The Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas (Throne of Glass, Books 0.1-0.5)

by Sarah J. Maas

4.3 of 5 stars 43 ratings • 12 reviews • 75 shelved
Book cover for The Assassin's Blade

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The Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas (Throne of Glass, Books 0.1-0.5)

by Sarah J. Maas

4.3 of 5 stars 43 ratings • 12 reviews • 75 shelved
Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom's most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin's Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.

When Celaena's scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes-and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn's orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn's clutches-and if they fail, they'll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives . . .

A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling-and deadly-world.

Included in this volume:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Healer
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld
The Assassin and the Empire
  • ISBN10 1619633612
  • ISBN13 9781619633612
  • Publish Date 3 December 2015 (first published 4 March 2014)
  • Publish Status Active
  • Publish Country US
  • Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Imprint Bloomsbury YA
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 464
  • Language English

Reviews

Avatar for pamela

pamela 4 of 5 stars
The Assassin's Blade was a fun-filled romp, and my first introduction to Sarah J. Maas a writer. It was well-written, but simple, and just generally fun to read. I must admit though, for someone who is meant to be a top assassin Celaena is...not very good at it? All her enemies seem to always see or hear her coming or find it pretty easy to get the drop on her.

I wonder how I'll find this overall, given that I haven't read any of the series yet. Will it change the way I experience it, or would reading it in publication chronology changed my reading of it? I'm looking forward to finding out!

Avatar for girlinthepages

Back in April when the title of the final Throne of Glass book was released (hey there, Kingdom of Ash!) I decided I better kick myself into gear and finally get around to reading the books in the series I had been avoiding- The Assassin's Blade (because I'm not a huge novellas person) and Tower of Dawn (because I am definitely not a Chaol person). I thought I'd be bored reading the novellas because I had already read through Empire of Storms, but I found myself pleasantly surprised, as I really enjoyed reading more about Celaena's life before the series officially starts, and now have WAY more context about who some of the folks in the series are. I enjoyed revisiting the TOG universe so much that I'm aiming to reread the entire series before Kingdom of Ash is released so everything is fresh in my mind. Since everyone and their mother has probably already read these novellas but me, I'm just going to do a quick, casual round up of my thoughts on each story.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This is arguably the most important novella in my opinion because it plays so much into Empire of Storms when they return to Skull's Bay, and we also see the formative beginnings of Celaena's deep, deep hatred for slavery. While Rolffe was hilarious (I admit to having a bit of a soft spot for him), I didn't LOVE this story because I think I got so bored with Empire of Storms that I easily tired of the Skull's Bay setting.

The Assassin and the Healer

I feel like not much really happened in this story?? It really just felt like filler for Celaena to help out another female, and I can't really even remember if the healer character makes an appearance later on in the series. Also, Innish sounds disgusting. ***Just came back from checking the TOG wiki and it turns out the healer from the story turns up in Tower of Dawn, so just another reason why I finally need to put aside my Chaol hatred and read it.

The Assassin and the Dessert

I think this was my favorite novella in the entire collection! I loved seeing how there was another group of assassins outside of Arobynn's rule and that Celaena saw that there were other ways to train that weren't cruel and manipulative, and that the Silent Assassins truly felt like a family. Also, Ansel's character was pretty tragic, and I appreciate that Sarah made me simultaneously hate and feel pity for her.

The Assassin and the Underworld

I have warring thoughts on this one. On the one hand, it's the first novella that actually takes place in Rifthold and readers truly get to see the manipulative ways of Arobynn. It's actually super fascinating how he straddles the line between cruel and caring, and it reminded me a lot of how someone with an abusive partner would feel- just enough cruelty and violence to inspire fear, but the lure of safety and secruity and kindness at just the right times keeps Celaena bound to him. I was also super unimpressed with Sam??? Maybe I just wasn't emotionally invested because I knew he was going to die, but I just felt like the romance felt rushed and that they wouldn't fall for each other after so many years of animosity.

