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The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas Book Review

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

The Assassin's Blade

by Sarah J. Maas

Published by Bloomsbury

Collection of 5 Prequel Novellas in the Throne of Glass Series

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


Some Steamy Scenes #Fantasy Exciting

Violence #Romance Emotional


Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas is a compilation book of five prequel novellas, centered around assassin Celaena Sardothien before the events of the main series take place. The book contains novellas: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, The Assassin and the Empire. Instead of rating each story, I will rate the book as a whole. I do have thoughts though on each story, so, be prepared.

First off, I didn't start off by reading the prequel novellas, because I was a little nervous I wouldn't understand what was going on. Prequels are interesting things. They can be written in a way where they feel like an introduction to the world, and you won't feel like you are missing anything. Or, they are written in a way that makes you think you should have read the main series first. So that's what I did. BUT, I think if you were to read these novellas after the first one, or if you wanted to read it in chronological order, you wouldn't be lost. They are great set up stories, and really give Throne of Glass readers some deep insight into how Celaena ended up in the salt mines. I do highly suggest you at least read this novella before you start Empire of Storms.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

This novella really brought me back to the first book, and my first impression of Celaena. Arrogant, and not all that likable. But enjoyable nonetheless, because it was really the first step she takes toward a journey she, at the time, has no intention of taking. We meet Sam, and I was surprised that, and yes, spoiler time, --------->that they were enemies for so long. Throughout the series, I figured they were close for a lot longer. Although, it's obvious Sam has feelings for Celaena, and while Celaena is the planner in freeing the slaves, Celaena partnering up with Sam was the catalyst of their relationship. <----------

The Assassin and the Healer

This novella is probably the shortest of the book, and features two characters, our favorite assassin Celaena, and a young healer who works as a barmaid, Yrene Towers. --------->which, if you have read the series already, you know ends up being very important in the future of the series<--------- While Celaena is on her way to the Red Desert, as part of her punishment from Arobynn after costing him a lot of money by freeing the slaves in The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, she comes across Yrene Towers, a young healer, who is trying to make money for the travel to the southern continent to train as a healer. When Yrene runs into trouble in the alley by the inn, Celaena saves her, and takes the time to teach Yrene how to defend herself, and only asks that if she finds another woman who will listen, to teach them. Before Celaena leaves on her ship, she makes sure to leave Yrene a much needed gift. I thought this was a cute little story that sets up the events in Tower of Dawn nicely.

The Assassin and the Desert

This novella was interesting because Celaena mentions how she trained in the red desert with the silent assassins, and now we get see what actually happened. -------> And let's not forget, sets up the life debts between the Silents Assassins, Ansel of Briarcliff, and Aelin.<-------- The desert is not just physical training for her, but in a way, opens herself up a bit. She explores her feelings towards Arobynn, and Sam. She makes friends. And it furthered Celaena on her road to ... home. ---------> I honestly don't like Ansel after reading this story. I do understand why Celaena feels close to her, though. She see's a dark part of herself in Ansel, and in a way, its comforting to know she isn't alone. <---------

The Assassin and the Underworld

This was probably my favorite of the novellas. This novella really touches on how twisted Arobynn is, and what he did to finally make Celaena to have enough. ---------> We also get Sam and Celaena!! So sweet! <-------. We get some fun little moments, like one that is mentioned in Empire of Storms -------> Celaena throwing a dagger at Lysandra, just missing her head <---------, and unknowingly, Celaena has her first encounter with Prince Dorian, and Royal Guard Chaol at a party. And as you know, both are major characters in the Throne of Glass Series.

The Assassin and the Empire.

This is the novella where everything goes to shit. The last prequel novellas starts off with Celaena in the prison carriage, wondering if it was all her fault. If she brought it on herself. We then jump back in time to 11 days before, which tells us the story of how Celaena was arrested and sentenced to Endovier, where we meet Celaena for the first time in Throne of Glass. Already reading the series, I had trouble reading this one. ---------> I knew Sam was going to die, which made every moment Celaena and him had together so fucking brutal. I had to keep putting my kindle down, because I was actually scared to keep reading and have his death become real. It made me wish for all the things Celaena wishes she had with him. I'm just glad we didn't get a POV from him. Having Celaena know what was done to him is bad enough. As we learn in Empire of Storms, there is some small justice. The man who kills Sam was killed by Wesley, Arobynn's bodyguard. And Aelin learns where Sam is buried, and got to say a final goodbye to him. I finished it two days ago and I am still emotional about it. <--------.

I thought I would be bored reading the prequels, but I found them an interesting addition to the series. Celaena's personality was consistent to what we get in Throne of Glass, and the events in the novellas line up with everything we learned in the series. I really enjoyed them, despite the emotional ending.

