Monday, August 19, 2013

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
Release Date – August 27, 2013
Publisher Website -  Bloomsbury
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher via BEA**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

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?
Fans of fantasy novels who have discovered Sarah J Maas' series have been singing it's praises. I was one of the very few that felt rather indifferent about Throne of Glass. After reading Crown of Midnight, however, I get it. A fantastical world filled with a compelling heroine, and a well executed plot made this sequel a much more satisfying reading experience.

In many ways Crown of Midnight feels like the start of the actual story. Throne of Glass set up the characters, and world, but this novel delves into the story. I feel like there is clear direction that this story is headed. Throne of Glass felt like a prequel, and this made that fact even more apparent. Now that we established the characters, and the world the story is beginning to take over. It's obvious that this series has be plotted out well in advance, and the rich fantasy elements are quite impressive. It's slow unravel makes the pay off mean all the more meaningful.

Celaena, who left me rather cold in the first novel, shifted and changed in this one. She's complex, and so multi layered that I began to be curious about her backstory. We learn a lot about her in this installment, and I feel invested in her journey. The heartbreak, abuse and that she's overcome has made her a self reliant, guarded, and lethal individual. She encases herself in walls that are not as impenetrable as she may thing. It's the vulnerable side to her, the one that lets people in, that makes her the most interesting. That after everything that's happened to her, she hasn't fully withdrawn. Sarah J Maas did a much better job of meshing these two sides of Calaena, the woman and the warrior, this time. Neither was sacrificed for the other, and each remained believable at all times. In Throne of Glass I felt like Calaena was two different characters being forced into one. She felt more realistic, and 'fully realized' in this one.

Chaol is going to win over a lot of people in this novel. He's supportive, genuinely cares for Celaena, and admirable. He's the perfect person for Celaena to let into her heart, and help her crumble some of the walls she has put up. He's someone that sees the woman behind the assassin. As much as I like Chaol, I see him as a first love. Someone who shows Celaena that she's worthy of love, but ultimately can't hold on to her. I am now invested in his happy ending however, caring about happens to these characters is something I missed from the first novel.

Dorian goes from being the distant Prince, to have a . I like that he is being fleshed out, and that his storyline is becoming engaging. He has some pretty life altering things happen to him in this novel, and I am firmly invested in whether or not he captures Celaena's affections. There's something vulnerable, and tender about him, and yet you get the sense that if unleashed Dorian could be quite a force to be reckoned with.

The friendship between Celaena and Nehemia is one of my favourite parts of the novel. There's a true bond that they share. She's someone who, like Chaol, shows Celaena in a different light. She sees Celaena as more than just the King's assassin. It's people like this that Celaena needs around her more than ever, because they prevent her from losing herself completely.

A sequel that, for me, far surpassed the first novel. While I am not completely enthralled, this novel made me realize why this series is a phenomenon. I understand now why so many people fiercely love it, and it's heroine. I am expecting more from the upcoming sequels now that such rich fantasy ground work has been established. If you loved the first one, this sequel will blow you away. If you were unsure after reading Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight may just make you a believer.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. I did enjoy the first book very much and I didn't understand the hype, even though I do adore fantasy. I'm glad there's more action and depth in this story. Great review!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex


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