Monday, October 30, 2017

Novella: Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1 - #0.5) by Sarah J. Maas

So this post evidences my continued existence as a S.J. Maas trash. I previously finished Heir of Fire earlier but still hasn't gotten around my head to review it. I figured I need to let my thoughts out regarding The Assassin's Blade right here, right now because I am about to start Queen of Shadows in a few hours and I might drown in it again. So yeah, here are my useless ramblings at 3 in the morning about this book that totally broke me in a span of less than 500 pages.

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Blurb:
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. (via Goodreads)
The Assassin's Blade is a collection of the five published Throne of Glass novellas that served as the prequel of the Book 1 of this amazing series, Throne of Glass. This was Celaena Sardothien - At the height of her career, when she was still dubbed as Adarlan's Assassin. Before Endovier. Before her downfall. When I read Throne of Glass, there was this nagging feeling that something is missing - some missing puzzle piece for me to fully comprehend Celaena. Too much was left to the imagination, too much was left unexplained. But when I finally finished The Assassin's Blade, I understood. This broke my heart into a thousand pieces, particularly the last novella: The Assassin and the Empire. While it was no news that, yes, Sam Cortland is indeed dead -- nothing prepared me for the emotional punch it delivered. It made Throne of Glass ten times more heartbreaking than it already is. I decided to buy and read this on a whim because I felt that I needed to answer some very pressing questions before I start Queen of Shadows -- and I was right. The motivations, how deep the need for revenge is, the pain - it was all clearly etched by the time I closed the last page of this collection.

Sarah managed to inject such character history to Celaena in a span of five novellas -- sides and angles we won't see if not for these stories, a big chunk of her that was repaired and destroyed and will be rebuilt again and again in the subsequent books in this series.

If I have to rank the novellas, it would be:

  1. The Assassin and the Empire, #0.5 (Need I say more? The build up to this ending was insane and heart-wrenching. I am in a puddle of my own making. And it hurt. It physically hurt.)
  2. The Assassin and the Healer, #0.2 (I cried several times, for some reason. Yrene!!!)
  3. The Assassin and the Underworld, #0.4  (Re-introduction of Arobynn Hamel. And that confession scene!)
  4. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, #0.1 (This is the first and a very bad-ass introduction, that is. Celaena was slightly different here. More arrogant, more spoiled.) 
  5. The Assassin and the Desert, #0.3 (This was generally good, but I just felt a bit detached during some moments in the narrative.)
Honestly, at this point, I am just amazed at how fleshed out Celaena's character is. Yes, she is the kickass beautiful heroine that basically has every hot guy under her mercy -- but she is so much more. She is imperfect and I love how these imperfections are explored and examined, unflinchingly putting each of them under focus. These stories just add up to the epicness that is injected in the series. The amount of references in the subsequent titles from these novellas are insane -- establishing a different sort of continuity and solidity to its narrative. YA writing master class, if you'll ask me. 

As usual, definitely recommended! The whole series, that is. 

(And now, every time I read "I will not be afraid," I think I'll die a little inside. This demands a re-read of Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, because Sam. 😭)

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My ratings:

0.1 The Assassin and the Pirate Lord - ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)
0.2 The Assassin and the Healer - ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
0.3 The Assassin and the Desert - ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)
0.4 The Assassin and the Underworld - ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5, 0.5 of which is mainly because of Sam Cortland!!!)
0.5 The Assassin and the Empire - ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 out of 5)
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Quotable Quotes:

"Let me give you a bit of advice, [...] from one working girl to another: Life isn't easy, no matter where you are. You'll make choices you think are right, and then suffer for them. [...] So if you're going to be miserable, you might as well go to Antica and be miserable in the shadow of the Torre Cesme."

"If you want something, then take it."

"Tomorrow will be better. It might be only a foot more than today, but it will be a foot longer than you can run."

"Everything has a price..."

"If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything."
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