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.My Thoughts: Celaena Sardothien has been sent by the Assassin's Guild to collect a debt owed by the Pirate Lord. She is accompanied by her friendly rival Sam Cortland. Both have been with the Assassin's Guild since they were young children. Celaena is cocky, arrogant, a girly-girl who likes fancy clothes and manicures. She is also the best assassin in Erilea and only sixteen years old. When she and Sam arrive to collect their debt they find that they have been mislead. Instead of coin, they find that the leader of the Assassin's Guild is going into the slave trade. She and Sam are expected to bring about 100 slaves back home to me be sold. Celaena may be a killer but she can't stand slavery and determines to outwit the Pirate Lord and set the slaves free. The plan involves getting all the pirates drunk, starting fights, disabling the catapults aimed at the harbor, and lowering the chain that keeps the ships in. Two assassins against an island full of pirates. No problem...as long as one of them is Celaena Sardothien.
The Assassin and the Desert (March 30, 2012)
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.My Thoughts: This episode takes place a couple of months after Celaena's adventures with the Pirate Lord. She needs to be trained by the Master and get a letter of recommendation from him before returning home. When she arrives, she is befriended by a young woman named Ansel who has been with the Silent Assassins since she was thirteen. Ansel becomes the first friend she has ever made. The local lord - Berick - wants to curry favor with the king of Adarlan by destroying the Silent Assassins and sending him the Mute Master's head. The assassin's have been able to fend off the previous attacks but are always waiting for the next one. Ansel is sent to Lord Berick as an intermediary and brings Celaena along but doesn't let her attend the meeting. Ansel shares a secret about her past when they are on the way back home. Later the two girls fight and Celaena is drugged and sent away. This story has friendship, betrayal, and courage and some tough decisions for Celaena to make.
The Assassin and the Underworld (May 1, 2012)
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 misson 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.My Thoughts: Celaena is back from the Red Desert with enough gold to pay off Arobynn Hamel but he has apologized and is showering her with gifts. He also has a job for her that fits with her desire to fight slavery. She also sees Sam again but is torn about how she feels about him. He has spent the summer escorting her rival budding courtesan Lysandra. They do finally talk to each other and resolve their differences. But Celaena faces the ultimate betrayal in this story.
The Assassin and the Empire (July 20, 2012)
Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. But Celaena won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel - so she and Sam decide to take one last daring assignment that will liberate them forever. And that’s how Celaena learns that having everything... means everything can be taken away.My Thoughts: This story was so painful to read. Celaena gets a bit of happiness and then has it ripped away from her in the worst sort of betrayal. She and Sam are together and think they are free from Arobynn Hamel's control. But he isn't ready to let go of something he thinks he owns. Since I have already read Throne of Glass, I knew what had to happen in this story. Nonetheless, I kept hoping I was wrong.
These novellas are a wonderful introduction for Throne of Glass which will be released on August 7 as they give readers a wonderful glimpse into the rich and nuanced world and characters that Sarah J. Maas has created. And, if like me you have already read Throne of Glass, you still want to read these novellas to fill in the backstory and to see more of the fascinating world that Maas developed.