Warning: This review may contain spoilers for Throne of Glass. Proceed with caution.
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass (My review.)
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: female assassin, magic, young adult fantasy, high fantasy
Format read: ARC received via NetGalley. (Thank you!)
Summary: After being crowned the King’s Champion, Celaena is sent on secret missions to destroy people the King doesn’t find favor with. Meanwhile, she’s falling in love with Chaol and one of her secret missions stirs up more chaos than it should.
Remember when I gushed and fangirled about Throne of Glass last year? Just in case you didn’t read that review, ToG pretty much rocked my world and sent me into a deep book slump because I was so taken with Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol. Waiting a year for Crown of Midnight has felt like such torture!
But let me tell you friends, it’s well, well worth the wait! What an awesome follow-up to Throne of Glass. Let’s begin with our favorite
assassin heroine, Celaena. She’s working through her feelings for Chaol. Oh, yes. Chaol. (Hubba, hubba.) Meanwhile, he’s trying to decide if she’s worth losing everything for, especially if the King finds out. Dorian is a lovesick puppy who feels dejected and a little lost because he can clearly see something is happening between these two, but he’s still harboring major feelings for Celaena. What a conundrum! While it may sound like there’s this crazy love triangle happening, it didn’t feel like that as much to me in Crown of Midnight as it did in ToG. The relationship between Chaol and Celaena felt like this beautiful dance, as if they were balancing on this tight rope of survival.
Of course things get a little bit complicated though. Crown of Midnight is packed with tons of secrecy. Celaena is being sent on missions as the King’s Champion, but she isn’t quite fulfilling his requests exactly as he hoped. This knowledge could cost her life and put anyone who finds out about it in a very terrible position. She’s set herself up for danger. Nehemiah also has a lot going on — she’s missing from her room when people go searching for her, there’s a threat against her life, and she’s not giving full disclosure to Celaena as they each promised they would. Chaol feels the need to protect Celaena, but his silence may cause more drama than his honesty would. (Isn’t that pretty much always the case?) I do believe Dorian’s secrets shocked me the most though; he seemed to be a secondary character when Celaena and Chaol’s relationship was developing, but out of nowhere comes this huge unveiling that really made me excited.
The beauty of Crown of Midnight is how so many aspects felt like they were clicking into place, but how I constantly felt jolted or surprised by revelations, too. I absolutely loved seeing where the story was headed, even if I feel like my heart suffered a bit as some pretty awful things went down. You know those moments when you want to smack a character upside their head? There were a couple of those times where Chaol and Celaena really needed to bypass their own egos and agendas to resolve issues, but they just couldn’t do it. These were the times I noticed a few lulls in the story as Celaena really had to work through a lot of emotions. While the story may have slowed down in tempo a bit, I feel this was necessary and intentional on behalf of Maas because it really allowed me to see a completely different side of our leading lady. I saw her not just as a person who is incredibly awesome at murdering someone, but as a very emotional woman who tries to distance herself from people because she’s suffered from so much loss.
Speaking of loss, what will I do for the next year while I wait to find out what happens next? Ay yi yi.