Monday, August 25, 2014

{Book Talk} The Assassin's Blade: Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 8/10
Series: Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5
Genre: High Fantasy, Adventure, Action, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Bloomsburry Childrens
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Page Count: 435
Format: Hardcover/eBook
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

***In Loving the Language of Literacy, a Book Review means that the review is spoiler free. Meanwhile, a Book Talk means that the review has spoilers. So in case you haven't read the book.... you are forewarned***

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Anyone in search of a high, epic fantasy with the perfect blend of kick-assery and a touch of romance

Would I Buy It?

There's a 90% chance I would buy The Assassin's Blade to grow my collection of Sarah J. Maas novels, and I am hoping to go to her book signing in September, so I would obviously want to own the book for that occasion.

Background & Backstory

I have read Throne of Glass, and while I did not ever finish writing my review of it (it's literally sitting in my drafts), I did give it 4 out of 5 stars. So obviously, I would want to dig my teeth into anything else Maas has written. And to be honest, I actually enjoyed The Assassin's Blade more than I enjoyed Throne of Glass.

The backstory for this novel is that I had borrowed the eBooks of novellas 0.1, 0.3-0.5. I would have borrowed 0.2, but it's exclusive ONLY to the hard copy of The Assassin's Blade. Long story short, I read the ones I was capable of borrowing on my iPad, then had to go to the library to pick up the book in hard copy so I could read 0.2 aka The Assassin and the Healer. 

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Why must the world be so cruel to me?

How Necessary Is It To Read The Assassin's Blade?

While The Assassin's Blade isn't ABSOLUTELY needed in the series (Maas provides enough back story and explanation in the novel), it is absolutely necessary so you, as the reader, can get more out of the series by knowing everything that had happened before and all of the catalysts for what happened in Throne of Glass. As I said, I enjoyed The Assassin's Blade more than Throne of Glass itself, so that alone should tell you at least something about the enjoyment level, if not informational content. 

How Necessary Is It To Read The Novellas In Order?

Even though you can read each novella on its own and in any order, you could also consider The Assassin's Blade a complete, 50,000 word count novel. I read them in order, but skipped one and was confused, because even though it isn't vital to read The Assassin's Blade from cover to cover, it was as if you read Chapters 1-5 then 11-25, THEN came back for Chapters 6-10.


I tweeted the other day that I know Sam died, but I am officially Team Sam. Basically forget you Chaol and Dorian. This is because Celaena and Sam are just so darn cute. While Celaena's relationships with Dorian and Chaol seemed a little insta-lovey to me, Sam and Celaena have had years to develop their friendship, and as luck may have it.... they've fallen in love with each other. The way their relationship came about could be considered cliche, but I loved being able to see their progression from the first novella to the last, and that made it all the more heartbreaking when we learned exactly how Sam was brutally murdered.

"Death, at least, was quick. Especially when dealt by her hand. But slavery was unending suffering." --- 47% The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

While Celaena annoyed me to no end, it was fascinating to see her views on slavery, and the level of passion she had for slavery. In both 0.1 and 0.4, her downfall is caring too much about them, which is ironic considering how cold-blooded she can be.


Celaena. That was literally the only con in the entire novella bind-up. Celaena. 

"Oh it was so nice to be back in civilization, wither her beautiful clothes and shoes and jewels and cosmetics and all the luxuries she'd have to spend the summer without." --- 17% The Assassin and the Underworld.

I can't tell you how many times I have read or watched reviews that admire Celaena as a strong, badass female protagonist and that annoys me SOOO much. In my humble opinion, she's a whiny, self-entitled, riches-obsessed, selfish, spoiled brat. I know I'm being harsh on her.... but come on! I highlighted every section where Celaena annoyed me, and let me tell you, there are a lot. Because the amount of times she said she was "Ardalan's Best Assassin" got on my last nerves. She acted like, "Poor me, I'm not the center of attention any more."

"As she walked back to her room, Celaena had a horrible feeling that here, being Ardalan's Assassin might not count for much." ---The Assassin and the Desert 32% 

0.1 The Assassin and the Pirate Lord 5/10

"I'm surprised Arobyn hasn't made you check your arrogance," --- 29% The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

I'm sorry, I flat out didn't like this novella. While what Celaena did was valiant -freeing the slaves- there was a lot of excess fluff, and I personally believe that it could have been a heck of a lot more fast paced. On the flip side aka. the +5 in the rating, I have to give it some credit since we were just being introduced to the new cast of characters, and the writing style was incredibly descriptive and rich without being boring.

"A city of light and music, watched over by an alabaster castle with an opal tower so bright it could be viewed for miles." ---53% The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

0.2 The Assassin and the Healer 7/10

Going into this novella, I thought the story was about Ben, the other man Celaena briefly fancied before Sam and the Silent Assassin's son. Obviously, it was mentioned that Ben had died in the previous novella, but for some reason, my brain was convinced that the story would go back in time. So I was surprised to learn that TAatH was set in the period before Celaena went to the Red Desert. The concept of the story was nice, it wasn't fast paced, but it did provide some insight on Celaena's ability to feel compassion for people other than herself, and her ideals on feminism in whatever fantastical time period Throne of Glass takes place in.

0.3 The Assassin and the Desert 8/10

"For all she knew, Ansel might be better than her. The thought didn't sit well." --- The Assassin and the Desert 11%

As you can see, this was my favorite novella of all of them and I think that it's because I loved how Maas plopped us into an ENTIRELY different environment with new characters, rules, and customs. In fact, if she wanted to write a novella about Celaena going back to or getting helped by the Silent Assassins, I would read it in a heartbeat. While the assassins of the north are brutal, the Silent Assassins kill with a purpose and are strangely zen, kind of like the stereotypical ones from the Disney Channel move - Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior.

"Her taste for very expensive and very delicate underwear wouldn't do much for her reputation." ---14% The Assassin and the Desert

0.4 The Assassin and the Underworld 7.5/10

"Father, brother, lover - he'd never really declared himself any of them. He loved her like family, yet he put her in the most dangerous positions. HE nurtured and educated her, yet he'd obliterated innocence the first time he'd made her enda life. He'd given her everything, but he'd also taken everything away." --- 6% 

This is the novella where Sam and Celaena FINALLY get together, so that's what takes presidency in my mind, but the story is interesting as well. We also got closer look at Arobyn and how he raised Celaena, as well as their complex relationship. He's basically the Anderson (Shatter Me Reference) of the Throne of Glass world. He's manipulative, a psychopath, and powerful.... just my kind of guy. Just kidding, but I feel an urge to give him kudos for how he tricked and twisted Celaena's perception.

0.5 The Assassin and the Empire 7/10

I have to admit, at the beginning of the novella, I had no idea how it would end where Throne of Glass began, but the way everything came together was glorious, if not a little painful for my feels. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what wire Celaena would trip, to make her end up in Endovier. Of course, it was love that was her downfall, and her fragile state of mind after Sam was murdered - turning her gullible. 

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?

I'm not sure I would ever re-read the book from start to finish, unless it was 2016 and I was rereading the entire series so I could marathon all of the books. But I do know for a fact that I would want to re-read my favorite novella from it.

How Likely Is It That I Will Continue On With The Series?

I will 100% be continuing on with the Throne of Glass series especially because Crown of Midnight is actually the next book on my TBR after I finish up what I'm currently reading (Don't library holds rock?).

Conclusion: The Assassin's Blade was a much-needed addition to the Throne of Glass series so us readers could be further exposed to the fantastical world Maas has created, and to provide in-depth background when it came to the catalysts behind so many of the characters seemingly odd exteriors.

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