Learn to Face Your Pain

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan | Bloomsbury Children's Bookss
Pages: 464 pages
Source & Format:
Series: Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
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.

Thoughts on The Assassin's Blade
I never expected to fall in love with Throne of Glass the way that I did. I'd read some lukewarm reviews of it before I picked it up, but I was intrigued enough by the summary and spurred on by Alexa's love for them. I ended up finding a new favorite series in the process, so I'm so glad that I gave them a shot! While I can see how this series wouldn't work for everyone, it was a total home run for me. I went straight from Throne of Glass into Crown of Midnight, and DANG. Maas totally stepped up her game in the second book! I thought the first was really good, but the second book took me to fangirl status.

When I heard about the e-novellas, I went straight ahead and bought them for my Kindle. For some reason, I didn't read them right away... and then came the news that they were being printed into this stunning hardcover! I bought that book the instant it came out, and it definitely didn't take me long to read it. The stories in The Assassin's Blade take place before the events in Throne of Glass, but you don't have to read these to understand what's going on in that book. While some people dislike these "extras," I love having the option to read more from my favorite world if I want. I don't like when the novellas are necessary to understand something in the full-length book, but I love when they flesh something out or expand upon a storyline that was deserving of more attention.

For me, The Assassin's Blade was the perfect example of how these novellas, when done right, can just make me fall more in love with a world or character. There are five stories contained in The Assassin's Blade:
  • 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 Empired
The five stories build upon one another and are in chronological order. They're complete stories in their own right, but they do tie really nicely together. I so appreciated getting some background on Celaena! You see her as an assassin and witness her skills more in this book than you do in Throne of Glass, which I know is one common complaint about that first book. There's no denying that she's a force to be reckoned with in this world! That being said, you also see her vulnerability and her pride. It's the pride that sometimes causes Celaena to stumble - she overlooks obvious threats, makes careless errors, etc. And yet, I liked that quality. It adds a complexity and realness to her because she is, after still a teenager.

You also meet Sam in these stories, and that thread throughout the five stories was probably my favorite. I loved him so much! Maas certainly knows how to write swoonworthy boys, and they're all so different from one another. I loved the bickering between him and Celaena, and I'm so glad their interaction was such an important part of this book.

Honestly, I loved everything about The Assassin's Blade! It actually makes my list of favorite books so far in 2014, which totally surprised me. I knew I'd love anything Maas wrote, but I didn't expect the novellas to feel like such a complete book in their own right. I'm glad I got to see how Celaena became the skilled woman that I've come to know and love in the later books. And, as I said in my comments on the book in my Top Ten Tuesday post, "each story shows you an aspect of Celaena's past that had led to her present and will likely influence her future." That's a total win for me!

So Quotable
"Let me give you a bit of advice," [Celaena] said bitterly, "from one working girl to another: Life isn't easy, no matter where you are. You'll make choices you think are right, and then suffer for them."

5 comments:

  1. I am a huge fan of the Throne of Glass series and just bought The Assassin's Blade a few weeks ago. It's so great to hear from you that these novella's provide a little more insight but are also great little stand-alone stories. Now I'm even more excited to read them...and I cannot wait to meet Sam. I've heard some wonderful things! ;-)

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  2. I loved these novellas!!!! SO happy you loved them too because can you really go wrong with Celaena?! And Sam?!?! Ugh the pain!!!!! Even knowing what happens it hurt my heart so badly!!!

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  3. I definitely need to read this series! I've been hearing so much love for it lately. I love to hear the novellas are well done though -- that is not always the case when these kinds of things are published as a supplement to a series.

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  4. YES. YES. YES. You already know how much I love this series! I'm thrilled that the novellas were a major bonus for you, and I think that it's great that you feel that it could read as one full book. Sarah's AWESOME at writing her stuff!

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  5. I'm of conflicting opinions about "supplemental" novellas like this. I think I'm gradually coming around to the conclusion that they're a good thing as long as they're truly supplemental and not taking away from the experience reading the full-length novels. You certainly make a good case that's what's going on here!
    I really do need to start reading this series! I have a feeling I'll quite enjoy it. Maybe I'll wait until Heir of Fire comes out so I can read four (well, three and the novellas) all at once. :)

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