“The Assassin’s Blade” by Sarah J. Maas
4 out of 5 stars.
“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.”
I have been craving a Sarah J. Maas book, and since most of us are still waiting for “A Court of Mist and Fury” and the fifth “Throne of Glass” book to come out, I decided to pick up Sarah’s novella collection, which I had not yet read. I don’t really know why it took me so long to get to Sarah’s novellas since I love this series so much and had thought Celaena’s memories and attachment for Sam was so interesting, but I’m happy that I finally did read them, because they were great!
I knew from the different glimpses and the emotional attachment Celaena had concerning Sam in the “Throne of Glass” books that I would really like his character, but reading these novellas, especially the first and fourth ones, helped me to see firsthand what he brought to Celaena’s life: light and hope. I liked Sam a lot, and I thought that it was sweet how he broke down Celaena’s walls, and I really liked that he didn’t take crap from her and could dish it back if necessary. Nearly everyone cows down before the “mighty” Celaena, but never Sam, and I massively respected him for putting her in her place when she needed it; Celaena had, still has, a huge ego in this series, so she needs that occasionally to keep her grounded. Same was a really great character, and I wish that he had been in more of these novellas, because it was mostly the first and fourth novellas that he actually had a real presence. It was a bummer getting so little of him because I loved Celaena and him together (never as much as Dorian, of course), and I liked that Sam brought out the more conscientious side of Celaena. Call me a dreamer, but I want this character to make an appearance in “Throne of Glass” #5 or #6, and I think that it would make for one epic twist. Just saying…
I cannot tell you how much I missed Celaena! She may be pompous and a pampered brat at times, but I missed the early assassin from Sarah J. Maas’s “Throne of Glass” series who made mistakes and flubbed a mission or two, the girl who was a scrapper and felt very humanly flawed. I think that’s what saddened me as this series went on, the fact that Celaena became “perfect,” and that she knew the solution to every problem and how she could fix it without messing up her life too much. Trial and error are a part of life, and I love seeing characters who experience that and learn from their fears and struggles to become stronger because of them. Celaena was still a really good character as the “Throne of Glass” series went on, but her cool, aloof demeanor, and because of her flawless execution of almost every plan, made me not quite as invested in her as a character; it was the struggle and the fight to victory that was so compelling about Celaena as a heroine, and without that, I did not feel like she was the same character. Despite all that, though, seeing her before “Throne of Glass” started was so fun!
The world didn’t feel too different in “The Assassin’s Blade” because it took place in Rifthold, which was kind of nice. I liked seeing Celaena’s perspective before “Throne of Glass” as she lived in the shadow of the glass castle that the Kind of Adarlan ruled from, and I liked knowing how she viewed the world she lived in before she got sent to Endovier. Oh, goodness, there was also a party that Celaena went to during “The Assassin and the Underworld,” the fourth novella, where my sapphire-eyed prince appeared for a brief moment. I might have gasped and giggled and swooned at Dorian’s gloriously surprising appearance.
I will love my Dorian Havilliard forever, even if people do not agree with me! #SorryNotSorry
The fourth “Throne of Glass” novella was pretty great, and I love the development that came with it concerning Sam and Celaena’s relationship. To be quite honest, though, my favorite novella in “The Assassin’s Blade” collection was actually the first one, “The Assassin and the Pirate Lord.”
I think why I liked “The Assassin and the Pirate Lord” so much was that it felt a little magical. Seeing Sam and Celaena interacting while they still had a dislike towards one another was interesting, and then watching them work together to do a good thing was very compelling. I also liked the setting of the rough seafaring town they were in, and I just find pirate stories interesting! I ending up liking the first novella so much that it actually made the others pale in comparison; “The Assassin and the Underworld” was a close second, but it was still “The Assassin and the Pirate Lord” that won me over in these novellas.
Sarah J. Maas produced another set of wonderfully entertaining stories within this novella collection, and I just loved going to go back in time and getting the chance to see the young Celaena again, and it was great having the opportunity to personally get to know Sam. “The Assassin’s Blade” was great, and I just wish there had been more time spent with Sam and Celaena together!