This is the first in the fantasy series by Sarah J Maas. The wonderfully-named Celaena Sardothien, the deadliest and most famous assassin in her world, is plunged into a dangerous competition, involving kings, warriors, other assassins and (possibly) magic.
Maas arrives with a new world brimming with promise. Most of the action here takes place in one building, yet the author has already managed to build a world that will be fun to explore in the next instalments. The world is made accessible in such a way that is not overbearing on the main plot, and we are shown just about enough to get by for this first book.
Celaena is forced into a gruelling challenge to become the King’s champion, a king she hates, the prize being her eventual freedom. Add in a love triangle with the prince and her trainer, and we are off to a healthy start to a series. Celaena herself is dangerous, suspecting of everyone and hilarious.
Maas leaves plenty of questions dangling after this story, and leaves a world of options to explore. Confident and well-written.