Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review: Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J. Maas

‘The Assassin & the Pirate Lord’
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.
‘The Assassin & the Desert’
The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.
‘The Assassin & the Underworld’
When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The mission is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer—and she doesn’t like what she finds there.
‘The Assassin & the Empire’
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…

When I read ‘Throne of Glass’ last month I fell in love with it completely. Everything from the cocky and bad ass heroine Celaena, to the setting and the world building and the secondary characters. It completely drew me in and I wanted to find more of this world that Maas had thrown me into and then only given me one book of!
And then I found out about the four novellas that were being released in the run up to the publication of the novel, and I couldn’t wait to get straight back into Celaena’s world.

But something just didn’t quite sit right this time round.
Whereas before Celaena’s arrogance and cockiness was played very carefully so that there was just enough humanity to make the reader still relate to her and love her, in the novellas there is none of that. Celaena comes across as arrogant, overly confident and with a bad attitude problem to boot. She is constantly tossing around phrases like ‘She was Celaena Sardothien, Ardalan’s Assassin!’ when having to do things, or is put into situations that she feels are beneath her. As a result all of my love for the character went completely out the window.

I found her really hard to relate to, and in the first two novellas genuinely disliked her. In fact if I didn’t have the promise of her turning into someone vaguely likeable I probably wouldn’t have bothered continuing with the novellas, or then going on to read the novel. Which is tragic, because the novel is fantastic. I hate the thought of people being put off by her in the start and then not sticking it out and getting the good stuff at the end.
Because it does get better. Celaena does tone it done and become the girl that I loved in ‘Throne of Glass’. There is a temperance in the third and fourth novellas that make her tantrums easier to bear and her character infinitely more likeable. It was just a long time getting there.

I loved that we got to go back and see some of the big events that are alluded to in ‘Throne of Glass’ and that help to shape Celaena into the women she becomes. For thrills and plot these novellas definitely get full marks. There are a few problems with pacing, I think some of the stories would have suited a full novel instead of being condensed into such a small format, however they still work well as novellas.

To anyone who has read the novellas and isn’t fussed on continuing on to ‘Throne of Glass’ I urge you to reconsider. A lot of the wrinkles in the novellas have been smoothed out by the time you reach the novel, and it truly is a fantastic fantasy book.
And to anyone who read the novellas and loved them, have you devoured ‘Throne of Glass’ yet, and if so, what did you think?
Overall rating: 

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