Books, Reviews

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas – a review

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The Assassin’s Blade (book cover). Picture taken from Goodreads.

The Throne of Glass series entered my life last year, and it introduced me to one of my favourite authors right now, Sarah J. Maas. Before it, I wasn’t the biggest fan of high fantasy and just stuck to urban fantasy. What inspired me to check this series out was because fellow people on this group for readers of Jennifer L. Armentrout (the author of the Lux series) on Facebook that I am part of would keep bringing up the series. So I delved into the world of Pythian, of Celaena Sardothien, starting with The Assassin’s Blade, which is a collection of five novellas following Celaena before the events of the first book.


Like the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I decided to reread the Throne of Glass series. When I read it for the first time, I started with The Assassin’s Blade, and that was what I wanted to do it with this second read. It was where the author, Sarah J. Maas, recommended to start—and the novellas, except for The Assassin and the Healer, were actually published individually before the rest of the series.

Anyway, before I started my reread of The Assassin’s Blade…well, let’s just say that I knew I was setting myself up for heartache all over again. If you’ve read it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about it. If not The Assassin’s Blade itself, then, hopefully, you’ve at least read the Throne of Glass series.

However, for those of you who haven’t read the series at all, there will be spoilers here so I would advise you to return when you have, okay?


The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Here is the first snapshot into Celaena’s past—the King of the Assassins, Arobynn Hamel, appoints her to collect a debt from the Lord of the Pirates, but when she discovers what it is exactly, she doesn’t follow the wishes of her master.

Despite her demeanor—despite her arrogance—Celaena left such an impression that I grew to like her. At first, I might’ve been unsure, might’ve wondered what was the fuss, why people loved her, but I understood after I finished it. Even on the second read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved how she did what she thought was right, even if it meant defying Arobynn. I certainly loved her interactions with a fellow assassin—and a competitor—Sam. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was my introduction to Celaena, to her world, and it was where I wanted to start on my reread. Indeed, what an impression she made!


The Assassin and the Healer

As punishment for her defiance, Celaena must travel to the Red Desert, to train with the Master of the Silent Assassins, but at the pub that she stays at until she can get there, she rescues a girl who works there, who reveals herself to be a healer.

If The Assassin and the Pirate Lord is a “snapshot,” as I have called it, then The Assassin and the Healer is something less so. It was so short—much shorter than the other novellas—and I felt like more could’ve happened in it. For instance, a deeper background on Yrene would’ve sufficed. However, despite that, I enjoyed seeing Celaena being so badass, and Yrene was such an intriguing character. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time we see her.


The Assassin and the Desert

Celaena arrives at the Red Desert, at the place where the Silent Assassins reside, where she will train with the Master of the Silent Assassins, but she has to prove herself worthy first. Not only that—the silence has been disturbed, and she must stop the threat.

The Assassin and the Desert allowed further exploration of Erilea, and I thought the world-building was so excellent that…well, let’s just say that I couldn’t get enough of it. Not only this, it had even more fast-paced, action-packed scenes and—wait for it—it had some backstabbing. I loved the character development for Celaena. I thought the side characters were well-developed, too—and I loved how there were some ulterior motives in the mix. Yet again, I wonder if we will see any of them again—and truth be told, I’d love to see their interaction with Celaena when she’s a bit older.


The Assassin and the Underworld

When Celaena returns to her master, Arobynn, after she completes her punishment, she is given another mission, one to fight against slavery in the kingdom.

The first time I read The Assassin and the Underworld, I remember it was a highlight for me. I’d wanted to see more of Celaena and Sam, of their developing relationship, from rivalries to friendship to something more. Even on the second read, I was taken over by this want. I hadn’t realised how much I would love them together…which is probably why I was rather dismissive of the romances in the main series. Another thing that I was surprised about the first time, that caught me off guard—that I felt like I should’ve seen coming—was that twist at the end. And Sarah J. Maas is so talented at those twists!


The Assassin and the Empire

Celaena wants to break free from Arobynn, to live her life with Sam in peace, without any more affiliations to the Adarlan’s Assassins, but she has one last assignment to do, and she could lose everything she has.

I feel like my heart has never been shattered so much when I read this. When I read it for the first time, I was filled with anxiety—I knew something terrible was going to happen; I just didn’t know what. Then the second time, that feeling possessed me yet again, but I did know what would happen. I was so stricken when I finished it, both the first and second time—and for me, it was more tragic than anything I’d ever read or watched. I wished it could’ve gone another way.


After I finished The Assassin’s Blade for the second time, I decided it was time to reread the rest of the series—at least the books released so far. Originally, I was going to wait until the next book, Tower of Dawn, came out, but after the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I realised I wasn’t finished with Sarah J. Maas’s stories. Now, off I go to read some more! (Hopefully, my next review will be on something completely different, something less heartbreaking!)

Assassin

If you haven’t read my review on the A Court of Thorns and Roses series yet, then please check it out (click here)!

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