***Warning*** This is the most rambling review I have probably ever written. It really doesn't add anything to the discussion of this book, just insights into what I was thinking while reading and it might not even make any sense.
I give this book somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4. I really loved the writing. Sarah Maas is gifted when it comes to great visual details. There wasn't one scene where I couldn't picture everything perfectly because her writing made me feel as if I were there. From the get go, I liked the heroine for her cockiness and I loved how she was able to back it up when needed. One thing I didn't like was the character names. I understand that fantasy tends to lend itself to ridiculous character names, but sometimes it seemed like the author just took a regular name and changed one letter in it to make it seem unique thus Celena was Celaena and Nothing was Nothung. I don't know, I just wasn't digging them.
As far as the story went, I enjoyed the concept of having a contest for the king's champion. There were only a couple of things that bothered me and I'm going to spoiler tag them because I just don't want to risk ruining it for anyone who hasn't read it.
Anyway, overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read and will moe than likely pick up the next book when it comes out, just for Chaol alone. I really want him to come out on top.