THIS IS THE START OF MY OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO MAY! 8 Mondays til ACOWAR!
I realized a couple of weeks ago that I would have just enough time to write a review per week of Sarah J. Maas’s books prior to the May 2nd release of her new book… IF I started on Monday, March 13. And here we are. Each week basically builds upon the last, so if you haven’t read the books… be forewarned that spoilers will be throughout.
These are less reviews and more musings about what I love in the two epic series of Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorn and Roses (which will commonly be called ACOTAR, ACOMAF and ACOWAR because that’s a long title otherwise. Still weeks until we get to those… just in time for the ACOWAR release).
The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of novellas that serve as the prequels to Throne of Glass. Sarah recommends that you read them first. I read them sixth. Because I didn’t know they existed. But if you haven’t read anything yet, I would start here.
“My name is Celaena Sardothien, and I will not be afraid.”
Why are the novellas important? First off, it establishes Celaena Sardothien as a rebellious and overconfident assassin that enjoys the finer things in life… like swordplay, hot baths, music, theater and dancing. It also puts a framework for everything that follows. Two of the characters in the novellas you meet (or hear about) fairly early on in the formal series. They are important people and relationships that help explain why Celaena is the way she is. The other characters… well, they come into play much later. I won’t spoil that, but just know that these novellas are important to the overall story arc.
My least favorite of the bunch was the Assassin and the Healer. But I also feel like that was a necessary connection for many reasons forthcoming. My favorites were all of the rest. I loved the silent assassins and the horses in the desert and Ansel. I loved the Pirate Lord novella and feeling the sweat and heat from the tropical environment as Celaena has to hide her identity under layers of clothing and a mask. I love seeing Celaena grow her relationship with Sam, having a touch of teenage density and innocence. And her confidence and cockiness is out of this world.
But Celaena, as young as she is, goes through a lot in a short amount of time. And we all know what it leads to… Endovier. So the novellas, if nothing else, are important to read because she is broken at the start of the series and has a tremendous amount of hatred within. You will want to feel that hatred right along with her when people re-enter her life.
“The girl who’d taken on a Pirate Lord and his entire island, the girl who’d stolen Asterion horses and raced along the beach in the Red Desert, the girl who’d sat on her own rooftop, watching the sun rise over Avery, the girl who’d felt alive with possibility…that girl was gone.”
The coupling of this book? Celaena and Sam. Oh Sam Cortland. Without you, what would Celaena’s life have been like? What would Arobynn Hamel have put her through with his insane and brutal jealousy of you? Without Sam, our assassin would likely still be at the guild. Still be under Arobynn’s thumb. Sure, she would’ve raised some of her own hell, but not nearly as much.
Upon completing the book, and crying some ugly tears, I realized why there are people who felt like Sam and Celaena were meant to be together. I love this fan art of Celaena and Sam.
In the end, I am still a Rowan kinda girl, but I would place Sam second on the list for his genuine nature and love. He took risks that were selfish and stubborn and lethal, and he held the envy and jealousy of the King of the Assassins which should have told him to be wiser. Oh Sam.
Because I read The Assassin’s Blade last, I do have to wonder if there is enough context for readers to like Celaena before they even make it to the first book… by the time I got there, I was already head-over-heels committed to the series and trying to ease my book hangover from Empire of Storms.
So if you read this first… please share with me what you thought. Did it get you excited for the rest of the series? Which novella was your favorite?