Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: The Assassin's Blade

Title: The Assassin's Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Pages:  448 pages
Rating: 5 Cows

Goodreads Description: 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.

            I was going through TOG withdrawl symptoms last month, when I finally picked up The Assassin’s Blade and started reading it.  Typically, I’m hesitant to read novellas, especially if they’re prequels to a series I’ve already read.  After finishing Heir of Fire, I tried picking up several other books, only to put them down one or two chapters in.  Nothing was doing it for me, and I finally gave in and started reading The Assassin’s Blade.  After finishing it though, I can’t believe I ever doubted Sarah J. Maas’ ability to write a book that would completely hook me.
            First off, I want to comment on the characters Maas creates and uses in her writing.  There are SO MANY characters with diverse dynamics in this series.  After reading the first 3 TOG books in the series, and hearing all the horrible things about Arobynn, I thought for sure I’d hate his character (and don’t get me wrong, I still do!)  But after reading the first 2 novellas in the book, his character grew on me.  TOG fans, don’t hate me for saying this, but Arobynn is an extremely interesting character!  There was this huge contrast in how he showed his feelings for Celaena.  On one hand, he seemed to represent a father figure, bringing Celaena up after her parents died, and teaching her everything he knew.  On the other though, there seems to be some type of romantic love taking place.  It was so hard to reconcile these two aspects of his character!  It made for a great read though, and I actually enjoyed a lot of the scenes that were centered around Arobynn and Celaena interacting.  I’d be curious to see what happens with their relationship in the 4th book of TOG, because other than the novellas in The Assassin’s Blade, I don’t believe Arobynn hasn’t actually made an appearance in the first 3 TOG books (correct me if I’m wrong!).  The ending of The Assassin’s Blade makes me think there’s unfinished business between him and Celaena though, so hopefully we’ll see him again later in the series.
            Another favorite character of mine in this book: Sam.  OH SAM! Now I finally understand all the memes and gifs of Sam that surface all the TOG fan sites, Twitter pages, and Tumblr blogs.  It would be impossible not to love him!  Learning more about Celaena’s past was one of my biggest motivations to start The Assassin’s Blade, because it’s referenced quite frequently in the series.  That being said, I knew Sam played an integral role in her old life before she becomes the King’s Assassin. I didn’t realize just how much though! I wish he could have been in the other books in the series, because he is definitely one of my favorite characters in this series.  For fans of Jace from The Mortal Instruments, I think you’d really get on with this book for the character of Sam alone.  He reminds me of Jace in a lot of aspects, and although I can’t pinpoint exactly which ones, I do think he has the same humour and sarcastic tone that Jace has in Mortal Instruments, which I why I think I loved him so much!
            As far as the issue of the novellas is concerned I actually didn’t mind it!  There are 5 of them, and the Assassin’s Blade is a compilation of all of them in one book.  I believe they were originally released electronically one at a time, and later bound up in one book.  The stories are chronologically ordered though, so although they were 5 seperate stories about the missions Celaena is sent on by Arobynn, they actually felt like one big story.  I think this is why I didn’t mind them so much!
            Last but not least, the cover of this book is GORGEOUS!  I give my highest praises to whoever was in charge of the cover art and layout of all the TOG books in this series.  The Assassin’s Blade, and the other 3 books in the series, are honestly some of the prettiest books on my bookshelf.  That being said, I have no reasons not to give this book all 5 cows!  Highly recommend it, even if you haven’t read any of the TOG books yet! 



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