Where to Buy

Paperback (Amazon Canada)

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Paperback (Chapters/Indigo)

Hardcover (Chapters/Indigo)

Throne of Glass Box Set (Chapters/Indigo)

Rolfe: "I don't know how you handle things in the North, but down here, we like to know who we're speaking to."

She cocked her head

Celaena: "As you said, I don't need an introduction. And as for the privilege of seeing my beautiful face, I'm afraid that's something few men receive."

Sam: "You're not the only one who can improvise. That man's as much in love with himself as you are; the last thing we need is for him to know that he had the upper hand in there."

Rolfe: "Maybe if you took off your mask, you might have an easier time eating. Unless what lies beneath it will make us lose our appetites."

Celaena: "Keep talking like that and I might give you a reason to wear as mask."

Sam kicked her under the table, and she kicked him back, a deft blow to his shins - hard enough that he choked on his water.

Rolfe flicked his sea-green eyes to Sam, who was frowning yet again.

Rolfe: "Have you seen her without the mask?"

Sam, to her surprise, grimaced.

Sam: "Once."

He gave her an all too believably wary look,

Sam: "And that was enough."

Sam: "I don't mind Rolfe."

Celaena: "Of course you don't. He told you to assassinate me."

Sam chuckled

Sam: "It is wise advice."

Sam: "What sort of 'questions' did you ask him?"

Celaena: "Polite ones."

Sam; "Oh? I didn't think you knew what polite meant."

Celaena: "I can be polite when it pleases me."

Sam: "We've grown up together. You think I don't know how to tell when you're cooking up some scheme? What do you want from Rolfe?"

Celaena: "Maybe I'm just unable to resist how handsome he is."

Sam went rigid

Sam: "He's twelve years older than you."

Celaena: "So?"

He didn't think she was serious, did he?

He gave her a look so scathing it could have turned her to ask, and he stalked to the window, ripping his cloak down.

Sam: "Why?"

Sam stepped close enough that she needed to tilt her head back to see his face.

Sam: "We're assassins. We kill people. We destroy lives every day."

Celaena: "We have a choice. Maybe not when we were children - when it was Arobynn or death - but now .... Now you and I have a choice in the things we do. Those slaves were just taken. They were fighting for their freedom, or lived too close to a battlefield, or some mercenaries passed through their town and stole them. They're innocent people."

Sam: "You realize this is the most reckless thing you've ever done, right?"

Celaena: "Reckless, but maybe the most meaningful, too."

Sam: "Nervous?"

Celaena: "No."

Sam: "Me, too."

Celaena: "Another round, gentlemen?"

Rolfe: "Well, I think it's safe to say that I prefer you like this to when we're discussing business."

Sam leaned in, a conspirator's grin on his face

Sam: "Oh, I do, too. She's horrible most of the time."

Celaena kicked him - hard enough, because she knew it wasn't entirely a lie - and Sam yelped.

Rolfe chuckled

Sam: "There's a lot you don't know about me, Celaena Sardothien."

Rolfe: "How dare you deceive me?"

She sketched a bow

Celaena: "I did nothing of the sort. I told you I was beautiful."

Rolfe: "Why go to so much trouble for slaves?"

Celaena: "Because if we don't fight for them, who will? Sign the papers."

Rolfe raised an eyebrow

Rolfe: "And how will you know that I'm holding true to my word?"

She removed the dagger from his throat, using the blade to brush back a strand of his dark hair.

Celaena: "I have my sources. And if I hear that you're trading slaves, no matter where you go, no matter how far you run, I will hunt you down. That's twice now I've disabled you. The third time, you won't be so lucky. I swear that on my name. I'm almost seventeen, and I can already wallop you; imagine how good I'll be in a few years. I don't think you'll want to try me now - and certainly not then."

Sam: "For some reason, I don't think that's going to make the rock move."

Celaena: "I've been shouting for you."

Sam shrugged, sauntering over to her.

Sam: "I figured you could wait a few minutes, given that I saved the day and all."

Celaena: "Some hero."

She gestured to the ruin of the tower around them

Celaena: "I've never seen such sloppy work."

Ringleader: "Come out, you bleedin' coward. Face us like a proper man."

A low, soft laugh.

Celaena: "Just like how you proper men surrounded a defenseless girl in an alley?"

Yrene: "Please don't kill me."

Celaena: "What would have been the point in saving you, then?"

Ansel: "Celaena Sardothien."

Celaena: "Yes?"

Ansel shrugged

Ansel: "I thought you'd be ... more dramatic."

Celaena: "Sorry to disappoint."

Mikhail: "So, when your master beat the living daylights out of you, did you actually deserve it?"

