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"You must become so free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." -Albert Camus

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The Assassin and the Empire (Throne of Glass, #0.4) - Sarah J. Maas I decided to read the "Assassin" novellas because I was having a bit of a rough patch with [b:Throne of Glass|7896527|Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)|Sarah J. Maas|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1335819760s/7896527.jpg|11138426]. I really must recommend reading the novellas first. For me, they shaped Celaena so much more as a person and I was able to empathize with her on a deeper level. In the novel, she may come off as harsh, abrasive and annoying, but if you read the novellas, I think you'll find there's more to her than that. It's not a popular thing to tell someone to stick with a series, it gets better as it goes. And I do think that the fact that I had to read the novellas just to get through a novel is not, in itself, a good thing. But, I'm glad I did it because these proved to be a lot of airplane travel fun.

The first novella didn't impress me and the second was hardly better, but, for me, the third and fourth ones were interesting. And finally! In the fourth novella the reader gets to witness Celaena's bad assery, a trait that is told to us over and over again but not shown. If I had one recurring complaint, it would be that: that we are simply told too much. I think as the novellas go along the author gets better and shows us more. Also, some of her sentences are absolutely stunning. I was really impressed with the way she would word something so simple and turn it into something profound and beautiful. I think that Maas has a lot of talent and she will grow exponentially as an author as she writes more.

One line I loved in particular:

The breeze grew into a wind, and she closed her eyes, letting it sweep away the ashes of that dead world—of that dead girl. And then was nothing left except something new, something still glowing red from the forging."

I did like that Celaena was an unreliable narrator. I thought that it was interesting how she could go from feeling sympathy for courtesans and street walkers to utter contempt and use their jobs against them, even though her job has the same premise (earning money doing less-than-honest work). I also loved that the narrator made Arobynn and Celaena's relationship so complex. Some people may think she's stupid for continually trusting him and wanting to forgive him, but I think it really mirrored an abusive relationship and how the victim always feels drawn back to the one who hurt them most.

My one qualm with this particular novella was this: I don't understand why, after stalking Farran all day and seeing that he was torturing people in the Vaults, did Celaena not look for Sam in the Vaults or consider that he was being tortured? There are other complaints similar to that one. The author sets the scene a bit too obviously and I felt, as the reader, that everything worked out simply because the author wanted it to, not because there was any logic behind it.

I really liked the ending to this one, though. A lot.

Regardless, I had a lot of fun with these novellas and plan on finishing Throne of Glass with a new outlook to Celaena.