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?
First published: 2014
The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of the five prequel novellas to the Throne of Glass series, and I read it after reading Heir of Fire, the third book in the series. While I think this is a companion book, so not technically necessary to understand the story, it does add so much more back story that I would definitely recommend reading it before reading Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the series, which I finished reading yesterday (and LOVED, by the way).
I really enjoyed finding out more about Celaena’s past, because in the novels she talks a lot about her previous life as Adarlan’s Assassin so it was interesting to finally get to see her in action. It did take me a little time to adjust to the old Celaena, though, because she’s such a different person in The Assassin’s Blade than she is at the end of Heir of Fire, which is where I left off. But when I got used to her I just enjoyed reading about the old Celaena all the more.
The five different adventures are really cool, too! She travels to so many cool places and meets loads of interesting people. I especially liked her time in the Red Desert, although that was the only one that didn’t feature Sam (if I remember correctly).
Speaking of Sam… I absolutely adored him. It is clear from the series that he was very important to Celaena, but the real impact of what he meant to her and the loss she endured didn’t really hit until I actually got to know him as a character. I also figured there was no way that he could be more awesome and interesting than Chaol and Dorian, but he was, and I loved that. He was the first guy Celaena fell in love with, so he had to be amazing, especially considering what is said about him in the series. I liked that he was much more her equal than the other two. They were a match for one another (in more ways than one).
I could go on for a couple paragraphs more about how much I loved Sam, but that will make for either a very one-sided or a very long story. Suffice it to say that I loved those two together, and realising that the bliss would not last and that his end was nigh killed me. That was also one of the aspects that was so beautifully fabricated, though: the reader knows that Sam has to die (this isn’t a spoiler, because it’s explicitly discussed in Throne of Glass) and this adds a very important layer to the reading experience. I knew it was coming and I dreaded it more and more as I got closer to the last page. From a storytelling perspective, that’s amazingly done.
One thing I didn’t completely understand, and which I’ve seen other people comment upon as well, is why these stories are novellas. They could just as easily have been a novel, because you can’t really read the stories out of order – they’re basically (huge) chapters of one large storyline. It didn’t really bother me, but I did wonder.
All in all, I would 100 percent recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade if you like the Throne of Glass series. It adds so much more depth to Celaena’s back story, and I really liked having all this knowledge before diving into Queen of Shadows.