Crown of Midnight
By Sarah J. Maas
August 27, 2013
Ages 14 and up
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Reviewed: e-book/ARC from Publisher
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?
I hereby declare CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas the most worthy sequel of all sequels that have ever been written. Alright, perhaps I don’t exactly have the authority to make such a declaration, but the beautifully-written, thrilling and mysterious sequel to the 2012 release, Throne of Glass, is more than deserving of the praise.
I read both Throne of Glass and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT in an (almost) marathon, with only one book in between. I cannot believe I waited so long to start this series! Now that I’ve read these first two books, I am already waiting with bated breath for the next installment. The wait each year, until the sixth and (at the time of this write-up) final book is released in 2017, will be pure torture, I tell you… Pure torture.
With that said, I guess you’d probably like to know why I love CROWN OF MIDNIGHT so much. I loved this second installment even more than I did the enthralling Throne of Glass, though that feat seemed near impossible at the time I was reading it. For anyone who enjoys good fiction – not just fantasy or magic or historical-type novels, but plain old good fiction – CROWN OF MIDNIGHT is a must-read. In this single novel you have the perfect combination of an original premise, a well-thought out cast of characters that you can root for as well as despise, a clash of kingdoms/enemies and allies, an unpredictable mystery, plenty of romance, action and adventure and so much more. If I had to make a comparison, after reading just the first two installments I can already see the Throne of Glass series doing for young adults (and adults) what Harry Potter did for kids (and adults) in the last two decades.
What did I like most about CROWN OF MIDNIGHT? I’d say the writing, since the book is full of so many quotable passages and is highly “readable” for any lover of fiction. The descriptions the author uses to develop her world, her mythology and a history of magic are far more convincing than anything else I have read in fantasy fiction lately. Her dialogue conveys the character’s personalities and emotions, while allowing the readers to fill in the blanks and develop our own opinions about their motives. The fact that the author excels in her writing style and skills is undeniable, but that is not the only reason I loved this novel…
I also loved how solid every single element of the story feels. CROWN OF MIDNIGHT takes the introductions to both the characters and the world from book one and progresses those items into a solid story that, albeit fantastical, we as readers can 100% believe in. Actions and reactions roll off on each other like the swell of waves on steady seas. As with any ocean, those waves must come crashing into the shore at some point. In CROWN OF MIDNIGHT that crash comes with such force, at a point when the reader is most invested in the story, that it feels like the waves are crashing against our own heart. Because the author has created such a solid story, cast and world, both the good and the terrible things that happen within these pages are felt and believed in with every fiber of the reader’s being. But that’s not all…
I’m always pleased when we get to see a romance progress before the final installment. I also love it when enough time has passed that the romance progresses in a realistic way, rife with uncertainty, passion and discovery. The “love triangle” that appeared in book one is quickly resolved in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. But that is not to say that things are all unicorns and glitter for our pair of lovers… This book contains plenty of romantic swoons, I can’t deny that. But we must keep in mind that we’re talking about a romance involving a hired assassin for a tyrannical king, so things can (and will) go wrong for anyone who hopes for happiness… I love (LOVE) that the romance in this book feels just as solid as every other element of the story, despite its ups and downs.
Can I just talk about the characters for a moment? There are so many within these pages, both old and new. In Throne of Glass I came to like the four main characters, Celaena, Chaol, Dorian and Nehelemia, as I gradually got to know them. While reading CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, my love for (and connection to) the characters just exploded! Trust me when I say that Throne of Glass was a mere build-up to the direction in which each of their lives were taken in book two. CROWN OF MIDNIGHT trumps all. Hands down.
We see so much more assassin “bad-assery” out of Celaena in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. (In Throne of Glass, I just wasn’t convinced. But now…. NOW I AM.) This girl kicks some serious bad guy butt, guys. Celaena balances the fine line between good and evil with finesse, but all the while I love where her heart is in every move she makes. I never thought that I would back a killer as much as I do the young and extremely dangerous Celaena, but there you have it: I totally support every kill she makes and would totally take her on as my own personal Champion.
I wish I could go on and on about my love for CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, but since it is full to the brim with surprises and new developments, to say more would be to spoil the story for you.
If you have not yet read the first book, Throne of Glass, you really need to get on that ASAP. For those who are eagerly awaiting this installment, trust me, the wait is worth it. Be glad you have yet to experience the awesomeness that is CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. I’m sad that I will never again have a “first read” of it, but then again… I guess there will be at least four more “first reads” in this series, won’t there?
Can. Not. Wait.
My favorite passage from CROWN OF MIDNIGHT:
“Enough! We have enough enemies as it is! There are worse things out there to face!”
Celaena slowly turned to him, her face splattered with blood and eyes blazing bright. “No there aren’t,” she said. “Because I’m here now.”