to Chaol without wavering. Having said that, it did frustrate me when we were in Dorian’s perspective and all he could do was act like a lovebird and constantly groan when he saw Celaena and Chaol together. As if the only reason it was happening was to make him a contender in the love triangle. But really – in a book like this advertising gore and blood – how many people would be that interested in love triangles?
Then moving onto the second half of the book. Suddenly Celaena is crawling back to Dorian and forgetting Chaol even though they had spent “quality time” together.
At the end of the last book I clearly remember the king telling Celaena that, if she didn’t do everything as planned, he would kill Chaol, then Nehemia, and finally the rest of Nehemia’s family.
So what I don’t understand is why wasn’t she killing her victims? Yeah, I understand that she wants to have a clean conscience, but she is an assassin. If she can’t do her job then what is her purpose?
“Plot Twist” (NB this is the plot twist which has to do with who Celaena is)
When I was first introduced to some of the information in the plot twist these were my thoughts:
“That would be too predictable, and so I won’t predict it.”
So by being too predictable it became unpredictable and when it happened for sure, I was groaning inside. The plot was already complicated enough and the “twist” was unneeded and annoying.
Oh, and speaking of plot twists, I also saw the plot twist with Archer coming. I’m not sure why, but this time the plot twists were a lot more obvious, or maybe I’ve just gotten used to the style.
I saw on goodreads (so it may not be 100% true) that this is going to be a six book series. While I know I will probably read the first three, I don’t know about the rest. A long book series is always risky, and more often than not it ends up going downhill, or losing its plot. So I’m just sitting here now waiting to be proven wrong because I really don’t want to see this series, with such awesome potential, go downhill.
I know it’s part of her character, but I really just despise her threats of “cutting ears off,” or “eating those cut off ears,” etc. It would be okay if I knew she would actually do them, but each time she does it, it’s so obvious a bluff and everyone keeps falling for it. It’s so frustrating.
I loved it. I loved the magic, the mythical creatures, the royalty, the setting. It all seems to blend together and just work.
It kept me completely hooked, pretty much all my spare time was put into reading this and I don’t regret it. It started with a fast pace and since the beginning it never slowed down.
Loved the character development of basically everyone. I especially loved Celaena, Chaol and Nehemia. I also loved it after the second half when Celaena was back to hating Chaol, It was like old times again, as well as making character development interesting. I’m also eager to see though what will happen in the next book because I’m sure (ish) that somehow Celaena will forgive and trust Chaol again.
I know she kinda counts as a character, but really I think she is too awesome and devious to not have a whole paragraph dedicated to her!
From the start of the first book when we first met her I loved her. Her deviousness and cleverness made her just the character that the book needed. I both liked and hated how she was smart enough to influence Celaena and I loved her “hidden life” that she kept secret from Celaena. She would be the Sherlock of this book: capable of mass destruction but decided to be “on the side of the angels”.
I personally preferred the second half just because there is less lovey dovey stuff going on and Dorain acting like a heartbroken kid. I also loved how the sudden change, changed everyone. For Celaena it meant trying to kill everyone who stood in her way. For Dorain it meant he had another chance with Celaena. And for Chaol it meant he was dead inside.
One part in this half though that really got me was when Chaol found Celaena’s will. It was written perfectly and when I thought of myself in Chaol’s position it just made me want to melt from the inside out.
So while my review is half filled with cons, it doesn’t actually reflect properly what I felt about the book: I actually loved it! It was awesome. It’s like a cake – if I take the ingredients separately then I will have a long list of food which I don’t like – but all together it just works and becomes one of the best tasting things in the world!
So aside from my cake baking fantasies, overall I would give this book 4 shuriken stars because I loved it, but it just missed the zang of the 5 stars which the previous book had.