Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass novellas, The

Sarah J. Maas
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.Included in this volume: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord The Assassin and the Healer The Assassin and the Desert The Assassin and the Underworld The Assassin and the Empire

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-05-07
This review may contain some spoilers! The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of 5 short stories that take place before the first book, Throne of Glass. I am going to go through each story and give a little synopsis of it and what I thought of it. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord | Rating: 3/5 Celaena Sardothien and Sam Cortland are sent by Arobynn, to Skull’s Bay. Arobynn has some business with Captain Rolfe, Lord of the Pirates but Celaena thinks they are there for other reasons. Three assassin’s from their guild were found dead and she believes that the Pirate Lord is responsible. But Arobynn lied to her. He sent her there believing that she was sent there for that purpose but she was really sent to be a part of a slave trade that would make Arobynn a lot of money. She starts making a plan and decides that she wants to free the slaves and Sam wants to help. This story was a little boring to me. I couldn’t keep my focus on it and found myself thinking of other things while reading. I’m not entirely sure why either because I’m very fond of stories with pirates. Anyway, Celaena is not a huge fan of Sam’s. She thinks he is annoying and doesn’t particularly like that she is sent to Skull’s Bay with him. But after they finish their tasks, she starts thinking that maybe he’s not so bad. The entire time Celaena is in Skull’s Bay she’s wearing a suit that covers her face so that no one can see what she looks like. She even goes so far as to not eat when she is dining with the Pirate Lord, which just made me laugh. All of the parts with her and Sam are cute and I think it makes the story more interesting that they started out as a hate-love relationship. The Assassin and the Healer | Rating: 4/5 Celaena is traveling and is staying at the White Pig Inn, in Innish where she meets Yrene. Celaena sits in the corner of the pub with her cloak on and gets a lot of looks from the locals and workers in the pub. Yrene works at the White Pig and brings Celaena her drinks and food. Celaena just looks like she’s asking for a fight but one night in an alley, a group of men try to cross Yrene and Celaena just happens across them and takes care of them. Yrene tells Celaena that she can bandage her up and help her because she is a healer. Celaena goes with her and decides that she is going to train Yrene so that she can defend herself. I really enjoyed this story when I read it, but as I read the other stories in the book, it didn’t hold up as they did. And after reading the others, this one seems to be the most out of placed. I’m sure we will see Yrene later in the series (hopefully). I really liked Yrene and I felt so bad that she was working at the White Pig. She had original plans to work there long enough to get money so she could go to Antica and receive training in healing. But she just got too comfortable and it became easy for to just stay in Innish. Celaena is a little rough on Yrene and just straightforward with her. Maybe that’s why I had so much sympathy for her. The Assassin and the Desert | Rating: 5/5 Celaena was sent to the Mute Master in the Red Desert for training by Arobynn because of her disobedience when she freed the slaves in Skull’s Bay. She is to spend 1 month there and receive a letter from the Mute Master saying that she has received the training. Celaena quickly befriends Ansel, who is also an assassin training there but she has never received any personal training from the Master and says that it may never happen for Celaena. Celaena is worried because she just wants to get the letter and leave. But chaos erupts and she must say goodbye to a friend in order to save others. I really really loved this story. It really showed me that Celaena can make friends with other females. But it also showed me that Celaena is not at all humble. She thinks that she is the best of the best and can take anyone. She walks into the Silent Assassin’s guild thinking that she is better than everyone and I don’t really like that kind of attitude. But Celaena makes a friend in Ansel and I really loved to see their friendship bloom. I was always suspicious of Ansel though even from the beginning so I did see that coming, but it didn’t take away the great story. The Assassin and the Underworld | Rating: 4/5 Celaena is back in Rifthold with Arobynn but she has brought some money with her to pay for her freedom. But she doesn’t give it to Arobynn immediately because she’s worried what will happen between the two of them. This is also the first that she sees Sam since Skull’s Bay and she’s delighted to see him but hides her feelings of that. Arobynn gives Celaena her first job back, and Celaena is happy to oblige since she is to assassinate Doneval, who has some documents showing the people who are opposed of Adarlan and to the slave-trade, that he wants to set up a slave-trade to import and export the slaves. So he will use the documents to force those opposed to stand with him. Celaena assassinates him but it’s too late. Arobynn lied to her about the whole thing and she killed innocent people. This story we really get to see the relationship between Celaena and Sam. Sam tells her that he loves her and Celaena finally pays Arobynn so she can be free. She also pays for Sam’s freedom. This is where we also get to see how terrible Arobynn really is. I mean he was obviously terrible before, but if you didn’t see it before, you definitely can see it now. I mean he lied about the entire operation of the job he gave Celaena and she thought she was doing something great. I can’t wait to see Arobynn tortured because I have feeling that, one day that will happen later on the other books. The Assassin and the Empire | Rating: 5/5 Celaena and Sam are now free of Arobynn and are trying to find work but it’s not easy. They decide they want to pay out their way out of Arobynn’s Guild, because even though they are free of Arobynn, they are still part of the Assassin’s Guild. But Celaena would have to spend ALL of her money in order to free both her and Sam of the Guild and they have plans to move out of Rifthold. Sam finds a job for them to assassinate Ioan Jayne, the biggest Crime Lord in Rifthold and his second in command, Rourke Farran. Celaena is totally against it at the beginning but then realizes that she really wants to get away with Sam and tells him they will do it. This story hurt so bad! If you have read Throne of Glass then you know the outcome of Sam Cortland. And after reading about their cute romance and the way he died was just awful and unimaginable. We also know that Celaena ends up in Endovier to work in the Salt Mines. So while I was reading this story I knew the outcome but it was still a great story just very heartbreaking. Celaena just didn’t give any cares after Sam dies and you can just feel all of her emotions in Sarah J. Maas’ writing. I thought these novellas were very well written and I’m glad that I read them. I’ll be starting up next with Heir of Fire and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Reviewed: 2017-12-07
** Read as individual novellas, reviewing also as the bind-up! **

