Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Review | Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J. Maas

What You Need To Know:
Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Number of Pages: 418
Standalone/Series: 2nd Book in the 'Throne of Glass' Series
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, High Fantasy, Magic
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date:27th August, 2013

The Plot:
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 castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances - not the Crown Prince Dorien; 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 allegiances lie ... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

My Thoughts:
A rich and powerful sequel that's enthralling and well-paced, exhilarating and wonderfully written. Anyone who adored 'Throne of Glass will love 'Crown of Midnight'.

Everything about this book blew me away. The characters were believable and the sudden maturity in the writing style was obvious from the start. However, the book was not without fault. It took me two attempts to read this book. The first was during last October and I ended up only reading the first four chapters. Yes, I was going through a rather major reading slump. But I found it difficult to connect with the various characters. Although I will admit that the opening chapter was rather engaging. It showed just how cunning Celaena really was since she was able to infiltrate somewhere so easily.

Before I go into my thoughts and feelings on this book, let me quickly talk about the cover. The pure white contrasts with the red and the stunning illustration of warrior Celaena. And not to mention her gorgeous outfit for the blurb. It perfectly depicts just how beautifully deadly Celaena Sardothien is.

Now onto my actual review .........

'If they wanted Adarlan's Assassin, they'd get her. And Wyrd help them when she arrived."

Crown of Midnight was most definitely a major improvement for its predecessor, Throne of Glass. Mainly, I feel because of the sudden maturity in the writing style and language.

The characters improved so much. Celaena seemed to become stronger and more aware of what was at stake. She was cunning and confident in her abilities but her pride had subsided a lot; making her a lot less arrogant. That, thankfully, created a far more sympathetic character.

'But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.'

Dorien was a more developed character too. Less of a whiny Prince and more of a future King, not to mention his physical development.

Thank you Sarah J. Maas for basically getting rid of that awful love triangle. They're so tacky so I'm delighted to see a platonic relationship arising instead.

'So Dorien closes his eyes, and took another long breath. And when he opened his eyes, he let her go.'

The reliance on the supernatural plot elements really added to the plot line. Something that was only just hinted at near the end of Throne of Glass. It helped the plot to twist into something darker and far more engaging. As well as showing deeper into the King's twisted mind and hinting towards the plan to eradicate all magic. 
The hinters were there previously but I cannot wait to learn more about his motivations as it becomes one of the central plot of the series. 

I was told by a friend that there were two major plot twists, one in the middle and one at the end. The section before the end of part one had been hinted at several chapters but I never thought it would actually happen. But Ms Maas went their in a highly grotesque way. Literally, I just stared at the sentence for ten minutes or so because I did not, would not, believe it. 

'Then Celaena and the King of Adarlan smiled at each other, and it was the most terrifying thing that Dorien had ever seen.'

I have to say that I did call the major plot twist at the end fairly early on. To me, it was fairly obvious. However that doesn't mean that it was tacky. in fact the execution was beautifully done and it did take a while for it to fully dawn on me. 

'Hide from fate all you like, "Baba Yellowlegs said as they turned away, "But it shall soon find you!"

I definitely feel that Crown of Midnight is a lot stronger than Throne of Glass even with my initial false start. The characters developed more rapidly, the writing improved, and the plot was truly worthy of the high fantasy genre. 

I cannot wait to see what Sarah J. Maas is going to do with this truly magnificent series.

Book Total of 2016 - 3