The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Page Count: 435
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.
“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it- to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger.”
Coming into this series late, I knew I had a lot to catch up on. I knew I’d travel through painful and heartwrenching backstories. So I was nervous and hesitant to start the prequel. Sarah reminds us why Throne of Glass enchanted us at the beginning, how Celaena Sardothien suffered, how much she lost, and what she gave up to save the forgotten.
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Ben, a fellow assassin, has been murdered. Celaena is hellbent on avenging him, but Arobynn Hamel, the Lord of the Assassins, has other plans by sending her and Sam Cortland to Skull’s Bay. Sarah introduces the infamous Lord of the Pirates, Captain Rolfe. And I am smitten even if I want to gut this man. Both she and Sam discover their master wants them to ship slaves back to Rifthold. This is moment shows me why I love Celaena, who is indignant and plans to thwart Arobynn’s plan.
This short story is a solid start to the novella. This experience shapes Celaena into the character who she is now. I was surprised by the hostility between Sam and Celaena. I wasn’t expecting that, but I loved the banter though. This story appalled, horrified, and sickened me. Sarah opens up her world and shows you the seedy side of Erilea. It gives you perspective and understanding behind Celaena’s convictions.
The Assassin and the Healer
After the punishment Arobynn inflicts onto her and Sam after their actions in Skull’s Bay, Celaena meets a former healer, Yrene Towers, and teaches the young woman how to defend herself.
I’ve spoiled myself with many characters, so I knew who Yrene is. But I had zero knowledge about her history and her connection to Celaena. Even though Celaena is tough on Yrene, I enjoyed seeing Celaena display a softer side you don’t always have the privilege to see.
The Assassin and the Desert
Arobynn sends Celaena to the Silent Assassins in the Red Desert. There, she must earn approval from the Master of the Silent Assassins. She believes she can easily win him over, but instead, she must work for it. You see a lot of conceit and pride with Celaena. Yes, she’s earned the title “Adarlan’s Assassin,” but that means nothing here.
This story proves crucial for Celaena. She opens up, learns how to associate with other people, and befriends them as well. I enjoyed reading this story even if it isn’t my favourite.
The Assassin and the Underworld
Coming back from the aftermath of what happens in the Red Desert, Celaena plans to pay off her debt to Arobynn, who is apologetic of what he’s done to her. To ask for forgiveness, he offers her another client, who wants her ex-husband dead.
Here is where you see the relationship between Celaena and Sam blossom. They fight, bicker, and plan her next job. But both of these characters evolve. Unfortunately, they aren’t told the full situation, and Celaena soon realizes she can’t trust everyone.
Lysandra is, hands down, the positive to this story though. I can’t get enough of Celaena and Lysandra’s fighting.
The Assassin and the Empire
Celaena wants out of Adarlan and the Guild and away from Arobynn. Sam finds a contract that may solve all their problems though. Both of them must kill the Crime Lord Jayne and his right-hand man Farran. She’s hesitant, with good reason. Sam believes he must prove himself by making the first kill.
This addition lays the groundwork of Throne of Glass. I wasn’t prepared for this one. No. No, I wasn’t. I cried hard, and I’ve been dreading this story because I know what happens. But the pain isn’t less gut-wrenching.
I overall enjoyed this prequel. But I didn’t love it though. I wasn’t invested in it as much as the other sequels. But like always, Sarah throws in foreshadowing that hurts and makes you want to skip by it. So prepare yourself when you attempt to read it. It’ll give you chills, make you ugly cry at points, but sets up a beautiful beginning to one of my favourite series yet.