The Assassin and the Empire

Again, no real feels about Sam here other than feeling sad for Celaena's grief, but it was super interesting to see her apartment which plays a big role in Queen of Shadows. I also got major feels when she gets sent to Endovier (even though TOG picks up just a year after and I obviously know what happens) but her whispering "I am Celaena Sardothien, and I will not be afraid" just broke me. Ugh I may love the ACOTAR series more as a whole but I do believe I prefer Celaena as a protagonist to Feyre.

Overall: These novellas helped to paint a much more comprehensive picture for Celaena's character and I'm currently rereading Throne of Glass as I read this and am finding that I'm enjoying it a LOT more than the first time I read it, which I think has a lot to do with having read The Assassin's Blade first. Also, I'm sort of surprised that there were a LOT of hints dropped in the novella's about Celaena's true heritage (more so than in TOG I'm finding so far). I'm hoping that my unexpectedly positive experience with The Assassin's Blade means I'll enjoy Tower of Dawn a lot more than I think I will too!This review was originally posted on Girl in the Pages

Avatar for pigpen_reads

pigpen_reads 5 of 5 stars
The stories in this book have been mentioned in the first two books of the Throne of Glass series.

Finally we can understand what happened in Celaena's past and just who Sam was.

Going into this, I knew what would happen to Sam. I wasn't expecting to root for Sam as much as I was, I didn't think reading his story would effect me.

But it did.

Sarah J Maas is an excellent author!

Avatar for leahmichelle

Leah 5 of 5 stars
Oh, holy crap. This was epic! For those who say they don't read or like novellas, The Assassin's Blade is a must-read for the Throne of Glass series! To read what happened to Celaena before Throne of Glass is a necessity because it's what makes her who she is, and it's ridiculously good. Like blow-my-brain-up good. I closed it feeling all the feels possible.

The story between Sam and Celaena is just heart-breaking. We know, from reading Throne of Glass, that Sam is dead but we don't know much of how it happened, and it's heart-breaking, I swear. There's a BIG, BIG part of me hoping it's a fakeout? And he'll come and pop out alive in one of the next five books. PLEASE.

I loved how each of the novellas carried on from the last, and I just lapped it all up! it was epic! I felt like I was right there, with Celaena, although I would have been absolutely useless as I cannot fight at all. To read all these things that makes Celaena, Celaena was absolutely epic, I'm STOKED to get into Crown of Midnight! I am raring to go to devour the rest of this series!

Avatar for adecker

Austine (NovelKnight) 4 of 5 stars
Though the novellas are offered separately, I read them in the binding of The Assassin's Blade which I recommend as they are quite short and flow into each other really well.

As a whole, I enjoyed getting a better glimpse into the young woman and assassin that is Celaena Sardothien. Obviously these novellas don't hold nearly the detail that the novels do but they offer a little background on events mentioned in Throne of Glass that play a larger role in Celaena's history.

Based on how they are written, you can read them before Throne of Glass without spoiling the events of any of the full-length books. However, the novellas don't go into nearly the detail on her character so if you want to get a sense of who she is before reading these, I suggest reading the first book in the series then coming back to this.

 

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord 

There's the swaggering assassin we all know and love. Her mission abroad brings Celaena to a pirate with a fondness of the slave trade, Rolfe, and reveals more about her master than she expected. I loved the action to kick-off this collection of novellas and seeing Celaena take a stand for what is morally right and going against her years of training. We start to see how she breaks from Arobynn, becoming more than just an assassin. It wasn't on the same level as the full-length novels and was lacking a bit in the depth of the conflict (compared to what I'm used to) but I enjoyed an earlier look into Celaena's life.



The Assassin and the Healer

Celaena's little stunt with the pirate lord has her packing her bags and off to the distant Red Desert to train with the Silent Assassins. On her way she meets Yrene, a wannabe healer who never quite made it to her destination due to lack of funds. This particular novella was more about her than Celaena, but our assassin played a part in getting Yrene on her feet. I love seeing Celaena's willingness to help others (even if in a more gruff manner) time and again; this just solidified it even more. I hope Yrene returns in one of the future books because I think she would be an interesting addition to the cast.



