Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Throne of Glass Novellas: Julia J Mass: Review

You love Throne of Glass? Yeah, sure you do. Then answer these few questions . . . Who is Celaena Sardothien really? How did she become Adarlan’s greatest assassin at only sixteen? Who betrayed her, sentencing her to nine lives’ worth of labour in the Salt Mines of Endovier? To answers these you need to read the four eBook novellas that precede Throne of Glass. (Review of Throne of Glass here)

In reality, these four thrilling stories could have been edited into one longish novel as they flow seamlessly into each other. Although we see glimpses of Celaena's early life and training with Arobynn Hamel, the king of the Assassins, that is not the main focus. These books recount the how and the why of her betrayal and capture. The story starts with the event that changed Celaena’s life forever.

The Assassin and the Pirate King (review)

Celaena and Sam free two hundred slaves from Rolfe, the Pirate King. Unfortunately, Arobynn was going to profit from the sale of those wretched people and he had his heart set on the cash. He never forgives Celaena and Sam for that act of mercy. Celaena’s life spiralled from there.

 The Assassin and the Desert Goodreads

As punishment, Arobynn sends her to the Silent Assassins in the Red Desert. But instead of humbling the incorrigible Celaena, she wins the head assassin’s favour. (And charms his gorgeous son!) At the end of her training, the leader sends her home richer, more arrogant, and even angrier with Arobynn than when she left. That did little to restore their relationship.

 The Assassin and the Underworld Goodreads

It did however lead to a touching love story with Sam. They defiantly leave the Assassin's Keep, breaking away from Arobynn. Trust me, the title of this book is no exaggeration. After Maas dragged us through the underbelly of Adarlan society, I felt I needed a bath. But, like all her books, there is virtually no bad language and no sex. It's the environment Celaena and Sam live in that is so awful.

The Assassin and the Empire (Goodreads)

Celaena's and Sam’s rebellion led to the death knell of her relationship with Arobynn – a man who doesn’t like sharing his ‘belongings’. I won’t tell you what happened to Sam, but it was a defining moment for Celaena. We see her at her best – and her worst. Her betrayal and capture follow soon after. Although I knew it was coming, my heart was pounding and my hands sweating as the noose pulled tight. For real! I’m that invested in these characters. 

These novellas are quick reads but so worthwhile if you love the series. And if you are planning on reading Throne of Glass for the first time, I would suggest you read these first. It will make it that much more fun.

All told, I give these four novellas a combined 4.5 brilliant stars. Now it’s a long wait until August 2013 when book two - Crown of Midnight - comes out. I will definitely be pre-ordering. What about you?


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