Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Heart (and Gut)-Wrenching Beginning: The Assassin's Blade

The Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #.5)
Bloomsbury, 2014

Celaena Sardothien is one of the most feared assassins in her kingdom, but she didn't just become that way overnight. It took a lifetime of training under her master Arobynn Hamel to become such a deadly weapon. It's a life that has been simultaneously glamorous and gruesome, and it only gets harder when she's sixteen and makes a choice that will change the course of her life and that of Sam, her fellow killer and the only person she truly trusts. The high risks could lead to a great reward, but could also result in a terrible downfall.

On a recent trip to my favorite independent bookstore, Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL, I was so excited to see Sarah J. Maas on the schedule for an upcoming author visit (it was September 7th and it was Awesome!). It was just the kick in the pants I needed to start reading her Throne of Glass series! However, a few chapters in to book one, I wasn't quite feeling a connection to Celaena. I didn't get her. And for me to not connect with a fantasy book, one of my favorite genres ever especially since I'm from the Harry Potter generation, well, that's weird. Around this time, my friend Brittany over at The Book Addict's Guide posted her review of The Assassin's Blade, Maas' prequel novellas, and highly recommended reading this before Throne of Glass. I'm so glad I listened because now I can't wait to get back into book one!

In this collection spanning five novellas and about two years of Celaena's life, I got a much stronger sense of who this girl is. What drives her. What irritates her. What makes her tick. What makes her finally stand up to the cruel man whose only kindness was saving her from a life on the streets (but was it really such a kindness?). Each novella focuses on a different mission or journey, each one peeling back the layers of this complicated woman. Suddenly, the girl I had met in Throne of Glass was making much more sense, but I won't say any more than that because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone.

For now, I'll just say this: this book was both heart and gut wrenching (seriously, this girl's an assassin. Blood and guts feature pretty promenently.) While I liked some installments more than others, put together they make a compelling story and history. I highly second Brittany's recomendation that people read this before book one - it will make your experience that much stronger.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

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  1. I'm sooooooo glad you enjoyed this so much! I think it adds such depth to the series as a whole! Lovely review! :D

    1. I completely agree! Suddenly the struggles I was having before vanished because this girl and her situation made so much more sense. :) Thanks for commenting!