The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas is a the novella bind-up within the Throne of Glass series, AND it was the first book we read in the Throne of Thoughts Read-a-thon!
This book review contains SPOILERS, and if you haven’t read this awesome YA Fantasy series yet (which I highly recommend that you do), you will want to continue scrolling with caution.
“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.“
If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend reading this book FIRST. When I first picked up this series a few years ago, I read Books 1-2 before picking this one up. Going into this one after reading Throne of Glass (#1) first, I had a very vague idea of who some of the characters were since I wasn’t able to remember when they were mentioned later on in the series.
I began reading this series about four years ago when Heir of Fire (#3) was just released, so I really don’t remember the fine details of the story. So when I picked this series up for the Throne of Thoughts Read-a-thon, it was like reading it for the first time (don’t you secretly love when that happens? 🙂 )!
And I have to say that I preferred reading the novella BEFORE moving onto Throne of Glass. Not only do you get more of the story’s chronological sequence of events, but when you come across the characters and situations from the novellas in the main series, the words hit you like an anvil of emotional instability.
I can’t tell you how many times I came across Sam’s name in later books and felt emotionally vulnerable or completely enraged through later discoveries, but I won’t get into all that until a later review.
So as this book is split into five novellas, I am going to discuss each one separately because each has a different significance in later books.
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
As this is the first novella, we are quickly introduced to the snarky, sassy assassin that is Celaena. When you get to know her, you come to find out that she is NOT your ordinary assassin. She encompasses everything about being a ‘girl’ while also kicking butt around every corner. She displays herself as very confident while also slowly showing the reader her growing vulnerability.
“Just so you know . . . I’m going to retrieve Ben’s body . . . But don’t expect me to extend the same courtesy to the rest of you when your time comes.” – Celaena Sardothien, pg 8
We also realize that she isn’t just any cunning assassin, but her character has morals and humanity like you and me. She has that fine line between her ‘job’ and what she believes to be right, and of course, it causes a whole avalanche of problems for her and Sam.
And with assassin novels come the heart pounding, throat slashing skills that make this series one of my favorites. The writing is very emotionally driven while also giving us the gut-wrenching fight scenes that draw you in and never let you go.
‘”I’m going to kill you, Celaena Sardothien,” Rolfe breathed. And he meant it.’ – pg 63
When I read this quote, I couldn’t help but believe that this is what sums up everyone’s encounter with Celaena. I can’t tell you how many times I had to reread this line and find myself chuckling with a hardy ‘good luck.’
Another reason this book makes me laugh is that every time people figure out who Celaena really is, they can’t help but comment on how ‘pretty‘ she is, because apparently, kick-butt assassins are supposed to be all ugly and sinister.
Well, I have to admit she can be rather sinister herself, especially later on.
And on top of all of her skills, she has the smarts to leave Rolfe in a rather awkward position.
“And if I hear that you’re trading slaves, no matter where you go, no matter how far you run, I will hunt you down. That’s twice now I’ve disabled you. The third time, you wont’ be so lucky. I swear that on my name. I’m almost seventeen, and I can already wallop you; imagine how good I’ll be in a few years.” – Celaena, pg 72
Reading Playlist Suggestion: Dark Side by Bishop Briggs.
The Assassin and the Healer
This novella has a more realistic yet darker appeal to it.
We figure out Celaena’s punishment for her stunt with the Pirate Lord, and the result is BRUTAL to say the least.
Sam’s missing and now she’s being sent off to the Desert, and along the way, she looks for some ‘fun’ in a local village. She’s like the calm before the storm, and she knows it. Looking for trouble is definitely her specialty.
Then a young barmaid, with a brushed-away secret, comes into the picture, and we learn more about struggles in their world. Especially for females. When she briefly trains Yrene in defending herself, you just want to cheer her on, but then you remember the reality of her situation.
I really hope she’s a character in the upcoming books!
The Assassin and the Desert
Then Celaena finally arrives at the mute assassins’ door. This novella starts out a little on the slower side and focuses mainly on world building and learning more about the notorious assassin’s backstory.
She gains her first female friend who makes the story feel brighter not only to us but for the main character too. But of course, no happy times last forever for the world’s greatest assassin when Ansel’s lovely secret is uncovered.
Why did she have to let her get away? Celaena is obviously a bigger person that I would’ve been.
My favorite part of this novella was when she received all of the riches from the Master. They both knew he gave her that money just to get under Arobynn’s skin; such a menacingly sly thing to do there lol.
The Assassin and the Underworld
One thing that you will quickly learn with this novella is that Sarah J. Maas is beautifully brutal to her readers.
This is the calm before the storm; like when you realize there’s only one donut left, so you decide to savor every last delightful bite.
Well, your heart needs to savor the next few pages..
We learn that Sam is still alive, but once her eyes come across who was hanging out with him, oh do the evil eyes unleash!
And then we realize what actually happened in that room following their little slave mishap. The wickedness that is Arobynn and his cruel punishments aren’t enough for the two. The jealousy in the writing and the manipulativeness in his character just boiled my blood as I was reading it.
But on a more happier note.
Her and Sam are the cute assassin couple that give you all the feels. It brings out the lightness of the story and makes you want to just rub it in Arobynn’s face.
And their vows to each other towards the end are just so sweet, but did you catch the precursor to what will soon happen??
The Assassin and the Empire
And finally, for the most cold-blooded, ruthless novella ever written.
This one starts out with the characters in that later honeymoon stage, when the disagreements begin to rouse the relationship just slightly. Celaena and Sam are trying to desperately kill all ties with the Guild and run away to live happily ever after.
And then Arobynn goes and shows up at the apartment *ugh,* pleading for her to come back into his arms like nothing ever happened. Thankfully, she says no, but you can’t stop that hard-to-reach itch from driving you crazy.
What is he really up to?
Then the most tragic situation happens to Celaena as she sits and waits for her Sam to come home.. meanwhile, your own heart is just dropped off a skyscraper when you figure out what was actually happening that morning down in the slums.
The fumes of revenge seep from the book. I could literally feel my heart pounding along with her.
And then, you figure out who was behind it all..
“Because I don’t like sharing my belongings.” – Arobynn pg. 428
This book ends where Throne of Glass begins. This is why I recommend that you read The Assassin’s Blade before continuing on because you get all of the emotions that she feels as she reflects on her experiences in later books and how her present is influenced by her past.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. As I am currently in the middle of reading Queen of Shadows (#4), I can say that each of these stories is significant to her hints of backstories throughout the subsequent books.
There is just something about the writing style in this series that completely engulfs you. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves assassins, fantasy, magic, and a tragic love story.
All I have to say is that this is just the beginning of your heart-shattering reading experience.
“My name is Celaena Sardothien, and I will not be afraid.” – pg. 390
Published: 4 March 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
How I Read It: Paperback
Want to join in on finishing the Throne of Glass series?
Currently, we are reading Queen of Shadows (#4) and moving onto Empire of Storms (#5) starting this Wednesday!
Follow along on Instagram @treestandbookreviews for daily reading highlights and goals as we read along through the books using #ThroneofThoughts!
If you enjoyed reading along with me, feel free to leave your comments below! What were your favorite parts of this book?
Stay tuned for more book reviews every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday! You can subscribe below for instant links to each of my posts and help share the love of reading YA!
Until next time..