Celaena: "I suppose it depends on who is telling the story."

Ansel chuckled

Celaena: "If Arobynn Hamel is telling the story, then yes, I suppose I did deserve it. I cost him a good deal of money - a kingdom's worth of riches, probably. I was disobedient and disrespectful, and completely remorseless about what I did. But if the two hundred slaves that I freed are telling the story, then no, I suppose I didn't deserve it."

Ansel: "Where do men find it in themselves to do such monstrous things? How do they find it acceptable?"

Celaena: "We'll make them pay for it in the end. We'll see to it that they pay."

Ansel: "Yes. Yes, we will."

Celaena: "Besides being useful for my work, it's fun."

Ansel: "Fun? Smearing all this gunk on your face is fun?"

Celaena: "If you don't shut up, I'll draw a mustache on you."

Ansel opened her eyes, and Celaena frowned

Ansel: "What?"

Celaena shook her head.

Celaena: "You're going to have to wash it all off."

Ansel: "Why?"

Celaena: "Because you look better than I do."

Ansel: "Try to remember me fondly, will you?"

Celaena: "I'll try. But it might be hard."

Celaena: "Don't do it."

Ansel: "Why?"

Celaena put a hand over her heart, tightly gripping her sword with the other

Celaena: "Because I know what it feels like. Because I know how it feels to have that kind of hate, Ansel. I know how it feels. And this isn't the way. This -"

she said louder, gesturing to the fortress and all the corpes in it, all the soldiers and assassins still fighting.

Celaena: "This is not the way."

Ansel: "Says the assassin."

Celaena: "I've become an assassin because I had no choice. But you have a choice, Ansel. You've always had a choice."

The Master: "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 Ansel 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."

The Master: "If you ever want to leave the North, you will always have a home here."

The Master: "When you give your master his letter, also give him this. And tell him that in the Red Desert, we do not abuse our disciples."

Celaena smiled slowly

Celaena: "I think I can manage that."

Sam: "Go crawl back to Arobynn's study and talk to him. Let him buy you presents and pet your hair and offer you the best-paying missions we get. It won't take him long to figure out the price for your forgiveness, not when -"

She shoved him

Celaena: "Don't you dare judge me Don't you say one more word."

A muscle feathered in his jaw

Sam: "That's fine with me. You wouldn't listen anyway. Celaena Sardothien and Arobynn Hamel: just the two of you, inseparable, until the end of the world. The rest of us might as well be invisible."

Celaena: "That sounds an awful lot like jealousy. Especially considering you had three uninterrupted months with him this summer. What happened, hmm? You failed to convince him to make you his favorite? Found you lacking, did he?"

Sam was in her face so quickly that she fought the urge to jump back

Sam: "You know nothing about what this summer was like for me. Nothing, Celaena."

Celaena: "Good. I don't particularly care."

His eyes were so wide that she wondered if she'd struck him without realizing it. At last he stepped away, and she stormed past him. She halted when he spoke again

Sam: "You want to know what price I asked for forgiving Arobynn, Celaena?"

She slowly turned

Sam: "My price was his oath that he'd never lay a hand on you again. I told him I'd forgive him in exchange for that."

Sam: "You look beautiful. Though I bet you already knew that."

Celaena: "I can't be the best at everything, you know. It wouldn't be fair to the rest of you, would it?"

Celaena: "Some things are more important than death."

Sam: "I know."

Sam: "He sent you to the Red Desert. But my punishment was having to watch him beat you that night."

Celaena: "Why?"

Sam: "After what we went through in Skull's Bay, you should know the answer."

Celaena: "Are you going to make a Bid for Lysandra?"

Sam burst out laughing

Sam: "Bid? Celaena, I don't have any money. And the money that I do have is going toward paying back Arobynn. Even if I wanted to -"

Celaena: "Do you want to?"

He gave her a lazy grin

Sam: "Why do you want to know?"

Celaena: "Because I'm curious whether Arobynn's beating damaged your brain, that's why."

Sam: "Celaena."

She looked back at him, her red gown sweeping around her. His eyes shone as he flashed her a crooked grin.

Sam: "I missed you this summer."

Celaena: "I hate to admit it, Sam Cortland, but I missed your sorry ass, too."

Sam: "So, the Mute Master's son ..."

She almost groaned

Sam: "How close were you, exactly?"

He focused on the house, though she noticed that he'd fisted his hands.

Celaena: "Nothing happened with Ilias. It was only a bit of flirtation, but ... nothing happened."

Sam: "Well, nothing happened with Lysandra. And nothing is going to. Ever."

Celaena: "And why, exactly, do you think I care?"

