Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: The Assassin's Blade

THE ASSASSIN'S BLADE
Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5
Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult/Fantasy
448 pages
Bloomsbury
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.


MY THOUGHTS
This review is going to be a touch different from my standard essay-style reviews (I can’t help it, the essay format was drilled into me in high school and college and it’s just how my reviews normally come out when I start typing!) because I need to preface this review with a confession. Throne of Glass, book one in this series, was a huge challenge for me. I didn’t care much for heroine and self-proclaimed badass assassin Celaena until the very end, mostly because there was a lot of talking about how amazingly deadly and how deserving of her reputation she was, but yet I saw no evidence of it on page. There were hints of past jobs done here and there, but for the most part Celaena seemed to have a high opinion of herself unsupported by action.

I was told by many that I really should have started with the prequel novellas before tackling Throne of Glass, but it seemed strange to me that I would need to start a series prior to book one in order to care for the main character. When the opportunity to review all five prequel novellas presented itself however, I thought it was more than time to give Celaena a second chance.

I couldn’t be happier I did. The young woman in the five novellas comprising The Assassin’s Blade is the Celaena I expected to find in Throne of Glass. The Celaena I'd been hoping for all along. She still has an undeniably inflated ego, but over the course of these stories it becomes clear she has a heart to match it in size, and she more than proves her ability to put her fists and her blades where her mouth is. She has moments where her young age gets the best of her and a perceived slight causes her to lash out with some unnecessarily sharp words, but she shows growth and maturity with each novella, and I repeatedly found myself with an evil grin on my face whenever someone made the mistake of underestimating her physically or mentally.

Each novella gets progressively darker, building up to something those who’ve read only the synopsis of Throne of Glass would pick up on through the notable absence of a certain character, but even knowing it was coming didn’t fully prepare me for the delivery of such a brutal blow. The cold young woman who seemed as though her ego could use a check or ten in Throne of Glass suddenly made much more sense; the loss she struggles with at the end of The Assassin’s Blade leaving her with her guilt and her former sterling reputation–dulled from its previous shine–wrapped tight around her like armor against the person who betrayed her. It’s with vengeance and a need for retribution to match Celaena’s own that I closed the back cover of The Assassin’s Blade, eagerly anticipating the moment when the man who cost her everything will inevitably find himself on the lethally right side of Celaena’s blades.

Rating: 4/5


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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

45 comments:

  1. I am so so so excited you gave Cealena another chance! I loved these prequels as they let us understand her so much better. I also strongly think that these Novellas should have been the first book! But then, she doesn't meet her main love interested until book 1.

    And we are not talking about the end of these Novella's *sniffleS*

    Anyways, so happy you likes these so much :)

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    1. I was a sobbing emotional mess at the end Danny! I'm really glad I gave her a second chance too, I'm definitely a fan now:)

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  2. YAAYYYY JENNY!! Oh I am so glad that you read this and have found that you like Celaena more than you thought! It's true of course that she is insanely cocky... I don't know, I like my characters with flaws though. And she really does have the heart to match it :)

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    1. ME TOO! This was the Celaena I was fully expecting in book one, and I'm so glad I read these:)

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  3. Ah, well that's good to know. I got the first book not too long ago, but I'm glad I haven't read it yet. I usually don't like reading prequels first, but I will definitely do so with these.

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    1. Yes, definitely read the novellas first Christy, you'll get a better feel for who Celaena is:)

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  4. Oh it was alll the novellas...did not know that

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    1. YES! All five in one lovely hardback book:)

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  5. I am so glad that you decided to give these novellas and Celaena's character another go Jenny and that you were able to understand her character that whole lot more. I want to be back in this wonderful world right away, so think that I will have to buy this, so it will keep me tied over until the third book releases. (Yes I will have to read at a snail pace!). I hope you end up picking Crown of Midnight soon, as it has all the feels!! Gorgeous review!

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    1. Me too Jasprit!!!! I was disappointed in Throne of Glass, and even more disappointed that I seemed to be practically the only one who didn't care for it, BUT these novellas have made me a fangirl:)

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  6. I agree that it's a bit odd to have to read the prequel novellas to fully understand Celaena's character in Throne of Glass, but I actually gave a try to the novellas before going for the book (to see if I liked the story and the writing style) and I loved the novellas! And then I loved Throne of Glass (it was easier to understand Celaena's character for sure).
    Great review, Jenny! And like Jasprit, if you haven't read Crown of Midnight, I highly recommend you read it, but closer to the release date of Heir of Midnight!

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    1. I wish I had read these first Pili, maybe Throne of Glass would have worked better, but I'm super excited for Crown of Midnight!!!

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  7. This has me wanting to pick up the novellas. And the series, which I've heard so many things about.

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    1. I really, really enjoyed these Amanda:)

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  8. Yes, these really are a must. It is amazing how much background info is in these. I am so glad you read these and it changed your opinion of Calaena!!

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    1. Me too!!! I'm fully on board with Celaena now and can't wait to get caught up on the series!

