Book Review # 44: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Sunday, 14 June 2015
Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 15th 2013
Pages: 418
Source: Bought

PurchaseThe Book Depository / Waterstones

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.
So returning to my Throne of Glass series re-readathon as I call it, I picked up the second book in the series 'Crown of Midnight'. Now I remember this book being a lot more adventurous and action packed than the first book with a lot of character development and intense plot twists. This book was definitely better the second time around and there were so many little details that I had once forgotten. So, as the second instalment in the series, what did I think of it?

Well as I've already mentioned, I really enjoyed this book and it was much better than I remember when I re-read it. There were a few little gripes I had with the book such as plot predictability (quite similar to the first book) but once again I'm putting this down to the fact that this was a re-read, so I already knew the events that were coming. That being said I did notice quite a few obvious plots points that highly foreshadowed what was to happen later in the novel (such as the riddle in the tomb - I seriously have no idea how Celaena managed to bypass the obvious answer) but besides that there wasn't really anything else about the plot that I could fault. This instalment really allows for greater development into the overall plot of the series and really puts into perspective all of the directions that the novel could take to get to the eventual outcome. As a reader we're given a broader view on the King of Ardalan's motives and his ideas for the world. What this novel does a great job at is exploring all of these hints in a subtle manner throughout the novel - each is touched on and woven into the story while not deterring from Celaena's journey. This novel also provides us with some very dramatic and intense scenes - from Celaena chasing down her targets to the death of Princess Nehemia. This was such a shock to the system that I literally had to take a minute to catch my breath. I know it had to happen to set up the events of the story but she was so sweet and powerful and I was really looking forward to seeing how her character was to develop. Ah well.

Speaking of Celaena, this book was great at showing her development to the readers. She's no longer the girl from the Endovier mines competing for the role of Champion. In this book she has a sort of freedom element that allows her to go about her role in her own way. This comes across quite vividly in her faking of the murders of the King's intended targets. Although this was something that came across quite obvious as well as something that was revealed to the reader quite early on, it was nice to see Celaena's instinctive personality kicking in. We also get a lot of Celaena's character development to who she is as a person - and by that I don't mean her personality but the fact that she's actually fae, and non other than Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, heir to the Terrasan throne. It definitely sets up the next book by providing us with such a dramatic plot twist. I thought it was a really interesting take on the story and I'm interested to see where Celaena's journey goes on from there. Another character who we were introduced to having a dramatic twist in their tale was Dorian - so he has magic! That was not something that I saw coming and I think will play a really vital role in the upcoming books. Definitely an interesting turn of events! 

In this book we definitely get to see more of a choice in the romantic elements of this story. In the first book it seemed to be a clash of romantic interests between Chaol and Dorian but this book kind of set the record straight for who Celaena choses (or so we think.) Even with the very rocky section in the middle, Chaol seems to come out victorious over Dorian (who in the first book I wanted to take the lead, but in this book see him more of a best friend kind of character.) It will be interesting to see if this will stay with Celaena going of to Wendyln or whether she'll return with other ideas - that is if she comes back at all.

Overall I definitely enjoyed this book more than it's predecessor. It was more action packed, more intense, dramatic and allowed for a great deal of character development as well as development of the overall plot. There were lots of elements in this story that I can see Sarah is going to have to elaborate on in the upcoming books but I'm sure that being the genius that she is, that she will have no problem with that at all. I'm going to finally move on to Heir of Fire, the next book in the Throne of Glass series but for now I award Crown of Midnight a 4 out of 5 stars on my classification scale. A really interesting twist in the story line - one that I'm hoping sets out the motion for the rest of the series!

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