My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Considering how much I loved “Throne of Glass,” I had very high expectations for Sarah J. Maas’s sequel “Crown of Midnight.” Six hours of reading later, most of them penciled in around work and other responsibilities, and I can safely say that my expectations were more than met.
“Crown of Midnight” picks up shortly after Celaena has been declared the King’s Champion. Her position involves assassinating political rivals, or rebels to the crown and its cause. Meanwhile, Prince Dorian, the foreign princess Nehemia, and Captain of the Guard Chaol, worry about the brutality of Celaena’s new role and its effect on her loyalties.
Everything about this story–the emotion and action and plot twists–was high intensity from beginning to end. Though I predicted a handful of minor details, I was in no way prepared for the ending. The switches in perspective flowed effectively here, not only for the significance of the information revealed through other characters, but as a way to show the seeds of rebellion being planted.
I can’t not discuss the romance, since it played a much more important role here than it did at the start of Celaena’s story. Seeing her and Chaol fall for each other and fall together, hesitant but not reluctant, absolutely stole my heart. The personal details they revealed to each other worked well as a lens through which the reader could view their histories. For both Celaena and Chaol, so much of where they might go–either separately, or as a unit–stems from where they’ve been as individuals.
The attention paid to the struggles, failures, and triumphs of the side characters added a welcome extra layer of depth. Caring for Nehemia, and Dorian, and newcomer Archer Finn whom Celaena is forced to investigate, became so much easier because I never forgot how much all of them stood to lose.
I would’ve liked a little more world-building in book one, especially regarding the history of the kingdom and the now outlawed magic system. Though all the pertinent details came up in believable ways, more setup would’ve made it easier to retain the information. As critiques go, however, that’s a pretty minor one.
Breakneck action scenes, shocking magical revelations, and the emergence of a pretty epic romance made “Crown of Midnight” a highly enjoyable read. Now I can see why everyone is so excited for the upcoming release of “Heir of Fire,” book three in the series. Because I, for one, can’t wait.