Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review: The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Title: The Assassin's Blade
Series: Throne if Glass #0.5
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: by Bloomsbury
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Synopsis: 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 readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling—and deadly—world.

I was told this is the best place to start the series and having now read Throne of Glass I understand why. This is the Celaena Sardothian origin story. This is the explanation of how she got to be who she is and where she is mentally and physically as of Throne of Glass. It reads very different to Throne of Glass. This is not a plot driven story. It is a character-driven one. Now don't get me wrong, there are of course some exciting plot threads and plenty of adventure. I mean we are following an assassin on her missions, there are bound to be some action-packed fight scenes. But that's not what this book is about. This book is about how Celaena came to be the person we know her as today. Throughout this book we really get to spend time in her head. Understanding her strengths, her weaknesses, and her motivations. This is how Celaena Sardothian became the person we know and love.

And love Celaena I do! I'm not sure how I would feel about her had I started with Throne of Glass. She is very different in that book than she is in this one. This is the book where you get to experience her Hero's Journey and watch her character arc progression. She's not your average badass female heroine. Well she is, and she isn't. Yes she is an incredibly skilled fighter but not quite a hardened warrior. Celaena is an assassin with a heart of gold. She often kills with precision and without question but deep down she cares for others. She's vain and cocky but is willing to help those not as adept as her. She's snarky and disgruntled but she's also effervescent and sweet. She is a giant ball of contradictions and that is what is so great about her. She's complex and interesting.

Usually I don't like short stories or novellas. I like the ability to spend an extended period of time with the character and the world. I am never really satisfied with that when it comes to short stories. But what I liked about The Assassin's Blade was that while each book had a distinct plot and ending, each one built on the previous one to read as a cohesive larger story. Even if you don't like novellas or short stories this book, the bind up, is worth a read.

In each of the novellas we get to go on missions with Celaena. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was really just an introduction. We meet Celaena and Sam, we see how they are tough as nails with a heart of gold. The Assassin and the Healer is the shortest and probably the most character driven of the five, it communicates the killing machine with a heart of gold contradiction that I love about Celaena. The Assassin and the Desert was my favorite. There were some fantastic fight scenes but it also had great secondary characters. It was the one which most showed Celaena's weaknesses and why she's interacts with others the way she does. The Assassin and the Underworld had the most political intrigue and the most world-building. In this one for the first time you got to stay in Rifthold and see the situation in Adarlan. The Assassin and the Empire had the most feels. This is the one which taught us how Celaena got to be in the Endovier Salt Mines and created some still unresolved questions that I'm hoping get revealed in later books. Each of the novellas were different and distinct. Each was full of action and intrigue and were a great introduction into the world of Throne of Glass. A world I can't wait to further explore.

I give The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas a 9 out of 10

This book is a great introduction to an interesting and compelling world with complex and enjoyable characters and lots of action. If you are like me and one of the last people in the blogosphere who has not yet read this series, start with The Assassin's Blade. If you had read this series and enjoy it, read the novellas. They are essential to understanding Celaena and this world.

Have you read The Assassin's Blade? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize there were so many books in this series (including the novellas)! I haven't read the series yet, but I feel like I'm seeing a review at least once a day. Maybe I should just break down and give it a try. Thanks for letting me know where to start!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds