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

Hello! Hi. How have you all been? I think I am finally getting over my reading slump a little bit, which is great news. I even convinced myself to read this last novella! It took me much longer than it should have to get through this because I know what happens in the series. I knew I would feel all the feels with this one. And I did. I would give this a 90% on my scale. It was very good, but not my favorite. This review will spoil the entirety of this novella series, so if you do not want to be spoiled, you should leave, read all of the novellas, and come back and we can discuss this together!

***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.***

Characters:

Celaena Sardothien: Celaena really showed how much she cared about Sam and how much he really meant to her in this novella. She also showed she wasn’t taking any shit when it came to him fighting, which was great. She also showed a bit of fear because of how batshit crazy Farran is. It was pretty refreshing.

Sam Cortland: I love this man and I knew he was going to die, but it still hurt. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry. I think its because I knew he was going to die. I knew he was murdered. He is so caring and he cares about Celaena so much, which is what sucked about him dying.

Arobynn Hamel: I hate this man with every fiber of my being. I hope he dies in Queen of Shadows. I hope he dies a most painful death. I kind of suspected he set Sam up to be killed and as it turns out, I wasn’t wrong. And Celaena played right into Farran and this bastard’s hands. I just really want Celaena to rip this guy apart.

Rourke Farran: This is a sadistic bastard whom I despise and I am sure there is a special place in hell for this man. I really hope he ends up dying painfully and at the hands of Celaena Sardothien.

Plot:

This novella starts off with a scene where Celaena is in the van chained up and later on we know its because she is going to Endovier, the slave mine. You also know this if you read the first fifty pages of Throne of Glass. This is a prologue scene, so right off the bat we know things are going to go south.

We go to eleven days earlier when Celaena caught Sam at the Vaults, which was like an intense fighting ring, because they needed money and were running out fast. She had told him they needed to find work elsewhere, but he went to Vaults anyway. We later find out that they can’t find work because Arobynn made everyone in the city refuse to hire them. Celaena hates him going there, so Sam knows he is in trouble. He brings up the idea of leaving Rifthold, which she immediately recoils at. They wouldn’t have any place to go.

But she realizes this is their only option. So they decide (or rather, Celaena decides and Sam will just tag along) to go talk to Arobynn about them leaving the Assassin’s Guild for a price, so they can leave and start another life in another city, country or possibly even continent. He raises the price, pretty much draining their savings, and Celaena accepts. They will need to find work to be able to afford to go somewhere else, so Sam finds a job for them.

They will kill Rourke Farran and his boss and the biggest crime lord of Rifthold, Ioan Jayne. Farran is a sadistic bastard who tortures people on behalf of Jayne and would be very hard to kill. This an assignment with enough money for them to start another life, but it may cost them more. Its pretty much a death sentence and Celaena knows that. She doesn’t want to do it, but Sam persuades her to say yes, so they take the job. Big mistake.

Celaena transfers the money to Arobynn’s account, the sum for their freedom, and then they start working. They started following Farran around, trying to learn his patterns, but Jayne hardly every stepped foot outside of that house, if ever. When Celaena comes home alone, she finds Arobynn there who warns her it was a death sentence to kill those men. She doesn’t heed his warning and just told him to get out.

Sam goes alone to take out Farran because he won’t let Celaena come (I would have snuck off after him anyway. Are you kidding me? Letting him go alone was super dumb of Celaena). He doesn’t come back. She goes out looking for him, but can’t find him. When she comes back, Arobynn is in her home and he tells her about Sam. Farran tortured him and killed him.

She stays at the Keep that night and overhears Arobynn saying he and a few other assassins are going after Farran and Jayne at midnight. She sneaks out the unlocked window a few hours before they are going to go at him (her door is locked from the outside) and Wesley, Arobynn’s guard, tries to warn her its a trap, but she doesn’t listen (another big mistake) and before he can finish warning her, she knocks him out and goes after the two most dangerous men in the city.

She does end up killing Jayne in a really intense and bloody battle, but Farran knocks her out with a drug and when she wakes up, she figures out it paralyzes the victim, so she can’t move. Farran can’t torture her, but is going to hand her over to the King. The King, instead of killing her, ends up sending her to Endovier. On her way there, she sees a white stag and it gives her the resolve and courage to go Endovier because she will escape one way or another.

In the end scene, we see Farran and Arobynn talking because apparently they were working together to kill Jayne so he could inherit the power. Arobynn wanted her sold off to the King. He was going to save her from death, but since she is going to Endovier, he is pretty much just letting them have her. When he is questioned by Farran why he would have saved her and why he did what he did, Arobynn said that he didn’t like “to share his belongings”. And that is pretty much the end of the novella.

My Thoughts:

This novella was so good and it kept me on the edge of my seat, but damn did it piss me off. Celaena made several mistakes throughout the course of this novella that made me want to throttle her and it is no surprise how she ended up. I wanted Arobynn to die, but I knew he wouldn’t because of later novels. I hate that I shipped Sam and Celaena so damn much. He was my favorite guy that she’s been with up to the point that I have read. I still haven’t read Queen of Shadows or Empire of Storms. But Celaena just frustrated the hell out of me because she just didn’t think at times. She took on a job because Sam asked, knowing it was practically a suicide mission. She let her affection for Sam cloud her judgment and didn’t go with him to take down Farran. She did not heed any of the warnings she was given by Wesley and Arobynn either. A lot of the shit that went down in this could have been avoided had she thought with her head and not her heart. God, she can be so frustrating in this novella particularly. The writing was fabulous, the character development was on point, and the plot line was terrifying and it ripped my heart out of my chest. This was really good, but I liked The Assassin and the Underworld more than this. You definitely should still read this though. Its still great!
7
4/5 hearts

So that was my review of the final book in The Assassin’s Blade novella bind up! I ended up really enjoying this, even if I didn’t like it as much as some of the other ones. It is definitely worth the read and I really liked it. What was something that pissed you off in this novella? To me, this was Farran working with Arobynn to take down Celaena and kill Sam. God, that infuriated me. Arobynn just pisses me off in general, though. And 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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