The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
After reading “Crown of Midnight” by Sarah J. Maas and while awaiting the next two books in the series that I had ordered, I FINALLY borrowed “The Assassin’s Blade” from my library via ebook. I’m usually a hit or miss person with novella bind-ups and I tend to think that you don’t need them when an author releases them. With this particular bind-up, I did it purely to satiate my need for this series and I have found myself loving the stories. They definitely give Celaena a lot more depth as a character, which almost makes me appreciate the first book even more. So for this review, like my last novella bind-up review, I’ll do mini reviews of each of the stories in the bind-up. And yes, I will definitely be purchasing this bind-up…I can’t help it 🙂
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord – 4/5
Arguably, the slowest story of the bunch – but it was still enjoyable, a definite good start. In “Throne of Glass” and “Crown of Midnight”, we hear of Celaena’s time in the Assassin’s Keep as Arobynn’s second-hand, but we also hear of something shady with Arobynn. So, it’s interesting to read about where it all started – and to hear of Celaena’s “upbringing” in the Assassin’s Keep. This first story also focuses on Celaena’s growing relationship with Sam Cortland, who is alluded to in the other novels. Celaena is portrayed as arrogant, as she is second-hand to Arobynn, King of the Assassins – so, she’s annoyingly arrogant. Arobynn send her and Sam to the Pirates under a false guise, because they realize upon arrival that they are there to facilitate a slave trade, which does not sit well with them. This begins the exploration of Celaena’s very complex character as an assassin – someone who is greatly feared, someone who is ruthless, but someone who also really does have a heart of gold and a heart for others. And of course, we see the blossoming relationship between Celaena and Sam.
The Assassin and the Healer – 5/5
Due to Celaena and Sam’s “disobedience” to Arobynn in the first story by freeing the slaves, rather than facilitating the slave trade – Celaena is sent off on to the Red Desert to train with the Mute Master as punishment. She was beaten badly by Arobynn, which was heartbreaking to read about – not gonna lie. On her journey, she stops in some run down tavern hoping to pick a fight to get out her pent up aggression from what happened with Arobynn. At said tavern, she meets the daughter of a healer, who was killed when magic was wiped out from the land by the King of Adarlan, who we are quite intimately familiar with from the other novels. I loved this story as we begin to see Celaena developing friendships with other strong women, like this young healer. Celaena teaches her some self defense, and then they get involved in a bit of a tussle with some men looking for trouble. I enjoyed seeing Celaena work to instill some confidence in the young healer, who then is able to take down one of the men. Celaena then leaves her with enough money to be able to find ship passage to a renowned school for healers – I am hoping that we see this character again soon!
The Assassin and the Desert – 5/5
Another great story – Celaena finally makes it to the Mute Master to begin her training with the Silent Assassins. Again, another great story that begins to really explore the depth of Celaena’s character and her growth as our protagonist. This is another story that exemplifies the distance that she keeps from those around her – and this is where we begin to see that there may be more to Celaena’s past and true identity…which we learn at the end of “Crown of Midnight”. I especially loved reading about Celaena’s training with the Mute Master – FINALLY!!!! While it was established that Celaena was a pretty badass assassin already – I have a feeling that this is one of the elements that really grows her to be the most feared assassin in all the land. Now, I knew there was something super fishy about Ansel from the beginning! Ansel and Celaena’s friendship made the end of that short story so much more heartbreaking – but, I also feel that really started to show Celaena’s heart beyond being this cold assassin. This was definitely one of my favorites, for sure!!
The Assassin and the Underworld – 3/5
This was definitely one of the slower stories, and it bummed me out!! Everything built super slowly and the twist that you see at the end of the story felt super obvious to me due to the slow building of the story. There were two things that I did enjoy about this story though; Celaena’s budding relationship with Sam and that we were beginning to see Arobynn’s true colors. Something about Arobynn never sat right with me and we really began to see it with the way he treats Celaena in this story and with his shady behavior around the mission. Sam definitely has my heart though and this story proves it – which slowly breaks my heart because I know what’s coming! 😥 I wish this was better – when I started this story, I wanted it to be the best.
The Assassin and the Empire – 5/5
This was definitely the story that I was waiting for!!! Oh my – all the feelings!!! Celaena and Sam have moved out of the Assassin’s Keep and I loved reading more about their relationship. I heart Sam Courtland!!! ❤ Celaena and Sam are working towards leaving the Guild entirely to be out of Arobynn’s grasp, so they are trying to figure out a way to earn some money. Sam finds a job, which consists of killing of Rourke Farran and the Rithfold’s Crime Lord, Jayne. Since I’ve read both “Throne of Glass” and “Crown of Midnight” – I knew the outcome of this story, but that doesn’t mean that the feelings didn’t hit me any less. This story had my anxieties on edge the whole time because I knew something was wrong and I suspected Arobynn having a hand in this whole situation. Reading about Celaena losing Sam was heartbreaking in every way that one could imagine it to be – and it definitely gives you a different level of compassion for her, as you read about all that she has lost. This story also leads you up to her time in Endovier and how she gets sent there, which is actually quite interesting as it’s the King that sends her there? Interesting…