Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Published: 27 August 2013
by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Hardcover, 420 pages
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THRONE OF GLASS.
A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.
It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul 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.
Remember how I really enjoyed Throne of Glass but thought it had some minor issues here and there? Well, Crown of Midnight made me forget all that because if you’re going to compare these two novels, the second one would blow the first to bits. Equipped with a more engrossing plot, better characters and abundant world-building, Crown of Midnight is hands down one of the best sequels I’ve ever read.
Lets start with the plot. Back in Throne of Glass, it was pretty obvious that Celaena would end up winning the competition and though interesting, the story was definitely predictable. However, we start off with a clean slate in this sequel—new mysteries, secrets and of course, Celaena’s new occupation as Champion of the tyrant king of Adarlan. With these fresh aspects of the story, I was kept on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next and it also got my brain mechanisms trying to figure out the enigmas involved.
Although there was not as much heart-pounding action as in its predecessor, Crown of Midnight had copious intrigue and Sarah J. Maas additionally gave a multitude of insight into the characters and their personal secrets. I honestly could not recall a single dull moment in this novel!
The plot was not the only thing that improved in Crown of Midnight, the characters were all considerably more life-like and I thoroughly loved loving the good guys and loved hating the villains. Dorian was one of the characters with the most growth in this book. I use to think he was simply a flippant casanova prince with a deeper side but had a coward’s heart. However, all that changed in Crown of Midnight. Readers will get to better understand Dorian and his struggles between smartly yet blindly obeying his father or being courageous by standing up for what is right but risking his life at the same time. The amount of bravery displayed by Dorian was absolutely admirable and made me like him a great deal more than in the first book.
Despite truly loving Dorian’s character in this story, I’m still a diehard and forever loyal Chaolaena shipper. After Crown of Midnight though, they’ve evolved from a simple ship of mine to one of my OTPs (along with Wolf and Scarlet from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer). Yes, I know having multiple OTPs (One True Pair) completely contradicts the term but… fellow fangirls might know how I feel about that. Now, why in the world did Chaolaena get promoted to being my OTP?
Let me start off by saying the romance aspect of this novel was 100% spectacular. Chaol and Celaena’s relationship literally blossomed! Every single time they spoke or had any tiny little interaction, my heart was doing somersaults in romantic joy and I’m quite sure I had hearts flying around my head. No, this does not mean they only had the cutesy sort of connection. I love Chaolaena because they complement each other perfectly with their strengths and flaws, like puzzle pieces!
Chaol knows all (well, most) of Celaena’s unpleasant side and yet accepts her. While Celaena’s bright and fun nature brings out a jovial side of the usually serious Chaol. Now that is why they are my OTP and the reason I’d love to have a bond like theirs with whoever I end up with in the future. Unfortunately, it won’t be all rainbows, unicorns and happily ever afters with Chaolaena in this novel. Sarah J. Maas will make you swoon, then turn your eyes into the Niagara Falls, then swoon again and finally, kill – more like slaughter – you with the romance.
Although, there was one teeny bit of the story between Chaol & Celaena that I had been iffy about for just a moment. There was this hugely devastating unnamable (in the name of spoilers) event that occurred in the middle of the book and Chaol had a minute fault in it. At first, I thought Celaena overreacted towards his role in the events since she was supposed to trust him wholeheartedly. Nonetheless, towards the end of the novel, I understood her reactions in a way, as she had already lost innumerable people – both literally and figuratively – at such a young age. Celaena was bound to think the worst of others even if she tries not to.
Lastly, on to the world-building. I would say the world-building in this series has been quite shadowy so far especially for a fantasy series. I don’t have a big issue with this though, as enough information was provided to let readers know there is still plenty to discover about Erilea and all the secrets are only awaiting the right time to be revealed. The adventures brewing beneath the surface was palpable throughout the whole book and substantially at the end.
The ending of Crown of Midnight was similar to Throne of Glass in that it was not a cliffhanger but will keep you hungry and desperate for the next installment due to all the new adventures promised. Filled with hope and possibilities, it might not have the ability to unbreak my heart but I’m still looking forward (major understatement there) to following Celaena, Chaol and Dorian on the next leg of their gruesome and perilous journeys.
All in all, Crown of Midnight definitely did not feel like simply reading another book; I’d been living an adventure through the words of Sarah J. Maas and truthfully, it killed me to leave the dangerously wonderful world of Erilea at the end of this novel. My brain still has not wrapped around the fact that I would have to wait for Heir of Fire, the third book in this six books series, which would be released on September 2, 2014 (tentatively). I would trade a limb in the blink of an eye to travel into the future and read that coveted novel. However, in reality I would just be painfully counting down the days until Heir of Fire is released and slowly attempting to repair the heartstrings Chaolaena destroyed (though it might be pointless as they would probably get destroyed again in Heir of Fire).