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This book contains all 5 of the novellas that preceded the events of Throne of Glass: 1 including The Assassin and The Healer which at the time of writing this review was not available to read separately as an ebook as the other 4 novellas are. This collection of novellas was absolutely amazing and completely unputdownable and when read together are effectively a book in their own right with only very brief gaps between each story. I absolutely recommend this collection to any fan of the Throne of Glass series and if you haven't read Throne of Glass thoroughly recommend the series too. The reading order of the novellas if you want to read them individually instead is:-

1. The Assassin and The Pirate Lord
2. The Assassin and The Healer (please note this is only available in the paperback format at the time of writing this review)
3. The Assassin and The Desert
4. The Assassin and The Underworld
5. The Assassin and The Empire

Although these are a prequel to Throne of Glass I have actually read them after reading the first three main books of the series (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire) and I think that because of this I have enjoyed them so much more than some of the other reviewers. I would actually suggest reading these prequel novellas after reading Throne of Glass as then the character Celeana Sardothien will be much more lovable as I think if reading these novellas without knowing her character she may come across as a bit annoying and full or herself. I have been a fan of the series since reading Throne of Glass and I absolutely adore the characters in the series but most of all Celeana herself and I can't recommend the whole series enough.

If you haven't read Throne of Glass and the novellas are the first time you have ventured into the world of Celeana Sardothian then stop reading here as there are spoilers next. For anyone who has read Throne of Glass then you already know the fate of a certain character and so my review as below should offer no further spoilers than what you already know.

This collection of prequel stories basically tells the events of Celeana Sardothian and Sam Cortland before he met his fateful end and she was sent off to Endovier and fills in the gaps in her story that we have only had snippets of in the three books so far. I couldn't put the book down with the five novellas in from start to finish and despite already knowing the outcome of Celeana and Sam, the story's were brilliant and I can't recommend them enough to fans of the series. An absolutely fantastic read that despite knowing the ending left me felling very sad for Celeana and Sam.

1. In The Assassin and The Pirate Lord Celeana and Sam (at this point Celeana has no feelings for Sam and doesn't really like him) are sent to Skulls Bay in the Dead Islands by Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins to meet with Captain Rolfe, Lord of the Pirates. Celeana and Sam think that this is to collect gold from the Pirate Lord in payment for some of his Pirates having murdered some of Arobynn's Assassins but they are horrified to discover that this was not in fact the reason and that they are actually there to collect a ship full of slaves. Both Celeana and Sam are horrified at this news and Celeana after seeing the conditions these prisoners of war are in decides to do something she has not done before and be selfless and formulates a plan to free them and the other ship full of slaves waiting to sail out somewhere else. Sam works out she has a plan and offers to help. This is where the spark of something more than being acquaintances begins and also develops to real feelings for each other.

2. In The Assassin and The Healer, Celeana has been sent to train with the Silent Assassins in The Red Desert by Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins as punishment for her part in freeing the slaves during the first novella; The Assassin and The Pirate Lord. She is in a small town called Innish which is just across the Gulf of Oro whilst waiting for the boat that will take her over to Xandria and then from there she will make her way across the desert to train with the Silent Assassins. Whilst in Innish she is staying in The White Pig Inn and it is here that those who haven't read Throne of Glass will start to see the kind person in Celeana beneath the cold assassin persona. The local serving girl Yrene has fled her from her home town when her Mother the town's healer was murdered by the kings men and it is here that Celeana and Yrene meet under difficult circumstances and we see what a heart of gold Celeana truly has.

3. In The Assassin and the Desert, we hear the tale of how Celeana trained with the Silent Assassins and the story she told Chaol about how she got her very own Asterion Horse (which was on of the tales I really did want to hear more about when I read about it in the main books). She has been sent to train with the Silent Assassins by Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins (well king of the ones in Rifthold and the north) with the instruction that she must return with the Mute Masters respect and a letter of approval from him within a month. After the grueling trek across the desert to the Silent Assassins base she first of all has to impress the Mute Master enough to win a place training there and once she does she meets Ansel who becomes her very first female friend. Things are not all as they seem here though and it soon becomes apparent that there is a traitor within the Silent Assassins who is helping the Lord of Xandria, Lord Berick with his attacks against the Silent Assassins and Celeana inevitably gets involved with results that she wasn't expecting. We also hear of how Arobynn beat Celeana until she passed out after freeing the slaves and how Sam was held back and screaming something at Arobynn at the time.....

