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Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/02/2012 Librarians looking for a Hunger Games read-alike for their Katniss fans may find their best option in this first novel that began years ago as an online serial called Queen of Glass. Celaena Sardothien is a noted assassin competing to the death against soldiers, assassins, and others to earn the role as the king’s champion—and eventually her long-denied freedom. Unlike most strong female protagonists, Celaena relishes the exquisite trappings of her new environment: the fine fabrics, the intricate embroideries, and the jewel adornments. Her taste for finery, though, never impedes her success in the tests or her determination to track down the meaning of the wyrd marks and the evil force that is killing competitors ahead of schedule. Of course, there is a love triangle, but Prince Dorian and the Captain of the Guard (begrudgingly assigned to keep Celaena safe) make for interesting foils to a female assassin, one who values the lure of freedom more than male companionship. Her freedom will likely have to wait; duty calls in the next book. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A six-figure promotional push and the obvious Hunger Games parallels ensure that this title will meet with widespread demand from both teens and adults. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2012 At just eighteen years old, Celaena Sardothien is already Adarlan’s most notorious assassin—a reputation that has earned her a lifetime sentence of hard labor in the kingdom’s harsh salt mines after she was betrayed to authorities. A year into her sentence, Celaena is offered a chance at freedom by the crown prince himself, on the condition that she win a competition against twenty-three other warriors to become the king’s champion and then serve out a four-year term as the royal assassin. The contest is fierce and the weekly elimination tests are brutal, but when contestants start dying under mysterious circumstances outside of the sanctioned fights, Celaena begins to suspect that more powerful and perhaps supernatural forces are at play. With her stubborn spirit, playful wit, and wicked weaponry skills, Celaena is an entertaining addition to the YA canon of tough heroines, and references to her past exploits suggest that she used to be even tougher. There is plenty of scandalous court intrigue to fill in the gaps between the weekly sparring, and the love triangle that develops between Celaena, the crown prince, and the captain of the king’s guard is charming in its innocence as she exchanges flirtatious banter with the two men. This doesn’t quite rise to the stellar level of Cashore’s Graceling (BCCB 1/09), but it will still be immensely appealing to fans of the genre. KQG - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2012 Gr 9 Up—Celaena Sardothien may be young in years, but she has seen more than most men twice her age. She was raised to be an assassin and until her capture and imprisonment in the salt mines of Endovier, she was known as the Assassin of Adarlan and feared the world over. No one lasts long in the mines, and when she is offered the possibility of release in exchange for a mandatory, four-year conscription as a hired assassin to the king who conquered and enslaved her people, she has no choice but to comply and play a brutal game to win back the chance at freedom. In order to succeed she needs to outfight, outplay, and outlast 23 men in a competition that many would not survive. There are other forces at work as well: an ancient and outlawed magic that she doesn't understand; fellow competitors turning up murdered; and the three very different men who are attracted to her and frightened by her. Maas has created a strong and sympathetic character in Celaena, who is able to best men in a fight but is laid low by the return of her monthly cycle. The world-building is complex, as is the political intrigue. Fans of Tamora Pierce will find a lot to love here and will wait eagerly for the next installment.—Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.