The Assassin and the Desert 

I had to think about where I heard of the Red Desert in the full-length novels and realized how many times Celaena references her time there (and the events with Ansel, a friend she makes while training. I think, of all of the novellas, this was one of two that really shaped her personality afterward. Especially her distrust of generally everyone. You also get to see how she stole the Asterion mare she brags about to Dorian and Chaol in action.



The Assassin and the Underworld 

Now, Sam Cortland appeared in the first novella and was mentioned through the second and the third but the last two are where he and Celaena really shined. The assassin arrives back in Rifthold after training in the Red Desert and finds her master seeking her forgiveness, even offering a very wealthy contract. And here is where Celaena as we know and love her breaks. I watched her become harder, while her love for Sam grew greater. And if you read the other books out first, you'd know that Sam doesn't meet a happy ending. I was waiting and waiting for it to happen here but was saved (barely). If trust is a theme across these novellas, this one puts Celaena's to the ultimate test.



The Assassin and the Empire 

This was the breaking point for me.

I damn near cried.

I knew what was coming.

I told myself it wouldn't happen, that Maas wouldn't put into words the events of that night.

She did.

This is the tale of Celaena Sardothien and how she became Adarlan's Assassin, how she earned a name to be whispered even after her capture and imprisonment, how she met the king, and how she loved and lost so deeply that she became someone else. Something more.

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Katie King 3 of 5 stars
Really mixed feelings...I liked the ending but the beginning was kind of hard to get into (minus Ansel's section, seriously gtfo Ansel).

Avatar for amber

Amber 3 of 5 stars
This review was originally posted on Books of Amber

While I'm not really a fan of short stories or novellas, and I rarely read them even if they are part of my favourite series or companions to my favourite books, I picked up The Assassin's Blade before I read the masterpiece that is Queen of Shadows. I was told that The Assassin's Blade is an essential read for the Throne of Glass series, especially if you're about to read the fourth book. I 100% agree. The Assassin's Blade provides backstory for Celaena and shows what her life was like before she was sent to the mines, and why she was enslaved in the first place.

I don't have anything substantial to say about this book because, like I said, it's a bunch of novellas that show different moments and parts of Celaena's life before she was enslaved and, later, freed at the beginning of Throne of Glass. It was amazing to get some backstory on the character that I have come to love, and also to meet various other characters like Sam, Arobynn, and Lysandra, all of which are important later on in the series. I imagine certain other characters are going to show up later on as well, so I'll be keeping an eye out for them.

As far as reading order goes, I would recommend reading The Assassin's Blade before Heir of Fire. I personally don't think it matters if you read it before or after either Throne of Glass or Crown of Midnight, although some trustworthy people think it would be best to start the series off with The Assassin's Blade. But as long as you read it before Queen of Shadows, I don't think you can go particularly wrong.

Avatar for pinkadot89

Angie 4 of 5 stars
4.5★

I was very nervous to start this series because everyone loves it. But then I read The Assassin's Blade, and thought I have nothing to worry about! I am so glad that I decided to read them in chronological order, rather than publication order, because this set of novellas has got me super excited for the full books! I feel like I really got to know Celaena, and I understood her better once the main story started. There's also a bit of world building introduced, even though the majority of the focus is on Celaena's characterization. And I must say that I love her! Sure she's quite arrogant at first, but it's also clear that she cares about doing the right thing despite being an assassin. I also loved that she was kick ass and girly! She can snap your neck and do your makeup!

The other great thing about The Assassin's Blade was that it did real like a novel rather than just a collection of shorts. Each story is directly connected to the one before it. It all flows together and felt like its own full book. If there had been proper transitions instead of each story ending and the next beginning, it totally could have been the first book in the series! Or a really long prequel! Whether you've started the series or not, I'd highly recommend giving these stories a read! They're fantastic on their own, but they're also a great introduction to (or background of) our heroine.

★★★★☆ The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
★★★★☆ The Assassin and the Healer
★★★★½ The Assassin and the Desert
★★★★☆ The Assassin and the Underworld
★★★★★ The Assassin and the Empire

Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.