Release Date: 13th March 2014
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
The twist of a knife,
The birth of a legend.
Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. Her gave her a home at the Assassins’ Guild and taught her the skills she needed to survive.
Arobynn’s enemies stretch far and wide – from Adarlan’s rooftops to its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate – and cut her her heart in two forever...
The prequels to the international bestseller Throne of Glass.
I’m a huge fan of this series so I was crazy excited when I found out that there’d be five prequel e-novellas. Then it was announced they’d be collected in hard copy and it was even better!
I’ve actually already read the first three e-novellas so I’m just going to repeat the mini-reviews for them and then review the final three in the same fashion. Without further a do, over to Celaena!
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord takes place two years before the beginning of Throne of Glass when Celaena is sixteen. She’s arrogant, annoying and a bit of a brat really – a very different girl to the one I first met in Throne of Glass. It took me a while to adjust to her character so I was pleased that she grew up in such a short amount of time. But the end of the novella she was on her way to becoming the Celaena I know and love.
I have to say that my favourite thing about The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by far was who we got to meet: the famous Sam. Yep, Sam who Celaena fell in love with and then got killed. He’s completely adorable and I totally understand what she saw in him. But mostly I loved that they were at loggerheads to begin with. It took a dangerous and life-changing mission for them to start to see eye to eye. This e-novella showed their beginning and I hope that we get to see their relationship progress and develop over the series of novellas.
The Assassin and the Desert
Man, I’m in love with everything this woman writes. The Assassin and the Desert picks up shortly after Celaena and Sam have returned home from their adventures in Skull’s Bay and faced the consequences. It really feels like a series and many references and connections are made between them which I loved.
While at the fortress, Celaena makes friends with Ansel who I fell in love with immediately. She’s strong, bolshy and very much like Celaena. There were good for each other and it was nice to see Celaena interacts with girls and learn a little humility really. then there’s an explosive twist that made me whine ‘Nooooo’ at my uncaring cat.
With the character growth, brilliant story and a stunning setting that I’m beginning to see is one of Sarah J Maas’ strengths, The Assassin and the Desert was a great way to spend an hour of my Sunday and I’ve already downloaded the next story in the series.
The Assassin and the Underworld
Sarah J Maas can do nothing short of awesome in my eyes and The Assassin and the Underworld just helped maintain that viewpoint.
I was so looking forward to seeing Celaena and Sam reunited in this instalment. After the mission in the first and the aftermath in the second, I was really curious to see how their relationship had changed and developed. I loved that everything wasn’t immediately all smiles and roses; they had to find a way to deal with the change in the way they acted with each other and I especially loved Celaena’s fumbled attempts to smooth over her bad behaviour.
Even though Celaena was back in the laps of luxury at the Assassin’s Keep, things had changed for her. I feel that with every one of these stories she grows closer to the Celaena I know and love and her independence and respect for herself came on leaps and bounds in The Assassin and the Underworld. I’m off to download the next one, The Assassin and the Empire.
The Assassin and the Healer
As the shortest story in the collection by a long way, I was expecting The Assassin and the Healer to be a little different ot rest of the prequels, and it was in a way. We had never seen Celaena in such vibrant anger before. Her sheer power and the real danger she poses when she’s not happy became instantly apparent. I really wouldn’t like to cross that girl!
For the first time we see Celaena through eyes other than her own; eyes that don’t recognise her and aren’t aware of what she can do. Celaena and Yrene couldn’t have been more different, but Celaena found a kinship there and helped teach this defenceless girl how to fight, physically and for herself. So good to see a softer side of Celaena, and a good, strong dose of girl power too.
The Assassin and the Empire
The final e-novella in this collection is my favourite. It packed a severe emotional punch; I found myself blinking rapidly to avoid tears on at least two occasions – pretty impressive for a story just under 100 pages long. The Assassin and the Empire sees the mission that got Celaena thrown into Endovier and the horrible, horrible repercussions of being Adarlan’s Assassin.
Celaena really becomes human in this instalment and her relationship with Sam and their time together really shines a light on her character at the beginning of Throne of Glass. Avenging the man she loved got her sentenced to death; it explains a whole lot when you watch it unfold, fervently wishing that everything you know about what comes next will magically not happen!
This collection of stories set in Celaena’s world as Adarlan’s Assassin are a wonderful glimpse into life in Rifthold, the horrors she experienced and the history of a character and a series that I have come to adore.
A big thank you to Bloomsbury for the review copy.