**May contain spoilers from other books in the series**
Since Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) is coming out on the 1st of September (YAY) I wanted to re-read and review all the previous books in the series starting with The Assassin’s Blade the collection of all five prequel novellas to Throne of Glass. I’d never read these prequel novellas before and I so wish I hadn’t waited this long!
I’m going to review and rate each novella individually and then give an overall of the novellas as a whole. I’ll try to keep all my individual reviews under 200 words otherwise I could honestly ramble on for like 800 words each – it is a Sarah J. Mass book after all. The Assassin’s Blade star rating will be an average over the start ratings I gave each individual novella.
The Assassin and The Pirate Lord
The Assassin and The Priate Lord introduces us to Celaena Sardothien, the protegee and heir to the King of Assassins, Arobynn Hamel. She along with Sam, a fellow assassin under Arobynn, are sent to see the Pirate Lord, Rolfe, to organise a slave trade.
Sam is the polite, controlled side to Celaena’s fiery personality. Although Sam and Celaena are opposites in most ways they have the same opinion on right and wrong. They may be assassins but that does not mean they’re going to be a part of immoral and wrong slavery of innocent people. Rolfe, is infuriating, he is so condescending and callous, but I’ll be interested to see if he ever comes back into the story.
This story has amazing writing. Mass has a talent for writing kick ass fight scenes that have you picturing the entire thing in your head. Celaena is an amazing badass with a compassionate side for the weak. I can’t wait to see what Sam and Celaena’s budding friendship grows into. Great start to the novella’s.
The Assassin and The Healer
The Assassin and The Healer is set a couple of weeks after The Assassin and The Pirate Lord. Celaena is being sent to train with the Silent Assassins in the Red Desert as punishment for sabotaging the slave trade with the Pirate Lord. Celaena, while waiting for her boat to arrive has to stay at a disgusting little inn, where she meets Yrene Towers. Yrene, saving up to get to Antica to learn to be a healer at Torre Cesme got a job at the White Pig Inn where she is now stalled mentally and physically.
This is an extremely short story that focuses mostly on Yrene and how Celaena inspires her to be strong and break out of the chains the war on Adarlin put on all the children of the war. Yrene is an extremely nice person and Celaena admires that and wants to help her achieve her goals. I’m curious to see if Yrene comes back into the story somewhere as a kick ass healer who like helps Celaena. I did however find this novella a slow and not as entertaining as the first one.
The Assassin and The Desert
In The Assassin and The Desert, Celaena is doing her month long punishment training under The Silent Master of the Silent Assassins. A punishment which turns out to be a very joyous experience for Celaena, having friends for the first time ever, feeling safe and want. Celeana learns just how differently the Assassins Guide and Arobynn raise and teach its pupils compared to how the Silent Assassins and The Silent Master does. The former is very cutthroat, nurturing jealousies and viciousness within its pupils, while the latter, has a sense of caring, fostering thoughtfulness and togetherness. It was very eye opening for Celeana, coming to understand how unnecessarily cruel Arobynn is.
Ansel and Celaena become fast friends, she is a wonderful contrast to Celaena’s aloof coolness being outgoing, easy to smile and adventurous. Ansel helped make this short novella amazing. I also really enjoyed The Silent Master, he too contributed to making this novella excellent. I part of this novella I was particularly happy about was that Celeana is coming to terms with having deeper feeling for Sam, she’s being worrying about how Arobynn punished him.
I don’t know how Mass has managed to put so many emotions and such a fantastic plot into 100 pages, but she’s done it flawlessly.
The Assassin and The Underworld
I LOVED THIS NOVELLA! This is my favourite (so far – while I’m writing this I still haven’t read the last one yet).
- I loved the complex relationship with Arobynn – how he is so god damn emotionally manipulative and how Celaena (FINALLY) realises she doesn’t have to deal with that shit!
- Sam and Celaena!! YAY! I loved them finally starting to let themselves be open with their feelings. Sam is perfection. Absolute perfection! He is sweet, caring, kick ass, protective, emotional! OHHH I love him.
- I loved the juxtaposition between the road life Celaena’s been living in the other novella compared to the decedent, extravagant life she live in this one. I loved the parities and the theater and all the pretty dresses.
- All the kick ass fight scenes! This is by far the most action packed novella yet and it had me flipping pages as fast as I could.
- And as an added bonus we get to see Choal and Dorian (I know I’m meant to be pretending to have no knowledge of who they are but still it was exciting) for like only half a page but I was still really happy!
All these separate reviews where going so well and nicely thought out then inner fangirl took over. Oh well this novella was great enough to fangirl over!
The Assassin and The Empire
Okay this was my least favourite of all the novellas, not because it wasn’t brilliantly written, entertaining and exciting, but because I did not sign up to be emotionally shredded. Since I’ve read all the published Throne of Glass books, of course I knew it was going to happen didn’t mean I still wasn’t hoping it’d be different! This book still deserves all the stars though.
Celaena’s life was almost going perfect at the start of this novella, she and Sam were together and free from under Arobynn, but as all fantastic and horrible stories go, no true amazing heroine can achieve happily ever after without some soul crushing experiences. That’s what this book was, a soul crushing experience, which I’m sure (because I know what happens *wink*) Celaena grows from to become a fearless amazing heroine.
This last short story ends in a way which flows almost seamlessly into the start Throne of Glass.
Overall thoughts on The Assassin’s Blade
Mass is an amazing storyteller, I absolutely love all her novels and now I can say I love all her novellas too. Half the reason I hadn’t previously read these novella was because I thought they were each individual short snap shot stories into Celaena’s life, which although sounds entertaining was never to important for me to read. I had no idea the novellas were interconnected, if I had known that I definitely would have read them sooner. All the novellas in one book like this just make the story flow seamlessly into one another like one big book!
This collection of novellas give you so much background into Celaena’s life, I actually think these novellas (especially the last one) gives away secrets you don’t find out for a decent while into Throne of Glass. I don’t know if that makes me think you should read it before or after the books, but if you read it before you will understand so much more about Celaena then if you hadn’t. Like, I never properly grasped why her emotions towards Arobynn are so conflicted and all over the place until reading these novellas and now I completely get it.
I loved Sam! I didn’t think I was going to care about him too much because I knew what was going to happen and because I love Chaol to much but I honestly loved every scene he was in. His love for Celaena is just as strong and pure as Chaol’s.
Since these are novellas 0.1-0.5 I’ll be interested to see if Mass releases anymore about Celaena’s life in the Salt Mines but even if she doesn’t this collection of novellas is the perfect introduction into the amazing and complex life of Celaena Sardothien.