Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's Assassin. She is under the King of Assassins, Arobynn Hamel, who sends her on various missions that send her across the lands.
On her various missions, she meets new people, learns new lessons, and experiences changes in her friendship with Sam, another of Arobynn's assassins.
Warning: It's been awhile since I've read this, so my review probably isn't very detailed or good.
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was probably my least favorite novella out of them all. I liked it as an introduction to Celaena's life before everything in Throne of Glass, but I admit that I had a little trouble getting used to a different time in her life, especially because this is set 2 years prior to Throne of Glass. I enjoyed the story this novella featured, but I think I would like to see a little more of the Pirate Lord in later books. It would be interesting to have a better look at how things turn out for him.
The Assassin and the Healer might be my second favorite novella in this collection. It's not anything about how significant the story is, but it was nice to see the life of someone Celaena had some influence on. If I remember correctly, this is the shortest novella in the collection. Compared to the other novellas, this holds the least overall importance in terms of Celaena's storyline. But the thing is, I really like seeing how Celaena tends to battle the two sides of her nature, balancing it out in the strangest of ways.
The Assassin and the Desert is my favorite novella, if I'm remembering correctly. It's been a little over two months since I've read this collection, so my memory of things are kind of fuzzy. I think this is the first time I really got to see a different side of Celaena, one that goes on to explain a lot about her in the following books (I say "following" because this is technically a prequel collection that is meant to be read in order of publication with the series), and I liked seeing it. This novella in particular, sets a very good tone for the rest of the collection and other books in the series. I felt like this is perhaps one of the most genuine glimpses we get to see into the kind of person Celaena could have been if things were different. I enjoyed the novella in general and was the most invested in this one, finding it the easiest and most interesting to read.
The Assassin and the Underworld. Okay so, here's where I start getting a little confused and blurring the lines between this novella and the next one. I just know that I enjoyed this and felt like things were finally starting to continue on an exciting path that led to someplace familiar. I guess we could say that was a problem I had with the first two novellas, feeling like they were slightly disjointed and switched from being action-packed to suddenly dipping into a slower pace where there was little action. The only specific thing that I remembered about this novella is that I finally started to like Sam more.
The Assassin and the Empire, I wish I remembered what this started with. I'd totally look it up, but the book is at home and I'm halfway across the world at college. This novella had pacing that I felt was very similar to a book itself, starting with a strong build-up, having a very strong climax, and then dipping back down. I really enjoyed that part of it, though I did wish that it moved a little faster. At this point in the collection, I already knew what was going to happen and how it was going to end, so having it dragged out longer made it harder to get through. Though, I will say that if you decide to be a rebel and read this collection before starting Throne of Glass, you'd appreciate having this novella to help you with setting up a firm basis for the first book.
As usual, I really enjoyed Celaena's character. I love her sass, her attitude, and a large part of me desperately desires to be like her. Maybe not in terms of her anger issues, but the skill-set she possesses. That and her ability to keep a calm composure when people are being stupid. Those are the reasons why I love her. I feel like I see so many similarities between us, aside from her being an assassin and me....not being an assassin.
I felt bad for not liking Sam as much as I thought I would. So many people talked about how much they liked Sam and how they loved reading about his character. The latter part, I can definitely agree with, though I really wanted to see him get more of a backstory and for Sarah J. Maas to explain things a little better. There was more about him that I wanted to know, and I would really like it if there were ever to be a novella completely about him at some later point in the series.
5 stars. I don't think it's necessary to read this if you don't want to, but it does give you some more background to the characters and a better understanding of the events that led up to the first book and why Celaena can be so irritating. I'd recommend reading this just to go on more adventures with her.