When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The misson is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer—and she doesn’t like what she finds there.
After her training with the Silent Master and his Silent Assassins from the Red Desert, Celaena Sardothien is now free to return to Rifthold. She can now go back to the Assassin’s Keep and resume her place as the heir and protegee of Arobynn Hamel, Master and King of Assassins. But Celaena has other plans too. With the golds gifted to her by the Silent Master she can now pay her debt and leave Arobynn, something she never realized that she want to do before. And now that she got the means to get her freedom back she can’t let just ignore it. But when she finally met Arobynn again, he is so sorry of the things she did to Celaena, for hurting her and sending her to the desert alone. He asked forgiveness and to let him make it up to her. Arobynn started showering her gifts, and offer Celaena a task she can’t refuse.
The first two novellas focus to Celaena’s character, who she is and what kind of person she is, they expose both the though and soft side of her. This third novella now shows the world where Celaena life mostly run. Back in Rifthold, the land where she grows up and back in assassin’s keep where she was trained to be one of the best assassins we are now able to see Celaena’s everyday life and the kind of work she has. Obviously being an assassin Celaena lives a different and complicated life. Her life is always at risk, even at the safety of the keep. She may be Arobynn protegee but contrary to what she thought, she is also expendable like the others.
Sarah J. Maas finally building the assassin’s world in this novella. She easily weaved the world of the assassins and the people around them. The surroundings, culture and traditions were drawn in a simple but vivid way. There are courtesan’s bidding, musical plays, elite social parties, and night life. One scene shows Celeana’s love for music and theater depicts her soft side. She shows her raw emotions without any boundary or pretensions, something unexpected for an assassin like her, but simply proves that she has a good heart even how many time she needs to kill.
“Some things are more important than death.”
But Celaena’s good heart can be a disadvantage too. It makes her naive and blind. After all the training she went through as an assassin and claiming to be the best, you would expect her too be more cautious. But still in here she shows how innocent she is in life and in love. Somehow it fits her age, being seventeen that she is, but as an skilled assassin she should know better. After what Arobynn did to her she should have at least form some doubts. I understand that Arobynn is almost like a father to her since he is the one who raised and trained her, but Celaena also know how not to trust other assassins even the closest to her, so why not give Arobynn the same treatment?
In addition to the intense and action-packed plot from Celeana’s latest assignment as an assassin, this novella also provides new development between Celaena and Sam’s relationships. Their prickly relationship from the start of the series develop into something more. After their months of separation due to Celaena’s training under the Silent Master, Celaena finally realized how much she misses Sam. Add the presence of Lysandra, a girl who seems to fancy Sam, Celaena can’t deny anymore her feelings for Sam. The chemistry between these two assassins is undeniable, and you’ll love Sam in this installment more than anything else.
Overall, The Assassin and the Underworld is a well-paced, and well-written short novella that shows the treacherous and action-packed world of the assassins. It gives Celaena’s character an unforgettable and learning experience which I hope she’ll carry throughout the next installment of this thrilling series.