Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass # 2
Published August 27, 2013 by Bloomsbury
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?
**An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review**
Crown of Midnight is a stellar sequel to Throne of Glass, and is just as compulsively readable! I read the better part of this book in a day and was left with one of the worst book hangovers I've had all year. If anything, Crown of Midnight, surpasses it's predecessor in the gut-wrenching feels department which leads me to wonder how any of us will ever survive the rest of the books in this series...
Crown of Midnight picks up more or less where Throne of Glass left off and it sets the mood perfectly within that first chapter for the rest of the book. Celaena is now the King's Champion but things are not quite as they appear to be and it's clear that it won't be long before things start getting very complicated. And deadly.
Whew, where to begin? This is essentially a case where every single thing I enjoyed about Throne of Glass was stepped up a notch for the sequel. The characters grew; they became more complex and so did their relationships with one another. The story arc became darker and more intricate, setting up new elements, while also bringing in themes or plot points referenced in book 1. The mythology, which I was already a BIG fan of, grew, twisted and changed, all while keeping in perfect sync with what had already been established. Absolutely everything about Crown of Midnight was done masterfully by author Sarah J. Mass - so much so that I literally sat in awe once I read the final page at her sheer brilliance and epic storytelling skills.
The narrative in Crown of Midnight is still mostly told from Celaena's point-of-view, but we also are treated to paragraphs and chapters told from Prince Dorian and Chaol's perspective. This is a perfect example of alternating POV's done right. The story never looses it's flow during a switch and it's always clear who's mind where reading into at any given time. Celaena once again delivered for me as a main character. She goes through some truly unbelievable things in this one - both good and bad, but she still managed to continually impress me. Not to mention the crushing feels she brought on! Gah! I couldn't help but see some similarities between her and my beloved Vin from the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, which was definitely a plus. They're both deadly, highly skilled and they can both easily hold their own (and best) any male counterpart in battle! ♥
Prince Dorian, Chaol and Nehemia all displayed similar character growth but in vastly different ways, which made each of of their journeys that much more satisfying and engaging. Their relationships with one another also flourish in a satisfying and layered way. Sometimes it was surprising, times it was exciting...and then there were those times when it was gut-wrenchingly sad and earth-shattering. I just have so much love for all of these characters that I could easily imagine them all having their own solo adventures and me gobbling up every single one.
So overall, Crown of Midnight was a stunning and impressive follow-up to Throne of Glass. All the things I loved about the first book came back full force, and then some. If you're looking for a sequel that not only holds up to to it's predecessor but manages to step every element up a notch, then you need Crown of Midnight in your life. Right now! That ending though...that ending just might kill you O.O it was a close call for me *whew* but if you're lucky enough to survive, I can guarantee you'll be willing to crawl over your own mother just to get your hands on book 3. Sorry mom!