February 13, 2015

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.

The Book Rest: Review of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J MaasTitle: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: A+
Recommended For: fans of The Young Elites, Graceling, (lightly) Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter
Source: Library hard copy (but I will be purchasing!)
One-sentence review: Even more exciting and compelling than the book before it, King's Champion, Celaena Sardothien, uncovers magic and a rebellion against the King all while she's trying to discover what evil lives within the castle.
TBR It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon

This review contains spoilers for Throne of Glass. If you haven't read Throne of Glass, stop what you're doing and go read it!

When I finished reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, I was so ecstatic that I joined the party late enough that I could dive right into the next book. For once being a straggler is a good thing. I actually read the prequels after Throne of Glass but before Crown of Midnight and highly recommend doing so, even though Crown of Midnight is so dang exciting. It's not imperative to read the prequels, but there are a lot of references to them in Crown of Midnight that you will appreciate along with Celaena's background.

Crown of Midnight finds our favorite heroine, Celaena Sardothien, as the evil king of Adarlan's Champion, his private assassin. She has settled into her role relatively easily, ended her romantic relationship with Prince Dorian and spends most of her free time hanging out with Chaol, the Captain of the Guard. When Celaena is instructed to assassinate one of her old friends from the city for being part of a conspiracy to overthrow the king, she finds herself wrapped up in finding more about this group of rebels. She also finds a strange creature creeping through the castle and begins to discover more and more about the evil Elena has asked her to find in the castle. With so much to try to understand and solve and pressures from the king, her friend Nehemia, and the ghost Elena, Celaena has her work cut out for her. And let's not even get into the love triangle...

I'm not sure if it's because I read the prequels, or maybe because Maas wrote them and had a clearer vision of Celaena herself, but the character development of Cealena felt much more visceral in this book. The reader can really see her internal struggle between being the ruthless assassin she was raised to be and the goodness she has within for justice. Similarly, we get so much more of Chaol in this book, including more of his perspective which allows him to take deeper root as a character and fleshes out the love triangle that you only thought was substantial in Throne of Glass.

People are always asking "Team Dorian or Team Chaol?!" I think the books write it for you; Throne of Glass is a Team Dorian book while Crown of Midight is Team Chaol all the way (although I still hold Dorian close to my heart. Celaena's sass can only be matched by him!). The romance is almost too easy until Celaena snaps and all bets are off! Celaena shows every side of herself in this book and both Dorian and Chaol's reconciling of who and what she really is may be the best part of this series overall. There's something monstrous about a girl who is an assassin and it's not until Celaena shows her darkest side to them that they can truly process that.

There is so much that happens in this book: magic and monsters, witches and wyrdmarks, rebels and mysteries and everything in between! For me, as an amateur fantasy reader, this book really pushed me past my comfort zone. I didn't think I was one for high fantasy, especially not monsters and witches. I still don't know if I am, but I do know that with the right author, anything is comfortable. Sarah J. Maas writes at a level where you can trust her, even if she opens the gates of hell and lets everything unexpected into her story. She's just that strong and solid of a writer that you know she uses things for a reason and it only makes the story all the more stronger.

While I figured out a few things before they were revealed, the bombshells that happen in this book were still monumental to me. My greatest recommendation to you is to be sure you have the next book, Heir of Fire, nearby when you finish this because I promise you won't want to stop reading when it's over.

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