He nudged her with his shoulder

Sam: "Since we're friends now, I assumed you'd want to know."

She was grateful that her hood concealed most of her burning-hot face.

Celaena: "I think I preferred it when you wanted to kill me."

Sam: "Sometimes I think so, too. Certainly made my life more interesting."

Celaena: "And now that I got what I came here for, I want to dance. So drink up, Sam Cortland. We're not washing our hands in blood tonight."

Celaena: "I have no name. I am whoever the keepers of my fate tell me to be."

Dorian: "Then let me call you Mine for a dance or two."

Sam: "I don't want to be with Lysandra, or anyone else for hire."

He reached for her hand

Sam: "And you're a damned fool for not seeing it."

She shook off his grip

Celaena: "I am what I am, and I don't particularly care what you think of me."

Sam: "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', not worth the dirt beneath your shoes."

Celaena: "I have work to do, anyway. I don't get to be the best simply by lying on my back all day."

A cheap shot, but Lysandra's eyes flashed.

Sam: "You said you didn't care what I thought. Or what I did. Or if I died, if I'm not mistaken."

Celaena: "I lied! And you know I lied, you stupid bastard!"

Sam: "What more can I say? I've already told you everything - I've already told you that if I stay here, if I have to live with Arobynn, I'll snap his damned neck."

Celaena: "But why? Why can't you let it go?"

He grabbed her shoulders and shook her

Sam: "Because I love you!"

Her mouth fell open

Sam: "I love you. I have for years. And he hurt you and made me watch because he's always known how I felt, too. But if I asked you to pick, you'd choose Arobynn, and I. Can't. Take. It."

Celaena: "You're a damned idiot. You're a moron and an ass and a damned idiot."

He looked like she had hit him. But she went on, and grasped both sides of his face.

Celaena: "Because I'd pick you."

And then she kissed him.

Celaena: "I sold Kasida to Leighfer Bardingale."

Arobynn: "And? Why should I care about your horse?"

Celaena: "The money is on its way to your vault at the bank. As of this moment, Sam's debt to you is paid. From right now until forever, he's a free man."

Celaena: "Don't come looking for me for a good long while. Because I might kill you if I see you before then, Arobynn."

Sam: "So, we're free."

She turned to fully look at him. His brown eyes were vivid.

Sam: "I also heard that you paid off my debt. You - you sold your Asterion horse to do it."

Celaena: "I had no choice. I'd never leave you shackled to him while I walked away."

Sam: "Celaena."

He said her name like a caress, slipping a hand around her waist. He pressed his forehead against hers.

Sam: "How can I ever repay you?"

She closed her eyes

Celaena: "You don't have to."

He brushed his lips against hers.

Sam: "I love you. And from today onward, I want to never be separated from you. Wherever you go, I go. Even if that means going to Hell itself, wherever you are, that's where I want to be. Forever."

Sam: "I just want to be with you. I don't care where we go. That's all I want."

Sam kissed her ear, his teeth grazing her earlobe, and her heart stumbled a beat

Celaena: "Don't use kissing to swindle me into accepting your apology."

She tilted her head to the side to allow him better access.

He chuckled, his breath caressing her neck

Sam: "It was worth a shot."

Sam: "An apology from Celaena Sardothien? Do I dream?"

She scowled, but Sam kissed her.

Sam: "I can wait. We have all the time in the world."

Celaena: "Just because we're together doesn't mean I've become some weakling ninny."

Sam: "I'm not saying that. But can you blame me for wanting to keep the girl I love away from someone like Farran?"

Sam: "Talk to me."

Celaena: "Tell me your deepest secret."

Sam: "The only secret I've borne my entire life is that I love you."

He gave her a slight smile

Sam: "It was the one thing I believed I'd go to the grave without voicing."

His eyes were so full of light that it almost stopped her heart.

She found herself walking toward him, then placing one hand along his cheek and threading the other through his hair. He turned his head to kiss her palm, as if the phantom blood that coated her hands didn't bother him. His eyes found hers again.

Sam: "What's yours, then?"

Celaena: "Deep down, I'm a coward."

His brows rose

Celaena: "I'm a coward. And I'm scared. I'm scared all the time. Always."

He removed her hand from his cheek to kiss the tips of her fingers.

Sam: "I get scared, too."

Sam leaned against her, resting his head on her shoulder

Sam: "When we die, do you think we'll be punished for the things we've done?"

Celaena: "When we die, I don't think the Gods will even know what to do with us."

Celaena: "Will you laugh if I say that I'm scared?"

Sam: "No. Never."

Farran: "Why did you do it?"

Arobynn: "Because I don't like sharing my belongings."

Celaena: "My name is Celaena Sarothien, and I will not be afraid."


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