Review ~ The Assassin's Blade

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 435 pages
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Borrowed via library
Goodreads
Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom's most feared assassin.  Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin's Guild, she 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 readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling - and deadly - world.


The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas is a book you'll love from page one.  Although I usually tend to stay away from novellas as they diverge from the main storyline and generally feel disjointed and less interesting, The Assassin's Blade completely changed my mind on the matter.  This book is a collection of five - perfectly - written novellas, but as a whole, feels just like another member of the Throne of Glass series.  It reads well, to say the least.  From start to finish, my full attention was captured.  My only wish is for the book to be longer!


The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Talk about an amazing start to an amazing book.  In this first novella, our favorite assassin Celaena Sardothien is sent on a mission to Skull's Bay to negotiate with the Pirate Lord.  A fellow assassin, Sam Cortland, is sent along on the mission to accompany Celaena.  At first, these two can barely stand to be in the same room together, but slowly, learn to cooperate.  I absolutely adored Celaena and Sam's clashing relationship and loved witnessing their relationship develop from fiery hate to . . . mellow "hate."

"Sam," she murmured into his chest.

"Hmm?"

She peeled away from him, stepping out of his arms.  "If you ever tell anyone about me embracing you . . . I'll gut you."

As the two assassins learn more about the mission and each other, they slowly begin to learn more about themselves as well.  We get to witness Celaena refuse her cruel master, Arobynn Hamel's, orders for the first time, and fight for what she knows is just - not what she is simply ordered to do.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord is a novella overflowing with great character development, great relationship development, and an all around exhilarating storyline.


The Assassin and the Healer

Although I can't admit The Assassin and the Healer was my favorite novella, it was still well-written, well-fleshed out and full of character development.  In the aftermath of Celaena and Sam's actions at Skull's Bay and their master, Arobynn's, wrath, Celaena must journey to the Red Desert to meet the Mute Master of Assassins.  However, first, she makes a layover at a small port town called Innish to wait for a ship to take her to the Deserted Land.  It is at a little inn called the White Pig Inn, that Celaena meets a young barmaid named Yrene.  Celaena takes it upon herself to teach Yrene some moves of self-defense and befriends her.

There, in elegant, feminine handwriting, the girl had written:

For wherever you need to go - and then some.  The world needs more healers.

It was nice to see Celaena for the first time in a teacher's role and have the companionship of another female.  Celaena showed her kinder side as she dropped her facade for a few chapters, and truly, I enjoyed the time.


The Assassin and the Desert

Celaena, now across the ocean and in the Deserted Land, journeys to the Silent Assassins' Keep.  Under Arobynn's orders, she must train with the Mute Master of Assassins and receive his stamp of approval before she can return home.  During this action-packed, drama-filled novella, Celaena befriends a fellow assassin, Ansel, and learns an abundance of lessons during her time with the Silent Assassins.  Readers are also slowly filled in on what went down when Celaena and Sam returned from Skull's Bay.

But Celaena held her head high, even as Arobynn said quietly to her, "You are not going to enjoy this.  You will not forget this.  And I don't want you to."

She whipped her head back to Sam, a plea for Harding not to hurt him on her lips.

She sensed the blow only a heartbeat before Arobynn struck her.

Oh, Sam.  My heart was already in pieces.


The Assassin and the Underworld

Sam's triumphant return.  Celaena is finally back in Rifthold and back at the Assassin's Keep.  Either this novella or the first has to be my favorite out of the five.  Once again, Celaena and Sam are out on a mission, and all the meanwhile, their relationship develops gloriously.  I couldn't get enough of their wonderful banter.

"Celaena."  She looked back at him, her red gown sweeping around her.  His eyes shone as he flashed her a crooked grin.  "I missed you this summer."

She met his stare unflinchingly, returning the smile as she said, "I hate to admit it, Sam Cortland, but I missed your sorry ass, too."

This novella made me the most emotional.  There were just so many noteworthy moments to love.  So many noteworthy, quote-worthy moments to revel in.


The Assassin and the Empire

If you've read the ToG series, you know the inevitable happens.  I feel like knowing killed the full impact on a reader, but that's not to say this ending was anticlimactic.  Sarah started the book strong and ended it strong.  She is quite the evil genius.

"You want to know something ridiculous?  Whenever I'm scared out of my wits, I tell myself: My name is Sam Cortland . . . and I will not be afraid.  I've been doing it for years."

The Assassin's Blade had me laughing, smiling, crying - the whole works.  I still can't believe how well-written this collection of novellas is.  I loved it just as much as any other book in the series.

Sarah J. Maas, you are one crazy-amazing author.

I loved it.


Julia's a dreamer. She often zones off periodically throughout the day thinking up plans for the future, pining over fictional characters, and concocting up possible plot lines for stories.

You can find Julia on her main blog, Peach Print, on Twitter @peachprint, on Instagram @yapeach, and of course, right here on the APCB blog.

14 comments:

  1. The more I see this series around, the more I'm dying to start it!! I have this on my immediate TBR. As soon as I'm caught up on my October ARCs, I'm diving into this puppy. Then there's no looking back. I just KNOW I'm going to love this series!! :)

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    1. I definitely recommend this series! I only picked up Sarah's books this year, but ever since then, I've been positively addicted. I'm excited to hear what you think! :-)

      Thanks for the comment,
      Julia Anne

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  2. I've read all the TOG books so far in the series, but I never read the prequels. I don't know why I haven't, though. And awwww GOD, SAM. I know it will hurt when I read this... or maybe it won't so much?

    Vane at Books With Chemistry

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    1. IT WILL HURT! I can guarantee. You should definitely pick up The Assassin's Blade when you have the chance. I loved it just as much as the other books in the series!

      Julia Anne

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  3. This book just tore my heart out. Like you said, if you've read ToG, then you know what happens but I still wasn't prepared at all for the raw emotion. When I read that last quote in the book ("My name is Sam Cortland...") I just broke into little bitty pieces! That phrase suddenly means so much more whenever Celaena uses it! Lovely review!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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    1. Yes, Laura! I totally know what you mean. I've always loved that line, but now it holds such a deeper meaning for me. Glad to hear you also enjoyed this book!

      Julia Anne

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    1. It's great!! Hope you like it!

      Julia Anne

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  5. Oh yes, this book probably killed me. And even knowing what I did about Sam, it still breaks my heart to see that quote from him :( I'm glad you enjoyed it! Great review, I can almost recall back the feels from this book. (':

    Maryam @ Once Upon A Story

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    1. This book practically murdered me. I just loved Sam's character. It's so sad we won't be seeing him in any of the other ToG books. :-(

      Thanks for the comment!
      Julia Anne

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  6. I'll be completely honest: I'm one of those odd people who is a bit ambivalent towards the Throne of Glass series, but I absolutely loved these novellas. It was great getting to see Celaena and what happened to her that made her the character she was at the beginning of Throne of Glass. Thanks for sharing Julia Anne and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

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  7. Excellent review! I also loved this novella set. I FINALLY read it before I read Queen of Shadows. I'm not sure what took me so long to finally pick it up. I heard that many of the characters from The Assassin's Blade come back for Queen of Shadows so I knew I finally needed to read it. I was SOOOO glad I did. Ansel...wow, right? Also, I'm glad to have seen the backstory for Lysandra. Great review!

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  8. Definately going to check this out!

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  9. The more I hear about these books the more I know I need to read them! I love the sound of the novella collection being such a great addition to the series. As you said before, most times I do get a bit disappointed when it comes to novella collections myself. But these sound wonderful.

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