Book Review: “The Assassin and the Desert” by Sarah J. Maas

Hello! Today we will be discussing the third novella in The Assassin’s Blade bind-up The Assassin and the Desert. This is by far my favorite novella so far. I really enjoyed this and while I can’t tell you what it is about, I can tell you it pretty much picks up where The Assassin and the Healer left off. I gave this a 98% on my scale. The synopsis might spoil you for the previous two novellas, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, you should read all of these novellas, come back and we can discuss it together. Let’s go ahead and get into the review!

***Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you wish to not know what goes on throughout this book, read the synopsis and don’t read any other part of this review.***

Synopsis:

“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.”

Characters:

Celaena: we really saw how much she actually wanted/needed a friend in this novella. We also see how far she is willing to go to protect people. She grew to really care about the Silent Assassins and even if it meant hurting someone she trusted, she would do it to protect them.

Ansel: I really liked her in the beginning. I never once suspected she might be a traitor. I thought something was off when she went to see Lord Berick with Celaena, but other than that, I never suspected she could be capable of everything she did. She was filled with so much hatred and loathing and that really was shown in the end.

Mute Master: even though he didn’t speak much, I ended up really liking his character. He didn’t control the assassins with bruising force like Arobynn does. He would never physically hurt any of them, at least not without extremely good reason, and that just really made me respect him more.

Illias: While he was not seen a ton through the novella and I never wanted him and Celaena to be a thing, I loved how protective of his father he was. It showed really good heart.

Mikhail: I really loved his character, which is why I was so upset that the girl he loved (and I thought she loved him too) ended up murdering him. All he was doing was protecting Illias and his the Mute Master and for that reason, she killed him. He had such a caring and hilarious spirit and it is so sad that it was snuffed out.

Lord Berick: this guy is an asshole and he deserved everything he got. I hate him.

Plot:

In this novella, Celaena makes it to the Silent Assassin’s fortress and after he deems her worthy, he will train her. So she rooms with a girl named Ansel who is super nice. Celaena quickly becomes friends with her and learns that Ansel has been dating Mikhail for over three years. Illias, the Mute Master’s son, takes a liking to Celaena, but is also protective of his father and believes for a bit there that she will murder his father.

Celaena learns of Lord Berick, a man who wants to see all of the Mute Assassins dead and has tried (and failed) several times. To negotiate some sort of peace or at least to get him to lay off on the attacks, Celaena and Ansel end up going to his home. Celaena doesn’t go in, but Ansel does. They steal these really rare and expensive horses and race back to the Mute Assassins and the Mute Master finds out what they did. Even though stealing the horses was Ansel’s plan, Celaena takes the blame. This actually impresses the Mute Master and he signs that he will train her.

So Celaena starts training with him and suddenly Ansel is being very rude and distant towards her and Celaena and Ansel get in this huge fight. They do end up making up and going back to being friends. Celaena continues to train with the Mute Master. One night, Celaena wakes up in the middle of the desert with all of her stuff packed with a note from the Mute Master that supposedly is her note of approval from the Mute Master. She starts to go back home when she sees this army lead by Lord Berick heading for the Mute Assassin’s fortress.

She goes back to find a battle happening. She runs upstairs and finds that Mikhail has been killed, Illias is dying, and the Mute Master has been poisoned with gloriella. Ansel is in there, trying to kill him. She was a traitor. (This would be the point where I gasped super loud and almost threw the book across the room).

Long story short: Celaena stops her, helps Illias, saves the Mute Master’s life and for some ungodly and unknown reason, lets Ansel escape and doesn’t kill her. Celaena also gets her letter of approval at the end of this novella, hears the Mute Master speak for the first time (I was like, “WHAT? HE SPEAKS?”), and then she starts heading back home.

My Thoughts:

Wow, a shit ton of things went down in this novella. There was so much action that went on throughout this novella, though mostly towards the end. There were so many things that I loved about this. I loved the friendship we saw with Ansel and Celaena, even if Ansel turned out to be a traitor. I think she truly cared about Celaena. And we saw how much it hurt Celaena that her only friend she’d ever had was a traitor. We really got to see how much a badass Celaena is as well in this novella. We honestly don’t see her being a badass all that much in the Throne of Glass books (its more like Sarah is telling us how much a badass she is rather than letting us see it). It was really refreshing.

AND THAT ENDING. OH MY GOD. I was so pissed off, I was almost crying. I wanted to gut Ansel and it pissed me off even more when Celaena didn’t kill her.  But also, it was really refreshing and different to see Celaena have to work up to being the best when in every other book she is in, she is the best. She doesn’t have to start at the bottom and work her way up. In addition to that, I really liked all of the character development we saw with Celaena in this novella. She really showed how multifaceted she is as a character and how dynamic she is. The writing was on point (like always), the action was at an all-time high, and the story line was really complex and interesting, which I appreciated. This just has me super excited to read the next novella!

9
5/5 hearts

And that is the end of this book review. This novella was short, but it had a really complex plot, which I wasn’t expecting. You don’t usually see that in novellas. Who was your favorite character that was introduced in this novella? As much of a bitch she turned out to be, I really enjoyed Ansel’s character the most. She was super complex and fooled everyone for years about who she was and how she really felt about everyone. She really surprised me. But that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time.

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