Review Detail4.6 8
My love for Throne of Glass is well known, but, after reading some reviews, I started wondering if the book was quite as good as I remembered. There were some fair criticisms, things I'd not even considered. In Crown of Midnight, Maas really hits those elements that were missing from the first, and ups the stakes to an incredible degree. This sequel is a must read for those who loved Throne of Glass and perhaps even for those who were on the fence.
One of the criticisms I'd seen was of Celaena being proclaimed a heartless assassin, but that not really ever being shown. Instead, she's going to balls and eating candy. Of course, I love that the assassin has a softer side, but I did agree retroactively that it would have been good to see more of her dark side. In Crown of Midnight, you get to see Celaena living up to her reputation, and, when this girl is on a killing spree, it's a thing of bload-soaked beauty. She may like frilly dresses, but she's also totally cool with being covered in blood. Being able to see all of the facets of Celaena really adds depths to her character.
The other main criticism of the first book that I agreed with was that the King, clearly the villain, didn't have much of a role. He just sort of cackled evilly every so often. In Crown of Midnight, we get to see more of him and learn about his plans, still only the very slightest understanding, but it's enough to make him one intensely creeptastic villain.
The plotting of the story becomes much more complex in Crown of Midnight. Actually, I was really surprised by the direction that the story has gone, very different from the more basic fantasy roots of the first. There are a number of twists, none of which I really saw coming, though I felt really dumb that I missed the biggie, since there were a lot of hints. The plot is full of twists and turns, and full of betrayals.
Of course, there's also the romance. The age of Dorian is over and now it's all about Chaol (as it should be). All I can really say about what happens here is that I approve wholeheartedly. This is why I love guys like Chaol, all cool and collected on the outside, but so much passion on the inside. *sighs happily*
Maas impressed me with her willingness to be cruel and heartless to the characters. To be honest, I really didn't get the impression from Throne of Glass that she would be willing to kill off characters, but I'm thrilled to be wrong. Oh, she's brutal. Mwahahaha. And, no, I won't tell you who dies, so have fun sitting on the edge of your seat the whole time. As you may know, I find killing off a beloved main character a mark of good fantasy.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I do have some quibbles with the world building, but they're minor enough I can't really draw a line to any one thing. The closest I can get to specifics is to say that the world building just seems a little too busy.
The Final Verdict:
Sarah J. Maas really proves her talent in Crown of Midnight, deftly avoiding any sort of second book syndrome. Instead, she greatly amps up the world building, plot and intensity. In my opinion, this series is a must read for fantasy fans. The third book is poised to be epic and heartbreaking, and I am so excited.