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  9. Oh, I'm excited you enjoyed this, Jenny! You know I struggled with Throne of Glass, too, so I wasn't sure it was even worth my considering this. It sounds like some of the kinks have been worked out now though! Great review :)

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    1. I'd be interested to see what you think of these Melissa, I'd like to know if your opinion changes too:)

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  10. I've been debating starting this series...glad to hear that the shorts were satisfying!

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  11. I love this series but admittedly have not read any of the prequels or novellas..you have me adding them. I cannot wait for book three!

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    1. If you like the series, I think you'll love these Kim!

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  12. I actually did love Throne of Glass and I still haven't read this novellas! I now know that I'm making an even bigger mistake by accidentally procrastinating. Incredibly happy that you loved this!

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    1. Read them for sure Summer!!! I thought they were fantastic:)

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  13. I remember when the first book came out I wasn't all that thrilled about it, but the reviews for the second book had been stellar. I, too, heard that the novellas should be read first before book 1 and the fact that it made you love a lackluster character more and are willing to pick this series up again is a clear indication that I should do the same.

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    1. I heard really great things about book 2 as well, which is why I thought maybe I should give the novellas a try. I'm so glad I did Rummanah!

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  14. I would feel the same way about starting a series, Jenny. I don't understand why you'd have to read the novellas first to appreciate the first book in a series. Is be a little more stubborn about picking them up. But I guess giving in paid off for you so yay! I haven't been attracted to YA and this series doesn't speak to me, but I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it. Great review! :)

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  15. I meant I haven't been attracted to YA lately. I have recently picked up a YA after some time away from it and sadly it didn't impress. It was just okay. Oh well. I'll enjoy my adult reads in the meantime.

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    1. Sometimes I need to take a break from YA too Rachel, I completely understand!

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  16. Interesting that so much of the character development would appear in novellas. Thanks for the heads up.

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    1. Yes. The whole first book makes more sense after reading these. I just like Celaena so much now:)

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  17. While I still haven't read these novellas, I've heard the same thing. And I can see it because I really didn't like Celaena very much in the first book (she totally grew on me in the second, though). She was arrogant and overbearing, a braggart with little to back it up.

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  18. JELAOUS! You read this one. Hold up? Is it out already! Cause if so, I'm ordering it ASAP!

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  19. OH okay, just saw the post and it is the novella's, not the third book. Woo, I thought I missed that one. LOL

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  20. I don't read a lot of novellas unless they are part of my must-read series; I just don't have the time! It's cool that the author combined her into one installment. I might actually consider reading it just because of this. Great review!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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  21. See this is the problem I having with novellas. Why should we have to purchase several prequels and middle novellas to get the full story? Many readers still don't have ereaders so the publishers are short changing them. I refuse to buy into this ploy. I won't buy and read all these novellas.

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  22. Oh sweet! I'm so adding the novellas to the series on my wishlist. I've been wanting to try Throne of Glass. Must have them all. So glad you told me about the novellas and how much it changed your perspective.

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  23. I still have to read Crown of Midnight, but I loved Throne of Glass. I'm also curious about Celaena's backstory, so this sounds perfect! I'm glad this one caused you to like Celaena more. Great review :)

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  24. Ahhh I haven't read any of the books in this series yet, but I think I'm gonna start soon. Should I just go straight for the novella collection first then instead of Throne of Glass? Seems like that way I will have a much better perspective into the story :) So glad you liked it Jenny!

    Angel @ Spare Reads

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  25. I'm actually glad to hear these novellas become progressively darker! I wasn't a fan of Throne of Glass but I'm on the fence about its sequel, so perhaps these novellas will help me make a decision concerning it. Wonderful review, Jenny!(:

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  26. I totally agree that Celaena had a lot more reputation than actual action in the first book, and in the sequel Crown of Midnight she lived up to that reputation for me. I'm glad to hear the prequels show that same sequel Celaena, because she is the one that has me reading this series (ok, her and Chaol of course). I have a copy of this and it sounds like I need to get on it immediately. Lovely review!

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  27. LOLOLOLOLOL!!!! I have that essay style too (mostly): introduction, body, conclusion. Ha! We're twinsies of sorts :D "but it seemed strange to me that I would need to start a series prior to book one in order to care for the main character." --this does make sense imo. Then again, the novellas are there to create backstory and whatnot, but indeed, why do you have to read a prequel to care? Yayyyy that you loved this one:) And character growth with each and every novella? Whoop! Ah, I can't wait to read this one and I need to tackle Crown of Midnight asap. Lovely, lovely review, sweets!

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  28. Girl my teacher is drilling me with essay form every week so yeah I feel you! I'm glad you have got to see Celaena better and I have in fact read these novellas prior to the Throne of Glass so I loved it. Great review, Jenny :)

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  29. See, I loved Celaena from the the start. BUT I did read the novellas first, so I wonder if that's why. Regardless, I'm glad she grew on you, b/c as much as I love The Grisha, I really do think ToG is my #1 favorite. LOVE it SO much!

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  30. I haven't read this series yet! First because of reviews that said the first one wasn't as impressive as the hype demanded, and also because of the triangle. Though I'm told that book 2 is BETTER and the triangle goes away. I'm waiting until book 3 to confirm that to invest in these, but I'm still worried about waiting for 7 books!! However, I will be sure to start with the prequels before I start it all.

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