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

The Assassin’s Blade

Title: The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass Novellas)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury (13th March 2014)
Blurb:

THE TWIST OF A KNIFE,
THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND . . .

Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassin’s 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 . . .

THE PREQUELS TO THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER THRONE OF GLASS

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE is an amalgamation of previously released prequel novellas in the THRONE OF GLASS series. The novellas all tell stories of what Celaena Sardothien’s life was like prior to the beginning of THRONE OF GLASS (review). THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE comprises of five novellas told in chronological order.

Never having read any of the novellas when they were released in ebook form, I went into THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE with an open mind. Curious to see what Maas would reveal about Celaena’s past, and if there would be any clue as to who sold her to the king – and perhaps why they did so. All five novellas are an interesting read, and I think that they do add something to the overall story of the THRONE OF GLASS series. However, reading them made me a little disappointed in Celaena herself. I do think that Maas did a brilliant job in dropping clues, and even before the revelation I realised who had set Celaena up and why – which I was very pleased about, as I usually suck at guessing such things.

The first novella in the collection is called The Assassin and The Pirate Lord, in it Celaena and Sam have been sent to deliver a message to The Pirate Lord by Arobynn. I really enjoyed reading this novella, and I loved the way that Maas wrote the relationship between Celaena and Sam. The Pirate Lord was also an interesting character, so I kind of hope to see more of him in the future. Maybe.

The second novella in the collection is called The Assassin and The Healer, in it we find Celaena in a less than salubrious pub where she comes across a barmaid who wants to train to be a healer. I think that this was perhaps my favourite of all the novellas. I really liked the sense of female empowerment in this novella, and I liked how it showed Celaena.

The third novella in the collection is called The Assassin and The Desert. In this novella Celaena is sent by Arobynn to The Silent Assassins where she has to obtain a letter from their leader in a month before she can return home. Maas did a brilliant job in weaving lots of subplots together in this novella, and I thought it was interesting to see Celaena in an environment that was both familiar to her and at the same time quite alien. It was a really enjoyable read.

The fourth novella in the collection is called The Assassin and The Underworld and the fifth and final novella is called The Assassin and The Empire. They both deal with the aftermath of the events in The Assassin and The Desert. They are perhaps my least favourite novellas in the collection, but Maas uses them both to great effect to set up the events in THRONE OF GLASS. There is a lot happening in both novellas in terms of subplots, but it never gets confusing.

Overall I think THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE is a good addition to the world of THRONE OF GLASS. Not having read the books in order I’m not going to comment on whether you should read the series in publication or chronological order. Having said that, reading them in publication order didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the novellas – though I think I clued into twists earlier than I would have because I’ve already read the two novels. If you are looking for a good sword and sorcery fantasy, then you should definitely give this series a try.

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