Review: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass #0.2
Publication Date: March 30, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 103 (eBook)
Source: Loaned from Gillian
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.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Novella number two takes place right after number one. Celaena ends up getting punished for freeing the slaves by being beaten and then being forced to train with the famous Silent Assassins in the heart of the desert, only to return with a letter of approval from the Master. So, this book pretty much took place in a unique, new landscape that I enjoyed, though I have a feeling that this may not be revisited. I hope it is because I very much enjoyed the solitude of the desert, as well as the attitudes of the people and the kindness in the Master. Plus, there's a certain scene with a vendor and a promise is made over rare and expensive Spidersilk that I hope will be cashed in in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT or one of the future books because it can make for an awesome battle.

What I enjoyed a lot about this book was the fact that Maas's unique writing shown through in this one. She communicated through silent characters only through described, written gestures and added a flare of comedy in it as well. Here's a small excerpt that put a smile on my face during a celebration...
He offered his hand.
Celaena's face instantly warmed and she shook her head, trying her best to convey a sense of not knowing these dances.
Ilias shrugged, his eyes bright. His hand remained extended.
She bit her lip and glanced pointedly at his feet. Ilias shrugged again, this time as if to suggest that his toes weren't all that valuable, anyway.
However, with that in mind, I found this book to be littered with slight cliches. Ilias, for example. He's the Master's son and he's pretty much untouchable because of that. His training is his life, his father is his only family, and he does not pay attention to women. Yet the first time he sees Celaena he is immediately smitten and is constantly smiling at her. It's like a love at first sight thing, slightly frustrating and incredibly cliche.

And, of course, the slight effects of a love triangle emerge in this one because while she has the beautifully quiet, mysterious, yet understanding and passionate Ilias pursuing her in his own, unique way, all she can think about is Sam back home. Sam, who went along with her plan to free the slaves and had to be restrained when she was being punished because the Assassin King knew he could not see her heart. It's obvious there's a lot going on between the two of them that will most likely be revealed in novella three since she is journeying back home.

The ending of this book is what blew me away. Again, Celaena's heart shown and her morals emerged under surprising circumstances. I truly am enjoying this slow reveal of her buried heart. It's rather brilliant, really. But the very last page is what blew me away. I won't give anything away, but I have infinite respect for the desert people because of it. It's one of those things that hits home and strikes your heart.

Lastly, I have to point out that this lacked proper editing as well. It wasn't as bad as the first one, I only spotted one grammatical error, but Maas actually spelled one of her own character's names wrong. Ansel is a huge character in this novella because she's Celaena's roommate and her first real female friend. Really, she's her closest ally there. In a world where most people are silent, Ansel couldn't shut up. But at one point her name was spelled Ansell. Really? I mean, a main character's name can't even be corrected? These are novellas for a huge series! Where is the editing?! How did nobody catch that?!

The lack of editing in these novellas will be the death of me.

3.5 stars

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  1. I hate grammatical errors, if writing/publishing is your profession, to me, that is the same thing as an accountant not adding correctly or a lawyer forgetting proper court procedure.

    I have been holding off on reading this series (mostly because I think I will love it and I kind of want to actually have time to read and also I hate waiting between installments). I'm glad to hear that the stories are good enough to overcome the frustration of editing errors.

  2. How weird is it that I never noticed the typos? I'm usually such a stickler for those things. This is my least favorite of the novellas for lack of Sam, but I LOVED the story with Ansel and all the world building. BUT THE THIRD NOVELLA. LILI, THE THIRD ON OMG.

    Also... I think you mean "borrowed from Gillian", not "loaned". I loaned them to *you* :)

  3. I love the series, so that's probably why I didn't notice. And now I am going to go look for them... sad isn't it?