REVIEW: The Assassin’s Blade

ab-nyt-coverBOOK: The Assassin’s Blade
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
PAGES: 448
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ (3.5/5)

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.

If I’m being completely honest, I never really had any interest in reading The Assassin’s Blade. It’s been around for a few years now and I’d find myself glancing at the pretty cover from time to time, but with no sudden longing to pick it up and read it. So what made me change my mind? After I read Empire of Storms I kept hearing people rave about characters that appeared in the short stories of this collection. So finally my interest was piqued enough that I brought the damn book with me to the cash register at the book store.

And overall? I’m not disappointed, but I’m not raving either. The stories are entertaining, and they do add more depth into this already expanding universe that Maas has done a fantastic job of immersing us in. The characters are slowly starting to pop up in the series, and so it is interesting to understand a little more of the history of Aelin’s relationship with them. But ultimately it just felt a little bit like a filler novel meant to placate the fans in between the next books in the series. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I just feel like I wouldn’t have felt like I had any less of a Throne of Glass experience if I’d chosen not to read them.

The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of five novellas that are prequels to the series, and lead right into the beginning of Throne of Glass. The shorts are placed together in chronological order, which makes it a really smooth read and natural transition from story to story.

“She would tuck Sam into her heart, a bright light for her to take out whenever things were darkest.”

I don’t know. I guess overall I feel like I already have this sense of who I feel Celaena/Aelin is and these stories, though entertaining, just weren’t essential to my enjoyment of Throne of Glass. But I suppose if you’re Maas crazy, then this is just what you’re looking for. It’s got her signature writing, and all those delicious details you might be craving.

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