4. In The Assassin and the Underworld, Celeana is just returning to Rifthold after her training has been completed with the Mute Master and the Silent Assassins. This story shows Celeana's every day life and how she lives at the Assassins keep and scouts jobs etc. Celeana hasn't forgiven Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins for beating her unconscious and sending her off to the desert for a month but he appears truly upset and remorseful for what he did and so she decides to not immediately tell him she is moving out. Following the Mute Master's gift of the trunks of gold she now has more than enough to buy her freedom and pay Arobynn back what she owes him but she decides to wait a while before doing so. Arobynn showers her with her normal extravagant gifts from him and truly appears to be trying to make amends for him beating her. Arobynn also gives her a new target and explains that this man is slave trading and going to reveal the locations of safe houses to an unidentified man within the next few days and ultimately the king which makes the job even more appealing to Celeana. But is all as it seems?......

5. In The Assassin and the Empire we travel along the road to the inescapable conclusion of Celeana and Sam's relationship and lives and despite knowing the outcome it was absolutely heartbreaking. If you don't know what the inexorable conclusion is then stop reading now as I am not revealing any spoilers to anyone who has already read Throne of Glass. Celeana and Sam have paid off their debt and have moved out of the Assassins Keep however know if they are to make a new life elsewhere that they will need more money to do so as Arobynn has basically cleaned Celeana's account out having somehow known how much she had in there. They agree to do a last job but an incredibly dangerous one where they are to kill both the leader of the underworld and his absolutely insane and sadistic second in command. There is no easing around the conclusion and reading it when you have identified with Celeana and Sam over three main books and the previous four novellas was horrible for me and I kept wishing for a different ending which of course was not to happen. By far one of the best novellas out of the five and it tells the events right up to Endovier but as I said above absolutely heartbreaking for the two very lovable characters of Celeana and Sam.

The main books in reading order are as follows and the author Sarah J Maas has just announced that the 4th book will be called Queen of Shadows and will be released in September this year and I absolutely cannot wait to read it!

1. Throne of Glass: 1
2. Crown of Midnight: 2 (Throne of Glass)
3. Heir of Fire: 3 (Throne of Glass 3)
4. Queen of Shadows
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on 13 March 2015
I know many people recommended that I should have read The Assassin’s Blade before Throne of Glass, but I’m one of those people that doesn’t agree with that. I think The Assassin’s Blade was a great companion to the series even though I know that the novellas in The Assassin’s Blade come before we meet Celaena in Throne of Glass. I preferred knowing Celaena’s story before filling in some gaps with this read. I’m glad I read it though, I loved being back with Celaena and seeing what she had got up to before we met her!

The Assassin’s Blade is made up of five novellas prior to the events of Throne of Glass. I think fans of this series will absolutely love this addition and for new fans it will really enhance the series. You need not worry that you will be spoiled with this book too, they don’t give away any spoilers.

I personally much prefer the main series to the novellas, but novellas have never really been my sort of thing, so I’d definitely give this book a go, especially if you’re longing for the next instalment!
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on 15 August 2014
I'm not a novella person, we all know this, but The Assassin's Blade is the book I credit with completely changing my views on novellas. This, my friends, is how it is done. These short adventures provided essential information and fleshed-out an already well-developed story even more.

I was so grateful for the background knowledge and to see how Celaena became the person she was when we met her in Throne of Glass. It was also beyond wonderful (and heartbreaking) to finally meet the elusive Sam. He was glorious and I can't even begin to describe the shattering sound my heart made when the novellas caught up with our current Sam-less timeline.

These novellas made me laugh and scream, and they offered such a wealth of new information that I'm really going to find useful going into Heir of Fire. I was once again captivated by Maas's fantastic storytelling!

Favourite quote: "She would tuck Sam into her heart, a bright light for her to take out whenever things were darkest."

Overall rating: 5/5 little birdies

For this and more reviews made of awesome, visit Little Birdie Books:
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I need to ask Maas why?! I need to shake her hand and thank her for making me realise that I can actually read Fantasy, and that I may just have found a new favourite genre, and I need to kiss her feet for giving me a series to fangirl over almost as much as I fangirl over Harry Potter.

