The Assassin’s Blade by SJ Maas is a collection of five novellas that precede Celaena’s life. The book dives into her adventures as Adarlan’s Assassin and working for the King of Assassin’s, Arobynn Hamel.
Each story is unique and flowed smoothly into each other. The glimpses into her character and relationships before Endovier were an eye opener. She wasn’t the same Assassin you come to know in the series but rather a more arrogant, prideful and more materialistic version of her.
We also get to see the side of her willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of freeing slaves and doing what’s right. That was one thing other than her taste for expensive things that has remained consistent. Throughout the series Celaena talks about Sam and how she loved him and he was ripped from her but surprisingly or unsurprisingly, he features romantically for less than two stories of the book which was quite disappointing. I wanted to learn more about him as a character and how he fell in love with Celaena and what his summer was away from her when she was sent away by Arobynn to train with the Mute Master in the Red Desert. But I enjoyed the revelation of Arobynn as a violent, possessive, murderous and manipulative individual. That formed a very big part in the formation of the Celaena Sardothien that was to the Celaena Sardothien that is currently in the series. And from what I read of the small sample of Queen of Shadows for BookCon, the interaction between her and Arobynn is going to be more than just interesting as the book progresses.
Sarah did say at an event that there would be a character returning from this book to Queen of Shadows or a book after that. I’m hoping that Ansel comes back. To see how Celaena handles Ansel if she comes to Rifthold would be something to behold.
I quite enjoyed the novella in which she meets a healer and she tells her to go and pursue her dream. To see her come back would be quite interesting as well.
At times the stories drag, but all in all it’s a solid read. A word of advice, read this before Heir of Fire because once you read that book, everything pales in comparison. I gave it a 4/5 stars.
A little unknown novella is the Assassin in the Princess. It’s a short story around 60-70 pages that is about Celaena and Nehemia spending the day together in Rifthold shopping. This is a sweet little story in which Nehemia and Celaena make a pact to talk about anything except what the King is planning, the rebel movement, Nehemia’s intentions to free slaves or about anything that Celaena might be up to. They go to one of Celaena’s favorite dress shops and she spends the day helping Nehemia try on and pick out the most suitable dresses and accessories to go with them. Celaena also ends up buying a rather daring dress for herself.
It’s short and sweet and just goes a sliver deeper into Celaena and Nehemia’s relationship. I gave it a 5/5 stars.