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Review – The Raven Boys October 19, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Paranormal, Young Adult.
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Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0545424929

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Review:

This story is pretty straightforward with the focus on the hunt for Gwendower, a lost king who has magical powers. It still had unexpected twists and turns. There was also a lot of emphasis on the relationship between the boys and then the boys and Blue. I thought that each point was well done. You could really feel Gansey’s obsession with his quest and that added tension to the book.

Blue had been warned away from Gansey and the rest of his friends but she persists in getting to know them. It’s Gansey’s quest for Gwendower and his sheer personality that holds the group together. Gansey took care of his friends as if they were his brothers. They were his family.

Blue is fiercely independent and refuses to take any handouts from the other boys even though they are so much better off then she is. I liked how comfortable she was with the boys being the only girl. Yet she managed to maintain her own femininity. I also liked how she managed to be both eccentric yet sensible.

All of the Aglionby boys had distinct personalities with their own stories to tell. I won’t recap them, I’d rather let you discover them for yourselves. I thought that Stiefvater did a masterful job of encompassing each boys’ story within the book and making it complete. Yet none of that detracted from the main objective of the book. It all meshed very nicely.

All the subplots of this book managed to meld together with the book’s plot in a seamless cohesion. Making this book a real pleasure to read. I did have a lot of unanswered questions in the end of the book. Hopefully they’ll be answered in the sequel. It wasn’t by any means a cliffhanger. It was simply a mystery left to be solved in subsequent books.

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Review – Journey to Hart’s Halo October 10, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Sci-Fi, Young Adult.
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Title: Journey to Hart’s Halo

Author: Lou Hood

Publisher: we(e)press

Publication Date: January 20, 2012

ASIN: B0070YHQCE

Available at: Kindle

From Goodreads:

JOURNEY TO HART’S HALO is a near-future fantasy adventure, set in 2033 on the world’s first international space colony.

The project of eccentric technology billionaire Dr. Oliver Hart, Hart’s Halo is about to be populated by Zero Colony. Space-crazy twelve year old Davey Randolph’s dream is to win two of the twelve spots, for him and his mom, in a global lottery to spend five years aboard the Halo.

Constructed as a puzzle-propelled mystery, Davey needs the help of an international cast of clever and quirky pre-teens, and to conquer his own feelings of being an outsider, to solve the puzzles that will lead to a shocking discovery about the true fate of his missing father.

With new quantum physics from The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, futuristic technology, and space travel and habitation, it is a modern myth of epic scale.

Review:

Davey Randolph has Halotisis. He’s desperate to get on Hart’s Halo. He even enters the Hart Lottery by hacking into his mother’s email account. What he never dreamed of was winning the lottery! Now, thanks to his puzzle solving skills, he’s on his way to the space colony itself!

This was a fun book. I didn’t think I’d get so engrossed in it. The puzzles were fun. Davey was cute and so was Grace, his young friend. There was nothing new about a space colony but the puzzles did keep it fresh. Somehow Hood managed to keep the story going despite the recycled plot as well.

The characters were endearing and I think that’s what really drives the story. Davey was a good kid with a lot of smarts. He wasn’t aware of how smart he was which made him all the more appealing. He wasn’t particularly geeky either. He just liked puzzles and learning. Neither was Davey particularly mature for his age like most authors make out young characters to be in books these days. He acted his age and it was fun.

His friend Grace was the same way. She acted her age and they both had a lot of fun. There were some sobering moments as well. I didn’t respond to them as well as I did the lighter moments. But the kids reacted as I would expect they would.

The end plot was a little crazy. It was backed by a little too much by hard talking science that I found a little hard to take. It was basically introduced in conversation and it amounted to a monologue by one of the characters with only interjections of “Cool!” by the other participants. If you’re not into science you may not be too interested in it. I just kind of skipped it.

The book ended a bit too abruptly for me. I suppose it’s because there’s going to be a series.  I would have liked a bit more closure though. I felt like it was a bit too rushed.

I had a fun time with this book. The puzzles were inventive. The characters were fresh. I look forward to seeing where Lou Hood takes this series.

Review – Journey to Hart's Halo October 10, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Sci-Fi, Young Adult.
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Title: Journey to Hart’s Halo

Author: Lou Hood

Publisher: we(e)press

Publication Date: January 20, 2012

ASIN: B0070YHQCE

Available at: Kindle

From Goodreads:

JOURNEY TO HART’S HALO is a near-future fantasy adventure, set in 2033 on the world’s first international space colony.

The project of eccentric technology billionaire Dr. Oliver Hart, Hart’s Halo is about to be populated by Zero Colony. Space-crazy twelve year old Davey Randolph’s dream is to win two of the twelve spots, for him and his mom, in a global lottery to spend five years aboard the Halo.

