After I finished reading Empire of Storms, I decided to go back and read the prequel novellas as many of the characters we meet in these stories make appearance and play a role in the final book to come out next year. It’s very common for authors to publish novellas or short stories in connection with successful series. Most of the time they have little consequence to the actual narrative of the series themselves. They are just a fun story about the time before, or another character’s perspective. The further I got into Empire of Storms and the big reveals starting to come out, I realized that I these novellas were more important then I originally thought. The end was blending of Aelin’s present with Celaena’s past. If Aelin is going to defeat Erawan and reclaim her crown in Terrasan she is going to have call in all of Celaena’s favors. And so I went back and bought all the novellas. The five novella’s The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld and The Assassin and the Empire tell the story of the months that lead her to be arrested and sent to Endovier where we meet her in the Throne of Glass that starts everything in motion. All five novellas were collected together and later published under the named The Assassin’s Blade.
The novella’s we see Celaena in her full Adarlan’s Assassin glory. She is the most feared assassin in the land and she knows it. As Arobynn Hamel’s protege she is at the top of her game, when she is sent to the Skull’s bay to meet with Captain Rolfe, the Pirate Lord. When she finds out that her master is going into the Slave business, she defies him for the first time. With the help of fellow assassin Sam Cortlandt she not only saves the slaves Arobynn was trading but all the slaves. All good deeds don’t go unpunished. She is severely punished and sent to the desert to learn from the Mute Master of the Silent Assassins. Here she meets Ansel of Briarcliff, her first real female friendship and new skills. Upon her return Arobynn gives her a mission that she can’t refuse but it ends up in even bigger betrayal that she pays off her and Sam’s debt’s and leaves Arobynn behind. Celaena and Sam have fallen in love and plan to Rithfold behind but not before they do one last job. This leads to tragedy and ultimately what leads to the beginning of the series. Caleana’s exploits are alluded too in the earlier books but didn’t really have much to do with the actual plot until our heroes make their way to Skull’s Bay to try to convince Captain Rolfe to join their cause. Since the last time Aelin was there, she destroyed the docks and ended the very profitable slave trade for the Pirate King. So, not the best impression to leave on the a possible ally. The Pirate Lord and Ansel have been mentioned before but in passing. I used to think it was just a wink to not only Celaena’s past but also to all those readers who read the novellas but both Rolfe and Ansel play a pivotable role in Aelin’s plans to win the war. The stories gives us a sense about who Celaena was before the action of the series and how deep the scars run for her. From the books, we know how complicated her relationship with Arobynn is but since it all happened before the action of the series we didn’t get see how toxic it truly was. We also get to know Sam. His death is major part of Celaena’s story arc in the first two books. It’s what haunts her and motivates her to seek out Arobynn for the truth. These are some of the rare series novellas that actually further the series plot and for that for fans of the Throne of Glass series, it’s worth reading all the novellas.