... and not in a good way. :p
The premise was very interesting; a young woman trained to be an assassin was betrayed and punished to work in a salt mine. How she got out of the salt mine and what happened next. The world building was very nicely done but something just kept niggling at the back of my head.
The character development. *snaps finger*
The assassin came off as a petulant girl at times; one would think that a year in the salt mine would have honed her personality to greater essentials. At the end of it, I think the characterisation is more of a self-projection of the author, but with cool scenario. It was acknowledged that the story was written when the author was sixteen; so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
The story was interesting but the plot development is rather wishy washy. Too much attention on personal angst and reading books, not enough on the King's Champion competition and the deaths of the competitors. Her whiny-ness made it kinda tough for me to buy that she's such an awesome assassin what can win easily cos she's been trained since she was 8. Two important male characters vying for her attention; shades of Twilight? I think if the characters were not imbued with so much contemporary teens' sulkiness (for all three characters), I may like this book better.
But that's just me.
There were hints of back story and apparently, e-novellas to expand the story are available. This is just Ms Maas' first book. Perhaps she'll be a stronger story teller in her subsequent novels.
Male protagonist(s): 2/5 stars
Female protagonist: 2.5/5 stars
Storyline: 3/5 stars
Pacing: 3/5 stars
Fun Factor: 2/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 1/5 stars