Before I started reading the Throne of Glass series, a cashier at Barnes and Noble recommended the series to me. She also recommended that I read the prequel, The Assassin’s Blade, after I read Throne of Glass but before I continued with the rest of the series. She reasoned that in doing so many of the events Celaena alluded to in ToG would make much more sense.
She was right.
-The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: the story of how Celaena, along with Sam Cortland, meets the Pirate Lord Rolfe and freed 200 slaves against the wishes of their master.
-The Assassin and the Healer: after Arobynn learns of Celaena’s betrayal, he sends her to the Red Desert to be trained by the Silent Assassins. On the way, she meets Yrene, a healer who lost her power when magic left the world.
-The Assassin and the Desert: when Celaena makes it to the Silent Assassins’ stronghold, she must convince the Mute Master to train her for one month before she can return to Rifthold. She meets Ansel, a fellow assassin, who wants more than to merely train.
-The Assassin and the Underworld: after Celaena returns to Rifthold, she finds Arobynn quite amicable and Sam less so. She begins to question how much she wants to remain with Arobynn and continue as his assassin.
-The Assassin and the Empire: a month after Celaena and Sam quit being part of Arobynn’s Assassin’s Guild, they decide to move away from Rifthold to lead new lives. However, they have to perform one more job to earn enough money for the move. But the jobs proves more deadly than they realize.
While a combination of five separate novellas, The Assassin’s Blade reads like a novel on its own. While I didn’t enjoy Throne of Glass much, I find that the prequel was a much more enjoyable read. Celaena is still a vain and self-centered teen (slightly younger in the prequel), but she seems to have gone through more character development than in the first novel proper. Her interactions with Yrene and the Mute Master, as well as Sam after her return, show how she changes through her experiences. Reading the prequel made me want to continue with the series to see how much more Celaena changes as what happens to and around her change.
I also want to see if characters – like Yrene, Ilias, and Ansel – return for more significant parts in the later novels.
My rating: 4/5