Alz's Reviews > The Assassin and the Empire

The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas
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Jul 22, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, ya-mg
Read in July, 2012

A little novella in which nothing happens except things that Celaena could have avoided if she hadn't been so incredibly blindly stupid. She underwent no character growth, faced no real challenges except trumped-up excuses for plot, and acted so frivolous that it's no surprise that she ends up where she does.

For another thing, aspects of this book are way, way too modern--and I mean yes, this IS fantasy and all, but when it's set in Ye Elde Generic Fantasyland, I find it a bit much for her to have an apartment that has a fully-stocked kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, running water, etc. And when discussion arises about moving away from Rifthold, they talk about moving with just the basics in luggage and having everything else shipped to them, and how they can just sell the apartment while they're away by...apparently writing letters to some kind of broker.

But back to the lack of plot and Celaena's stupidity. 100% of everything bad that happens in this book could have been avoided if Celaena had either bothered to listen to other people or just stopped spending their rapidly decreasing amount of money on lavender soap and frilly designer outfits--especially since (as it's revealed at the beginning) she and Sam haven't been able to find work for a month and are running low on funds. Also, I couldn't stand how head-bangingly stupid she was RE: Arobynn, a man who (she is aware) has manipulated her all her life, beaten her unconscious as "punishment", deceived her and tricked her and humiliated her, used her for his own ends that she hated, etc. etc., and yet whom she still trusts and takes at face value despite all her "oh noes, I don't trust him, of course" talk.

I barely tolerated Celaena's stupidity for 3 novellas before this and now I just can't stand it, which is why this is a 1-star. While not as depressingly terrible as the previous novella, this one exists solely to get her thrown into the terrible straits where the novel begins--in other words, this novella is much more a plot device than a novella.

Even the emotional parts of this book felt lackluster and contrived, to the point where I was bored and rolling my eyes when Terrible Things happened. Everything was too rushed, Celaena's responses were either hyperbolically exaggerated or bizarrely nonsensical (i.e. how she nags Sam to stop fighting for prize money because omg he might get hurt when hey, Celaena, HE'S A FRICKING ASSASSIN AND CAN TAKE CARE OF HIMSELF AND YOU NEED MONEY BECAUSE YOU'RE BUYING EXPENSIVE PERFUMES AND FURNITURE ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET AND YOU DON'T BRING IN ANY MONEY AT ALL), and the final plot twists in the end were so incredibly obvious I was wondering if they were going to be something else because it was way too obvious but nope, that was it.

I really wanted to read Throne of Glass before but these novellas are seriously putting me off reading the novel. But because I am masochistic and I have nostalgic memories of reading Throne of Glass when it was on Fictionpress many years ago, when I was younger and less jaded and critical, I will probably read the novel anyway. And then gripe about it afterward.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Hmm, I did like the third less than the first two because not much happened besides stupidity, plot device, and boring romance. But I did still like it for some reason...maybe I cut her some slack for being a teenage girl, but your review implies that annoying things about her are amped up. I kinda want her to be a mix of the Stark sisters from Game of Thrones, but she seems to be increasingly the bad parts slash early version of Sansa.


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda Hahahah love your reviews, Alz! Refreshing after all the super glowing ones I've read (mostly written by her friends). Can't wait to see what you think of Throne of Glass. :)


message 3: by Cristina (new) - added it

Cristina Question: were the events of these novellas a part of the massive original FP version that I understand to have been shortened, split up and rewritten? Never read it back in the day.


message 4: by Alz (new) - rated it 1 star

Alz Cristina wrote: "Question: were the events of these novellas a part of the massive original FP version that I understand to have been shortened, split up and rewritten? Never read it back in the day."

As far as I recall, the novellas were not a part of the original novel, which I never finished reading. The original FP version started exactly where the novel starts from what I've seen of the book preview.


message 5: by Meishuu (new) - added it

Meishuu Augh. Like you, I decided to read the novellas first, and then read the actual novel, however, I'm really strugling to finish them, mostly because I find the characters completely unsympathetic and... well, moronic. I understand that Celaena is young, but she was raised as an assassin; she could show just a bit more maturity.


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