The Assassin and the Empire is the fourth prequel novella released in the run up to Sarah J Maas' debut novel Throne of Glass. You don't need to read these stories in order to understand the novel but they do give more of an insight into main character Celaena and the events that happen in the year leading up to the beginning of the book so I would definitely recommend them. I would suggest reading the novellas in order though and it would be better to read them before Throne of Glass.
In this novella Celaena and Sam have paid back their debt to Arobynn but if they ever want to be free of his influence over their lives they must risk it all in order to make enough money to leave him and Rifthold far behind. But how much will this latest job really cost them and is it a price they are prepared to pay?
As I have already read an advanced copy of Throne of Glass I had actually given myself a major spoiler for this final prequel novella. Even though I knew one of the major things that would happen I still found myself holding my breath as I was reading just hoping that I would be proved wrong. I think if I hadn't already known what was going to happen I would have been shocked to the core as events played out, I know when I was reading the book I was horrified but it did mean that the novella didn't have quite as much impact as it should have done. Anyone reading this having only read the first 3 novellas should be prepared for an emotional ride though and possibly keep the tissues on hand just in case!
I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the novellas and I loved Throne of Glass so would definitely recommend the series to any fantasy fan. I can't wait to see what Sarah J Maas comes up with next!