Pages: 418 pages
Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan's deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies' blood - but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.
Torn between her two protectors - a captain and a prince - and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom...
And so the re-read continues, with for some people perhaps one of the less loved instalments in the series. Yet I really love this book, and that feeling held even on this re-read and knowing what's to come.
It's a truly impressive sequel, with Maas taking what she's built in the first book and developing it further as well as chucking romance and a terrifying mystery into the mix.
We also start to see the start of one of the things I particularly love about her stories, she gives her heroines the chance to grow, evolve, and for their loves to change with them. There's none of this 'true love and that's it, straight off with the first person you meet'. No Maas allows her characters to fall in and out of love, for circumstance to change feelings, and her characters to not be slut shamed for having multiple love interests over the course of their lives. It was something I first came across with Tamora Pierce in the Alanna quartet, and it makes me stupidly happy to see Maas allowing her characters the same freedom in her series.
Maas takes her time with this series, to progress character development and take her time unveiling the layers and facets to this world and the arcs she has plotted for everyone, and I just love revelling in that. This book is filled with some gasp worthy moments, as well as a fair dollop of heart break and tragedy. But it all feels so real, and that is a mark of a truly brilliant story.
I enjoyed getting to see more of Rifthold, to see what being the King's Champion means, and on this re-read paying particular attention to the little clues that Maas peppers the story with pertaining to the characters and what's to come for them.
I'd forgotten how much I love this series, it's been a while since I've let myself go back and revisit it, and I'm really enjoying seeing that my love hasn't changed with the break, more it has evolved and I now find things that used to frustrate me bother me less, and I can appreciate some aspects of the characters that I never fully embraced before.
This is an incredible series, one that deserves all the recognition it has garnered over the years. If you've been hesitant about picking it up let this be the nudge to get you started. I cannot recommend them enough, and there's nothing quite like spending time with these characters.