This will be pretty spoilery if you haven't read the books yet. So, you know, proceed at your own risk.
Why Did I Pick It Up: After reading everything else, I decided I'd risk a novella.
Genre: Fantasy, Historical
Favorite Character: Sam
Suggested Age Range: Middle School+
The Good: From the moment he walked onto the page, Sam had my heart. The banter between him and Celaena is fantastic. Plus, his character is so different from all the other men in Celaena's life. He is warm like Choal, sassy like Rowan, smart like Dorian ... but he is more than all of those things because he knows what it is like to be an assassin. In my mind I envision Sam looking like this:
But reading his parts and watching Celaena fall in love with him was heartbreaking because we all know how this story ends, Sam dies.
Lysandra's parts were brilliant and I loved this look at her character. She is a total mean girl and is fantastic at playing her part. I feel like I know now why Celaena hated her before and why they had to mend that relationship now. Lysandra is just a silly girl, faking her way to the top, name dropping the whole way up, and thinking that everyone is below her.
Ansel ----- no wonder Celaena doesn't trust anyone.
In Queen of Shadows, I felt like I didn't hate Arobynn enough. Celaena hated him so much, with a fiery passion I didn't understand. She seethed in her hatred toward the man who always seemed to say such nice things to her. I understood there was a history there, but I didn't see how terrible he was, and it was summed up in one line in this book. He is just a selfish man-child who doesn't want to share. It makes me cringe to think about it. To think that what was a small decision for him, ended up as the catalyst for Celaena's entire story. I wonder, if in retrospect, he would change his mind ...
(unfortunately I don't think about Arobynn as an adorable Panda).
The Bad: If you read this before getting through book 4, this book would have spoilers and I hate that. A couple of these shorts were a little repetitive if you'd read other books ... but they were told in a different way so it wasn't bad.
The Bitter Truth: This book solidified my opinion that Rowan is Celaena/Aelin's OTP. They have both done terrible things, both have lost a love of their life, both are destined for greatness and have to think about that before they make decisions ... Rowaelin!
Who will love this book? If you've already read the others and are in a terrible waiting pattern until the next book in 2016 ... you should probably read this one while you're waiting.
How much did I like it? 8/10
Will I read more? I'm waiting for the 5th book right now ... right now.