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Sharpen The Knife

The five prequel novellas of Sarah J. Maas’ The Assassin’s Blade tell of a younger, but no less deadly, Celaena Sardothien.

Sharpen The Knife

BOOK REPORT for The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1–0.5) by Sarah J. Maas

Cover Story: Eyes Up Here
The Best: “The Assassin and the Pirate Lord”
The Worst Most Heartbreaking: “The Assassin and the Empire”
The Weird Most Foretelling: “The Assassin and the Underworld”
Bonus Factors: Chance Meetings, Backstory
Anti-Bonus Factor: Naiveté
Break Glass In Case Of: Throne of Glass Withdrawal

Danger, Will Robinson! The Assassin’s Blade is a series of short stories set in the Throne of Glass universe. If you have not read the first book—Throne of Glass—you might want to turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first book—or want to jump into the series here and not heed my warning—feel free to continue below. I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the larger story.

Cover Story: Eyes Up Here

The woman on the cover of this book wants you to be totally distracted by her lovely face and windswept hood—and pay no mind to the two nasty knives she’s holding at her sides.

The Deal:

This set of five novellas gives readers a glimpse into the life Celaena Sardothien, Ardarlan’s Assassin and main character of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, before she was shipped off to serve nine life sentences in the salt mines of Endovier (i.e., before Throne of Glass).

Although how she became the most notorious assassin in all of Erilea isn’t exactly made clear in these stories, the five missions in each story explain the events that led up to her incarceration and introduce some of the most important people in her young life.

The Best: “The Assassin and the Pirate Lord”

“The Assassin and the Pirate Lord” is the first story in the book, and tells of the first time Celaena doesn’t blindly follow orders (or, at least, that’s what’s implied). It also shows that Celaena isn’t a completely cold and unfeeling assassin; she cares, deeply, even when doing so might have serious consequences.

The Worst Most Heartbreaking: “The Assassin and the Empire”

The final story in the book, “The Assassin and the Empire,” tells of Celaena’s final mission before her life turns upside down. Pretty much everything that could go wrong does, and the explanation of why she ends up in Endovier is both heart-breaking and rage-inducing; while it’s terribly hard to read about Celaena hitting rock bottom, it’s even worse reading about what happened behind the scenes. And it makes me wish I had her skills so that I could take out the people that put her there.

The Weird Most Foretelling: “The Assassin and the Underworld”

The mission Celaena goes on in “The Assassin and the Underworld” seems straightforward at first, but it quickly becomes obvious that nothing is what it seems—and much of what Celaena thought she knew begins to unravel.

Bonus Factor: Chance Meetings

In “The Assassin and the Underworld,” Celaena attends a party in which a group of masked nobles show up, including two individuals who seem awfully familiar (and who likely play large roles in the full books of the series).

“It took all of two heartbeats for her to see that the dark-haired youth was a their ringleader, and that that the fine clothes and masks they wore marked them as nobility. … The masked strangers swaggered down the steps, one of the them keeping close to the dark-haired youth. That one had a sword, she noticed, and from his tensed shoulders, she could tell that he wasn’t entirely pleased to be here.”

Bonus Factor: Backstory

Although you get some of Celaena’s history in the full novels, the five stories in The Assassin’s Blade go a long way to better explaining what happened before Endovier and why Celaena is the way she is.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Naiveté

Teenagers—even the most well-trained and mature—can still be awfully self-centered, causing them to miss some of the most obvious clues to the true nature of both people and situations. There were times in most of the five stories in The Assassin’s Blade in which I wanted to yell at Celaena for being so blind.

Break Glass In Case Of: Throne of Glass Withdrawal

The fifth book in the Throne of Glass series won’t be published until September, and that means that there’s only so much time to re-read the first four. The five stories in The Assassin’s Blade can fill the spaces between, or give you a quick hit of Erilea when you’re really jonesing.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money, and recieved neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Assassin’s Blade is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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