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Sunday, March 16, 2014

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

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: March 4, 2014
Pages: 448
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 Stars

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.

In short: The Assassin's Blade shows that Sarah J. Maas excels as a storyteller, even in novella format.
Now THIS is how novellas should be done. Too often when I read series novellas, the characters are underdeveloped, the story is superfluous, and I'm left thinking, "What is the point?"; I could easily read the series and skip the novellas and it would make absolutely no difference because the novellas are inessential and unimportant. But THESE Throne of Glass prequel novellas!! They are not only relevant and significant to the overall series story, but they are also each as strong and entertaining as an actual full-length novel.

I don't know how Sarah J. Maas does it, but somehow she is able to give the reader a feel for what Celaena is all about within the first few pages of the first novella, The Assassin and the Pirate Lord. Those who were turned off by Celaena's cockiness and inactivity in Throne of Glass should definitely give these novellas a read as Celaena demonstrates another side of herself as a gutsy and tenacious heroine with a heart of gold. And then there's Sam. Following Throne of Glass, I was firmly Team Chaol, but even I was swayed and swooned by Sam and his hate-turned-love relationship with Celaena.

Sarah J. Maas excels as a storyteller, not only when it comes to tension-ridden romances, but also no-holds-barred action scenes and gut-wrenching heartbreak and feels. And the fact that she is able to accomplish all this in short novella format when you would normally have to turn to novels to get this much depth? Well, that's just genius. My only regrets are a) that I didn't read these prequel novellas before reading Throne of Glass, and b) that I haven't read Crown of Midnight yet (seriously, what am I waiting for?!).

Previously, my review of Throne of Glass.

Other Reviews:
Looking for the Panacea
Lunar Rainbows
YA Book Queen

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  1. Oh, I quite like reading novellas and it's so cool that this is the perfect novella for you. I've heard a lot about Sarah J. Maas but I haven't had the chance to read the author's books yet. And I'll make sure I read this well before starting Throne of Glass. Thank you for your great review, Aylee!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  2. I've heard from so many readers that I need to read the prequel novellas first before the first book.Your review made this even more crystal clear. Hopefully, I can start this series closer to the release of the last book so that way I don't have much time to wait. :)

  3. Huh. I started Throne of Glass on audio and I've been struggling with it for the past month. I never even considered reading the prequel novellas first, precisely for the reason you mention - they usually contribute nothing and end up being a complete waste of my time.
    I know better now, though, so I'll read these before continuing with the audio.
    Lovely review, Aylee!

  4. I haven;t read Crown of Midnight yet either but now I thinking I want to read these prequel stories first!

  5. I think I read one of these novellas, but I definitely want to get the bindup so I can experience the full back story. I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed these and that they were relevant to the overall series and also entertaining enough on their own merits. I loved Crown of Midnight, hope you enjoy it! :-)

  6. Yeah, I wish I'd read these before going into the series too! But at least once all the books come out, we can do a proper full-series re-read - in order thank you very much ;-D You're 110% right: SJM excels storytelling, be it long stories or short. She is absolutely brilliant and definitely a new favorite author of mine ♥ Like you, these novellas made me love Celaena even more than I already did!! And her relationship with Sam? Gah! All the feels!!

    Lovely review Aylee ^^ even though I read and reviewed the novellas separately, I'm still thinking about putting a review up for this one, I feel like they work so well as one book that I want to rave about the thing some more >.<

  7. I'm not a fan of novellas because of the problems you mentioned but it's good to know that these ones are well written and relevant to the series.

    According the reviews I've read, I feel like I should give Crown of Midnight a try ... Get around to reading it so I can find out if it's as good as other bloggers are saying it is!

  8. I still need to read these books, but that's awesome the novella was well done and worth reading! I don't usually read novellas because there isn't a huge reason too...but I might have to whenever I get to this series!

  9. This book shows me that I CAN love novella's :) I absolutely loved the stories when I read them separately and I think it's great that they bundled them in this gorgeous book. I hope to re-read them, because I'm aching for some Celaena time.

  10. YES!!!! I so loved these novellas too Aylee, and I agree, they set the bar for novellas everywhere. I actually didn't care for Throne of Glass all that much, I though Celaena was all ego and attitude with nothing to back it up, but I fell in love with her in these novellas and after that last one, I completely understood why she was the way she was in Throne of Glass. Can't wait to read Crown of Midnight now!

  11. You've got me pumped up to purchase this. I know its out on kindle now. My favorite aspect of writing is when an author can pen characters which really make you feel something! I LOVED Throne of Glass, haven't read the second book yet. Sure sounds like these novellas are must read, totally excited to make some time to read them.

  12. I think I got this collection among my things!
    I'm gonna check it out :)

  13. Aylee, I forgot to ask, do these novellas flow as one big story or do they feel sort of broken up?

    1. It's hard to describe. Because they definitely are separate stories with their own story arcs, and yet they function so well as a solid book together. You definitely have to read them in chronological order anyway.