The Assassin’s Blade – Sarah J. Maas

January 25, 2018


TITLE: The Assassin’s Blade
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
RELEASED: March 4th, 2014; Bloomsbury USA Childrens
GENRE: Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: 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…


She was fire, she was darkness, she was dust and blood and shadow.

As anyone who knows my taste in books is already aware of, I’m total trash for Sarah’s other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and have been for a while, which is why I know it’s kind of surprising to a lot of people (myself included) that it’s taken me this long to finally start on this series! That said, I decided that I would make an effort in 2018 to get caught up on the series before the finale this fall, and per Sarah’s own website’s recommendation, I started with this novella bind-up.

I was honestly nervous to pick this book up, because I kept thinking, “What if it doesn’t live up to my love for the ACOTAR series?!” Luckily, my concerns seem to be invalid – based on this collection, at least – because losing myself in the word of Celaena and the Assassins was effortless, and made me so eager to move on to Throne of Glass!


Quiet as mice, quiet as the wind, quiet as the grave.

→ The Assassin and the Pirate Lord – ★★★★★ ←
Celaena thinks that she and her colleague Sam Cortland are being sent to meet the Pirate Lord to seek repayment for a slight he’s caused the King of the Assassins. Upon arrival, the teens learn that they’ve been tricked into an escort mission for a batch of slaves that Arobynn is hoping to sell. I thought this was an fantastic introduction to Celaena’s character, and it immediately made me fond of her as a protagonist. I loved that she was willing to risk her career and her name to free a few hundred strangers, and the ending set a wonderful stage for her relationship with Sam and his willingness to follow her, no matter the cost.

→ The Assassin and the Healer – ★★★★☆ ←
After the debacle with the Pirate Lord, Celaena is sent away for a while, as part of her punishment. In this installment, she stays at the White Pig Inn, where she meets Yrene Towers, a young healer barely scraping by as a waitress, and in desperate need of learning how to defend herself. Who better to teach her than a trained killer? This was my least favorite of the stories, but I still thought it was enjoyable enough for 4 stars. It just didn’t feel nearly as three-dimensional as the other novellas (which is to be expected, since it’s substantially shorter at only 40 pages).

→ The Assassin and the Desert – ★★★★★ ←
As Celaena arrives in the Red Desert, she begins her punishment: training with the Silent Assassins, and earning a letter of recommendation from their leader, the Mute Master. This was such a fleshed out, well written story, and while reading this one, I remember thinking to myself that this was where the real story telling in this collection began. I loved getting to know the ins and outs of the Silent Assassins and their homes, as well as watching Celaena’s friendship with Ansel come into form. Most of all, I enjoyed the world-building that was given in bits here and there, like the story of Spidersilk.

→ The Assassin and the Underworld – ★★★★★ ←
Upon her return to Rifthold, Arobynn surprises Celaena by apologizing, and offering her a mission picked specially for her: to kill a man who wants to help the King of Adarlan create a booming slave business. This story was positively gut-wrenching to watch unfold. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that certain aspects of Celaena’s mission seemed suspicious from the beginning; Sarah J. Maas is the queen of painful foreshadowing, but like any other trickery she inflicts upon her readers, all you can do is sit back and watch it unfold.

→ The Assassin and the Empire – ★★★★★ ←
A few weeks after Celaena discovers Arobynn’s treachery, she and Sam are living happily on their own, but there’s one problem: to leave Rifthold and Arobynn behind forever, they must leave the Assassin’s Guild, and that costs coins that are going to require one last, dangerous job. Just… see what I said about the last story: with SJM’s writing, sometimes you know something horrible is well on its way, but there’s nothing you can do besides waiting patiently for the heartache. I didn’t think I had grown quite so attached to the characters in this collection until reaching the end of this particular novella, but I found myself devastated and immediately wanting more. I think this was a brilliant story to end this collection on, and it cemented my beliefs that The Assassin’s Blade is the perfect opening to this series.

“My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered, “and I will not be afraid.”


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  • Reply Lena @ The Printed Girl January 25, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I loved the last story so much!! I cried my eyes out! I really think these stories need be read after the third book or so, otherwise it just doesn’t have the same effect!
    great review! ?

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 30, 2018 at 12:27 am

      I did, too! And yeah, I loved this book as an intro to the series but I totally might reread it again midway through, just to see how my views on everything have progressed. 🙂 Thank you!

  • Reply Fanna January 25, 2018 at 11:32 am

    I just always feel at a loss whenever I come across a Sarah J. Maas’ book because (wait for it) I haven’t read any of her books. I know, I know, it always comes as a surprise and even I have no idea what I’m waiting for. I mean, I legit have the ACOTAR 1-3 boxset sitting on my bookshelf but somehow I haven’t picked it up yet. Though, I’m adamant on reading all three before the fourth one hits the store this year 😀
    This review definitely urges me to pick up Throne Of Glass series asap, too and hopefully I would. Lovely review, Destiny and if I haven’t already said, that picture with the book is sooooo pretty <3 <3

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 30, 2018 at 12:36 am

      Oh man, I totally recommend them! I really hope you do pick up her books – and that you enjoy them! And thank you so much, you are too kind <3

  • Reply journeyintobooks January 25, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Great review I loved all the stories in this novella and the last one broke my heart ?

  • Reply confessionsofayareader January 25, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    I really need to read a SJM book. I see so many great reviews for them. I have one of her books here, but that’s it so far.

  • Reply Plot Monster January 25, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I haven’t read any in this series yet but it is on my TBR. That cover is gorgeous.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 30, 2018 at 12:37 am

      I loooove the covers for this series! I know a lot of people actually dislike these covers, but I think they’re so pretty and neat. 🙂

  • Reply Kelly | Another Book in the Wall January 25, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Awesome review! <3 I haven't read this or Tower of Dawn yet, but need to do so as soon as I can! I love the ToG series so much!

  • Reply Danielle @ Life of a Literary Nerd January 25, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    I read the Assassin’s Blade first before starting Throne of Glass and I think that made me like Throne of Glass more, because I knew Caelena and how she was before the mines. So I could see how she’s change and how she’s the same.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 30, 2018 at 12:38 am

      Yesssss, exactly! I know so many people said they hated Celaena in the first book, but she’s so likable in this bind-up that I’m curious to see if it’ll affect how I view her in TOG (it probably will, lol).

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