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Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Full of fun and stunning descriptions, but somewhat devoid of common sense!, 4 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: A Throne of Glass Novella (Kindle Edition)
'The Assassin and the Pirate Lord' is the first of 4 prequel e-novellas that take Celaena Sardothien, heroine of 'Throne of Glass', and explore her previous exploits. As such, it's pretty much a question of What to Expect in 'Throne of Glass'. This story is set 2 years prior to the main novel, so when Celaena is 16. Arobynn Hamel, head of the Assassin's Guild and Celaena's father figure, sends Celaena to conclude a deal with the Pirate Lord, accompanied by another assassin, Sam Cortland, who is sent to keep her reckless, arrogant streak in check. But when the pair get to their destination, they realise that they weren't told everything about their mission, and Celaena decides to take matters into her own hands.

This is an action-packed novella that provides a fun introduction to the world of 'Throne of Glass', particularly as it takes us to parts of the story's world that we don't see in the main novel, and it's great reading for anyone interested in the shady character of Arobynn Hamel. 'New' (or should it be old, as it's a prequel?) character Sam holds his own against the men of 'Throne of Glass' - he's not quite as lovely as Chaol, and he's younger and hence a bit more sensitive, but he's a level-headed contrast to the pretentious and boastful Celaena in the same way. The story is just the right length for when you want a quick escape into pure fantasy, and the style is beautifully descriptive, with an easy charm that makes it very pleasant to read.

The obvious flaw in all of these stories is that it's ridiculous that a beautiful 16-year-old girl should be a kingdom's most notorious assassin, but the author gets around this in an amusing way by making Celaena ridiculously arrogant about it. Apart from her constant (and I mean constant) preening and bragging - which personally I find makes the stories more interesting, as it's rare to find such an annoying heroine that you still identify with - the main thing that could put people off reading this is its absurd naivety. It's hard to explain why I found the story a bit hard to stomach without giving the plot away, but let's just say that it shies away from any actual assassinating in favour of an almost sickening display of Celaena Saving the Day that trumps Peter Pan in its pantomime-worthy execution. Celaena's actions are reckless, idealistic and bordering on patronising, and I wanted to slap some sense into her.

The author stops short of being utterly unrealistic though, as - thank the heavens! - no one else is as impressed with Celaena as she is with herself, and the fact that no one fell at her feet to thank her for her 'compassion' rescued me from utter despair. What's more, it's definitely not all bad - many scenes are pantomime-worthy in the good way. The Pirate Lord of the title is charming and ruthless, smart but of course not quite smart enough. I couldn't help but cackle in both sympathy and satisfaction at Celaena's discomfort in her ridiculous disguises, and the tavern brawl was absolutely hilarious.

Celaena Sardothien has some strong principles, and her heart is definitely in the right place, but she needs to get her head out of her own backside. What I liked about this story though was that her attitude was entirely believable. This IS the behaviour of a naive teenager who wants to make a difference and thinks that a little foot-stamping display of disobedience, with no major consequences attached, makes her a freedom fighter. That didn't make me wince any less, but it made me want to stick with her to see if she ever learns her place and channels her idealistic but well-meaning notions into measured, respectful actions.

If people read this and see that a) what Celaena did isn't how it actually works; b) the true heroes of the story weren't Celaena, then it will have been a worthy read. In any case, it's fun and well-written, and if you don't take it too seriously then it's highly enjoyable.
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Location: Oxford, England, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 134,893