Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Review for Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

This is a review for the second book in the Throne of Glass series and there may be spoilers about the first book in this review.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release: 15th August 2013
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic, Romance
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary: 
"Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all . . . And trying to may just destroy her."

I’d read Throne of Glass last year when I was poorly and when I picked up Crown of Midnight I found that I couldn’t remember much from the first book (which didn’t surprise me as I was having really bad headaches at the time.) Turns out it didn’t really matter how much I remembered as Crown of Midnight is very much a new and separate story and there is clever and discreet re-capping when needed to jog the memory which made it easy to slip back into this world.

Crown of Midnight felt like quite a different read from Throne of Glass and I think those differences made it even stronger than the first book. Crown of Midnight is more mystery driven, don’t get me wrong, there is still a *lot* of fighting, although perhaps not as much as there was in Throne of Glass. Instead there are secrets, politics and conspiracy, murder, ancient magic and intrigue. With surprises and plot twists throughout, this book is expertly paced. I lost count of how many times my jaw physically dropped open in shock! Crown of Midnight showcases what a masterful storyteller Sarah J. Maas is. A good writer can write an action scene with lots of gore, blood and brutality for thrills but it takes a masterful writer indeed to weave a twisty turny mystery full of subtle hints and surprises around every corner.

The plot once again follows our beloved characters: Celaena, Chaol and Dorian, who have their own subplots and secrets that come together as the book goes on. We get to learn more about Celaena’s life before the tournament as she goes back to her roots as an assassin only this time tasked to kill for the King now that she is his champion. She also uncovers secrets in the castle about the King and his plans along the way. Meanwhile Chaol is struggling to balance his loyalty to the King with his ever growing feelings for Celaena and his need to keep her safe. And Dorian is hiding a powerful secret of his own that could cost him his life. I loved following each character and their stories individually and together, there was so much going on with each of them! The character development was wonderful and I felt like each character grew in this novel and that I got to know them all a bit better.

I’ve been on the Chaol and Celaena ship since day one and I loved watching their flirty banter from Throne of Glass build into a consuming romance in Crown of Midnight. Their relationship is fiery, passionate and emotionally compelling – it was well worth waiting for! Unfortunately the couples love story isn’t a smooth one and my heart would break for both characters at times. Celaena and Chaol’s romance struck me as an epic, end game, all time love and no matter what happens I will be pushing for them to end up together throughout the rest of this series!

Sarah J. Maas has completely upped her game with this stunning sequel. The world, the characters, and the plot everything is more vivid and polished compared to the first book. Crown of Midnight felt darker, more romantic and was entirely unpredictable. The quote from the cover “Before she was deadly. Now she is unstoppable” is completely true for Celaena’s character development as we see a darker more deadly side to her awaken in this book. Crown of Midnight is without doubt one of the strongest sequels I’ve ever read and is a favourite of mine for 2013. After that huge game changer of an ending I can’t wait to see what Sarah J. Maas has in store for us in book three!

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