The past month I’ve tried to read four YA novels — all which have left me thoroughly disappointed. That’s probably the longest streak I’ve had in a while and I’m still contemplating whether or not I should even take the time to review them because I’m still trying to finish them completely. So imagine how happy I was when The Assassin and The Underworld by Sarah J. Maas released earlier this month. I was so very happy to once again find myself in Celaena Sardothien’s world.
I want to start out this review by giving a shout out to Maas on the reveal of her Throne of Glass cover. It’s quite mesmerizing despite the fact that I usually prefer the models’ faces to remain hidden. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I like to envision characters my own way, so typically I try not to let models deter my imagination too much. For the record, I tend to see Final Fantasy characters in the majority of the books I read – nerdy, yes? Bloomsbury, however, managed to make it work this time around because I simply adore the Throne of Glass cover. It’s very beautiful and I’m actually quite content with it. Am I the only one that sees some resemblance between the model and the author? Ha.
Nevertheless, the cover reveal means that we’re one step closer to the book release in August. I honestly can’t wait to read it. The little teaser we were given at the end of the Assassin and The Underworld left me literally begging for more. At the same time however, it also makes me a little sad. Why is this? Because it means that soon, we won’t have these epic little novellas to keep us distracted while we wait for the Throne of Glass series to begin. We won’t have the pleasure of reading about the mini adventures of Celaena’s life before her story truly begins. Once Throne of Glass debuts, readers will have to wait at least a year before another book comes out. Sigh…it’s just another sign that the world continues to go on and I’m not getting any younger.
The Assassin and the Underworld Summary
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 mission 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.
As the third installment of the Throne of Glass novellas, The Assassin and the Underworld by Sarah J. Maas literally stopped my heart and put me in cardiac arrest. Taking off right where she left us in The Assassin and the Desert, our favorite heroine finds herself back at the Assassin’s Keep along with the infamous Arobynn Hamel and the ridiculously charming Sam Cortland. This is what I’ve been waiting for ever since finishing The Assassin and the Pirate Lord. This is what it has all been coming down to: a confrontation between Celaena, Arobynn and of course…Sam.
Maas most definitely delivered an exciting and romantic story in what was again, a small but epic novella.
The first thing that caught my attention when reading this was how much I loved Arobynn Hamel — bet you weren’t expecting that, hm? He is great as Celaena’s master and mentor and perfect as our villain. Arobynn is such a jerk, but he has to be — I mean he is the one that helped shaped our lovely heroine to begin with. And I loved how he didn’t soften one bit to prove his point. Where Celaena had left the Keep with a bang, Arobynn topped it off with his epic burn. What a cruel — but thoroughly perfect — way to twist the knife when your protégée walks out on you.
The second thing about this novella that completely won my heart was Celaena’s love for theatre and music. Talk about being cultured! Maas writes a simple but beautiful scene in which our lovely heroine finds herself standing alone in a theatre — and I just simply can’t get it out of my mind. Again, Celaena continues to surprise me as our main character. She’s an assassin that kills for a living, but despite all of that…she still has heart. It’s like Maas has something new to share each and every time she tells a story about Celaena. And it’s all done so subtly and fantastically. In my last review of the Assassin and the Desert, I discussed how beautifully the girl feels despite all her bravado. But boy did Maas do a good job putting that into perspective in this novella. Celaena is such a girl and I love it — especially since I just finished reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore, which left me feeling somewhat like a man afterwards. It’s nice to see femininity in a strong female character who can still kick butt.
Of course…the whole theatre and music thing wouldn’t have been as wonderful as it was without the one and only Sam Cortland there to steal the show.
Wow. What is there to say? All I can tell you is that Sam is one hell of a character and one hell of a love interest. Everything he does or says to Celaena leaves me breathless…even if it’s not romantic. To think that just a short while ago, he was ripping his cloak off the windows and scolding Celaena for her foolish antics. To think that they were literally at each other’s throats…and to think that Celaena had even considered killing him two novellas ago makes their relationship a hundred times more interesting. Now, the both of them have me swooning with the amount of sexual tension in the air. I was literally on my toes every time they shared a moment…and gosh did they have some brilliant moments!
Trust me…you won’t be disappointed with this couple.
Like its predecessors, The Assassin and the Underworld is an adventure of its own. But this time, it’s so much darker. Celaena is no longer running around freely among pirates or rolling around in the desert. Set in the Capital, I feel like everyone is just walking on thin ice. There’s something about the city — the rain and the Keep that makes this book slightly ominous. There’s no longer that feeling of air and laughter that we experienced in the past two novellas. Everything in this novella feels as if Celaena is walking down a dark and murky path towards her doom. I have this feeling that the very place that Celaena calls home will eventually ruin her.
And so it begins.
From the moment we were introduced to our favorite assassin, we knew that whatever was to happen in the four novellas would eventually lead to Celaena’s imprisonment in the salt mines of Endovier — where we find her at the beginning of Throne of Glass.
Everything and everyone that Celaena has ever encountered — from rescuing slaves at Skull’s Bay, making friends in the red desert, and falling in love for the very first time…everything that has been built by Maas in these past few novellas will finally all come crashing down by the end of novella four. It’s inevitable and quite frankly…also a little exciting. I loved this novella just as I loved the others. From Celaena’s growing hatred towards Arobynn and the growing love between her and Sam. I absolutely loved it all. I’m so eager to find out what happens next. I know I won’t be disappointed…and yet…a part of me anticipates that I will be. Because all I could think about as I finished this novella, were the words that Captain Rolfe once spoke way back in the first novella when Celaena was still hiding behind her mask and refusing to eat — when he had looked between Celaena and Sam and said:
“You might be the best Sardothien, but there’s always someone waiting for you to slip.”
God. I hope I’m wrong. I guess we’ll just have to wait for The Assassin and the Empire to find out what happens with our favorite couple. The theme music I chose for this novella is Deborah’s Theme from the Once Upon A Time in America soundtrack. Listening to this reminds me of the beautiful theatre scene that Maas wrote and the final scene of the novella with Sam and Celaena standing together overlooking the Rifthold from Celaena’s new home. Listen to the music because I think you might actually like it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…I think it’s simply beautiful and perfect for this novella.
Theme Music: Deborah’s Theme From the album Yo Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone
*Photo: Photo credit to Dicky Hendarwan as seen on http://dodoy.deviantart.com/ and http://vi.sualize.us/view/f98346e5f6ce3d5a09ffd6399ff4ad07/