The Assassin’s Blade
by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5
Publication Date: 04 March 2014
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, Hardcover, 435 pages
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Discover where Celaena Sarthodien’s thrilling saga began.
Celaena Sarthodien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, she yields for 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 discovers friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena riskes 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.
Epic, action-packed and overflowing with feels, I’m not sure why I pushed back reading The Assassin’s Blade for so long (4 months-ish). I must’ve been out of my mind because after having read Crown of Midnight, I do remember telling myself that any book by Sarah J. Maas must be read ASAP. Anyway, if you’re reading this and still pondering whether or not to pick up this book already, know that I’m here to convince you to read it. No, not add it to your probably endless TBR list but to actually make you to somehow get a copy and read it. Now.
Shall we begin?
The Assassin’s Blade consists of the 5 Throne of Glass prequel novellas, which are, The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire. Don’t even think about asking me to pick a favorite; every single one of the novellas featured such different adventures yet were all equally amazing. However, I am going to give little summaries of my feelings regarding each of them.
1. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Pardon me if my memory of this one’s a little fuzzy. I had read it earlier this year, before the rest of the novellas. Nonetheless, I do recall getting to catch a glimpse of the real Celaena—the just, generous girl beneath that’s untarnished by her violent profession—as she chooses her morals over career. It’s also where she first started seeing Sam as a person, not simply another competitor and also begin to question orders given to her.
2. The Assassin and the Healer
The shortest of the novellas, this one might come off a little more like a filler. However, it made up for its lack of length through the puzzle pieces it had contributed to the world-building. Told from the POV of both Celaena and Yrene (the healer)—who’s from Melisande, a part of Erilea that has had little mention in the series so far—this novella will hint at the southern continent. From the sound of it, it seemed like a gorgeous place (or at least better than Adarlan Empire) and hopefully, Celaena’s journey might take her there one day too.
3. The Assassin and the Desert
This one here is undoubtedly the most venturesome of the five. It dictated the time Celaena had spent training with the Silent Assassins in the Red Dessert and boy, was it awesome! Despite the gruesome training, the vast difference of culture in the Red Desert as compared to Adarlan had been wholly fascinating. Moreover, with riveting characters such as Ansel, the Mute Master, and Ilias, there was not a single dull moment. And if you thought Celaena was wild, you definitely have yet to witnessed Ansel in action!
4. The Assassin and the Underworld
Back to Adarlan now, this was where everything started escalating and the story’s intensity increased. This had also been where Celaena begin to consider life apart from Arobynn and the Assassins’ Guild. It marked the point where the events leading to her enslavement at Endovier begin. Or well, the more obvious ones, since the avalanche had started growing ever since her actions in the first novella.
5. The Assassin and the Empire
It was so insanely painful to read this. Especially because I knew what would happened at the end. I’m not even going to hint at it for the sake of those who wants to read this prequel before Throne of Glass. Anyway, the heartbreak I had felt in this novella rivaled that of Crown of Midnight. But the horror Celaena had suffered only made me all the more admire her ability to remain strong, unafraid, and cheerful through it all.
Every one of the novellas had provided much insight into Celaena’s past and had introduced us to key people who had influenced her to become the Celaena we knew later on in Throne of Glass. After reading The Assassin’s Blade, all those little inconsistencies and oddities—or so they seemed—in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight would no longer appear confusing. That, by the way, also makes me extremely tempted to reread both those books before Heir of Fire is released.
As for those wondering whether characters from the “main” series made an appearance, barely any of them did, with the exception of the King of Adarlan. The rest had only been mentioned in passing and yes, that meant no Chaol nor Dorian. Though, really, that was to be expected.
Despite the lack of the Captain of the Guard and Crown Prince of Adarlan, the characters in the various novellas, who had all been incredibly colorful and memorable, completely made up for it. Each had their own intricate past and so much personality—both good and bad—that I really hope they would make an appearance again somewhere in the next four Throne of Glass novels.
Ultimately, The Assassin’s Blade strengthened the hold Celaena had on my heart. Through all her trials and hardships, she never broke and always came out not scarless, but still smiling. And if the day comes where something truly breaks Celaena, Sarah J. Maas may as well rip my heart out already. But back to the present for now. In my opinion, the most valuable thing I took away from The Assassin’s Blade had been how unselfishly Celaena loves. Yes, I’m utterly aware she’s insanely selfish most of the time but when it comes to the times that count, she never fails to put those she loves first and herself last.
No matter how selfish Celaena is on the surface, when she loves, she loves—in every respect—selflessly.