The Assassin’s Blade is the paperback collection of all five of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass novellas, which for someone who (for the time being) rarely uses an e-reader, is nice and convenient. I really enjoyed Throne of Glass when I read it earlier this year and Celaena’s backstory left me intrigued so I decided I simply had to read this next before I carried on with the series.
Out of all of the love interests introduced so far, Sam has to be my favourite. At this very early stage (only on Throne of Glass remember!) he seems to have more personality than Dorian and Chaol combined. This will no doubt change but for now he’s the guy I ship – um… shipped – with Celaena. I also liked that the universe has been expanded to beyond Rifthold in these stories. We got to read about distant lands and different people and different ways of life aside from just courtly intrigue and dramatic fight scenes. And of course there were cameos too (can you call them cameos in books?) which were fun to spot.
As with all short story collections there were some that I liked more over others. I thought the ‘middle’ stories were the most engaging: The Assassin and the Healer because it was written from the perspective of a different female character than Celaena which was super interesting and The Assassin and the Dessert because of the change in setting and the exciting new faction of assassins introduced.
What I didn’t realise going in to this book was that all of the novellas were connected. They all happen in chronological order over the space of about a year or so, and this relatively short time frame actually ended up hindering my enjoyment of the collection. You’re probably wondering why, so let me try and explain. Basically, I wanted more diversity from Celaena’s backstory. I wanted her first month at the Guild, her first mission, the love/hate relationship with Sam over a more realistic period of time. This book made out that Cleaena’s entire personality shift happened in the blink of an eye. I can totally see this last year being the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, but to have everything change so suddenly? Not buying it.
One other thing that started to irritate me in this book was the slight repetitiveness of several of Celaena’s actions. For someone who is supposedly a master assassin she is outrageously impulsive sometimes and this regularly led to massive problems with severe repercussions. I desperately wanted her to just slow down and think things through a little more.
I would say that overall the Throne of Glass novellas are not as strong as their full length counterparts, so for that reason I can only give them three and a half stars. I’d definitely recommend The Assassin’s Blade to fans of Maas’ series, but only if you know you like Celaena as a protagonist. That being said I still very much enjoyed the book and it’s certainly left me intrigued to see how these past events will influence what’s to come.