Rating: 5 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.
Okay, so I broke down and read this. I’m not usually up for novellas or side stories or prequels or anything like that, but . . . for Sarah J. Maas, I will gladly do it.
You know when you’ve been spoiled, and you know something about the ending to that really, really good book that you’re still reading, and even though you’ve been spoiled and should therefore be able to prepare yourself for that ending, you just fail miserably?
This is one of those times.
“She would tuck Sam into her heart, a bright light for her to take out whenever things were darkest.”
It’s no secret that I’m in love with Celaena. I hide nothing about that. And I love Rowan.
And now, I love Sam.
No one freakin’ told me, warned me I would like him like much. Sam was supposed to be the background noise to Celaena’s pain and past. I was supposed to listen to Celaena talk about her past with Sam the assassin and feel for her lost love, but not. This. Freakin’. Much.
This isn’t okay. Not okay at all.
Celaena still shines with all her pride and gorgeousness, even before her time at the salt mine. I also realized that I never really understood Arobynn Hamel. I knew him as her trainer, her benefactor and the man who saved her from drowning in the river, but I never really thought of him having this sick, twisted love with her. Not as a father or a brother or a lover, even, but as . . . something else. Something else entirely.
I never understood that Arobynn deeply cared about Celaena, in his own dark ways. He is a selfish, greedy man who promotes blood lust and cold-blooded murder, of course. But he still saved a little girl in the river all those years ago, and while he is by no means innocent (if given the chance I would gut the man myself), I feel like I understand him a bit more.
I also understand how Celaena saw him before Sam was murdered. How she looked up to him, how deeply she wanted his love and respect. How she still wanted all the things a child would want in a parent even as he forces her to murder people and rack up a debt he knew would be almost impossible to pay off. (And wasn’t it just so ironic and just that Celaena finally pays off her debt to Arobynn through not her murders, but with her kindness and selflessness?)
Celaena continues to defy all my expectations for her. How she can be so mature and bold in life and see that she is never going to be able to run from pain and misery, because those are just a fact of life, she can choose how she is punished in life. She can choose to be punished for doing something right, and that is not nothing. Because in the end, she answers to herself and her conscious. So what if Arobynn might beat her senseless and so what if she looses all her worth in his eyes, the man who she cares for the most? If she’d going to be hurt, she’s going to do it on her terms and have as clean as a conscious as she can manage.
And I hadn’t realized quite how Sam died . . .
Even though I expected it . . . it was still surprising, in the way it occurred. Which makes no sense, because if you’ve read the other books, Celaena even talks about exactly what happened. But still . . . it hurt. A lot.
So much so, actually, I found myself standing up from my comfy leather reading chair and scowling and (maybe) crying and cursing Arobynn and cursing Sam for not seeing it coming and cursing Celaena for waiting . . .
And then there’s Celaena, getting shipped off, betrayed and broken, and I knew how this was going to end . . . but . . .
Sam was – to put it lightly – perfect. He was truly Celaena’s other half, and now when I read about Dorian or Chaol, they just won’t even come close.
I don’t even care.
Team Sam all the way.
Like, I have no idea how Celaena moves on from Sam. He was perfect, and he had been waiting for her his whole life, and while they dance around each other with weapons and pointed words and jealousies they’re both trying to ignore, they never get childish about it. They never walk away from the other in a fit of fury and stew about it for the rest of the day. (Well . . . Celaena does. Once. When she was still ignoring her feelings and being adorable and frustrating about it all. Gosh, I love the girl.)