Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas 
Release: August 27, 2013
Source: eARC from publisher

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?

Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas' debut novel, was EASILY my favorite book of 2012. So you can probably understand why I had such high expectations for the sequel, Crown of Midnight. Such expectations often leave one dissappointed, but that never happened with this book. Crown of Midnight is pure gold. I just cant express how much I love Sarah's stories. In Throne of Glass, we have Celaena, the infamous assassin, fighting for her freedom and the "privilege" of becoming the King's Champion. Having succeeded, her task is clear: eliminate any person the King sees as a threat to his empire.

While Throne of Glass was more about overcoming the odds, and recovery, Crown of Midnight is about trust and loyalty. Celanea knows she's far from loyal to the crown, but her very life depends on dispatching every single name put before her. She is also forced to keep her relationships in check--mainly her relationship with Chaol, Dorian, and Nehemia. As her closest companions, she knows what danger might befall them should she step out of line.

And yet, the risks Celanea takes shows us readers that she's NOT some cold hearted killer. She's an assassin, but she's also a human being. And a human being who feels greatly. Slowly, we see Celanea's wall of defense come tumbling down, and it's really a beautiful (and heartbreaking) thing.

For those readers who felt Celaena never showcased her assassin skills in Throne of Glass, know that Celaeena the assassin is in full form in Crown of Midnight. The book is, surprisingly, gruesome, from the opening scene to the last page. But it needed to be violent, and I'm glad that the editors didn't decide to "tone it down". I also believe Celaena's character is far more fleshed out and relatable. Same with Chaol. Dorian has changed too, but perhaps not for the better. He's less flirty, and I do miss the witty batters between him and Celaena. However, their distance is completely necessary and understandable. I don't fault the book for that. Especially when I'm actually *whispers* team Chaol.

This book is full of violence, swoon, and heartbreak. And believe me, this book will break your heart. t's such a well-paced, well-written novel--the perfect follow up to Throne of Glass. It's also made me that much more desperate to get my hands on the book three.

A side note to fictionpress readers: this plot line was never introduced in the original Queen of Glass tale. But having read it, I can't help but think how perfectly necessary it is for character development, plot development, and even world building. It's such a fantastic addition to this series. I honestly can't give this book enough praise. It's one of the best books I've read this year!

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