In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Calaena Sardothien was once, and is, the most feared person in the realm; Ardlan's Assassin. She was 17, when she got caught and sent to work in the salt mines of Endovier. The crowned prince Dorian arrives, along with the captain of the guard, to take her to be his father's champion in a contest. If she win's she will be the King's Champion, and after four years of servitude unto him, she would be free. Though a year in the salt mines have robbed Calaena of good health, her skills as an assassin have not been forgotten.
In a land where magic has been outlawed there are still touches of it, where any care to look.
When the competition begins, champions start dying. Each surrounded by strange marks of old,, not magic exactly, but something different; drawn in their own blood. With each death, another competitor grows stronger. Is it; whatever is killing of the champions, coming for her? A dark evil has been awakened and though it started as a fight for Calaena's freedom, it turns into a battle for survival. With a visit from an ancient half - Fae queen, Calaena is thrust with a quest to find and destroy the evil before it comes to even greater power, the consequence of not succeeding would be her world.
With a interesting, yet predictable love triangle between Calaena, Dorian (the prince) and the captain of the guard it gave the book reason to slow down a bit instead of jumping from action scene to action scene, which I thought was a clever use of literary tools.
Overall I enjoyed this book, but there were quite a few times when I knew what was going to happen when I would of preferred to be surprised, I understand this may have been an important writing element as it was from the point of view of Calaena, mostly, so it's not that big of a thing. Other than that though, I thought this book was something different, compared to other novels I've read, and am eagerly awaiting the next installment; Crown of Midnight.