F.J.'s Reviews > The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
by Sarah J. Maas (Goodreads Author)
bookshelves: e-book, high-fantasy, reviewed, young-adult, short-story
If you'd like to take a look at my old review, click on the spoiler. (view spoiler)[I have waited a long time to get my fingers on this ebook - a kick-butt assassin fighting against a bunch of pirates and freeing hundreds of slaves? Sounded brill to me. To my disappointment “The Assassin and the Pirate Lord” wasn’t brill at all, in fact it was rather boring and cliché.
“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.”
The actual book “Throne of Glass” and “TAatPL” too have many positive reviews and often 5-star ratings, so it was that I had to take a long break after I read the ebook. Maybe I had expected too much because of the good reviews. But I wasn’t prepared to find a typical YA book interwoven with a “feeling” of fantasy and a heroine who is more a brat than a kick-butt assassin.
The novella is only 63 pages long so I didn’t really expect a fully sophisticated story but at least I expected something to actually happen. The novella seems to be written by a sixteen-years-old girl who is a writing beginner and doesn’t have much experience. Instead of some action we get some plain “I-trip-you-ups” and childish wranglings and Celaena’s very silly thoughts that she could handle everything and everyone.
Celaena Sardothien is the snootiest, stupidest, cockiest and most childish character I’ve read about in the last couple of months. With her sixteen years she acts and thinks arrogantly and without any brain. (Don’t get me wrong, I love flawed heroes but I think that these attributes weren’t meant as flaws but to rather create a character who is a “bad-ass”, sorry Mrs Maas, that absolutely didn’t work for me.) Celaena also has a soft spot((view spoiler)[which comes to light as she sees those poor caged slaves in their miserable condition and has the great idea of rescuing them (hide spoiler)]). A paid murder who feels pity for a bunch of stinking, dirty slaves? Sorry, should I’ve bought that? But what got really on my sensitive nerves was that I could read in every few lines how strong and smart Celaena is and that she could take every man and kills him. Hm. What age was she again? Ah, yes, sixteen. And she is very pretty too, so she can’t be a Ares’s daughter like Clarisse and thrash a grown-up man with her bulky and strong body. So let’s say Celaena has the build of a normal teenage girl ((view spoiler)[a proof is the fight with Sam on the beach, she didn’t stand a chance against him (hide spoiler)]). What would a good writer do then? Yes, she or he would make their character smart, to outwit the other, stronger ones. But oh no, Mrs Maas forgot to make Celaena smart ((view spoiler)[the scene with the paper knife on the desk of the Pirate Lord; or just plain the fact that she underestimated the Pirate Lord (hide spoiler)]). So what kind of heroine do we have then?
A stupid, haughty brat-like assassin bitch? Yes!
Oh and how bitchy she is! The poor guy who has to hang around with her. I think this the signal for her assassin companion Sam. Sam, your creator wanted you to be the half nice guy, half lady-killer. Well, you are just a Plain Jane. You are flat and I think you were always asking yourself “Charm? Charm? What is charm?” Your past is interesting but that didn’t make me like you – or feel something for you. You let Celaena bully you (what are you, her lapdog?) and at other times you are the one who can calm her. How is that possible? She doesn’t respect you (and certainly you doesn`t respect her too) so how comes she let you calm her? Maybe you really are a dog. Sam, heel!
There were some intimidate moments with Sam and Celaena but they seemed forced to me (perhaps because Mrs Maas knows that Celaena won’t end up with him but still I had wished for a good soft, little romance).
I don’t want to talk too much about the other assassins because 1) we didn’t see much of them and 2) they are like the whole story: simply plain. The lead assassin is a grandpa-like guy and doesn’t match the picture of the guy who punishes Celaena by sending her into the mines (Throne of Glass).
Okay, let’s talk about the Pirate Lord. He was – let me search for the right word – oh, dear what was it again? Ah, yes, plain. Really? A plain Pirate Lord, F.J.? Solely the name Pirate Lord is exciting and interesting. Still Mrs Maas could handle the central theme of “TAatPL” named plain. The only really cool, exciting thing about him were his tattoos which shows treasures and are tattooed on his hands, he made a deal with the devil to get them.
My résumé is:
Celaena’s characterisation as the “greatest of all assassins” is the funniest and at the same time saddest thing I’ve read in a book since “Divergent” (there are no assassins but those brave thing was just as ridiculous as this). She is neither a good assassin (lack of intelligence and fighting skills) nor is her character well developed (at one time she is mean, selfish and haughty, the other time she wants to rescue slaves and ((view spoiler)[cries because she thought Sam had died as he blew up the cannons (hide spoiler)])).
Mrs Maas a person who kills other persons are most of the time weak-minded people, haunted by the ghosts of those who they had killed. Those people have to make great decisions and need to grow up quick. Celaena on the other hand reminds me of Paris Hilton who has all since she was born and doesn’t need to care whether she has to decide about life and death.
The only thing that kept me reading was the dabbling in a marvellous created world. At the beginning of this review I said the story is interwoven with a “feeling” of fantasy. That is right, there is no particular element of fantasy in here but there are worlds we don’t know, Pirate Lords with moving maps on their hands and assassins and that was enough for me – so far.
“The Assassin and the Pirate Lord” is one of the few books I don’t like to read again. I bought the second novella the same time I bought the first so I will try and read that too but I can’t guarantee. I can’t connect with books whose protagonists I don’t like and with a writing style of a sixteen-years-old writing beginner. (hide spoiler)]
My love for the world and characters Sarah J Maas created grew stronger with each book. I also started to realise that she does know how to write a compelling story without sounding like a sixteen-year-old brat.
I still don't know why TAatPL seems to be so different compared to ToG or CoM, since the novellas were written between book 1 and book 2. So while it is nice to see more of Celaena's adventures and the people who shaped her life, I find the novellas are not a necessary 'must read'.
I will, however, continue to make my way through the ToG novellas in The Assassin's Blade. Maybe there is a story in there that I like as much as the novels.
My opinion about The Assassin and the Pirate Lord did not change over those two years and my adoration for Sarah J Maas. I still think that the story lacks of a seriousness and a good writing style, and is, in the end, rather boring.
In the end I'd recommend to leave the novellas out and instead just read the novels. You can't do anything wrong with them. I promise. Go get them.
||21.43%||"I thought this would be good ... But the assassins are lame and sissy(they kill people and still shut up when a cocky 16 year old girl is stamping around on their balls - Sorry, but that's unrealistic). The assassin guy (Sam) has no guts at all and even 6 well-skilled hitmen can't do what a 16 year old girl can do - Please."|
||22.86%||"A pirate Lord afraid of a girl in a stupid mask? A pirate lord who's mighty and dangerous and daring? Honestly? I rarely met a heroine so cocky and stupid and childish and exaggeratedly boring as Celaena; she believes the world should fear a 16 year old girl because she can do everything what assassins thrice her age can't do (duh), oh and she's soooo beautiful (which is her weapon too!) :D"|
||25.71%||"I thought Celaena is the bestest assassin of all? Why is she so stupid then and can't even seem to notice a paper knife on a desk?"|
||27.14%||"The dialogues are really awkward - they make my writer heart bleed. (Btw, pirates always wear coats when it's cold outside! Thank goodness, their mamas never have to fear that their little chickens get a cold! - Am I too sarcastic?"|
|04/28/2012||"So what is a pirate without slavery? Just a drunken, bearded, tattooed punk. Really, that's just too silly!"|