I read and LOVED Throne of Glass and decided that I wanted to know more about Celaena before I moved on to devour the rest of the series. While this bind-up is a collection of five novellas, it reads more like a novel – the stories move seamlessly into each other and they all build to form a great picture of our favourite female Assassin’s past. And what a past it is – I laughed, I cheered, I fangirled and (I’m not ashamed to say it) I wept. *Wept*.

I will say that I feel this bind-up is essential reading for any fan of the series – novellas are usually added extras that don’t add a whole lot to the overall story unless you’re a die-hard fan, they’re the literary version of a Behind The Scenes documentary, but in this case The Assassin’s Blade feels like a must-read if you want to understand Celaena and her motivations.

I can’t cope with my love for this series. I can’t cope with the wait until the next books are out. Even though we’re currently going through “death-by-YA-adaptation” I can’t cope with how much I would love for this to be a movie or TV show. But damn they would need to do it right! I just have zero coping going on, basically.

Check out the full review on Confessions of a Book Geek!
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on 14 March 2014
Call it personal preference but I always prefer the having the book to the Kindle version. So when I heard these E-novels were being collected together in a book format, getting it was a no brainer. The writing is excellent, the cover art is great, and there is even an extra E-novel (ok it is only 50 extra pages) containing a bit more of Celaena development, and more example of how deadly she is that was missed in the other e-novels. What more is there to say good price, great stories and beautiful cover art, you cannot go wrong.
As I have reviewed four other stories individually copy and paste these links into your address bar.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

The Assassin and the Desert

The Assassin and the Underworld

The Assassin and the Empire
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A hugely successful fantasy novel in the young adult book market recently was Throne of Glass: 1. The story of girl called Celaena who is a highly skilled assassin.

This book is a collection of five different novellas which are prequels to Throne of Glass. Telling tales of what Celaena did before she was in the situation where that novel began. They also tell of her relationship with Arobynn Hamel, the master assassin who saved her life then brought her up to follow in his trade.

The book contains five novellas. The first is just over seventy pages. The second just over forty. The other free both go just over one hundred. Each of them are further divided into shorter chapters.

Since events in one will lead to consequences in another, they need to be read in order. Because in essence, they do form one long story.

Thus those who haven't read Throne of Glass can get into this with no problem. Be advised that it will make want to read that book as soon as you can. And those who have read it will find a book that, whilst not essential reading in order to get more from the writer's other books, is a very good read anyhow so it's well worth a look.

It does throw you right into her world without too much exposition, but you're never left confused or struggling to catch up. This is because the writer is just very good indeed at her craft, and her prose really grabs and gives you all the information you need at the same time.

The setting is a rich and interesting world. The whole story is also solidly character based, as Celaenas actions have consequences, as do her relationships with other people.

There are nice touches such as her love of books and of finer things, all of which make her a very well rounded character.

Recommended reading age would be thirteen and up, thanks to some violence and mild adult situations. But the quality of the writing is such that it feels like an equally good book for anyone who is much older than young adult to get into as well.

You will care for Celaena and what happens to her. And you won't forget any of that in a hurry.

An excellent read for anyone familiar with Throne of Glass and sequels. Or even if you're not. And for those aged thirteen. Or much older. Excellent fantasy and highly recommended.
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on 2 February 2015
These books are fantastic. Some of my favourites at the moment and it was great with this collection of prequel novellas to find out more about Celaena's past, including some of the things she references in the main series (stealing an Asterion horse for example). I read the ToG, CoM and HoF before this and felt that was a good way to do it but I think it would make sense reading these first (you just won't notice the foreshadowing etc.)
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on 25 November 2015
All of Sarah's books are brilliant. This is very helpful in filling in some of the background to events mentioned in the main story but not in the detail given in this book. It helps to fill in some of the small gaps behind events.
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on 18 October 2014
After reading Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight this was just lovely to read, we learn a lot about Sardothein's past and her relationships with characters only mentioned in the main novels. I honestly recommend this, as it gives us great insight into her life and why she is how she is. I think you could read this at any point in the series as it has no relation to the main storyline, I didn't find it boring at all, even with the loved characters not featuring in it.
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on 14 August 2016
I thought this was one novel explaining er back story but it's not, they are a series of short stories that are mentioned throughout the series. I was read this before the series because what she mentions in the book the man's a lot more.
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