When I first started reading this series a million years ago, this second installment had only been out for a couple of weeks and I absolutely devoured both books 1 and 2 in a matter of days. After finishing Crown of Midnight in only two sittings, however, I knew I had made a terrible, terrible mistake. Why? Because it was so dang good and I needed more.
Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
(Throne Of Glass #2)
Hardcover | 418 pages | Purchased
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realises she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances – not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.
This book ends on one of the biggest plot twists I’ve ever come across, and despite it not necessarily being a huge cliffhanger, it always leaves me needing to read the next book immediately. How this series can give me all the feels even after reading them a gajillion times, I don’t know. Sarah J. Maas is an absolute genius, that’s for sure 😂
Throne of Glass was mainly focused on character development, and while Crown of Midnight definitely has that in spades, Maas was able to show us a little more of the world she’s created, now that Celaena is free to leave the castle as she pleases. While it’s true that we saw no further than Rifthold itself, meeting new characters and seeing new places is more than enough to keep me hooked 😍
Magic is also explored a little more in this installment – and not just in Wyrdmark form, either. I can’t talk too much about it because #spoilers, but just know that this is where the series starts to focus a little more on what could have been if magic hadn’t disappeared a decade ago. So if you’re worried that this fantasy series lacks the magical element many of us crave, just keep reading. You won’t be disappointed.
And then there’s the character development.
Every time I read these books I’m left in awe of how attached and connected to the characters I feel. And the romance? I couldn’t ask for much more.
Though Celaena wants to repair her friendship with Dorian since ending things, he’s become distant and untouchable. But not because of the reasons one might think. No, Dorian has a secret, and that secret would get him killed if the wrong people found out.
Nevertheless, Celaena finds herself drawn to Chaol in ways that she can’t even explain to herself. Their friendship truly flourishes in this book, despite all the mistrust that Chaol had for her during the majority of Throne of Glass, but it’s glaringly obvious to everyone how deep their connection runs – well, it’s obvious to everyone except the two of them 😬 Where Dorian is pure passion and wanting, Chaol feels the need to deny himself the one thing he wants above all else. He doesn’t want to destroy his relationship with his best friend or risk his position as Captain of the Guard.
Even though Celaena ended things with Dorian before they ever really started, there is still a love-triangle feel to the romance in this book. Normally that would really bother me, but Maas writes it so well that it felt more realistic than most other books that follow this trope.
Even the secondary characters have their own secrets and stories to tell. Nehemia, Archer Finn, even Kaltain. Each one of them is written so wonderfully that you find yourself wanting to know more about them. Who exactly were they before we met them? How do they fit into the grand scheme of the plot? What are their true motives for the things they do?
Everything about this novel is clearly leading to something huge. The King’s conquest comes into play in a whole lot more detail, as well as the history of certain parts of Erilea. We get answers to a few questions, such as how the king managed to conquer most of the continent in such a short time, especially against the wise and powerful Fae. But these answers come with their own questions. What exactly is the king’s end goal?
I don’t want to go on for too much longer, but I do need to talk about Celaena herself briefly. Though she’s still the same snarky character I’ve always loved, we see a darker side to her in this book. Learning exactly what happened – and why – on that day in Endovier, the day she snapped, always makes me realise how much this girl has actually been through. It explains her character perfectly and though she has her flaws, she’s a badass, plain and simple.
Not only that, but we finally get to see her in action and discover exactly why so many people fear her. I can’t really explain coherently how much I adore Celaena as a character, but I’m going to share a snippet that always sticks with me for some reason. Maybe because it’s the first time we really see Celaena acting like a true assassin?
She stared at the letter.
Every one of the restraints she’d locked into place after she’d rampaged through Endovier snapped free.
An icy, endless rage swept through her, wiping away everything except the plan that she could see with brutal clarity. The killing calm, Arobynn Hamel had once called it.
Even he had never realised how calm she could get when she went over the edge.
If they wanted Adarlan’s Assassin, they’d get her.
And Wyrd help them when she arrived.
Seeing Celaena in that light for the first time was really what hooked me to this series. Knowing how badass she could really get definitely intrigued me, to say the very least 😍
Anyway, despite the undertones of utter devastation that every single character feels in the aftermath of a great tragedy, the second half of this book is where things start to get real good. Secrets and lies are finally revealed and the last fifty or so pages are always some of the most tense chapters I’ve ever read.
Okay, I should probably end things here because wow this is a dang long review. But seriously, if you were a little disappointed by Throne of Glass because of a lack of world-building, or if the plot just wasn’t for you, I highly recommend you carry on with this series. Crown of Midnight was such a fantastic sequel and since I already know that the books just keep on getting better, you should just trust me when I say you won’t regret it! 😏