Thursday, April 10, 2014

[Review] The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 13/03/2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Pages: 437
Source: Publisher for review
Genre: YA (14+) - High fantasy

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My Rating: 
Brilliantly written
My thoughts

Somehow, after knowing what happens in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, revisiting Celaena BEFORE the salt mines of Endovier brought forth a whole new perspective and a newfound appreciation for Celaena's character AND Sarah J. Maas' writing and vision. I LOVED that I was given the chance to reread the novellas in a print paperback format. I believe the experience was somehow different and richer because of it.

This book contains the five novellas that precede Throne of Glass--The Assassin and: the Pirate Lord, the Healer, the Desert, the Underworld and the Empire.

The additional novella/story, The Assassin and the Healer, was nice, and showed yet another side of Celaena. I believe the greatest importance of these novellas is the fact that it paints Celaena in a more sympathetic light. She has a bit of an abrasive and frivolous personality which may rub some readers the wrong way. We learn some of Celaena's past before she is freed from the salt mines of Endovier in Throne of Glass.

I still adore Celaena, think she's one of the greatest YA literary heroines I have read so far, and can't wait to continue the series with Heir of Fire! Sarah J. Maas introduces a romantic interest in these stories that develops beautifully. I felt kind of guilty, rereading these stories--I absolutely love Chaol (who is introduced in Throne of Glass), but remembering Celaena's first love... just... speechless.

Arobynn, King of the Assassins, is such an amazing character to rival the likes of Warner (Shatter Me) and King Leck (Graceling). I love the relationship that Celaena has with him: confused, conflicted, undefined, uncertain. Arobynn is just a little insane, especially about her. And his money. The first time his true nature and utmost potential was revealed to us I was more than surprised. He's introduced to us as a formidable and important figure from the getgo, but once he is truly unveiled to the reader, it's really quite amazing and a great achievement on Maas's part. I loved every bit of his character and was glad to see him make a few reappearances past the novellas.

These stories are far from easy to read, but it's such an absorbing tale that it'll be hard to stay away. Maas's writing is perfect: the atmosphere, mood and setting were always spot-on and appropriate; the character development and portrayals consistent and realistic; the pacing just right.

Highly recommended. These novellas are brilliantly written and set an excellent prequel to one of the hottest high fantasy series in YA--Throne of Glass!


Favourite quotes:

"Celaena put a hand over her heart, tightly gripping her sword with the other. "Because I know what it feels like." She dared another step. "Because I know how it feels to have that kind of hate, [name omitted]. I know how it feels. And this isn't the way. This," she said louder, gesturing to the fortress and all the corpses in it, all the soldiers and assassins still fighting. "This is not the way." (212)

"'If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it--to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger. But [name omitted] let her pain become hate, and let it consume her until she became something else entirely--a person I don't think she ever wished to be.' (222)

"She shook off his grip. 'I am what I am, and I don't particularly care what you think of me.' Maybe once he might have believe that, but now...
  'Well, I care what you think of me. I care enough that I stayed at this disgusting party just for you. And I care enough that I'd attend a thousand more like it so I can spend a few hours with you when you aren't looking at me like I'm not worth the dirt beneath your shoes.' (282)

"'No matter what I have done, I really do love you, Celaena.'
He was using words as chains to bind her again. He'd had so many chances over the years to tell her that he loved her--he'd known how much she'd craved those words. But he hadn't spoken them until he needed to use them as weapons. And now that she had Sam, Sam who said those words without expecting anything in return, Sam who loved her for reasons she still didn't understand ... (369-370)

"'My name is Celaena Sardothien," she whispered, "and I will not be afraid.' (430)

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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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