Full review posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide: I had been meaning to start THRONE OF GLASS for a long time and was juuuust about to start it when Nikki from There Were Books Involved advised me to read the novellas first. See, this would haven’t been my first read of THRONE OF GLASS. I had actually tried back when the book first came out in 2012 and made it about 80 pages before my book was due back the library… But I hadn’t been really interested it in. I had found it a bit hard to get into and I think I wasn’t at a point in my reading life at that point in time where I could really appreciate fantasy as much as I do now. When Nikki advised me to read the novellas first because they actually helped her appreciate THRONE OF GLASS that much more, I decided that was definitely the best route for me.

The funny story is… I was only able to borrow some digitally from my local library so I had to purchase the others… and ended up accidentally reading them out of order (I read the third one first and the first one third). It didn’t really affect my overall opinion too much, but more of a funny little story which obviously wouldn’t have happened if I was actually reading THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE. Oh well!

THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD is the first novella of the bunch (and the one I ended up reading third. Oops) and I’m actually kind of glad I ended up reading it out of order. I really loved all of the novellas but I think this one was my least favorite. Since I read the third one first, I already knew essentially what happened here and it wasn’t that it was anticlimactic but more so that I had already seen a more mature Celaena — even two novellas later — so I grew a bit impatient with her at times. It wasn’t a huge deal for me, but I did notice it a bit. I also felt like the plot was probably the least interesting out of the four that I read and felt more like a string of sequences than something that really flowed. It did have quite a bit of important foreshadowing in there, though, and it was really great to get that foundation for both the world and the characters. This was also an extremely important story because it really sets to motion absolutely everything that leads up to THRONE OF GLASS.

