The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas | A Long Overdue Review

Posted June 4, 2018 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Reviews / 7 Comments

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas | A Long Overdue ReviewThe Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-#0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Also by this author: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1), Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3), A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1), Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3)
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on March 13, 2014
Pages: 430 •Goodreads
four-stars

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...

Back in April when the title of the final Throne of Glass book was released (hey there, Kingdom of Ash!) I decided I better kick myself into gear and finally get around to reading the books in the series I had been avoiding- The Assassin’s Blade (because I’m not a huge novellas person) and Tower of Dawn (because I am definitely not a Chaol person). I thought I’d be bored reading the novellas because I had already read through Empire of Storms, but I found myself pleasantly surprised, as I really enjoyed reading more about Celaena’s life before the series officially starts, and now have WAY more context about who some of the folks in the series are. I enjoyed revisiting the TOG universe so much that I’m aiming to reread the entire series before Kingdom of Ash is released so everything is fresh in my mind. Since everyone and their mother has probably already read these novellas but me, I’m just going to do a quick, casual round up of my thoughts on each story.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This is arguably the most important novella in my opinion because it plays so much into Empire of Storms when they return to Skull’s Bay, and we also see the formative beginnings of Celaena’s deep, deep hatred for slavery. While Rolffe was hilarious (I admit to having a bit of a soft spot for him), I didn’t LOVE this story because I think I got so bored with Empire of Storms that I easily tired of the Skull’s Bay setting.

The Assassin and the Healer

I feel like not much really happened in this story?? It really just felt like filler for Celaena to help out another female, and I can’t really even remember if the healer character makes an appearance later on in the series. Also, Innish sounds disgusting. ***Just came back from checking the TOG wiki and it turns out the healer from the story turns up in Tower of Dawn, so just another reason why I finally need to put aside my Chaol hatred and read it.

The Assassin and the Dessert

I think this was my favorite novella in the entire collection! I loved seeing how there was another group of assassins outside of Arobynn’s rule and that Celaena saw that there were other ways to train that weren’t cruel and manipulative, and that the Silent Assassins truly felt like a family. Also, Ansel’s character was pretty tragic, and I appreciate that Sarah made me simultaneously hate and feel pity for her.

The Assassin and the Underworld

I have warring thoughts on this one. On the one hand, it’s the first novella that actually takes place in Rifthold and readers truly get to see the manipulative ways of Arobynn. It’s actually super fascinating how he straddles the line between cruel and caring, and it reminded me a lot of how someone with an abusive partner would feel- just enough cruelty and violence to inspire fear, but the lure of safety and secruity and kindness at just the right times keeps Celaena bound to him. I was also super unimpressed with Sam??? Maybe I just wasn’t emotionally invested because I knew he was going to die, but I just felt like the romance felt rushed and that they wouldn’t fall for each other after so many years of animosity.

The Assassin and the Empire

Again, no real feels about Sam here other than feeling sad for Celaena’s grief, but it was super interesting to see her apartment which plays a big role in Queen of Shadows. I also got major feels when she gets sent to Endovier (even though TOG picks up just a year after and I obviously know what happens) but her whispering “I am Celaena Sardothien, and I will not be afraid” just broke me. Ugh I may love the ACOTAR series more as a whole but I do believe I prefer Celaena as a protagonist to Feyre.

Overall: These novellas helped to paint a much more comprehensive picture for Celaena’s character and I’m currently rereading Throne of Glass as I read this and am finding that I’m enjoying it a LOT more than the first time I read it, which I think has a lot to do with having read The Assassin’s Blade first. Also, I’m sort of surprised that there were a LOT of hints dropped in the novella’s about Celaena’s true heritage (more so than in TOG I’m finding so far). I’m hoping that my unexpectedly positive experience with The Assassin’s Blade means I’ll enjoy Tower of Dawn a lot more than I think I will too!

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7 responses to “The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas | A Long Overdue Review

  1. I waited a long time to read these novellas too. I kept putting it off, because for instance, we already knew that Celaena and Sam’s story ended in tragedy. The Assassin and the Dessert was my fav too! Also.. yay! You’re not a big Chaol fan. When he turned on Celaena it broke my heart. And even though she’s mostly forgiven him, I haven’t.

    • I am right there with you with still not having forgiven Chaol lol. Have you read Tower of Dawn yet? I’ve been putting it off since I don’t like him as a character, and I’m dreading reading an entire book that revolves around him!

  2. I must admit I was not a big fan of Assassin’s Blade. I think I felt similarly to you as to which stories I did and didn’t like. I didn’t even get very invested with the whole ‘Sam’ saga. I felt like it was something Maas bigged up to be a huge event, but when it came down to it she didn’t have enough time to flesh it out, follow it through and make an impact with it.

    I’ve just finished Empire of Stoms (yesterday) and my jaw is on the floor AND I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. I’ve just ordered Tower of Dawn but like you, I don’t have high hopes. I have never been a Chaol fan either, not even from the first few books so I’m not sure how I’m going to get on with it…I JUST NEED KINGDOM OF ASH NOW.

    Blogs of a Bookaholic recently posted: 7 Books On My Summer TBR Pile!
    • Right? I mean it was sad what happened to him, but I feel the transition between him and Celaena from hating each other to being in love felt super rushed and I didn’t really believe in it. I’m really excited to see how the series will end, but I just have to soldier through Tower of Dawn first! Empire of Storms was ok (not my fave) but I loved loved loved Heir or Fire and Queen of Shadows!

  3. I’m so glad you liked this! I’m not a super big novella fan either but I really liked how they were ordered sequentially and helped to flesh out some more things. Mostly, I’m glad that SJM decided to do this collection of novellas because it can allow for more plot development in the rest of the series because we have all this background knowledge out of the way. Personally, I read this before I knew the whole story behind Sam (I read it between reading ToD and CoM) which I think made the last bit all the more devastating. I just loved how we got to see Celeana fall in love for the first time and how it was this sweet and lovely flower that was crushed under Arobynn’s boot. I also agree: I loved how Ansel was portrayed! I keep telling myself I’ll reread this before Kingdom of Ash (ahhhh it’s the final book already and I don’t know how to feel anymore…) but I don’t know if I can stand the tragedy yet (just like rereading The Book Thief…). Maybe in another month 🙂

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks recently posted: Review Sunday: The Alfaeren Legacy by Marc Jacobs
    • Did you get a chance to get to it? I’ve been really slacking on my reread- I still haven’t finished TOG yet! I feel like now I’ll have SO MUCH MORE background now when reading the rest of the series, especially Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms- I just have to somehow get through all of them before Kingdom of Ash releases!

      • No I didn’t and it’s awful! I’m kind of in a mini reading slump right now (I read a book a day for a week and that was obviously not very smart) but I have some days off of work coming up so I’m hoping to have a little me-time and binge at least one of the books in the series to get back into things. I heard on twitter than Bloomsbury US Kids is hosting a ToG series readathon before the release of KoA and it started on the 2nd of July so there’s still time to jump in! If you’re interested, here’s the tweet

        https://twitter.com/bloomsburykids/status/1013799573620391938

        But yes the added background is amazing! All the little references in the rest of the series start to make total sense (I reread ToG after TAB and it made SUCH a difference). There’s also the small matter of reading ToD before KoA comes out (yet another reason to do the reread – so I can rebuild my knowledge and actually intelligently engage with ToD). So much to do and so little time!!

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