Thursday, August 23, 2012
Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas recently came out, and I will be posting about it on September 11th as part of a blog tour. However, I had heard that it was best to read the novellas in the series first, so I decided to dig into those early, and I am so glad that I did. They were entertaining and exciting, and I absolutely love Celaena. For this Short Story Spotlight, I will give you a brief synopsis of each of the four novellas, and then I will just give an overall review of the set of four.
In The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, Celaena Sardothien is assigned by her Assassin Lord, Arobynn, to visit a pirate lord and supposedly extract a payment for having killed members of the Assassin's Keep. However, the mission is not what it seemed to be initially, and soon Celaena has to decide if she will follow her gut or follow orders.
In The Assassin and the Desert, Celaena has been sent to train with the Mute Master, leader of the Silent Assassins in the hot, barren desert. Initially she is furious about this responsibility, but as she learns new tactics -- and makes new friends -- she realizes that her "punishment" is not as severe as she previously thought it. However, an unexpected betrayal and worries about a man she left behind in the Assassin's Keep keep Celaena guessing about whether or not people are what they seem.
In The Assassin and the Underworld, Celaena's master, Arobynn, seems to be redeeming himself when he gives her the opportunity to right a moral wrong. However, the task is dangerous, and further complicated by the fact that the assassin working with her is extremely distracting.
In The Assassin and the Empire, Celaena is finally free from her duties and ready to start her own life. She thinks she has found love and independence. However, Arobynn has other ideas.
I had my doubts about this series. While I'd heard mostly love for Throne of Glass, the idea of someone being an assassin was not especially appealing to me. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I've seen plenty of tough, fighting heroines in the last couple of years (Katniss, Katsa, and Tris just to name a few) and I wasn't sure how I felt about another character from the same mold. Fortunately, Celaena was completely different from what I was expecting. Yes, she is lethal and can take good care of herself. However, she also has an extremely girly, vain aspect to her personality. I think this has annoyed several people in reviews I have read, but I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed this girl that is irritated when she can't buy pretty underwear and go to her dance lessons, the girl who was kind of a brat to the man she loved because she didn't want to be too vulnerable. Yes, I think in some ways Celaena is annoying, but for some reason it was refreshing to me. She was completely herself and much more realistic than someone who would be totally self-sacrificing and heroic all the time. I also love that contrast of someone who wants to do what is right and has this powerful skill, but who is still subject to some weaknesses (especially jewelry).
I also loved the setting. While the novellas don't go into specific details or explanations about the state of Adarlan and the rest of the world, it is easy to glean information from the exchanges and the windows that we are shown. I am excited for more development in Throne of Glass and the following books (I hear there are six? Kind of excited for that many, to be honest).
And finally, the plot was awesome. I read all these novellas on the treadmill, and my workouts were finished before I had even realized I worked up a sweat (and for a pregnant woman walking four miles, that is significant). I was completely invested and completely swept up. I also loved the pacing. Each of these novellas is about ninety pages long, making the stories long enough to be complete but short enough to keep my interest.
I haven't yet read Throne of Glass, but these novellas were definitely an intriguing introduction. I'm looking forward to getting to the meat of the novel itself.
Warnings: Talk of prostitution, violence, some language, some innuendo