This is a collection of short stories before the start of the Throne of Glass series. There is a total of five short novellas that categorizes Celaena Sardothien adventures before of the start of the series. Sarah J. Maas does a wonderful job in worldbuilding, but the relationship between the characters and the surrounding areas seem to fall flat compared to the beginning of the series. It’s a good introduction of how Celaena was when she was Adarlan’s Assassin and how she broke free of her contract. Celaena’s quick wit and sarcastic speech is still very much enjoyable to read and for the reader to connect with her.
In The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, the fight scenes were mediocre and not as action packed. Most of the time the characters are spitting insults at each other than any real development with the plot itself. Celaena was too self-centered and not very likable, while the other characters were completely obtuse in moving the story along. The only thing that was interesting was Celeana’s quality in not standing by and letting people being slaves. Most of the characters were unmemorable.
In The Assassin and the Healer and The Assassin and the Desert, there was a vast improvement in the worldbuilding and the characters. Yrene is a healer that Celaena meets on her way to the Silent Assassins. She is concerned when Yrene is attacked by four men and decides to train her in basic martial arts. Celaena ends up getting injured and Yrene heals her and confides to her about her life before working as waitress in the White Pig Inn. Yrene comes from a long line of healers, but is the last remaining healer in her family after her village is destroyed. Celaena ends up giving her a pouch full of gold for her tuition at Torre Cesme; to continue her healer training and leave the White Pig Inn. The interaction between both women are believable and Celaena gives good advice to Yrene in finding her own way to Torre Cesme. The Assassin and the Desert is where Celaena makes another connection with a female character, Ansel of Briarcliff. Both girls become fast friends and Ansel gives Celaena pointers in improving in the Silent Assassins. This was the first time Celaena had a female friend and it turned out that Ansel had betrayed her. It was a blow to Celaena trusting any female again. Maas does a wonderful job in the interaction between the female characters and feeling the emotions they felt. These two novellas had better potential than the other three novellas in the book.
Throne of Glass has a better representation of Mass’ world building than what the novellas can portray.