Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Year Published: 2014
Although The Assassin’s Blade isn’t necessary to reading the Throne of Glass series, I feel as though one would not completely know the kind of person Celaena is without reading it. It is essential if you want a rounder idea of who she is as a character and how her past has influenced her growth over time.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the three short stories. Although, I do think that they did not need to be separated. It could have easily just been a prequel novel because the stories followed one another and connected with the past events of each story. Having to remind the reader what happened in the previous story is somewhat redundant, so I do think that format-wise, it didn’t have to be separated into three stories.
Out of the three, however, I enjoyed The Assassin and the Desert the most. I loved seeing Celaena be put in a place where she was part of a community. It was very refreshing as opposed to her often being alone in her thoughts and endeavors. Also, Sarah J. Maas’ writing in this story was especially great, as I enjoyed her expanding the world of Erilea and exploring the different regions it includes.
Although the ending did leave me emotional because of what happened to Sam, I still felt as though Sam was a bit flat as a character. The biggest things about him that we know are: (1) His mother was a courtesan and died, so that’s how he ended up in the guild, (2) he has been second to Celaena since they both joined the guild, and (3) he’s always been in love with Celaena. I can’t think of much else. I want to know how his love for Celaena grew. I know that would take longer to go through, but I think it would be great to know so that when they finally form a relationship, it feels stronger. That being said, I did enjoy him as a character and, to be honest, I think Celaena would have been better off with him than with Chaol or Dorian. But, fatal events obviously keep that from happening, and with those fatal events, we see Celaena herself fall into a trap and face another horror: Endovier.
I think everything leading up to Celaena’s arrest and the arrest itself was well done and really sets up where the series begins. It was definitely emotional, and I commend Sarah J. Maas for writing this beautiful addition to the Throne of Glass series.