Joint ARC Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★★



Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Publication Date: August 27th 2013
ISBN: 9781619630628
Page Count: 432
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Excerpt: HERE
Reviewed by: Janice/Lynsey
Synopsis: 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?

JANICE'S REVIEW



Mind = Blown 

Throne of Glass was a 2012 favorite pick here at The Demon Librarian, and I can tell you right now, its sequel, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, is going to appear on our Best of 2013 list. Simply put, this book rocks. It doesn't just pick up where the last one left off - it shoots the series into a whole new realm of awesomeness.

Before I dive into my review, I'd like to say something to those who read last year's Throne of Glass and struggled with it - those of you who wanted more assassin-y stuff, and less focus on Calaena's love life, wardrobe, and reading habits. I'm not the author (obviously) but in my humble reader's opinion, all that so-called "fluff" in ToG was necessary to lay the groundwork for things to come, and you'll understand why (or start to) when you read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. You don't have to take my word for it, though. In fact, I hope you don't. Get yourself a copy of CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and see for yourselves. If you read it and still feel the same way about the series, I'll be happy to eat crow.

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way... ;)

CROWN OF MIDNIGHT picks up not long after the events of Throne of Glass. Calaena is now the King's Champion, forced to do his bidding...or else. The man is a tyrant in every sense of the word, and his latest assignment is for Calaena to track down and assassinate members of an alleged rebellion, one by one. Much as she would like to, defying the King's orders is not an option. Calaena must obey him. If she doesn't, all the people she has grown to love and care about will be in danger - and the King is just the kind of despicable person to make good on his threats.

Calaena is a very different heroine this time around. She's still a girl who loves books and pretty things, but there's a seriousness about her - a purpose - that wasn't there before. She really is as badass as she claims to be, and she proves it repeatedly throughout the book. I loved the darker, more ruthless side of her - boy did I! - but what really impressed me was how very human she was. Maas splits Calaena's character wide open, allowing us to see so many more facets to Calaena's personality. I was right there with Calaena as she navigated the treacherous waters she is forced to swim in. I cheered for her, felt for her, and completely fangirled over her.

For me, though, what really shot this book into the stars were boys. I ate up every scene written from their POV's. I was already madly in love with Chaol after book one (seriously, who wouldn't fall in love with him? He's amazeballs!) and after reading CROWN OF MIDNIGHT....wow. Just, wow. I heart him so much. He's everything a hero should be - intelligent and sincere, true and loyal, and oh so swoonworthy! But some of the same traits that make him so wonderful are also his undoing, leading him to make decisions that made me shake my Kindle and shout, "No no no!" Amazing as he is, Chaol isn't perfect, and it was good to see that. It made me love him that much more. And then there was Dorian - OMG Dorian!!!! I liked him in book one (although not as a love interest) but I gotta say, the development of his character in this book absolutely blew me away. Out of all the characters, I think his story line was the most exciting for me, because I never saw any of it coming, and I can't wait to see where he goes from here.

Sarah J. Maas has pulled out all the stops with this one, folks. You name it, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT has it. There are secrets and lies, betrayals, jaw-dropping revelations, passion and heartbreak, death and violence, magic and mystery...the list just goes on and on, and it all adds up to one heck of a story that will have you frantically turning the pages and snarling like a bad-tempered dog at anyone who dares to come between you and the next sentence.

This book shook me, stirred me, and left me begging for more. I'm not just invested in the world and characters Maas has created - I'm addicted, and proud to say so!

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

LYNSEY'S REVIEW


Cloak and Dagger... and Dresses

This series is an all-rounder for me. It has a wonderful, effortless feel to the writing, a romance subplot that I'm clinging to with a desperate hope that will not be denied, a protagonist that can be a ruthless, cold-hearted assassin one minute, and a vulnerable, frivolous female the next - and switch between the two sides of her nature with ease. It has terrific story scope and a lot of detail and foreshadowing that shows tremendous thought and planning. It has action, court politics, humour, love, betrayals... Everything I love all in one nicely-wrapped package, basically. And CROWN OF MIDNIGHT was no exception.

Speaking of Celaena's colder side, there's something that happens here in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT that causes her to... devolve, shall we say, back to that creature we met in the first book, fresh from the mines. Someone so filled with rage and grief that she's all but blinded by it and becomes as much a danger to herself as she is to others. And, let's face it, she's pretty dangerous to others. I worried for her a lot in this book. What's great in Maas's delivery is that through experiencing the three different POVs - Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian's - we get an unfiltered view of Celaena when she's gone over to this dark side and, whoo boy, it's not pretty. I think there's probably even more heartache to come for her too, which I find thrilling from a reader's POV, but terrifying on Celaena's behalf.

Although the imminent threat of death present throughout book one was somewhat lessened here thanks to Celaena's more powerful status within the castle - indeed, she now outranks most people - that's not to say all danger is gone. Far from it. It's just that this time Celaena is the one putting herself in danger through her deceptions. If caught, death would be her best option by far, which is a sad and sorry state of affairs.

One character you get to know a lot more about in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT is Chaol. While he's the quieter, more unassuming of the two men in the series, he's my favourite pick for Celaena. He's just so...good; so honourable and decent. He balances out some of Celaena's rougher edges (assassins have those). I enjoyed the time dedicated to getting to know his character and am greedy for yet more still in books to come.

That's not to say dear Dorian didn't get time to shine also. Although, with him, the romance angle is the least of his current worries. The stuff happening with him came as a surprise, but a welcome one because I confess I had been wondering what his role might be now that "shameless flirt" is off the table. Having said that, he clearly still carries a torch for Celaena. I think it's because she's so real with him, lacking in any pretenses, that he feels such a connection to her. She would never fawn over him just because of his title like the rest of the ladies at court. Which, although not what he's used to, is just what he needs, I think. I find it reassuring that he can be humble like that, and isn't a power-hungry fiend like his father. If he survives long enough to rule one day, he may turn out to be one helluva king because of it.

One thing I did find unusual in this instalment was the author's decision to keep certain things about Celaena a secret, not only from other characters, but from us readers as well. Not until one character discovers some truths do we have it confirmed for ourselves. This is an unusual method of delivery - you'd normally expect to know such things from the narrative and be "in on the secret". And it was a whopper of a secret, too, and is going to mean BIG changes for Celaena's character in books to come. Of which I sincerely hope there will be many.

A great continuation of one of my now favourite fantasy series - 5 Stars! ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 comments:

  1. I have so much love for this book and series! I really enjoyed reading both your reviews and agree with everything! I was amazed by the new directions the author took the story in with this book, and how much of every feeling you get from it! :) Loved reading your reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Charlene! It's a wonderful series already with only two books and has potential for so much more awesome to come as well! I can see things all coming to a head epic fantasy styleee;)

    ReplyDelete

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