Constructed as a puzzle-propelled mystery, Davey needs the help of an international cast of clever and quirky pre-teens, and to conquer his own feelings of being an outsider, to solve the puzzles that will lead to a shocking discovery about the true fate of his missing father.

With new quantum physics from The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, futuristic technology, and space travel and habitation, it is a modern myth of epic scale.

Review:

Davey Randolph has Halotisis. He’s desperate to get on Hart’s Halo. He even enters the Hart Lottery by hacking into his mother’s email account. What he never dreamed of was winning the lottery! Now, thanks to his puzzle solving skills, he’s on his way to the space colony itself!

This was a fun book. I didn’t think I’d get so engrossed in it. The puzzles were fun. Davey was cute and so was Grace, his young friend. There was nothing new about a space colony but the puzzles did keep it fresh. Somehow Hood managed to keep the story going despite the recycled plot as well.

The characters were endearing and I think that’s what really drives the story. Davey was a good kid with a lot of smarts. He wasn’t aware of how smart he was which made him all the more appealing. He wasn’t particularly geeky either. He just liked puzzles and learning. Neither was Davey particularly mature for his age like most authors make out young characters to be in books these days. He acted his age and it was fun.

His friend Grace was the same way. She acted her age and they both had a lot of fun. There were some sobering moments as well. I didn’t respond to them as well as I did the lighter moments. But the kids reacted as I would expect they would.

The end plot was a little crazy. It was backed by a little too much by hard talking science that I found a little hard to take. It was basically introduced in conversation and it amounted to a monologue by one of the characters with only interjections of “Cool!” by the other participants. If you’re not into science you may not be too interested in it. I just kind of skipped it.

The book ended a bit too abruptly for me. I suppose it’s because there’s going to be a series.  I would have liked a bit more closure though. I felt like it was a bit too rushed.

I had a fun time with this book. The puzzles were inventive. The characters were fresh. I look forward to seeing where Lou Hood takes this series.

Review – The Crown of Embers October 9, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: The Crown of Embers

Author: Rae Carson

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0062026514

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.

Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears once and for all, Elisa must follow the trail of long-forgotten–and forbidden–clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who–despite everything–she is falling in love with.

If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

Review:

Elisa is now trying to consolidate her power as Queen of Joya d’Arena. She’s undermined from other members of her quorum. There’s also a threat of Invierne spreading across the land once again. She sets out on a holy mission to seek a magical power to once and for all give her all the strength she’ll ever need.

If anything, this second book in the Fire and and Thorns series was even better then the first and I loved the first. Elisa character evolved as you read on. You have to remember, she’s the queen of her country and a war hero at the age of seventeen. That in itself is remarkable. So if she’s malleable and pliable at first, it’s understandable. But by the end of the book she manages to find the will to stand up for what she believes in and become the queen her country needs.

One of the things that I still love about Elisa in this book is that she’s still a normal girl. Although she might have lost some in the previous book, she’s still a little overweight. In fact her predilection for pastries is well known at court. She’s still not a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Elisa became even more real to me because of those qualities and I loved her for it.

Elisa is also falling in love with Hector, the Captain of her Royal Guards. The romance is natural and it progresses slowly. No insta-love here! I loved reading about Hector and Elisa! I think I’ve become a romance fan. If you’ve read my blog for a long time then you know I wasn’t always a fan, but for this book it was my favorite part.

The story ends in a stupendous cliffhanger. It was well done though. I thought it was one of the best cliffhangers I’ve ever read. You could tell the book was just about to end and that you’d have to wait for the next book even though you were desperately hoping it wouldn’t happen. At least that’s how I felt. I’m desperately hoping the next book publishes sooner rather then later.

Review – Stormdancer October 5, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult.
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Title: Stormdancer

Author: Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Publish Date: September 18, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1250001405

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Review:

This was a strong debut novel from Jay Kristoff and I loved it! I loved the Asian influence that reeked of Japan. I loved the complex world building. I loved the rich culture he infused throughout the book. I also loved the elaborate technological inventions he inserted in the book here and there.

What I really loved or rather, who I really loved was Buruu, the thunder tiger. He was magnificent! Buruu had a strong primal voice in the book as a main character. His bond with Yukiko was something I was particularly jealous of.

I did like Yukiko though. Yukiko was someone you felt for because her father became such a wastrel. She had to grow up before her time. Yet at the same time she cried out to be just a sixteen-year-old. She was capable and she could really fight well.

The shogun was the best villain. He was maniacal and evil. I truly felt hatred for him and his careless callous ways. The Lotus Guild was even worse. The way they were polluting the land and in turn, killing the people and the animals? Atrocious.

