Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Synopsis: Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassins’ Guild and taught her the skills she needed to survive.Arobynn’s enemies stretch far and wide – from Adarlan’s rooftops and its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate – and cut her heart in two forever…
Would I recommend? It’s a brilliant companion, something that offers insight into Celaena’s past and character.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
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It is no secret that Sarah J. Maas is fast becoming one of my favorite authors of all time. I have yet to be disappointed by anything I have read by her; everything she has put out so far has been a delight to read and devour. I went into this compilation of prequel novellas with fairly high expectations. I was curious to see how Maas would pull off writing about a character whose future I was well-aware of. I was not disappointed.
The Assassin’s Blade contains five novellas, all in chronological order. The bind-up ends where Throne of Glass began, offering clear, precise insight into how Celaena ended up at Endovier. We see Celaena’s interactions with the King of Assassins- Arobynn. We see her interactions with her love-interest, Sam Cortland. Most importantly, we see Celaena outside of the glass castle and in situations far more – not difficult but – rough than we have become accustomed to.
I would suggest reading this after you have read Throne of Glass. I don’t think this is a good place to start with the series, but it’s worth giving a go if you’re already familiar with the characters and the world. It’s interesting how you find yourself trying to connect the dots between this and the actual series. Also, if you haven’t read Throne of Glass, I’d suggest you stop reading right here.
Each of the novellas are a story of their own. If you’re not feeling one novella, that’s fine, you can skip to the next one. There are brief recaps throughout the different novellas, and if you’re like me and you decide on reading everything chronologically, sometimes the recaps got tiring. That is one of the very few problems I had with this book. The plot of each story has a definitive start and finish. Each has its own feel, its own setting, its own set of characters and I enjoyed them a lot.
The first three novellas were light and action-packed, and they offered insight into Celaena’s life while she worked under Arobynn. The last two novels were a lot darker as we got to see Celaena’s emotional vulnerabilities start to emerge as she lets down her guard to let Sam Cortland in.
Even though this book was action-packed and fast-paced from start to finish, it’s definitely less of a plot-based book, and more of a character-based book. Because I knew where the story was heading, I wasn’t too invested in what was happening, but I was interested in seeing how the old Celaena would react to certain situations.
Celaena Sardothien is a force to be reckoned with. Anybody who has read Throne of Glass is aware of that. We see her hardened and torn and vicious, and even though Celaena is by no means weak in these novellas, she was still a lot softer. It’s interesting because after Throne of Glass, she’s gone through a lot; the death of the guy she loved, months in Endovier. But in these novellas, she’s still living a fairly comfortable life under Arobynn. That was definitely interesting. Watching her live the life of a normal, albeit great, assassin was great too.
Sam Cortland is such a sweetheart. You don’t know much about him in the actual series, and even though I knew his fate going into this book, I still found myself attached to him. He was loyal and protective, strong and fierce. I enjoyed the initial banter between him and Celaena, their emerging relationship. Romance does not play a huge role in this book, but it does exist, and it was very well-done.
Arobynn is such an intriguing character. If you’re interested in finding out more about how Arobynn’s mind works, definitely pick this up, because it offered profound insight into his character. He’s manipulative and cold and very, very smart. I haven’t yet read Heir of Fire, but I’m excited to see more of him in the series. In many ways, I found him more lethal than the king himself.