by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
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?
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas is the second book in the Throne of Glass series and this, this my friends is what all second books should aspire to be! Not since Dark Triumph have I been so impressed by a second book. Maas gave us a story within a story and captured my attention from page one. Three word review: brilliant, intense, and captivating.
Celaena is now doing the king’s bidding as his champion while she works to solve puzzles, unearth conspiracy and seek her own personal revenge. Something is loose in the castle as Celaena pieces more clues together. Her relationships with Dorian, Nehemia and Chaol all develop further as Maas entwines our hearts to these characters. The tale is dark, the character growth is fantastic and the tale that unfolds will have you so completely enthralled the rest of the world will slip away.
Celaena is Ardalan’s greatest assassin and Maas reveals the complexity of Celaena’s personality to us. I love how she swaggers into a room, the ruthless way that she hunts her prey and the devious ways in which she handles situations. She can kill you before you take your next breath and yet she feels deeply and is capable of intense love. She struggles with the responsibilities forced upon her and we experience her raw emotions and fearlessness as she moves towards answers. We experience so many emotions and feel Celaena’s pain that she becomes flesh before our eyes. Prince Dorian and the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, are part of Celaena’s circle and she cares for them both. The author reveals to us her choice in this love triangle and for a brief moment we find happiness and see her dream of a bright tomorrow. What I really enjoyed was the friendship that develops with the other and I am hoping that we see Celaena open up and trust more. The romance was hot, sweet and intense as it gave us moments of intense laughter, tenderness and joy. An old woman from the traveling carnival was frightening and fascinating. Other characters within the castle and from Celaena’s past help advance the plot and added some interesting and intense threads.
The world building in Crown of Midnight was bloody brilliant, from the pacing to the way all of the threads come together. Maas led our emotions on a carefully tethered string and my heart burst and ached and cried for more. Ever word, every thread, every experience enhanced the tale. We are beginning to get a very clear picture of the characters, the Wyrdmarks and Celaena’s role in this world. I love the magic and some of the elements that are used to guide Celaena on her quest from talking object to clues hidden in poems. It has a whole Da Vinci Code vibe to it and I quickly gobbled these moments up. I adored the banter between the characters, the drama that unfolded as Maas filled my heart with joy and at other times had me weeping and feeling total despair. It was completely enthralling and gave me that high I chase each and every time I pick up a book. The blending of fantasy, magic, dark and light was beautifully done. The book has some very dark moments both emotionally and in displays of brutal violence. Maas made all of it believable and the character’s voices remained true throughout. The ending left me feeling so many emotions ranging from sadness to hope to fear and set us up perfectly for the next book.
I absolutely recommend Crown of Midnight and the Throne of Glass series to fans of kick-ass assassins, magic, Fae, brilliant plots and fleshed out characters. The quest will engage you and the characters will steal your heart. Maas is on my auto-buy list and I think I would buy any of her books regardless of the genre.
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