The short: 3/5 ✦. A collection of five connected yet self-contained short stories that actually develop the main character (mostly).
Alright, Celeana, you’ve won me over . . . for now.
I got a little salty in my review for Throne of Glass, but I decided to give the series another chance.
I still don’t like Celeana, although she got much more character development in these five novellas than she ever did in Throne of Glass. I don’t understand how knowing you’re a spoiled brat somehow entitles you to getting a free pass in the judgment department, but whatever. I had Sam to fawn over.
Not really, but Sam was a wonderful character (SO much better than Dorian and Chaol). I’m meh about him “loving her for years,” but I liked that he was strong and powerful and deadly, yet kind and generous.
He deserves better than Celeana, but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is, these were all good stories, and I rather liked the format even though one could argue that all five could’ve just been smished into one prequel book. I think that it forced Maas to have a proper beginning, middle, and end not only for the collection as a whole but also for each story. No long ramblings or pointless scenes here. (I do wish we could know more about what happened to the healer girl [in the most self-contained of all five stories], and what about the spidersilk guy?)
On a more personal note: I very much liked that Celeana chose to be celibate (lacking a better word) and that it wasn’t shown as a weird or bad or shocking choice, not by her own thoughts nor the narration nor most importantly, by Sam. It just was. I don’t think I would’ve minded (and given how often sexy times happen in YA fiction, I certainly wouldn’t’ve been surprised), but I enjoyed that she made this particular choice and everybody was fine with it and it just existed as an option.
Anyway, I’ll be continuing with the Throne of Glass series, though still slightly wary. This “before” Celeana in The Assassin’s Blade is, to me, better than the “after” one in Throne of Glass (especially since she actually kills and takes action), so I’m hoping Crown of Midnight is a more suitable representation of all her experiences.
Header image: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas, published March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens.