Also by this author: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1), A Court of Thorns and Roses, Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3), A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1), The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-#0.5), Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3), Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7), House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on August 27th 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 420 •Format: Paperback •Source: Purchased
She is the greatest assassin her world has ever known.But where will her conscience, and her heart, lead her?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 willing to fight for?
I’ll admit, I was a skeptic.
Going in, I was NOT expecting this to be a five star, or even a four star read. I was really underwhelmed by Throne of Glass, and I felt like a total outlier because of it. Everyone raved about the series, so when I was at the bookstore the other day looking for a new paperback, I decided to give the series another shot. And I am SO glad I did, because just as so many bloggers promised, this series gets BETTER as it goes on. Crown of Midnight corrected almost every complaint I had about the series.
Celaena kicks butt and takes names.
One of my main complaints in Throne of Glass was that Celaena was supposed to be the most feared assassin in the land, but it seemed like it was all talk. Not anymore. Celaena still retains her love for fashion, adoration for puppies, and obsession with food, but she also infiltrates secret societies, hunts down her targets, and, well, assassinates people. A lot. She’s a machine, without everything seeming too convenient for her. She doesn’t always have the upper hand, she isn’t always successful, but this makes her feel so much more realistic. Maas is also incredibly good at writing the shifts in Celaena’s personality when she has to be an assassin, taking the pain and numbeness crafting her into an almost disassociated state where readers can really see how she was morphed from a young orphan into a deadly weapon. Let me tell you, I would put my money on Celaena over Katniss, Triss, or any other YA action heroine any day.
My Ship Set Sail…Sort of.
I wasn’t really convinced about the romance in the first installment but now I can fervently say that I am a Chaol+Celaena shipper. I loved everything about them in this book, and how their lust and love felt fragile and strong in equal measure. Yet I should have known it was too good to true that I would get a fleshed out romance so early in the series, so my heart was lifted and dashed throughout the course of this book as Celaena finds love and then betrayal. (Although POTENTIAL SPOILER: I thought Celaena’s emotions toward Chaol’s “betrayal” were a tad bit unfair considering how much less she shows towards the numerous instances she finds Nehemia hiding things from her…although perhaps what happened with Chaol was just the straw that broke the assassin’s back). I also love how this series doesn’t feel like a “typical” love triangle, how Chaol and Dorian aren’t pitted against each other, making readers decide who’s more likeable. I really like BOTH Dorian and Chaol for very different reasons, and I think they’re both going to be incredibly important to the story as the series goes on (especially Dorian!) And that SCAR on Chaol’s face….it makes my heart ache every time it’s referenced.
This book is split into two parts, bridged by a horrific act of violence that rattles pretty much everyone. There’s gore and violence and plain evil stuff going on. I mean, we’re talking MAJOR characters deaths! While I was shocked, I think this proves what a deliciously ruthless author Maas is, as she’s willing to push the boundaries to shock readers and further her plot. I don’t think this is a series where we can expect all of our beloved characters to walk away unscathed.
Magic, magic everywhere.
It’s hiding in carnival caravans, in castle walls, in intuitive books, even in plain sight. Magic being banished from the land is a common trope in fantasy so when the series sets up with magic having been gone for the past ten years, all of the practitioners being gone or executed, etc., I was unimpressed. But it’s coming back, and it’s seeping into every corner of the series in unstoppable and potentially catastrophic ways. Elena’s tomb was just the beginning, and magic is so sneakily pervasive that it almost feels like a character in itself, and I kept preparing for it to jump out at me in the most unexpected places. With its inevitable return, it becomes much more clear how much thought Maas has put into laying the foundational framework for the series, and I have so many theories about how everything is going to go down once it returns full force.
Minor characters are starting to play major roles.
There’s Roland, who is a legitimate creeper who we didn’t get to know nearly enough about. There’s Avery, who it really took me a while to figure out. And there’s Kaltain, who is possibly the character I’m MOST intrigued about in this entire series (she was clearly NOT just a plot device for book one!) I hear there are a whole host of new characters introduced in Heir of Fire too, and I’m excited because fantasy series are so much better when you suspect everyone there are multiple motives, family loyalties, and personal stories to wade through. Yes, this series is about Celaena but it’s also about so many other people, which makes the world of Erilea feel so much more real. I NEED MORE MAPS.
Plot twists…so MANY plot twists.
Spaced throughout the entirety of the book, there were multiple shocking revelations to keep the book feeling extremely fast paced. I’ll admit that I caught the big one at the end (I do read a lot of books so you tend to catch on to things quicker when you read so much YA) but I thought it was REALLY well done because I could tell how the foundations for the plot twists had been set up since book one, and because even after guessing some of the twists I still cared about reading them, and seeing how the characters responded to them. EVERYTHING IS CHANGING because of this book. I can’t wait.
What would a fantasy series be without a quest?
Crown of Midnight leaves off with Celaena embarking on a quest of multiple sorts: self-discovery, magical discovery, and political discovery. So while I’m sad that all of my favorite characters will probably be scattered to the different winds in the next book, I understand why it must be done.
Overall: A HUGE improvement over Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight bucks any stereotypes of sophomore series installments being weak, emphasizing character development and world building that will makes readers so much more invested in this series. It’s darker, sexier, sadder, faster-paced, and overall a more dynamic installment in the series. I’m converted.
Click here to read my review of Throne of Glass.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge