Review: The Assassin's Blade

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: 
When Adarlan's Assassin, Celaena Sardothien is ordered to go on a mission to Skull's Bay by the King of Assassins, she wasn't expecting to her rival Sam Cortland to tag along. Together the two were raised by Arobynn Hamel to become lethal weapons, and he raised the two to compete and distrust one another. When Celaena discovers that Arobynn is participating in the slave trade, she makes the decision to do what is right and go against her master, and surprisingly Sam feels just as strongly as she does. The two develop a friendship as they work together to free the slaves, and their friendships sealed by blood when the two are beaten in punishment when they return to Rifthold. 

The Assassin and the Healer
Following her return from Skull's Bay, Celaena was brutally beaten by her master, the King of Assassins, and sent to train with the Mute Master in the desert to repent. On her way, Celaena stops at a disreputable inn where she meets a timid barmaid. Jaded by her punishment and resolved not to help anyone again Celaena, despite herself, protects the barmaid from a group of thugs and teaches her how to defend herself. When Celaena head the barmaid's dream of travelling to the Torre Chesme, the land of healers to train, Celaena is reminded of her own interest in healing. The assassin and the healer are more alike then they know, both rose up out of tragic circumstances but are afraid to move on to the future that awaits them. 

The Assassin and the Desert 

Celaena finally arrives in The Red Desert to train with the Mute Master and gain his seal of approval in order to be forgiven by Arobynn for her actions at Skull's Bay. Celaena is not used to the desert heat, nor is she used to the camaraderie of the Silent Assasins. At the Assassin's Keep in Rifthold, Arobynn trains his assassins to distrust each other and solely depend on him, but in the Red Desert, the Silent Assasins live and train together as friends. Celaena has dedicated her life to training and is pleased to make a friend in fellow warrior Ansel of Briarcliff. Celaena trains with the Mute Master and builds bridges with the Silent Assassins and she is devasted by the betrayal of one of her new friends. 

The Assassin and the Underworld
After three months, Celaena returns to Rifthold not only with the Mute Master's approval but with enough gold to finally pay off her debts to Arobynn and become a free woman. Celaena has not seen Sam since the night Arobynn beat her in front of him and chi is confused by the new feelings she is faced with when the two finally meet again. Arobynn assigns Celaena a mission: to assassinate a man who wishes to further the slave trade in  Adarlan. Celaena agrees, believing that her master is sorry for his actions, but Sam does not fall fro Arobynn's act and urges Celaena not to stay at the Assasin's Keep. As Celaena  works to complete her mission she discovers that Arobynn is not to be trusted and she realizes her feelings for Sam. 

The Assasin and the Empire
After Arobynn's betrayal Celaena pays off her and Sam's debts and moves out of the Keep. The two struggle to live without the support of Arobynn and the Assasin's Guild and they must find away to make enough money to leave the continent and start their life together. While Celaena goes to ask Arboynn's blessing to leave the Guild and establish herself elsewhere, Sam accepts one last mission to earn some much needed gold. Sam agrees to assassinate Adarlan's two crime lords. Although she fears the crime lords and thinks the mission too dangerous Celaena agrees to sooth Sam's  pride. But the two are betrayed and Celaena ends up on the difficult path laid out for her by fate. 

 This collection of short stories contains the adventures of Celaena Sardothien prior to the events in the book Throne of Glass. The stories not only explain how Celaena ultimately ends up in Endovier, they also recount her tragic love story with Sam Cortland. I absolutely loved this novella.  This was my second time reading it, the first time was back in the summer of 2014 while I was living in Rome with a bunch of archeologists. My favourite has to be The Assassin and the Desert- I have fond memories of reading the story and emphasizing with Celaena's discomfort in the heat while I was in a similarly hot climate. 

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