Even the finale of this book was strong. It left me feeling satisfied as far as knowing everything there was to know. The only problem I had was the the book had to end. I was left with a book hangover and with nothing more to read of Buruu and Yukiko’s adventures.

Review – Vessel October 3, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: Vessel

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publish Date: September 11, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1442423763

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

Review:

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I really loved it. The desert culture. The girl raised to be the vessel for her goddess. The trickster god! On the other hand, Liyanna was too obeisant to Korbyn in the beginning of their relationship and I felt no spark of kinship with her. In fact, I didn’t really connect with her until much later in the book. The only female character I really connected with right off the bat was Raan, another vessel from another village. She had a streak of rebellion in her that I could relate to.

The pace of the book is methodical. I didn’t have too much of a problem with it but some readers found it slow. In fact, I enjoyed the pace of the book. What I did have a problem with was the Emperor. I thought the way his story was inserted was jarring and incongruous. I also didn’t find it very interesting. There’s also a romance in the book that I didn’t find very romantic. There’s a love triangle in the book, but it came off all wrong.

I did love Korbyn, the trickster god. He was enigmatic at times yet open and available as a child at others. He was so multi-layered, you could continually peel back the layers like an onion and discover more facets to his character. He was sexy and charming. He was wise. He was definitely my favorite character.

This is most likely a stand-alone book as most questions are sufficiently answered in the end of the book. Sarah Beth Durst is an author I will definitely look out for as she’s written other books in this genre.

Review – Sisters Red September 5, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Sisters Red

Author: Jackson Pearce

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0316068673

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

Summary:

Scarlett March lives for two things: fighting the werewolves that killed her grandmother and protecting her sister Rose. Rose owes her life to her sister Scarlett. She’d sacrifice everything for her, but what happens when Rose starts to fall for the woodsman that they’ve known all their lives? Will Rose lose her sister?

Review:

Scarlett and Rose are all alone in the world. Scarlett’s one true objective in this life is to hunt werewolves. The very same werewolves that took their beloved grandmother away from them. The two of them hunt the Fenris with them help of Silas, a woodsman. As the story moves along the hunt for Fenris becomes more complicated, leading them from a small town to Atlanta.

I had a hard time swallowing Scarlett. While I understand she was very passionate about hunting the werewolves, she came off more like a female Rambo. She’s obsessed with the hunt. She’s like an addict. It was a little hard to read. I felt like she needed a twelve step program. Scarlett got more then a little self-righteous at times as well.

Rose wanted more then the hunt. She wanted to do things other outside of it and Silas encouraged it. I applauded her for it. For all that, Scarlett made them feel guilty for that. Like the only thing they should want to do is sleep, eat, and breathe the hunt. I understand it was part of the story but I found it very abrasive instead.

The Fenris weren’t very scary or menacing. They were like comic book monsters. The change they underwent made them seem like half-finished play-dough creations. Unfortunately, I was never fully horrified by them.

The highlight of the book was the romance of Silas and Rose. Silas is a sensitive and sexy guy. He isn’t attracted to your normal pretty girl. He sees beyond the trappings of society’s norms. Instead, he found Rose’s strength and mellow temper alluring. Watching their romance blossom was refreshing and sweet. It definitely wasn’t insta-love either. It grew from a friendship and I loved that about this book.

While I had problems with the Fenris and Scarlett, the action and pacing of the book was swift and engaging. It’s non-stop from beginning to end. The writing was absorbing and I was able to immerse myself in the book without a problem. The end of the book took me by surprise. I was a little confused and I felt Pearce took the easy way out, but it was still a satisfactory conclusion. Besides those quibbles, this was still an enjoying book.

Review – Wake August 22, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: Wake

Series: Watersong

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1250008121

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From the publisher:

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They’re the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone’s attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs.  She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door.  He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back.  Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever.  She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove.  They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price.  And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

Review:

This is definitely a young adult novel. The characters in this book definitely have the maturity of teenagers. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’m  just making a note of that. Having done that we can move on.

Gemma truly does have everything but the other thing she does have is a domineering older sister. At age eighteen, Harper tried to be too much to Gemma. When she should have been having fun and dating she was making sure her father had her lunch at work and that Gemma  didn’t stay out past her curfew. She was doing all this because their mother had gotten into a car accident years ago which left her brain damaged and unable to live with them. Eventually I got used to Harper and her ways, but I’m not sure Gemma ever did.

Once Gemma got in trouble with involved with Penn, Lexi, and Thea, there was nothing Harper could do. Gemma was spinning out of Harper’s control. As their relationship deteriorated  so did many other aspects of Gemma’s life. Like Alex and Gemma’s relationship.

