Title: The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Review: I am re-reading both the Throne of Glass series and the Court of Thorns and Roses series and of course, I am starting the Assassin’s Blade. As this is a series of short stories that are a prequel to the series I will be reviewing them individually and also in later reviews, showing how this prequel novel impacted my understanding on the whole series.
The Assassin and The Pirate Lord
We are introduced to Celaena and the other assassins she lives with at the Keep. These obviously include Arobynn, Sam Cortland, Ben, and Gregori to name a few. We learn that there is some bad blood between Sam and Celaena as Arobynn named Celaena his heir rather than Sam. However, when Gregori is captured and Ben killed their difference of opinion proves to be dangerous. We then jump forward in time to Sam and Celaena on a mission to meet with the Pirate Lord; Rolfe. When Sam and Celaena learn that Arobynn has made a deal with Rolfe to trade in slaves both are equally sickened by it and despite their history, they decide to work together to free the slaves even though Rolfe will try to kill them and then they will also have to deal with Arobynn when they return. It turns out that Celaena is 100x smarter than I first thought, and she manages to get her and Sam out of the Pirate’s territory alive, but they can never return there.
The Assassin and The Healer
After returning from the mess with the Pirate Lord, Celaena is treated to a beating by her master and is sent to the Red Desert to train with the Mute Master of Assassins there, but along the way she has to stop in Innish, it is here she first encountered Yrene. Yrene is a character that will appear much later on in the series but seeing her here was brilliant as it really shows how far characters like Yrene and Celaena have come over their fairly short lives. Despite believing her punishment was worth freeing the slaves for, Celaena is brewing for a fight but there isn’t actually a lot she can do, especially when she has the constant task of keeping her identity hidden. Celaena becomes quite close to Yrene even teaching her how to defend herself and giving her the money she needs to go and train to be a healer. I can’t wait to see how this works into the wider story specifically the relationship between Celaena and Yrene later on in the series.
The Assassin and The Desert
After leaving Yrene in Innish, Celaena travels to the Red Desert to the infamous fortress of the Mute Assassins. Here she meets the Master who agrees to let her stay for a month, sharing a room with Ansel, who I feel might make an appearance as well later in the series. It is here we also get some information on what actually happened after she and Sam returned from their meeting with the Pirate Lord. While Celaena knows she is powerful she seems terrified of Arobynn and what he is capable of doing. Despite, being an assassin who has killed numerous people there is still a spark of defiance and compassion within Celaena that isn’t within most of the older assassins. Celaena and Ansel become quite close friends but there is something brewing beneath the surface and Celaena almost misses it, but she manages to get there in time to save the day. I loved the fact Celaena saves Ilias’ life considering he took quite the shine to her during her time in the Red Desert. When it is time to leave Celaena isn’t afraid anymore and returns to Arobynn with a renewed determination.
The Assassin and The Underworld
After returning home Arobynn apologizes for his behaviour but Celaena isn’t going to forgive him that easily especially with the lessons the Mute Master taught her. On the other hand, she hates the fact that Lysandra; Arobynn’s niece is friendly with Sam and the pair spend the next few days hurting each other. However, Celaena asks for Sam’s help with her mission in taking down a new slave trade agreement and he gladly helps, and we can see a relationship developing between the pair. As she prepares to take on her new mission Sam is helping her but Arobynn seems to be hindering her in any way he can. In the end, Celaena manages to complete the mission but returns without the vital information the client wanted meaning she won’t be paid for the job. However, Arobynn neglected to inform her, the mark she was following wasn’t selling slaves but trying to help them and it was actually her client that wants to sell the slaves. In the end, she uses the money from the Mute Master to free herself and sells her horse in order to free Sam and buy them an apartment. Celaena finally found the courage to leave Arobynn and be with the man she loves but her hatred for the man who has made her into the assassin she is runs deep.
The Assassin and The Empire
This story was by far the one I was most eager to read as it starts with Celaena on her way to the mines where she is being held at the beginning of Throne of Glass and we are going to find out how she got there. It jumps back only 11 days where Sam has been fighting in the Vaults for the past month since they don’t have any contracts since they left Arobynn. They discuss leaving but in order to set themselves up somewhere else, they need Arobynn’s approval and they are going back for a final contract and his blessing to leave. However, knowing Celaena ends up in prison and Sam ends up dead I don’t know what is going to happen, but it is going to be bad. In the end, it turns out Sam has taken on a contract to kill two of the most feared Crime Lords in the city; Jayne and Farran. Sam insists on going after Farran alone and ends up dead, not just killing, he was tortured for hours on end. In her anger, Celaena goes after the two men only to realise it was a setup but by then it is too late. It turns out Arobynn set her up because he sees her as his possession and he didn’t like sharing it with Sam, this is unknown to Celaena as she is brought before the King for sentencing and is sent to the Salt Mine, but rather than cowering Celaena uses everything to make herself harder, so she can survive the horrors of the mines.
Buy it here:
Also see: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas