Monday, February 22, 2016

The Assassin's Blade

I needed some quick, entertaining stories and The Assassin’s Blade delivered, but also gave me some emotional, tense moments. The Assassin’s Blade is the collection of prequel novellas to Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series. They were originally sold independently, so there's a bit about each story as I read them, then I am sure I will have something to say after.

The Assassin and The Pirate

I really like that the first story in The Assassins’ Blade collection doesn’t have Celaena and Sam all happy and together, as Celaena mentions her feelings for a young man named Sam in Throne of Glass. Maas gives depth to their relationship.  I like that they start out seeming to hate each other. The Assassin and The Pirate is such a fun story, but we also get to see into Celaena and Sam’s moral compass.

Why does Celaena have to be so arrogant all the time? She’s like those kids that grow up with parents telling them they’re perfect all the time. Though it’s not untrue. Arobynn, King of the Assassin’s Guild, has poured a lot of money into hers (and Sam’s) development and has been training them since they were children.  They better be the best for all he has invested in them.

The Assassin and The Healer

I think this was the story I'd been wanting to read about Celaena. In The Assassin and The Healer, we get a chance to really see Celaena in action. Though she displays her assassin’s skill, she continues to have the conscious we saw in The Assassin and The Pirate. She helps in a small way, small to her, but everything to the one she helps. 

I really liked Yvette.  I liked that she wasn't another pretty blond, but also not another character from a land we've already addressed. Yvette was from somewhere different, another one of the lands conquered by the King of Adarlan. She's also a type of person we haven't gotten to see much of before, she's a healer. I like that even though she's fallen, as many of the conquered have, she still has a dream and wants to heal. I also wonder if we will see her again.

The Assassin and The Desert

I knew she was doing something bad…

The Assassin and The Desert might be my favourite of the stories so far. I feel like Celaena grew and learned so much during her time with the Silent Assassins.  Not just what they taught her in terms of fighting, that wouldn’t make as good a story, but who she ws as a person, and who she wants to be. I wonder how this will change her relationship with Arobynn. I also wonder if she’ll ever return to the Red Desert.

I wish we knew what happened to Sam. Her wondering has me wondering too.

I also wonder if we’ll see Ansel again. Will Celaena ever journey to the Flatlands? Ansel seems too good a character to just let go, riding off into the desert.

The spider silk merchant…. We’re seeing him again in the future too, right?

Ilias and the Silent Master?

The Assassin and The Underworld

The Assassin and The Underworld is another story I was waiting for. It was dark. It had Sam. It showed how much Celaena had really changed. There was excitement, intrigue and moments were we saw just how young Adarlan’s Assassin really is. Choices were made, debts were paid and the world was full of betrayal.

I like that we got to see Celaena interact with Arobynn. He’s a bastard. He makes Celaena think one thing, but then does another. He makes her do things she would not choose to do. He lies to her, I think he wants to break her. I wonder if he’s really training her to take his place or if that is just something he tells everyone. What is going to happen during their next encounter? Is he the reason she ends up in the Salt Mines?

I kind of adore Sam. I’ve read Throne of Glass though. I know what happens. The next story in The Assassin’s Blade is the last one and I’m kind of dreading it. I want it to be one of those things were we learn it actually isn’t true. I know I really liked Captain Westfall while reading Throne of Glass, but it’s almost as if Sam is made for Celaena. I’m not putting anything past the King of Assassins. Celaena should take Sam to the Red Desert and the Silent Assassins, but I know that’s not going to happen.

Also, was those men in the masks Dorian and Choal?

The Assassin and The Empire

I knew he was a bastard.

I knew it was going to happen too, but it was still sad.  I was hoping that it would be left more open, with possibility. But nope. It’s certain. The end.

There’s a lot more set up/revelation in The Assassin and The Empire. Probably because this is what happens right before Celaena is thrown into the Salt Mines. For those who have read Throne of Glass we learn what happened to Sam, the job that got Celaena finally caught and why it all happened.  For those who haven’t read Throne of Glass, it’s like a giant teaser for the book. What happens in the Mines? How does she get out? Does she learn who did this to her?

I’m eager for Arobynn to show up again, for Celaena to learn what happened. I wonder if she’ll ever seek out Wesley, if she’ll ever have the opportunity. I wonder if Maas will work revenge for Sam into other books.  There’s so much hope in this story at the beginning, but it got resolutely crushed.

In Conclusion…

I think these stories stand well on their own, but they are peppered with so many different characters, I can see Sarah J. Maas bringing them back into the novels. I don’t think you need to read these stories to enjoy the main books (though I’ve only read the first one), but they’re fun and entertaining; they give just that little bit more insight into who Celaena is and who the people around her are/were. They also give a larger view of Erilea and the empire the King is trying to create. There’s destruction across the continent, with victims littered everywhere. I think The Assassin’s Blade has solidified Throne of Glass as a series I must read.

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