Having read ToG ages ago, I knew exactly where Celaena (and Sam) would be at the end of this novella, but it was still my favorite of the four. Yes, it was terribly frustrating. Yes, I wanted to scream at the two of them (mostly Celaena) the entire time. Yes, it was painful and tragic and depressing as hell, but it still ends with a glimmer of hope, and I am so glad I read it.
My favorite part of these novellas has been watching Celaena’s character arc. Some might claim she hasn’t changed. And in many ways this is true: she’s still stubborn, arrogant, passionate to a fault. But in others, she couldn’t be more different.
These novellas first introduced us to a girl who refused to let anyone into her life. Who didn’t know how to love, felt strongest on her own, and didn’t have things like “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong” in her vocabulary. They end with a different girl: one who understands that she can be a better version of herself when she opens up to others. One who can admit she is scared, uncertain, and nowhere near as bold and unfeeling as her outer shell lets on. Above all, these novellas end with a girl who has truly transformed: it takes hitting rock bottom to get her there, but she comes to regret many of her decisions. She admits fault to herself. She realizes her stubbornness is both a strength and a weakness and vows to not let Endovier break her. She will not be afraid.
The lines about fear are my favorite of the novellas. When I first read THRONE OF GLASS I had no idea the mantra came from Sam, and hearing him say it for the first time in EMPIRE had me tearing up. I wish I could hug Celaena. I want to tell her we’re all afraid, but I suspect she finally knows this. I only wish she could have learned the lesson in a less tragic manner.
Originally reviewed here