I’m reviewing each book in the omnibus separately.
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord ★★★
We’re introduced to Celaena Sardothien, the most feared of Adarlan’s Assassins. She’s only 16-years old and she behaves like an obnoxious teenager. There are signs, though, that she’s got the ability to grow and gain wisdom through experience. Celaena has the goods, however, and there’s a reason she’s considered formidable. This is a short story but has lots of excitement and intrigue. I struggled with the world building as there’s not much here for context but it was enough for me to enjoy the story.
The Assassin and the Healer ★★★★
I liked this story, a lot. First, it’s interesting and exciting. Yrene is an intriguing character with a tragic but inspiring past and present. Next, Celaena shows us her skills andchilling side, literally taking no prisoners. Her empathy towards Yrene gives us insight into her own humanity and possible origins. Just enough to whet my appetite but leave me hungering for more. Lastly, Celaena has more texture, lots of blanks filled in and a better understanding of who she is besides a skilled but arrogant assassin. Her complexity is beginning to filter through.
The Assassin and the Desert ★★★★★
I loved this one, my favorite so far. As part of her punishment for her betrayal of Arobynn, Celaena is dispatched for training by the Mute Master, head of the Silent Assassins in the Red Desert, a miserable outpost that was a beast to reach. Here we’re given the opportunity to contrast leader styles and see Celaena continue to grow, develop and mature. The world building was interesting and I felt like I was finally able to grasp how the regions were impacted by past conflicts. This is mainly done through her eyes as she’s starting to question and synthesize her history differently. There are so many interesting themes here and Celaena actually creates some meaningful relationships. The ending is exciting and thought provoking.
The Assassin and the Underworld ★★★★1/2
Celaena returns to Rifthold, back under Arobynn’s leadership and she’s got mixed feelings now that she’s “recovered” from her beating and served her “exile.” He gives her a new assignment that’s not only challenging but may be the last for awhile. However, things take a turn. This was another really good story as Celaena grapples with her feelings about Arobynn and her next directions. Sam’s in the picture, too, further complicating matters as she experiences feelings that are foreign. She makes mistakes but one thing I’m appreciating is her ability to get life learnings quickly. She’s having to grow up fast and is making adjustments rapidly. But, I fear what may be next coming at her.
The Assassin and the Empire ★★★★
Celaena and Sam make plans towards their independence, including one last assignment to fund their departure from Arobynn’s umbrella and control. I sensed impending doom at the end of the last book and my intuition was on the mark. I think only Celaena was caught off guard as we readers were onto the King of the Assassins some time ago. She’s matured ten fold now and I’m really looking forward to what happens next. This was a tough story.