Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: The Assassin's Blade

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5
Published March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury

Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.
The Assassin's Blade is a prequel to the Throne of Glass Series that consists of 5 separate novella-length adventures featuring everyone's favorite assassin: Celaena Sardothien.  The adventures all have their own separate storylines but they're also all connected and work together to tell the story of who Celaena was before the events of Throne of Glass.  It truly is a must read for fans of the series, so if you haven't picked this one up already, than hopefully my review will convince you to do just that.

Usually, novellas tend to be like little extras for hardcore fans already obsessed with the series.  The Assassin's Blade however, is so much more than that!  First of all, the 5 adventures Celaena takes us on add up to one full sized book. Win.  And second,  combined together, these novellas make up a vital part of the story, one that should not be skipped or overlooked!  Don't get me wrong, you'll love the Throne of Glass series regardless but The Assassin's Blade simply takes the story to a whole. other. level.  It ties into the actual series in wonderfully tantalizing ways, and it lays the groundwork for some truly epic storylines that have yet to come!

Of course, the best part of The Assassin's Blade is the deeper insight it offers us on our heroine Celaena.  I'd always been immensely curious as to how exactly her life was before the events of Throne of Glass.  You have to admit that a girl like Celaena must have had one killer past. *ahem* So yeah, I went into this already expecting epic.  Was I let down, even in the tiniest way?  Hell no!  I honestly don't know how Sarah J. Maas does it, but she managed to blow away even my highest expectations!  The woman is a genius.  Every aspect of Celaena's personality is accounted for by the situations she gets put in, the people she encounters and the training/jobs she does.  Through Celaena's adventures, she reveals her true nature, she is tested beyond anything she'd ever imagined, and then she's put through hell for good measure.  It was an emotional roller-coaster of a ride but it was so worth it!

The secondary characters we get to meet throughout The Assassin's Blade are really all incredibly memorable : there's a Pirate Lord, a Healer, a band of Silent Assassin's led by a Mute Master...and then there's Sam and Arobynn.  Those who've read the ToG series will no doubt be familiar with both of them - Celaena references them quite a bit and I'd always wanted to know more about the pair of them.  Sam was easily my favorite of the two.  In fact, there's absolutely no contest.  Sam stole my heart quick and he kept it.  It's as simple as that.  But Arobynn...*sigh*  Let's just say, the man known as the King of all Assassins lives up to his reputation.  In either case, I was fascinated by Celaena's relationship with both Sam and Arobynn - it really added depth to our heroine's past; not to mention insight into her current self.

Bottom line: The Assassin's Blade is a collection of the best novellas I've ever read. Each new adventure fit in perfectly after it's predecessor, each encompassing a definitive moment in Celaena's history and with every new adventure, our beloved heroine adapts, grows and evolves.   To me, these short stories start off with a bang and simply keep getting better and better.  I loved the continuity of these five unique storylines and how they all work together connecting one overarching plot line.  The ending was an emotional affair in more ways than one.  I was completely shattered: I cried, I drowned in feels, and my love for Celaena grew infinitely - which I didn't even think was possible! These adventures are an essential part of the Throne of Glass story and one that needed to be told!  A must read!

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

10 comments:

  1. Oh I'm so glad you decided to do a combined novella review because it really stands up so well as it's own book! I could not agree with you more here: these novellas really do take the series to a whole new level and made me love Celaena even MORE. I sincerely hope she gets her sweet revenge on Arobynn at some point in the series because MAN how heartbreaking was that ending?? Really great thoughts here - thanks for sharing!

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    1. I couldn't resist, I felt like they all deserved separate reviews when I read the e-book editions but then reading TAB, I though: I'm going to have to review this entire gem as one book too! Gah! I didn't think it was even possible to love and admire Celaena more than I already did, but this took things to a whole other level ♥ I share your hope for Arobynn's faith. Very strongly. *grumbles* And YES the ending gutted me, especially: ''I am Celaena Sardothien and I will not be afraid.'' ...excuse me while I cry my heart out :*(

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  2. I completely agree with this review. I bought the Assassin's Blade the week it came out and it is amazing!! I've only read the Pirate Lord novella, because I'm trying to pace myself so I have something to hand me over before the Heir of Fire release, but it's been hard. I think the next time I pick it up I'm going to end up reading the whole thing in one setting.
    I really like how we get to see Arobynn because he is such a notorious character in the first two books and so it was really interesting to read about him. Same thing with Sam.
    Great review :D

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    1. Sigh...I know what you mean: I tried to draw out reading them when I read my separate e-book versions. Then of course, this baby came out and I had to plow through the whole thing again >.< They definitely get better with every.single.installment so hold on tight, you're in for one hell of a ride Kimberly ;-) And I agree: getting to know Arobynn and Sam added more depth to Celaena's past...and it helped understand her character better too!

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  3. I still cannot believe that I forgot to pre-order this. *facepalm* That cover is so badass, and the novellas sound like they are, too! OK, I think you've convinced me that I need to get a hold of this ASAP AND not let it linger on my shelf once I do. Lovely review, Micheline! :D

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    1. LOL XD The cover is SO badass and yes these novellas are too! I've never been so impressed about novellas - or an MC's past before in my life. I really hope you get to read it soon Lee, you won't be disappointed :D

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  4. I love that these novellas really add something to the series, rather just being an add on that's not relevant or necessary to be read!

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    1. I agree! To me this is the new standard in novellas...or prequels and it's as much a part of the Throne of Glass story arc as the main books. I just have so much love for this series!!

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  5. Eeeee I'm glad you loved them too! It's such a.wonderful book and adds so much to the series :D great review hun! X

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    1. Eeeeep *happy dance* This is shaping up to be one of THE best series' of all time :-D Thanks love xx

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