A teenage assassin, a rebel princess, menacing gargoyles, supernatural portals and a glass castle prove to be as thrilling as they sound.
Being the most feared assassin in Adarlan is a notoriety 17-year-old Celaena considers an honor, even though it has landed her in a slave-labor prison no one has ever survived. A year into her sentence, the Crown Prince offers to sponsor Celaena in a competition with 23 other criminals and murderers that, should she win, will result in her freedom. The only catch? She’ll become the king’s personal assassin for four years, the same dark-hearted king who sentenced her to imprisonment. Woven in the vein of a Tolkien fantasy, Celaena’s world is one where magic is outlawed and power is snatched through greed and genocide. The third-person narrative allows frequent insight into multiple characters (heroes and villains alike) but never fully shifts its focus from the confident yet conflicted Celaena. And though violent combat and whispers of the occult surround her, Celaena is still just a teenager trying to forge her way, giving the story timelessness. She might be in the throes of a bloodthirsty competition, but that doesn’t mean she’s not in turmoil over which tall, dark and handsomely titled man of the royal court should be her boyfriend—and which fancy gown she should wear to a costume party.
This commingling of comedy, brutality and fantasy evokes a rich alternate universe with a spitfire young woman as its brightest star. (Fantasy. 14 & up)