Monday, 17 April 2017

THE ASSASSIN'S BLADE - by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin's Blade - Sarah J. Maas
Year Published: 2014 - by Bloomsbury Childrens.
Genre: Young adult / romance / epic/high fantasy /
Pages: 448.
Source: Library.

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?


(This is going to be a mini-review, since the majority of what I think of Maas's writing and Celaena's world has already been said in my previous reviews of the rest of the Throne of Glass series).


What I Liked: 

- The world-building was excellent, as can be expected. The descriptions are vivid, vibrant, and wholly three-dimensional. The dialogue's witty, rich with subtext, and showcases the characters' individual personalities expertly.

- Maas gets inside Celaena's head so thoroughly that the narrative was effortlessly told and strongly characterised by Celaena's own vivid personality.

- A lot of what was left vague, unexplained, or in subtext in Throne of Glass was explained here, and I came away with a much deeper understanding of the world and the characters. I highly recommend reading this book before Throne of Glass, as it will allow you to appreciate what's to come in a much more thorough sense.  I personally enjoyed this book more than TOG, and I thought the writing was miles better. Maybe that's because - since they're novellas and they have to be short and concise and to the point - the plot didn't drag or get boring, as I found was the case with some of the TOG books. In The Assassin's Blade, it wasn't just Celaena who was at the top of her game, it was Maas. And I thought this collection of novellas showcased her exquisite talent to its utmost potential.

- The romance was the best thing about these novellas. The relationship between Celaena and Sam was absolutely excellent, and the banter between them was brilliant. I loved their conversations - overflowing with subtext - and to see their romantic arc develop was incredible. I loved watching them fall in love with each other, and when they finally kissed it was so much more than a kiss: it was them, two equals, two friends, accepting each other and confronting their long-suppressed feelings. It was what had been building for the last 100 pages or so, and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time or in a more perfect way.  I loved the side of Celaena that Sam brought out, and that's probably the closest I've come to liking her.  I also really loved how they were so equal and capable, and yet were still so protective of each other and could rescue each other.     
Their romance so realistic and so gorgeously slow-burning, and it completely overwhelmed my heart. Yes, I love Dorian and Chaol, but Sam was amazing too. Maas had me swooning and then sobbing, and I will always ship Celaena with Sam.
Which brings me to......
- That ending. I knew it was coming and I knew it would break me, but a silly part of me was hoping it wouldn't happen; that there would somehow be a happy ending for Celaena and Sam. My heart was literally aching the whole of the book as I anticipated what was coming, and when it did I was sobbing so much I contemplated not finishing the book. It's such a hopeless ending, such a heartbreaking one, that I almost need to read TOG again just to know there's happiness ahead - or some degree of happiness - for Celaena. I felt so broken for her, and it literally sucked the life out of me to see how she ended up at the end of the book.
- The last novella - The Assassin and the Underworld - was the best of the collection, I thought. It played out like a movie in my mind, and apart from having *insert swoon* more Sam and more romance, it was the most gripping of the novellas and was the perfect climax to everything that had been building from the start.  


What I Didn't Like: 

- Why does Maas always make her guy nip at the girl's ear and growl as he kisses her? SERIOUSLY?! It's creepy, and comes across like he wants to eat her. Not romantic at all.

- Some descriptive phrases were very overused.



The Assassin's Blade was Maas at her best: vivid characters and descriptions, excellent dialogue, pounding dark action, and of course, a beautiful ship that has to go down.    
Sam and Celaena's relationship was the best part of the book, and I've already re-read their first kiss more than three times ;)     


20 comments:

  1. Ahh! I actually Loved Assassin's Blade more than the actual novels :P My favorite in the series is Crown of Midnight followed by this one..Great review Amy :)

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    1. Same!! Yeah, I loved COM too - definitely one of the better of the lot.
      Thanks Uma!

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  2. This is actually my favorite of all the Maas books. I adored Sam, and this book absolutely gutted me. I'm so glad you loved it as well! Fabulous review :)

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. *high five* I totally agree: Sam was amazing and it literally tore my heart out. Me too :)
      Thanks!

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  3. Oooooh! I'll definitely pick those up :) great review!

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    1. You definitely must! And thanks :)

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  4. I REALLY must finish these prequel stories... I only read the first one. I'm so excited to see Sam and Celaena and I do so enjoy Sarah J Maas. Great review!

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    1. YOU MUST! Celaena and Sam are amazing together <3
      Thanks!

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  5. I have heard amazing things about The Assassin's Blade. ToG was okay for me, but it wasn't anything spectacular. Before reading the second book, I want to read this. I just get so easily annoyed with Celeana and I just want to like her. Also, I'm extremely curious about Sam!! :) I completely agree though about the nipping at the ears and growling. It's just weird and gives off this predatory feel that I do not like. Great review Amy!

    Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!

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    1. It was amazing! But yes, I agree with you: I don't like Celaena. I loved TOG, but I think I need to do a reread of the whole series. My opinions have changed since I wrote the reviews.
      He's amazing! You'll love him!
      *high five* Agreed. I don't see how people can think it's sexy or romantic.
      Thanks Genni!

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  6. i absolutely LOVE SAM SO MUCH!!! I was literally crying at the end of the book! And omg i totally agree with that ear nipping thingy, i noticed it quite a lot :3 great review!
    Kariny @kariny's boox frenzy

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    1. I KNOW RIGHT??!! HE WAS AMAZING! And yes, by the end of the book I was sobbing my heart out!
      Thanks Kariny!

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  7. This sounds like a really good series, the world building and the relationships sound top notch. Glad this one was good!

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    1. The world building and relationships are excellent :) It really was!
      Thanks for stopping by :)

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  8. I loved the backstory this book gave to the series - suddenly so many more things make sense! Glad to see you enjoyed it, but I have to agree about the biting and growling being a little off putting lol.

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    1. Yes so true!!
      Haha it was ;) Urgh.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Ahhh - I'm just so pleased that you liked this one. I know our relationships with SJM books are completely different but it makes my little fangirl heart happy to hear when someone likes one so much. :) :)

    Great review and I'm so glad you gave this one a chance!

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    1. Me too! Haha so true ;)

      Thanks Di!

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  10. I am such a slacker when it comes to this series. I have been meaning to start it for over a year now! I swear, I'm getting there someday. Great review for this novella!
    Morrighan@Elysian Fields<3

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    1. Ah that's frustrating, sorry! I highly recommend starting with this novella, though, it makes what's to come a lot easier to understand :)
      Thanks!

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