Friday, July 6, 2018

A Book Review of Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

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Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, she's sworn to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.

In these action-packed prequel novellas to Throne of Glass, Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and avenge tyranny. But by acting on her own terms, will Celaena truly free herself from her master, or will she suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery?

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (March 3, 2015)
Page Count: 464 Pages

My friend told me I needed to read this set of novellas before advancing to the next book in the series, so I've heeded her advice! I've actually never officially read a novella, so this was a cool experience for me. ^ ^

The Plot: Each novella has their own small plots that link together because they’re in chronological order and they tell stories of Celaena’s backstory. I felt like this was the best way to do her backstory justice as opposed to a flashback. It makes me want to write novellas about my own characters’ backstories. I knew what was to come with Sam’s story but it still hurt a lot when it happened considering I didn’t know how it happened and it’s brutality. Trying not to be spoilery here. XD The ending is bittersweet but it leads in cleanly for Throne of Glass.

The Characters: I’ve seen people complain about Celaena being shallow because she likes nice things. Maybe I’m shallow myself for saying this but I actually related to that. I like nice food, music, etc. and I’ve been admittedly selfish about it sometimes. It’s nice to see a character who’s like that but still a likable person. Celaena loves deeply, has fierce determination and endurance, and she enjoys reading, the theater, and music. I also thought it was interesting how she had to hide her young age from clients and even other assassins.

I loved finally seeing more about Sam and his personality and his dynamics with Celaena and I can’t say much more without treading into spoilers but basically lots of feels. One word: soap.

I also really liked the character Yrene. I really related to her story of wanting to pursue a dream but making herself procrastinate and letting life take her away from her dream. I also love how she learned realistic self-defense from Celaena. Throughout the whole session, I was remembering what my sifu told me.

Also, Arobynn is a manipulative jerk.

The Setting: The settings take you to many unexplored parts of the Throne of Glass world. From pirate ships to the Red Dessert to Celaena's home city. I loved being able to explore them.

Epic Things: The asterion horses were super cool. I also love the Silent Assassin’s culture of silence and using sign language. I always love stories that include sign language. I also love the master teaching Celaena techniques with animals. That’s how many martial arts styles were invented.

The Theme: There’s a theme with each novella. Though my favorite had to have been the one with Yrene and not letting life and doubts make you give up your dream.

Content Cautions: There’s a PG-13 level of content in this book.  There are courtesans, talk of losing virginity, and a man groping girls. Celaena becomes heavily intoxicated. There scenes of violence, torture, and the aftermath of torture ending up in a gruesome death. There are twenty-one uses of h***, twenty-one uses of d***, seven uses of a**, six uses of ba****d, five uses of sh**, and two uses of bi***.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

Writing Novellas - As I mentioned before this is my first experience with novellas and I really enjoyed them! They were like short stories but a bit longer. From what I’m seeing in novellas you still have to have a concise plot with little subplots and a consistent theme but they allow for more characters.

How this can be applied to writing: Have you thought of writing a novella?

Conclusion: Overall I really enjoyed these stories and now I’m ready to continue with the Throne of Glass series!

About the Author: Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

You can find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and her website.

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