Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 27th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
This is all you need to know about Crown of Midnight: Chaol and the Chaol and OMG THE CHAOL. That’s all. Promise. What? That’s not enough? You want to know about the writing? The plot? Dorian? Celaena? Nehemia? The creepy king? Well fine then. Be that way. Make me talk about something other than Chaol. Just try it. I dare you.
I adored Throne of Glass. It was one of my favorite books last year, and just as good the second time around. I also really loved the prequel novellas, and I insist that you read them before reading this book. But Crown of Midnight? This book was superior to Throne of Glass in every way. In fact it is the second best sequel I’ve read this year, placing between Siege and Storm and Unravel Me. It took the series to an entirely different level of amazing. There is SO MUCH going on in this book. It was overwhelming and mind-blowing in the best way.
I enjoyed the plot of this one much more than the competition plot/murder mystery of the first book. Celaena is ordered by the king to kill an old acquaintance of hers, which serves as a catalyst for a much bigger adventure, full of twists and turns and utterly shocking (and heartbreaking) surprises. One thing Maas handled very well was the pacing. With so much going on, it would have been easy to rush through the small details to get to the important events, but I never felt as if the story was being rushed at all. Not rushing through the little moments was especially important in terms of character development. This is definitely a character-driven series and Crown of Midnight was filled with lots of great character development, especially for Chaol and Dorian, with both of them being forced to confront things they weren’t at all comfortable with, resulting in so many amazing moments that either made me squee or ripped my heart out or did both at the same time.
I cannot gush enough about how much I love the characters in this series. Celaena, Nehemia, Chaol, Dorian. These are the kind of characters that stay with you, long after a book or even series concludes.
Despite the fact that she makes her living killing people, Celaena is a heroine to root for. She’s suffered so much that it’s easy to understand her motivations and her reluctance to join any kind of rebellion against the king, even when you want to strangle her for her stubbornness and shallow vanity. I will admit, it wasn’t until Crown of Midnight that I finally believed that Celaena was as bad-ass/dangerous as the novellas and first book claimed. Rather than just telling us that she’s the biggest baddest assassin in Adarlan, Maas actually shows us that she is. There are so many awesome scenes of Celaena being amazing and yes, terrifying, And there are even more showing that she’s also still a young girl whose dealt with more heartbreak than any person should have to and still manages to find the strength to survive and fight back. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE HER?
And Dorian. DORIAN MY SWEET PRINCE. We get some interesting, and unexpected, information about him in this book that both makes me excited and scared for him. He has so many great moments in this book, especially once he stops pining over Celaena, and I hate that he’s still left in the dark on so many things because as far as I’m concerned he’s proven his loyalty. He really doesn’t get enough credit or love. There was one moment in particular involving him and a decision he makes regarding his feelings for Celaena that made my heart melt and tears fall, even though I don’t ship them at all anymore. It will be interesting to see how his story progresses in book three.
As for Chaol? Well as I said this book is so Chaol and Chaol and OMG CHAOL. Would you believe I actually went into this book still a Dorian/Celaena shipper? It seems utterly absurd to me because that flew out the window within the first chapter. The development of Chaol’s character and his romance with Celaena was utterly perfect and I want to live in every moment of it, from their morning runs to the late night talks to a certain waltz. Not to say that every moment was gooey and perfect. They both make some heartbreaking mistakes and assumptions that caused me all sorts of agony and tears. There was one moment especially when Celaena’s treatment of Chaol after a certain event was way over the top and made me ragey. Otherwise I loved every aspect, despite the fact that so much of their relationship makes my heart hurt just thinking about it. ALL I WANT IS FOR THEM TO GET A HAPPILY EVER AFTER but I refuse to hope for one because I just don’t trust this author. I DON’T TRUST HER NOT TO CRUSH MY HOPES AND RIP MY HEART TO SHREDS IF THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE THIS STORY THE BEST THAT IT COULD BE.
Of course I did find some flaws in the writing. The final scene in particular stands out, with it’s highly predictable “plot-twist” that I called within the first chapter of Throne of Glass, not to mention how utterly melodramatic it was. This didn’t stop me from reading it over and over again and flailing but still. I didn’t really understand why she drug out the “big” revelation of Celaena’s identity, when it is so obvious. Further, the world-building could use a lot of work. While we finally get something of an explanation of how the King was able to make magic disappear and conquer the world so easily, I still felt like we needed more of an explanation of how magic in this world works and motivations, etc.
The only thing I have left to say is JUST HOW WILL I SURVIVE FOUR MORE BOOKS?