Title: The Assassin and the Desert
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #0.3
In: The Assassin’s Blade (Sarah J. Maas)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Romance, Strong women
5th sentence, 74th page: After so many hours of silence, the word was jarringly loud.
The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.
This, by far, is my favourite of the five prequel stories in The Assassin’s Blade. The idea of a society of assassin’s based out in the middle of the desert is very poetic and the picture that Maas paints of the landscape in which Celaena finds herself is so tranquil and isolatingly beautiful. Her quick friendship with Ansel is another echo of this isolation – a great deal of symbolism for Celaena’s life up until this point. She is isolated and beautiful, unable to open herself to the hearts of others.
The teachings which Celaena undergoes are not in the slightest what are to be expected. They leave fluidity, flexibility and peace as the true trophies of the art. Not brutality and violence. Those within the community are taught with kindness and care, although, it is an incredibly abstract way of teaching – much of the time, it is difficult to understand what the lesson even is until it is finally explained. Maas is able to use this to remind us that we are constantly learning, changing and shifting, but it isn’t always clear what the outcome of these life lessons will be until we have come out the other side.