Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) 
by Sarah J. Maas

Release date: August 27, 2013
Pages: 418
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Amazon
Goodreads • Amazon

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’ll try not to give anything away, but there may be some slip-ups!

Let me start off with saying, I can barely contain my enthusiasm—I have been waiting for this series to be published and in my hands for over four years. I first read Sarah J. Maas’s depiction of Celaena Sardothien’s adventures on where it was known as Queen of Glass and absolutely fell in love. I tried to get my lovely ladies of the blog to read it then, but we were just too late; she had taken it down to get published.

I am so gad she did.

It was amazing then and is just as breathtaking now. Sorry, I’m done gushing…for the moment.

We left Celaena Sardothien at the end of the first novel, Throne of Glass, as having just won the prestigious title of “King’s Champion.” Whereby she is contractually obligated to—ahem—get rid of the King of Adarland’s enemies for a year in order to gain her freedom. She has effectively ended her dangerous relationship with Dorian, the dashing Crowned Prince of Adarland. Oh! And she has a long-dead queen haunting her and telling her she is destined to shape the future—or something to that effect.

However, Celaena isn’t going to become the King’s lackey so easily. She begins to play a dangerous game of deception which could end in her death and the deaths of all those she has come to care for in the capitol of Erilea’s most belligerent nation.

As she walks this fine line, she discovers a powerful secret that could topple kingdoms. Leaving her to make a choice: fight for herself, or fight for the world….

If you want a wonderful epic fairytale of betrayal, love, magic and secrets—this is definitely for you! I would recommend this book to anyone reading this blog and then to the whole world. So, get to it! Read the prequel novellas (The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire), Throne of Glass, and Crown of Midnight…and then you may proceed!

Trust me, you won’t regret it!


When I picked up this book after class, I had to contain my enthusiasm until I got into my car…where I let forth a pterodactyl screech. I’m pretty sure the guy in the car next to me thought I was having a seizure. Now, when I say I love this series, I actually mean that I’m obsessed. Like, four years of waiting obsessed. Which, incase you don’t know what that’s like, is something approximating the Harry Potter fanbase level (Notice, I don’t say “is the same level.” Sorry, Maas, Harry Potter has a special place in my heart that can never be replaced, but you do a damned good job of trying). While, I remember the basic plot of the books, there are definitely some instances that Sarah J. Maas has changed; I personally believe for the better.
Celaena Sardothien is the kind of female protagonist that I mean when I say, “I like a strong leading lady.” She is smart. She is beautiful. And she is the deadliest thing in the room at any given time. Now, this isn’t to say that she is Mary-Sue-perfect (though the boys do seem to flock to her); she definitely has flaws. Her arrogance knows no bounds…which can lead to some moments of me clenching the book and silently screaming my fury at her. The only reason it is silent screaming is because I have new roommates who I’d rather not creep out on the first week.
Basically, I wish I could be a BAMF like Celaena…except I think I would make more of an effort to treat my friends better. She’s not an awful friend, but she can be very abrasive very often. Which—hey—if I were imprisoned in the salt mines of Endovier after my first love was brutally murdered in front of me, and then pulled out to play in a courtier game to become the king-of-the-nation-that-destroyed-your-own’s personal assassin, I’d probably be a little inconsiderate too. Nonetheless, she is awesome. When Maas describes Celaena unleashing her deadly skills on tragically under-equipped adversaries, it is stunning. As is the point of all good writing, you can pratically see Adarland’s Assassin taking down a foe with nothing but a hairpin!
Now, as I have stated before, I am not a huge romance person…unless it’s extremely overblown and I’m making fun of it. With that said, my inner fourteen year-old does come out when I read these books. I can’t help it. I’m in love with the good ol’ classic love triangle and the angst that comes with it.

Let’s meet the gang!

Dorian, the dashing Crown Prince…
Chaol, the ever-loyal Captain of the Guard…
And Celaena, the beautiful-but-dangerous assassin.
While I’m a little annoyed at Celaena for coming between two best friends, I love her more for it. What can I say; I’m a sadistic person who thrives on the woes of others. That empty feeling in the pit of your gut when a character you love is spurned—I live on that. I know it’s sick, but I love it. So, when Dorian is watching his best friend and kind-of-ex fall in love, my heart goes out to him…in a dementedly gleeful way. When things shatter between Chaol and Celaena (the circumstances of which did make me put the book down to have a good cry), I felt sorry for them…as I laughed maniacally.
I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with me.
Anyway, I actually do appreciate the dynamic between these three characters. Celaena and Chaol’s relationship was slow-growing but ever-present—the kind of love that is comfortable. They went from best friends to lovers, without ever being fully conscious of the moment they fell in love. All I know is that I love them together. Chaol is the kind of guy Celaena deserves after all the crap she’s been subjected to.
Meanwhile, the Dorian/Celaena pairing is also tantalizing. I mean, Dorian is obviously the guy she’s supposed to go for. What’s better than an assassin and a crown prince illicit love affair? Not much.
And then there’s the Chaol/Dorian dynamic. A bromance if there ever was one. While it’s heart wrenching to see them torn apart by their mutual love Celaena, it’s also very heart warming seeing them both being selfless and resigning themselves to letting the other have her…. Okay, they’re not always so selfless, but usually they are. Though, that usually leads to an awkward three-way of tension.
As I said before, if you like epic fantasy adventures, you will love this one. Or at least, I really hope you do. I mean…I’m writing a fairly lengthy review, so I hope you enjoy it as much as me. The plot is definitely gripping; there is enough intrigue (which I usually find captivating) to keep you busy trying to figure out everyone’s motives. And the way Maas leaves off Crown of Midnight elicits the response of, “Oh Lord, what are they going to do now?” However, I can still see the web closing in on the final plot of the third book (or so I hope, seeing as I haven’t heard of any official announcement of a third installment). The craftsmanship of the story is obvious; I know she’s put in a lot of thought as to what decisions will affect the total outcome of the series.
Anyway, I’m going to quickly wrap this up by saying: this is a great series that I would highly recommend to everyone reading this blog…because obviously you have impeccable taste! Seriously, check out Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and all the prequel novellas and then get back to me on what you think of it. I like to hear others’ opinions and always love to discuss my reads. Also, if you end up loving it (and the two dashing men), just wait until the next novel. I won’t give away spoilers (because that’s no fun, and I can’t attest to the accuracy of my knowledge after four years of editing)…but I’m fairly certain my favorite character is about to make an appearance.
To Sarah J. Maas:
On the extremely slim chance you read this post…. I just want to say thank you for the adventure you have provided me with. Celaena Sardothien has provided me with over four years of entertainment and she definitely holds a place in my heart. You never cease to inspire me to write, and I am so proud of you (though I have never met you, of course) for getting this story published! Thank you for showing me, and thousands of others, that it is possible to achieve your dreams.

…Aaaannd now that I have successfully let my fangirl show, I bid you all adieu. Until next time, my lovelies!

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