Review – The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

POSTED ON April 26, 2014 BY Austine IN Book Review

Review – The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
The Assassin's Blade
by Sarah J. Maas
Published on March 4, 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 435
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom's most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin's Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam.

When Celaena's scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes—and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn's orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn's clutches—and if they fail, they'll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives...

A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers listeners a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling—and deadly—world.

Included in this volume:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Healer
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld
The Assassin and the Empire

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Knight's Judgment
Writing Style

Though the novellas are offered separately, I read them in the binding of The Assassin’s Blade which I recommend as they are quite short and flow into each other really well.

As a whole, I enjoyed getting a better glimpse into the young woman and assassin that is Celaena Sardothien. Obviously these novellas don’t hold nearly the detail that the novels do but they offer a little background on events mentioned in Throne of Glass that play a larger role in Celaena’s history.

Based on how they are written, you can read them before Throne of Glass without spoiling the events of any of the full-length books. However, the novellas don’t go into nearly the detail on her character so if you want to get a sense of who she is before reading these, I suggest reading the first book in the series then coming back to this.


The Assassin and the Pirate Lord 

There’s the swaggering assassin we all know and love. Her mission abroad brings Celaena to a pirate with a fondness of the slave trade, Rolfe, and reveals more about her master than she expected. I loved the action to kick-off this collection of novellas and seeing Celaena take a stand for what is morally right and going against her years of training. We start to see how she breaks from Arobynn, becoming more than just an assassin. It wasn’t on the same level as the full-length novels and was lacking a bit in the depth of the conflict (compared to what I’m used to) but I enjoyed an earlier look into Celaena’s life.

The Assassin and the Healer

Celaena’s little stunt with the pirate lord has her packing her bags and off to the distant Red Desert to train with the Silent Assassins. On her way she meets Yrene, a wannabe healer who never quite made it to her destination due to lack of funds. This particular novella was more about her than Celaena, but our assassin played a part in getting Yrene on her feet. I love seeing Celaena’s willingness to help others (even if in a more gruff manner) time and again; this just solidified it even more. I hope Yrene returns in one of the future books because I think she would be an interesting addition to the cast.

The Assassin and the Desert 

I had to think about where I heard of the Red Desert in the full-length novels and realized how many times Celaena references her time there (and the events with Ansel, a friend she makes while training. I think, of all of the novellas, this was one of two that really shaped her personality afterward. Especially her distrust of generally everyone. You also get to see how she stole the Asterion mare she brags about to Dorian and Chaol in action.

The Assassin and the Underworld 

Now, Sam Cortland appeared in the first novella and was mentioned through the second and the third but the last two are where he and Celaena really shined. The assassin arrives back in Rifthold after training in the Red Desert and finds her master seeking her forgiveness, even offering a very wealthy contract. And here is where Celaena as we know and love her breaks. I watched her become harder, while her love for Sam grew greater. And if you read the other books out first, you’d know that Sam doesn’t meet a happy ending. I was waiting and waiting for it to happen here but was saved (barely). If trust is a theme across these novellas, this one puts Celaena’s to the ultimate test.

The Assassin and the Empire 

This was the breaking point for me.

I damn near cried.

I knew what was coming.

I told myself it wouldn’t happen, that Maas wouldn’t put into words the events of that night.

She did.

This is the tale of Celaena Sardothien and how she became Adarlan’s Assassin, how she earned a name to be whispered even after her capture and imprisonment, how she met the king, and how she loved and lost so deeply that she became someone else. Something more.

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