by Sarah J. Maas
To be published in the US on August 27, 2013
by Bloomsbury Children's
Source: e-ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Connect with the author: website | Twitter | Facebook.
Summary from Goodreads: 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?My take: Being a somewhat new-to-fantasy reader, I wasn't sure what to expect from Throne of Glass when I read it last year. While I loved the world that Sarah Maas created and the characters who inhabited it, I also thought that, for a book about an assassin, the book was a little … tame. So I was hoping that the next installment would be a little more … intense.
Well, Crown of Midnight definitely delivers. I'll try to tell you how while avoiding spoilers -- and believe me, you do want to avoid spoilers for this book. Crown of Midnight seemed much edgier to me -- the body parts go flying, there's some serious romantic action, and even a male gigolo. There were some plot developments I was expecting, but other things that really took me by surprise. There's one particular incident that hits Celaena pretty hard. There's also a major character who discovers something very interesting about him or herself, and some very interesting developments in the love triangle department.
I do think I can talk about the love triangle without spoilers, because I have no idea how it's going to resolve. I was not the biggest fan of Dorian in Throne of Glass, but after reading Crown of Midnight, I really like both him and Chaol, which means certain heartbreak -- for me.
Then there's Celaena. In the first book and up to the first half of Crown of Midnight, Celaena seemed almost too-good-to-be-true -- beautiful, competent, self-assured. She can kill a man with a paper clip, but she's also a huge girly-girl and loves shopping for things like fur cloaks, perfume, sweets, and books. Just as I had decided that she might be a little too perfect, she got hit hard by the aforementioned event. While I can't say I was in favor of that plot development -- in fact, I was pretty shocked and dismayed by it -- it did allow me to see Celaena in a different light -- uncertain, emotional, even vulnerable.
Like Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight is told from Celaena's, Chaol's and Dorian's alternating third person points of view. As a reader, I prefer one POV switch per chapter, but this series does switch around mid-chapter, and at least once mid-scene. Though these POV shifts didn't bother me that much in the first book, in Crown of Midnight, the POV switches that occurred during one action scene made it feel a bit choppy and confusing to me. But this is my personal preference as a reader -- others may completely disagree. (Note: It also could have had something to do with the fact that I was reading an eARC. In my paper ARC, there is extra spacing to indicates a POV shift.)
I'm a big fan of this series. All in all, I really loved the direction that Crown of Midnight took the story. Absolutely no draggy second book syndrome here -- Crown of Midnight was chock-full of new revelations, action scenes, heartbreak, revenge, and sacrifice. I'm definitely on board for the next installment. In fact, I can't wait to see what happens. If you haven't tried this series yet, I definitely recommend that you check it out.
I'll be giving away a signed ARC tomorrow on Freebie Friday -- be sure to stop by!