The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas – Review

Book Jacket:

A Throne of Glass novella.

On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes – and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.

You can read an excerpt here.


Now that’s what I call high fantasy fun.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord is a sheer and utter romp, of the style you usually find on the high-seas. And for a novella about pirates and assassins, lords and slaves, which could have so easily been a soggy trope soup, this story manages to nimbly dance in the sandbox without stepping on any trope mines. Instead the air of familiarity is pure fun – kind of like a YA version of Michael J. Sullivan’s Theft of Swords – as this story gleefully struts and swashbuckles, with all manner of weapons – swords, daggers, and wits – being crossed.

My favorite part of this novella was just how flawed Celaena, our leading lady, was. Imperfections are so often overlooked in this kind of bouncy action adventure story – where female characters generally err on the side of plucky, good-hearted lass – so I couldn’t help but enjoy how arrogant and cocky Celaena was. She downright delights in baiting people, struts around like she owns the place (no matter where she is), frequently loses her temper and isn’t afraid to let the world know she thinks she’s the real deal. Seriously, when’s the last time you read a teenage female lead who wasn’t either A) sweet and brainy, of the good girl next door variety, or B) bitchy with a side of mean girl? And when’s the last time you read a teen female lead who wasn’t helplessly, hopelessly mooning over Love, True Love? Watching a teen girl with a healthy, nay over-sized, ego, swagger around without wasting a single moment of time on angst over her love life was just FUN.

As for the action, it moves at a breakneck clip. This is a novella, after all, so there wasn’t much room for plotting, but the story is smooth and goes down easy. As an introduction to the world and the characters, it works exceedingly well – and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Maas can do with a full-length novel.

Meanwhile, to help ease the wait for that full-length novel –Throne of Glass, which pubs August 7 – Bloomsbury has three more novellas coming our way, all prequels leading up to the events of the book. And I have to say, I am liking everything about this roll-out – the sampling, the building of momentum, the price point (now that’s what I call a dollar well spent). I’m in, bring on the next!

Byrt Grade: A-

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Landon K on Goodreads says:

Sheer fun. If my 13-year-old self had gotten his hands on this, I think he’d have been blinded by pleasure.

Amy on Goodreads says:

In just a few short chapters, Sarah J. Maas succeeded in letting us readers who have never read QueenThrone of Glass back in its Fictionpress days come to understand Celaena with all her formidable strengths and her many glaring faults…I definitely got a Pirates of the Caribbean-esque vibe from the entire thing