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.
First of all, finals are over and now I have 3 whole weeks to read without interruption! Yay! I'm so excited and also dealing with the struggle of picking what book to read next... but that's a pretty good problem to have so I'll take it.
Now, getting into this book. The Assassin's Blade is a novella collection for the Throne of Glass series. If you haven't checked out Throne of Glass yet, let me just say that it is a definite must read. I am obsessed with this series and can't stop thinking about it. There are three books out so far with the fourth one planned for next fall and six books scheduled in total. It really is an amazing series, especially book two and three. So, you might guess that having loved this series so much I had high expectations for these novellas. When you include the fact that I've had hits and misses when it comes to reading novellas, I was a bit hesitant to get into this book. But I did, I started reading The Assassin's Blade after only a couple months of having it sit on the shelf and was surprised, and yet not, by how good it was.
Here's the thing. Generally, I've felt like the novellas that I've read in the past, though they are few, have felt unnecessary or forced. I struggled through reading some of them and didn't really like them very much. As a result, I kind of just stopped reading novellas in general (I have zero interest in reading Four, the novella collection for the Divergent series). But after reading Crown of Midnight (book 2), which started my obsession with this series, I needed every bit of content that I could get on Celaena Sardothien and the world of Throne of Glass. So of course, I bought The Assassin' Blade and was relieved and reassured by the fact that so many people had raved about this collection and that it had a pretty good rating on Goodreads (4.54 stars, is quite impressive).
Getting into the novellas themselves. They are completely up to par with the writing, quality-wise, as the rest of the series. All the novellas were connected and, as I was reading them, it felt like they together are could essentially be an entire prequel novel to the series. There is an over-arching theme between them and they do take enough volume to be a novel (430+ pages). The only thing missing is the some transitional parts to more directly and smoothly connect the different parts.
We get to see Celaena and who she was prior to being placed in Endovier and how and why she changed and got to being the person that she is when we meet her in Throne of Glass. We get to meet Arobynn Hamel who we haven't yet seen in the series (outside of the novellas) and we get to meet Sam Cortland. Sam is someone that you're aware of if you've read the series or even if you've just read the first book and it was nice to meet him and see how his and Celaena's relationship evolves. Clearly, Sam is someone who has had a major impact on Celaena and to get to see how that happened was wonderful.
I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of each of the stories but I will say that these novellas did exactly what novellas should do for the series. They enhanced the overall story and they gave us information that adds to what we already know rather than being a random story that either detracts from the main storyline or doesn't effect it in any way. We got tons of background information that helps you understand Celaena better and we got to meet a couple characters that have really influenced and shaped Celaena in either a good way or bad. The collection in The Assassin's Blade are hands down the best novellas I have ever read. My faith in Sarah J. Maas and her writing and story telling was already cemented in stone and now it is just further reinforced.
(For those of you wondering at what point you should read the novellas in the series, I think you can read them at any point. They are written in a way as a prequel so you don't have to read any of the books in the series to understand what is going on and if you want to read it in a sequential order then definitely start with The Assassin's Blade. I read this after reading the third book, Heir of Fire.)