"My name is Celaena Sardothien," she whispered, "and I will not be afraid."
I am almost too heartsore to review this.
I am also kind of afraid to start the main series, oddly enough, because what if it doesn't match the wonder of these?
Celaena is not necessarily the easiest character to really like all the time, although she grows throughout this set of four novellas into someone that it is easy to emphasize with, at the very least. She starts selfish and motivated by a desire for fame and a life of ease (well, as much ease as an assassin can have, which is a startlingly large amount in these novellas). She has a good heart buried down there somewhere (very deep, perhaps, but somewhere) and watching her cause problems and deal with the fallout of her attempts to change things was alternately empowering and depressing.
I enjoyed seeing the world develop and watching this list of people that I can totally tell are going to appear later in the novels have their stories set up in relation to Celaena. Even the side characters of each novella seemed to come to life well and I read eagerly through plotting and crossing and double crossing and deep betrayal. We have this evil empire backstory going on and while it is not fleshed out just yet, you can feel the tension of it lurking behind the curtain during the whole of this set-up. There are hints of Celaena's backstory and small tie-ins from several characters that contribute to the feeling that the Ardlan empire is going to be the real "big bad" here.
I am not often left emotionally overwrought by young adult books. This one managed. Please excuse this crazy big spoiler section about why:
I can't wait to see where the rest of the series goes, because I'm loving the writing and the world and am fascinated by the characters.