The second novella (skipping over the one that is only in TaB… so technically # 0.3) is THE ASSASSIN AND THE DESERT. I think I enjoyed this more than THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD because Celaena really starts to learn things about herself and is both mentally and physically pushed to the limits on so many levels. It’s easy to know who you think you are but once you’re put in extremely trying situations, you start to see the person you really are and what weaknesses emerge. It was heartbreaking too, because I think Celaena really opened up and discovered a lot about herself but then both of those things made her close herself off again. I really loved the relationships in this novella a lot and I think it was a really important piece of Celaena’s background that we got to know.

The next novella was THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD (that I accidentally read first) and I just fell in love. It was so intriguing and so complex for a novella! I really felt like I got to know all of the characters so intimately and each of the characters — as well as the plot lines — really begin to grow. There were TWISTS and things I did not see coming and it was probably one of the best novellas I have read in a long time (maybe ever?)… That is until….

THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE — HOLY CRAP, you guys. This novella BROKE me. It was flat out amazing and also set up a lot for THRONE OF GLASS but there were so many things I didn’t expect and so many things that completely floored me. If you read the main novels first — as goes for any of these novellas — you already know what happens in the end but I got to experience all of that backstory first hand and it was… well it was a wild ride. This is one of THE best novellas I’ve ever read and all of these are worth the read, whether you’ve already read all of the books so far in the series or not.

My overall opinion of the novellas is that they’re must-reads for fans of this series. I know a lot of people actually aren’t a fan of novellas but these four (and I’m assuming the fifth that I haven’t read yet) all fit together to really kind of form a whole new story in one book. I read them all before I started THRONE OF GLASS which you don’t have to do, but I really enjoyed it because these are all prequel novellas and I really felt like I was reading the series in chronological order. Given what I’ve learned so far in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, I think it’s important to read these novellas before book two because there is a lot of history explained there that really makes more sense and draws on more emotions if you’ve read the novellas first.
Reviewed: 2017-01-06

This was one of the most thrilling and heartbroken book I've read yet. It gave me so much feelings and as I turn page after page I couldn't stop. I just simply need to know what happens (I actually already knew what was going to happen and I was dreading towards the end BUT it was a really good book and I couldn't help but feel like I was part of the scene) This book is about when Celaena was with Arobynn and back at the Assassin's Keep. She went through this mission with Sam which they had to do something risky. Celaena then went far away a few chapters later to train with someone. When she came back to the Keep something changed between her and Sam and one thing led to another. The ending is something that's not easy to handle and just plain out sad. We learn a lot about Celaena's background while she was still Arobynn's protegee. Definetely something you should read before reading the actual first book which is: Throne of Glass (ToG). Though I read this series in the wrong order, I just really love Sarah J Maas's world she had created. My new favorite author at the same time favorite series so far.

Reviewed: 2016-02-18

This is a book of five short stories that take place before Throne of Glass and really helped get me into Celaena's head. Since I read it after reading the rest of the series, it helped with back story on the characters from Celaena's past that she grows to love or hate over the course of the series. There was a ton of great action and adventure and romance and despair. This book is beautiful and the last story will gut you.

Reviewed: 2016-01-02
Ok so this is my most favorite series, even though this book was the second one I read In the series I love knowing someone's back story, and where they come from I probably cried the most in this book I haven't furnished the series I'm currently on the last book, I loved Sam ughhh WHY SAM!
Reviewed: 2015-04-24
The best book in the series. The novellas are fun, they're easy to read, and make you have so many feels. This was a prequel for the Throne of Glass series so you really get to see Celeana's life before she went into the Endeavor. It has romance, action, and everything you would want in a book. I would recommend reading this book first because it transitions into the Throne of Glass so beautifully. I can't express how much I love this book. Please read it, you won't regret it.
Reviewed: 2015-03-30

I like the romance between Celaena and Sam before Sam ever lived on the page. As much as I like him as a character in his own right, I didn't love the way the romance between them was written. I had such high expectations. This also did weird things to my thoughts about Arobynn. 

Still, I loved it, as I am firmly devoted to this series at this point. 

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