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

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Pages: 435
Format: Kindle/Own

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 listeners 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


Review: I thought this was a fantastic set of novellas to introduce us to Celaena and the previous events that led up to her getting sent to the Salt Mines to begin with. I think it was really good in showing her strengths, her weaknesses, and just what would happen if pushed too far. So I'm gonna split this into 5 parts and talk about each story itself. 

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
We see Celaena sent on a mission from Arobynn to deal with the Pirate Lord Rolfe. I really liked this because we got to see multiple things from Celaena. First we definitely get to see her strength. We see her incredible assassin skills come out as she takes on pirate after pirate. But we also get to see a moral part of Celaena too. She knows this little deal Arobynn is trying to make for slaves is wrong. So we see her make the choice to free the slaves even though she knows it'll incur Arobynns wrath. Despite her job occupation, we see she still has morals and knows whats right and wrong. I loved this. We also see her go from hating Sam to genuinely liking him after what he did to help her in dealing with Rolfe. 

The Assassin and the Healer
Despite this one being more about the healer, Yrene, than Celaena, I still enjoyed it. Yrene wanted to go and learn to be a healer after the death of her mother. She only got part of the way to her destination before running out of money and being stuck as a barmaid in a small town. When Celaena comes across her after being sent away from Arobynn and the Assassins guild as punishment, she ends up saving Yrene from being attacked by a bunch of mercenaries. She then teaches Yrene self defense and how to get out of potential situations like that but also finds out about her plight and ends up deciding to give her a good chunk of her money so she can go and learn and become the healer she wanted to be. I loved that Celaena thought it a good idea to teach Yrene to protect herself, but also that she decided to be a selfless person and help her continue her journey so she didn't have to wait tables for a boss that kept finding ways to steal more and more of her pay so she couldn't leave. 

The Assassin and the Desert
I think this is the story that had the biggest impact on Celaena going forward. She has to come to the Red Desert to be trained by the Mute Master assassin. But while she's there, she also makes a friend, a friend that later goes on to betray her. I really think it was the betrayal of someone she grew really close to that changed her. She became good friends with Ansel, they even stole horses together, of which Celaena even took the blame for when it wasn't her idea. And then she just gets backstabbed. I knew as soon as Celaena woke to being abandoned on the horse by Ansel in the middle of the desert that something was fishy. And that army just solidified it. I was really hoping Ansel was one of those people that would overcome what happened to them but instead, she was just bitter and filled with rage wanting to get vengeance. I really loved that Celaena really took what the Mute Master taught her and used it. I also liked that the Mute Master really grew to like Celaena, especially after she came back to save them from Ansels betrayal and helped pay off her debt to Arobynn. 

The Assassin and the Underworld
I definitely enjoyed this because Celaena finally admits she has feelings for Sam and Vice Versa. We also find out what happened to him after Celaena's beating and what he's had to deal with being stuck with Arobynn in the guild. He's pretty much been given all the crap jobs including helping plan parties/events. For an assassin, that's pretty low. Celaena also isn't super trustful of Arobynn in this novella and at the end pretty much tells him to shove it by paying off both her's and Sams debt so they can get out. Arobynn used her softness for slaves to make her assassinate someone trying to protect and free them by saying he was actually trying to make them slaves and trade them. This pretty much made her snap. Good for Celaena for getting out of Dodge after he pulled this. I thought it was also incredibly cruel to use the money Celaena gave him to pay of her debt to win the bidding of the courtesan he knew Celaena hated. 

The Assassin and the Empire
This one really broke my heart. We see Celaena and Sam start worrying about money since they haven't been able to pick up any assassin contracts. On top of that, they have to pay a huge sum to leave the Assassin's guild itself and not be sought after for dues. They have to take on an incredibly risky contract that seems to be the only one they can find. I'm so sad. I can't believe what happened to Sam. =..( And then Celaena goes after the people responsible for what happened to Sam only to get into a bad situation herself. Now, granted, Celaena didn't exactly think through what she was doing, but still. She ends up walking into a trap and being handed over to the King for her crimes (her assassinations). This is how she ends up being sent to the Salt Mines where she starts Throne of Glass at. After all she goes through in these short stories, you feel bad for her that this is what happens. One thing that annoyed me incredibly though was Arobynn. Celaena doesn't seem to know yet, but he's the one who betrayed her and helped with setting the trap for her. And then he says "I don't like sharing my belongings," to justify it. Um, if you guys saw my ACOTAR stuff, you know I hate Tamlin for acting like Feyre is his property. So this really stuck a nerve. Sorry Arobynn, she paid off her debt to you, SHE DOESN'T BELONG TO YOU YOU SELFISH ARROGANT YOU KNOW WHAT! 


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