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Book Reviews

Review: “Crown of Midnight,” Sarah J. Maas

September 23, 2015
Review: “Crown of Midnight,” Sarah J. MaasCrown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)
Written by Sarah J. Maas
Published August, 2013 by Bloomsbury
418 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Medieval
Purchase: The Book DepositoryBookworldBooktopia
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four-stars

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Spoilers in the full review! Crown of Midnight was a nice advancement on Throne of Glass, but I felt as if the plotline itself was much weaker. For most of the book I had no idea where it was heading, or what the ‘big bad’ of Crown of Midnight really was. In Throne of Glass we had the tournament and Cain, in this one? Well, I didn’t know in which direction to point my attention!

 “If they wanted Adarlan’s Assassin, they’d get her. And Wyrd help them when she arrived.”
– Celaena

Celaena’s work as ‘Champion’ for the King is a big part of this book, but Celaena isn’t accomplishing the tasks as he’d expect. While I was a little worried that once again the ‘assassin’ wasn’t ‘assassinating’, things turn quickly on their head. There’s quite a few bloody scenes in Crown of Midnight and I absolutely loved that aspect of it. We finally got to see Celaena at her best/worst!

We find out more about the King’s plans, but in a very roundabout way. Once again the long-ago queen Elena is there to help, as well as Princess Nehemia. We’re also introduced to ‘Mort’, the enchanted door knocker on Elena’s tomb, who I found to be a delightful addition to the story.

 “There had never been any line between them, only his own stupid fear and pride. Because from the moment he’d pulled her out of that mine in Endovier and she had set those eyes upon him, still fierce despite a year in hell, he’d been walking toward this, walking to her. So Chaol brushed away her tears, lifter her chin, and kissed her.”

The love triangle between Celaena, Chaol and Dorian is still kind of there… but not in the way you’d expect. Celaena seems to be firm on her decision to keep things between her and Dorian friendly, and nothing more. I really admired her for this. All too often our main characters say one thing and mean another. I really believe in Celaena’s case that she is no longer pursuing Dorian as an interest. Once this was established, it was fantastic to see their friendship grow and become one based on trust. I like all their scenes together and admire the way in which Dorian allows Celaena to be herself, instead of trying to ‘reign her in’ as Chaol does.

As for Chaol, things between him and Celaena practically explode. The attraction between them is finally explored in depth and you can really sense the way that Celaena respects him and his unfailing loyalty to those he cares for. While I like Chaol, I’m not sure if I like him and Celaena together just yet… I know, right? I must be the only one on the planet. I feel that sometimes Chaol doesn’t allow Celaena to breathe – possessive even before they were a ‘thing’.

There were a few nice surprises for me in Crown of Midnight. I had absolutely no idea that Dorian was going to possess magic AT ALL. That was a really nice move and I cannot wait to see where Sarah J. Maas takes that as well as how it might impact Adarlan’s future with Dorian as the heir. And, although it was not particularly a ‘nice’ surprise, I was shocked to see that Nehemia was killed off about halfway through the book. I could not believe that Sarah J. Maas would even go there so quickly when Nehemia had been such a focus. I really do applaud the fact that she was able to shock me with it, though!

“Celaena Sardothien wasn’t in league with Aelin Ashryver Galathynius. Celaena Sardothien was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, heir to the throne and rightful Queen of Terrasen.”

Celaena’s ‘heritage’ however, was not a surprise to me. As soon as there was talk of a Terassen heir, I knew that it would be her. From the very beginning, Celaena had been secretive even to the reader about certain aspects of her past. I knew it was no coincidence that Queen Elena had taken a liking to her, either. Although it’s not a major bombshell to me, as it was for some readers, I think it will steer the story in a more exciting direction. Especially now that Chaol knows.

To sum up, I liked Throne of Glass better purely because I felt it had more direction than Crown of Midnight. The second book in the series was still good, but it wasn’t what the first was – unputdownable. My head is still quite a jumble about all that went on – Wyrdkeys, Wyrdgates, Fae magic, portals… but I am quite excited to read the next instalment to see how it all comes into play.

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

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