The Assassin’s Blade: A Book Review

Posted August 10, 2015 by Carlisa in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

The Assassin’s Blade: A Book ReviewThe Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Also by this author: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books on March 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Adventure, Short Story, Novella
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Contains all five novellas.

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.

These are the five novellas that take place before the Throne of Glass series even begins. And this was my first introduction into the ToG world…and let me tell you. I fell swiftly and I fell hard into this fandom.

I talked to a few people before starting the series, trying to get a handle on whether or not to read the novellas or just start the series first. Many novellas are written after the first few books, so often they don’t need to be read first. The consensus I seemed to get from most people was that while you don’t have to read The Assassin’s Blade before the series, it would help to understand Celaena, the main character, and the world that Maas has created. After reading it, I totally understand this and I’m so glad I read these five stories before I dive into the real ToG world.

One of my really good friends started reading Throne of Glass last year and didn’t like it at all. She actually didn’t finish it because she couldn’t get over the arrogance of Celaena. Celaena knows she’s one of the world’s greatest assassins. She’s been trained for that her entire life. But these stories show how she came to be that way. She’s been hardened by betrayal, death, and loss of friendship and trust and love. And she knows that she’s arrogant. It’s kind of just a part of who she is. And I think if I had started reading ToG without these novellas, I might not have come to that conclusion. I think her life has trained her to think highly of herself. She needs to think highly of herself, have extreme confidence in herself, to do what she does.

But I honestly think this confidence and arrogance is just a mask. And I think my favorite part of these stories was when I got to see her take off her mask, break down the walls she’s built up for herself. She says, “‘Deep down, I’m a coward…I’m a coward, and I’m scared. I’m scared all the time. Always.'” Among other things, she admits to her cowardice, her fear of things going wrong. Something she hides the rest of the time and I felt for her. I think at times we all put on a face. It might not be the face of extreme confidence to professionally assassinate someone…but we all do it. We may put on the face of contentment when we’re really grieving or frustrated or angry or all of these things at once. We may act like we’re confident when we’re really shaking inside. We may laugh when we want to cry. These are all masks that we put on. And arrogance is Celaena’s. 

Moving on from that, though, I like that each story is separate but they’re all connected. They’re all chronological and they build on each other. They each have a separate plot, a separate climax, a separate set of secondary characters. But they all contribute to the same thing: the character of Celaena. Each story shows a different side of her.

And each story moves forward and builds up to the last novella: The Assassin and the Empire. This one is definitely the climax of all five. The story of all stories. The one that will simultaneously rip your heart out while forcing you to keep turning pages. Seriously, my heart was ripped out. If I wasn’t reading the heart-wrenching scene(s) right before my internship, I probably would have cried/curled-up-into-a-little-ball/stared-at-the-ceiling-never-wanting-to-move-again-until-I-could-read-ToG. After a certain scene, or two, or three…I started picturing Sarah J. Maas differently. I could now see her, preparing to write a new book. This is how I picture it:

crushed heart

But like I said, I fell hard into this fandom. I had never even heard of Throne of Glass until I started book blogging but literally everyone loves it. So I jumped aboard and I am full steam ahead. I just received the first three books in hardcover today…And Maas is coming an hour away from my school in September so I’m going to see her then hopefully! And probably have no idea what to say because what do you say to someone who broke your heart like she did but that also created such a rich world and set of characters? I’ll probably just stand there and squeak when she sits in front of me in her full Sarah J. Maas glory.

Also lol at this conversation I had with my mom right after finished:


Also this conversation I had on Twitter right after:

AND SHE LIKED IT. SARAH J. MAAS LIKED IT. I’m not fangirling so much over the fact that she favorited a tweet I wrote…just that I told her my heart was broken and stomped on to bits and she pressed “favorite.” The nerve of that one.

I still love her though.

It’s an interesting relationship I feel between she and I.

Okay, moving on. On to Throne of Glass!


  • Oh my goodness! That’s me up there! I feel so special 😀 But seriously though, chocolate and tissues are ABSOLUTELY necessary. And don’t worry, I’m fangirling too. Is it sad that I didn’t delete the email I got notifying me that SJM liked the tweet so I always have proof she did so? #NoShame

    But I’m so glad you loved it! Honestly, this series is just….just amazing. I really hope you love the other books! This is one of the series I think gets better and better as it goes on. I liked the sequels even better than the first book! Definitely no bridge book in this series.

    And I’m glad to hear that reading The Assassin’s Blade first worked out for you. My sister was asking for a recommendation so OF COURSE I thought of ToG, but I wasn’t sure whether or not to have her read The Assassin’s Blade first. I got an ARC of ToG so I read the only novellas that were released at the time (before they were put together in book form and before the two extra novellas – namely the last one that tears your heart out and brings it all together). I think they helped some, but I couldn’t say definitively. So I read The Assassin’s Blade after Crown of Midnight I think but OMG! It did make me love her so much more so I’ll definitely have my sister read The Assassin’s Blade first.

    And The Assassin and the Empire! *sobs uncontrollably* that one just tore my heart out. Since that one wasn’t released before I read ToG, there were just references to what happens but OMG! Once I read it I just….*continues crying*. I refused to read it until I could sit down and finish it. I loved it and absolutely hated it. It was amazing.

    P.S. That GIF is perfect.