Friday, 20 July 2012
Review: The Assassin and the Empire (novella #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Release date: 20 July 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Goodreads | Amazon
Summary (taken from Goodreads):
Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose . . .
Oh gosh. I really loved this, as I did the previous three novellas, but in an angry, bitter sort of way. That ending! I sort of felt like I'd been sucker punched. What's worse is that somewhere between The Assassin and the Pirate Lord and The Assassin and the Desert I REALIZED with horror that this was going to happen but tried to push it out of my mind.
Let me explain: The Assassin and the Empire is the fourth and last novella released in anticipation of Sarah J Maas' upcoming YA fantasy debut, Throne of Glass. The novellas cover the events leading up to the start of the novel. If you've read anything about it, you probably know that the main character, Celaena Sardothien, has been serving out a prison sentence in the salt mines of Endovier when the book starts .
Because we already have some information about where the characters end up, it becomes quite obvious that certain things need to happen in the novellas to get the characters to that place. If you've read the novellas and the ToG summary, it's pretty easy to connect the dots. However, though I predicted some of the events in this novella, I didn't know how everything would go down and was desperately hoping that somehow some of them wouldn't.
They did. Quite horrifically. I'm being pretty vague and uninformative to avoid spoiling anything, but let's just say I'll have a hard time switching loyalties when Throne of Glass releases. This whole mini-series has been like watching a train-wreck in slow motion. I didn't know it was coming till book 2 or 3, but once I did, I had to continue.
Despite my frustration with what happened, I understand it. If I step back and look at the big picture - at character development, and the quality of the story - it's clear how much it helps. I can see Celaena's development over the course of the novellas and understand how she could transfrom from the girl in Pirate Lord - arrogant, reckless and full of possibility - into the cold and hardened prisoner she's described as in TOG. I find myself warily anticipating what Celaena will do in the novel now that I have seen some of what she has been through. She's endeared herself to me, and the book hasn't even come out yet. I believe this was Maas' intention, and in this sense she's done an amazing job.
There's a big, twisty unresolved thread in the novella. I don't know whether the novel will expand on it, but here's hoping it's addressed. Another entertaining, fast-paced novella that left me angry but more excited than ever for Throne of Glass' release. Why, Sarah?!
Side note: Throne of Glass was my first Waiting on Wednesday, almost exactly a month ago! So weird to think that it's been a month.