THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD & THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE
(Throne of Glass #0.3 & #0.4)
By Sarah J. Maas
RELEASE DATE: 2012
FORMAT: Kindle, 101/96 pages
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult
THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD: 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. (Goodreads)
**Contain spoilers from previous books**
In The Assassin and the Desert, Celaena saved the Mute Master’s life and as such was given a huge reward in which she was able to return to Arobynn with enough money to buy her freedom. On her return Aroybnn was very apologetic for sending her away and for beating her, showering her with gifts to show his remorse and to again earn her trust.
After Ansel had betrayed Celaena in The Assassin and The Desert, Celaena takes a while to trust her biggest threat to her title as the best assassin, Sam. I was hoping that Celaena and Sam relationship may have changed however, Celaena shows in her attitude towards a relationship, her immaturity and vulnerability, proving her young age and lack of experience. There is good news, the relationship evolves after Celaena decides to ask Sam for help.
Celaena who loves the luxuries that Aroybnn can offer decides to continue working for him rather than seek her freedom and when Aroybnn offers Celaena a chance to help free slaves by taking out a new contract she accepts without question.
Celaena is blinded by Aroybnn, she looks up to him as a father figure and as his protégée with the lavish and spoilt lifestyle Arobynn has given Celaena has made her egotistical. This is the first book we see Celaena in her own territory and it’s the first time that her personality seems flawed. Her pride is very evident in THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD and because Celaena is so comfortable and notorious in her domain it gives her too much arrogance.
Celaena always refers to herself as the best however, when she requires saving she still has the audacity to pretend she is still perfect.
She looked at him from where she lay in bed. “What do you want?” Not the most gracious words to someone who had saved her life. But hell, she was supposed to be better than him – and yet he had saved her! How could she say she was the best when she’d needed Sam to rescue her? The thought made her want to hit him.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD allows Celaena to experience a few new emotions especially jealousy. An arising courtesan Lysandra is spending a lot of time at the keep and seems to be having attention from both Sam and Arobynn. There has always been a difficult relationship between Celaena and Lysandra as they are both the best at what they do and receive attention in different ways, now Celaena feelings for Sam are changing, how she deals with these emotions are amusing.
Now all Celaena has to do is complete her contract and find out whose feelings and protection she can rely on.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE UNDERWORLD was probably my least favourite of the novellas so far. It was more predictable and Celaena was a bit too arrogant for my liking. However, when Celaena finally sees the people around her for what they are, she shows her strength in the decision she finally makes, making a huge difference for her future.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE: Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose… This fourth fantastic e-novella gives readers an inside look at the characters who appear in the full-length novel Throne of Glass. Don’t miss out. (Goodreads)
**Contains spoilers from previous books**
As I have read Throne Of Glass I was certain that two things would happen in this book, one I will not disclose, the other is that Celaena would be caught and sent to the salt mines of Endovier as that is where Throne of Glass kicks off.
Firstly I need to correct an assumption I made while reading Throne of Glass, Celaena is labeled as Ardarlan’s Assassin, which I assumed meant she was caught attempting to assassinate the King of Ardarlan. After reading THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE I now understand that Ardarlan’s Assassin is Celaena’s title for being the best assassin in Ardalan.
In The Assassin and The Underworld Arobynn deceives Celaena through the contract he gave her, finally giving her the courage to pay her debt and free herself from Arobynn’s ownership, she also paid off Sam’s debt to Arobynn freeing him as well.
The first part of this novella is quite slow as Celaena and Sam try to make a home, earn money and have a relationship together. Earning money for Celaena and Sam is a problem in Ardarlan as Arobynn controls all the assassin contracts and even though Arobynn has no domination over them they are still associated with the Assassins Guild and can take no assassination contracts without Arobynn’s permission.
Celaena and Sam now free of Arobynn, wish to leave Ardarlan and the assassin’s guild. To do so they need to take on one more contract to secure enough money, ensuring their freedom and a safe route. When Sam is approached to take on a contract on the Ardarlan’s Crime Lord, Jayne and his second Farran, Celaena and Sam take the job despite the difficulty and danger it would put them in.
The novella picks up pace as the rest of THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE is about the plot to kill Jayne and Farran and how it ultimately ends with Celaena caught. With everything that goes wrong it would be easy for Celaena to give in to despair, even though Celaena at first feels distraught.
It was her fault, all of it, all set in motion the day she’d arrived in Skull’s Bay and decided to make a stand for something.
However, when you are at your lowest your true character pulls you through and the four novella’s shaped Celaena character from an arrogant, egotistical, proud girl to a strong, determined, humbled woman.
The girl who’d taken on a Pirate Lord and his entire island, the girl who’d stolen Asterion horses and raced along the beach in the Red Desert, the girl who’d sat on her own rooftop, watching the sun rise over the Avery, the girl who felt alive with possibility…that girl was gone. There wasn’t anything left.
Left in the place of defeat was a Celaena that refused to give up, to continue to hold her head high and the character I admire so much in Throne of Glass.
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 there was nothing left except something new, something still glowing red from the forging.
Celaena opened her eyes.
She would go into Endovier. Go into Hell. And she would not crumble.
I enjoyed THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE as it sets up the Throne of Glass perfectly. As I have already read The Throne of Glass, I knew the final outcome of THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE and even though I didn’t want the inevitable to happen, it fills in the full details which Celaena reflects upon in the Throne of Glass, making it a wonderful addition to the series. The four novellas have shown the remarkable character development of the wonderful heroine, Celaena, and I feel like I understand her motives better. A great start to a new series.
BUY THE BOOK: Underworld
BUY THE BOOK: Empire