Holy Smokes did I LOVE this book. It is my favorite in the series so far! So many new characters. It is up for a Goodreads award this year so if you’ve read it and love it, go vote! I think the category is “Young Adult Fantasy and Paranormal”.
Anyway, this book takes up where #2 left off. Celaena is sent on a mission for the king to Wendllyn to kill the monarchy. She makes it to the capital city where she deteriorates. I am not even sure of her mindset during this time. She’s dirty and drunk and listless. She is still hurting from Chaol’s betrayal and losing Nehemia. I thought this part was particularly moving (it doesn’t matter who is talking to Celaena, only the words):
“Why can’t your friend save her own kingdom?”
“Because she is dead! She screamed the last word so loudly it burned her throat. “Because she is dead, and I am left with my worthless life!”
It is in this listless, drunken state that she meets her first Fae. He is rugged and aloof, intimidating and lethal. Celaena decides an audience with her Aunt Maeve to get answers about the Wyrd Keys is her next step although the decision seems to be taken away from her. Before she can do this she must pass muster with this new fae who is not in any way impressed with her. Celaena goes through a lot during this, but it is all very amazing. I think I want to read it again.
The book cuts back and forth between Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, and a new character: a Blackbeak witch. I can’t tell if the purpose of the reader getting to know this witch is to understand the darkness that is coming through the King of Adarlan or if it is to see her character development. I usually don’t like when books go back and forth between different aspects of the story because I usually prefer one part more. I obviously enjoyed reading about Celaena the most, but Chaol’s efforts while she is gone are surprising and I actually enjoyed very much the Blackbeak witch.
The other aspects of previous stories all come into play so if you haven’t read the prequels you should read them. They are extremely good. They aren’t just another adventure of Celaena’s, they actually do a great deal in developing who she is, but now we see all these pieces coming into play: the pirates, the spider silk, the desert assassins!