As for Alex? I thought he was sweet and I definitely thought that Gemma and his relationship was sweet, but he lacked a certain depth to him. If there was anyone that was swoonworthy, it would have been Daniel. He pursued Harper with a single determination that I didn’t think she deserved. I couldn’t understand it. But he was kind, funny without being cruel, and quick-witted.

The thing that makes this book unique is that Gemma fought becoming mermaid. In most books the heroine delights in becoming a mermaid, but not this book. She fights it every step of the way with disastrous results. You could see the end coming but you didn’t want it to happen! I can’t wait for the next book!

Review – Drowning Instinct August 17, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult.
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Title: Drowning Instinct

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books

Publication Date: February 1, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0761377528

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord’s first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain… magnetism.

And there are stories where it’s hard to be sure who’s a prince and who’s a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules.

Review:

Now I knew this book was going to be heavy, I just didn’t know how heavy. On one hand my heart was breaking for Jenna and I was dying for her, but you know what? I couldn’t cry any tears for her. Somehow I couldn’t make that last connection. Maybe it was because I prepared myself for the bad end and  I could see it coming, because I knew it was going to end badly. This is not your happily ever after story.  A student and a teacher don’t hook up and live happily ever after. Not a 16-year-old and 30-something-year-old. Things don’t work out that way.

The book still managed to take my breath away. Don’t mistake me. I still gasped and floundered. There were moments of absolute heartbreak. The writing is beautiful. The writing is absolutely lovely. I was completely engrossed in the story. I read this book all in one sitting. It was very good. I just couldn’t help myself from comparing it to other books. I couldn’t help myself from finding it wanting in comparison.  Even on its own, it lacks a little something. Something that made me want to cry my eyes out. Then again, I am much older then the targeted audience. Therefore the writing was targeted at a much younger demographic. That might be it.

I was still able to relate to Jenna. She was a reserved, socially awkward teen. She had a lot of problems in her life  though. She had just been in the psychiatric ward. She has a alcoholic mother and a psychotic father. To cope with all this she cuts. Jenna had problems. It was agonizing to read about them and my heart ached for her.

Mitch was the perfect knight in shining armor. He was the sympathetic adult and the perfect friend when she needed one. He actually cared for her. I liked him a lot too. It was hard not to. It was hard to see him as a monster. The lines weren’t black and white. Everything was definitely in shades of grey.

This was a beautifully written book, although it was extremely heavy. You might want to get the tissues handy just in case. I didn’t need them but you never know.

Review – Throne of Glass August 10, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1599906959

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble

From the publisher:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review:

I had been eagerly awaiting the release of this book since May. I was a little worried that I’d be disappointed but there wasn’t anything to worry about. I was captivated from the first few paragraphs.

At age eighteen Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s greatest assassin. She’s spent a year doing hard labor in a salt mine for her crimes. She’s brought before the Crown Prince of Adarlan after that year and she still has her spirit. She hasn’t been broken. She’s been whipped, half-starved, worked to death, and maltreated. Yet she still has fight in her.

As I got to know Celaena, I grew to admire her even more. She was even more resilient then I imagined. Yet she had all the realistic weak spots you’d grow to expect from someone who had spent all that time in a prison camp.

Celaena also had determination. She was understandable physically weak from her year in a prison camp. So to  get in shape for the contest she trained hard. She could have reveled under the feel of what freedom she was afforded and luxuries she had instead she worked hard towards the ultimate goal.

Her romance with Prince Dorian was something! It wasn’t surprising though. It was sweet. It was romantic and I liked it. He was devilishly charming. Only  the whole time they were together I wondered where it would lead to? In fact it added a bit of excitement to it in that it was a bit of a forbidden romance. That question wasn’t answered in this book. Maybe it will be answered in another book.

There was a bit of a love triangle, but it was very well done. There wasn’t any rivalry. Chaol and Dorian are best friends and they want nothing to come between them, especially a woman. Celaena has no designs on being that woman to come between them. Yet there is something there between Chaol and Celaena. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s further explored in upcoming books.

Chaol was more antagonistic towards Celaena, but in the end I liked him for that. Their banter became something I looked forward to. At first I thought he was rather hard-hearted. Eventually though, he softened towards her making him all the more endearing.

There is a mystery in the book. It was very intriguing. I was at a loss until the end of the book. I always love a good mystery. Between the killing of the champions and the tests themselves, it was a very interesting way to go about a book.

I loved this book. I tried not to read it too fast but I couldn’t help myself. If I had another way of making it last longer then I would have taken it. I had a really hard time writing this review and I can’t help but feel that my words haven’t done it justice. I can only urge you guys to read this book yourselves!