Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #2
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Release Date: August 15th 2013
Crowned by Evil.
Bound by Duty.
Divided by Love.
Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan’s deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies’ blood—but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.
Torn between her two protectors – a captain and a prince – and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom…
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
I loved the first book of the series. Although I thought there were problems with the character development of Celaena and her relationship with Dorian I enjoyed the story itself and the world created within its pages. The second book was even better. There was so much more action and tension within the plot, the world-building was just as well-developed and detailed, and I though the characters and their relationships were much improved.
Celaena has won her place as the King’s champion and is now his assassin; given the names of anyone he wants dead and sent out as his personal executioner. However she is playing a very dangerous game, and it isn’t only her life on the line but Chaol’s and Nehemia’s, because if the King ever discovers she isn’t killing the men he sends her after but giving them a chance to leave town he will kill all of them.
Until the King sends her after Archer Finn. As someone Celaena knew from her days training as an assassin she doesn’t believe he could have anything to do with the rebellion the King believes is stirring in the city. Instead of killing him straight away she offers him the same deal she has with all her targets; either he leaves town when the month is over, starting anew with a new name in a new city, or she kills him. And in the meantime, he is to help her find the names of the men who are involved in the rebellion within the city.
Meanwhile life in the castle is still dangerous for Celaena, despite Cain having been stopped and killed. Celaena discovers more passages hidden in the walls; one that leads to a prison, barred with iron doors to keep something in, something that is still alive even after all these years. And with Elena having exhausted herself after helping Celaena in her fight with Cain, Celaena has no one she can rely on to help her with what she is now facing. The King’s power stretches even further than she could have possibly imagined, and the closer she gets to the men leading the rebellion the King senses is brewing in the city the more her, and the people she loves, are in danger.
Celaena has changed so much since the first book, and in my opinion it’s for the better. She is playing a dangerous game but it is the only one she can if she hopes to live with herself and the decisions she makes. She acts at times like nothing more than the King’s loyal servant but at her heart she is still dangerous, she is still willing to tear the world to pieces if someone threatens someone she loves.
At first all Celaena wants to do is keep her head down and do the King’s bidding, or at least pretend to, until her service is up and she has her freedom. She has sacrificed a lot and all she wants to do is survive, but when she loses someone close to her that all changes. She realises she cannot let what happened to her, what the King is doing stand, and she is determined to do something to stop him.
Chaol also had a lot more development in this book and his relationship with Celaena changed as well the more time they spent together. They still train together every morning, and as such their relationship grows. Chaol worries about Celaena, needlessly, as she goes out on her missions to kill people. In spite of everything he saw in Endovier when he and Dorian received Celaena from the mines he is still unfailingly loyal to the King. At least until he is faced with losing Celaena, and until he sees things which throw his sense of loyalty into a new light.
Dorian was probably my favourite character in this book. After what happened between him and Celaena in the last book, and the way they ended things, the two do not interact much. Witnessing every so often Celaena present his father with the ‘heads’ of her victims he sees her in a new light and wonders if he ever meant anything to her. He doesn’t mope around after her through which was refreshing, he is determined to let her go and move on for the sake of them both.
After speaking with Nehemia Dorian starts experiencing things which cannot be explained. Magic is banned from the kingdom by his father, punishable by death, and Dorian fears that what is happening to him is magic resurfacing in his veins. He is determined to find answers but doesn’t realise the places he is going to seek them, and the questions he asks, could land him in trouble.
I felt the relationships Celaena has with the other characters were also better developed. Her relationship with Dorian felt flat in the first book and, although the two do not interact much in the second book, she is still there for him when he needs her help and the two still remain friends. Nehemia is another of my favourite characters. She is loyal to her people and determined to do whatever she can to help save them. She wants to do something, anything, to stop the King from enslaving her people and sending them to the mines, and she believes Celaena can help her. Nehemia makes a hard decision in this book which changes everything for Celaena but she honestly believes it’s for the best; that it’ll help her, and her kingdom, in the long run.
The world-building for the Throne of Glass series was largely set up in the first book. We learnt about the Wyrdmarks, the Fae and the history of magic, and this was all built on in Crown of Midnight. We also learnt more about Celaena’s past, not only her life in Terrasen before the king conquered the land, but also her time training with Arobynn Hamel in the Assassin’s Guild, we discover a lot more about the Wyrdmarks and the powerful force that has been put in the King’s hands. The more Celaena explores the castle the more she uncovers some dark secrets about what happens there behind the walls, Elena’s tomb is not the only secret hidden where no one can see.
Something else I loved in Crown of Midnight was reading the deeper history and time devoted to the Fae, and the witches that were introduced. Baba Yellowlegs appears in Crown of Midnight and I really hope these are characters that are introduced again because I was fascinated by them and what little history of them was revealed.
I was really excited to read this book, having heard from a lot of people that the series starts to improve with the second book, and Crown of Midnight more than lived up to my expectations. After the way it ended, and after what was revealed about Celaena’s past, I am even more excited to get through the third book and find out what happens next.
What did you think of Crown of Midnight? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.