July 17, 2015

Review of The Assassins Blade by S.J. Maas

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Page Count: 435
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom's most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin's Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.
When Celaena's scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes—and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn's orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn's clutches—and if they fail, they'll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives...
A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers listeners a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling—and deadly—world.

The first time I ever read The Assassins Blade by S.J. Maas (after finishing Heir of Fire last year) it faced me as yet another example of Sarah's amazing writing skills. Pining for more in the TOG world after finishing my e-ARC of Heir of Fire I turned to The Assassins Blade and was sated for a while with its huge heaping of information on events that happened before Throne of Glass and amazing characters  + world building. Now after rereading the book for the #ReadThroneOfGlass read-along   almost a year after I read it the first time this review is a culmination of the two readings.

The world-building was top-class as I've come to expect from all books written by S.J. Maas. While a large chunk of The Assassins Blade was set in the same city as TOG there were several new places like the desert of the Mute Assassins and the island of the Pirate Lord. Each area was detailed and elegantly written, no matter where the setting was I enjoyed reading about it. Action, suspense, romance, every emotion was inserted successfully into the pages of The Assassins Blade. While usually I can dig up a negative side to any book, this one as well as the other TOG books are some of the few exceptions to that.

If I had to describe the character aspect of The Assassins Blade in one word it would be SAM + several more SAMs for good measure. The major characters other than Celaena are Sam and Arobynn Hamel with this being the first time we get to read about Sam while he's alive. From when he was just another assassin working with Celaena all the way to when his death causes Celaena to furiously seek revenge no matter the cost. Every single character was expertly written and made you want to continue flipping the pages and find out what happens to them. Sarah Maas continues to be a amazing author in the character section as well, I've yet to see a poorly written person on her part not including the characters whom I dislike which is obviously a opinion. Despite being made up of five different novellas with different characters in each one, The Assassins Blade continues to amaze with its high caliber characters.

Even though The Assassins Blade isn't a full book in conventional terms it's still one of my favorites in the TOG books. All the background information and events that are described fill in the holes of the first three books which mentioned them in passing but never went over them in detail. Sam and his story were the real gems of this book and I would recommend anyone who read the other books read this one as well. As of writing this, the fourth book comes out in two or so months and the waiting is as hard as it's ever been so rereading The Assassins Blade was a nice way to pass the time to its release. This book is perfect for anyone who reads YA and is in my opinion a staple of the fantasy YA genre.

5/5 - AMAZING book

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