Friday, 5 December 2014

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) - Sarah J Maas; Review


Book Details:
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (15 Aug 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1408834944
ISBN-13: 978-1408834947
Source: Purchased/Review/Gift


"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realises she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

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I will admit, after having read the first book, Throne of Glass (the review for which can be found here) I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I would be, given the ratings and ravings from fellow friends. But this morning, finding myself with nothing to do and a day stretching ahead of me, I figured I would pick up book number 2, and see where it leads. 

Again, I started reading at 2pm this afternoon and by 9pm, I closed the last page, and sat there with an “o” of shock upon my face and already reaching for book number 3. 

While I think it is quite hazardous to write a review for a book sequel just a day after the first book, since everything seems to blur together, I felt like I needed to get my thoughts written as soon as, before I forgot. 

Given my 4 star rating for the 1st book versus my 5 star rating for this book, you can probably already tell how much more I enjoyed Crown of Midnight. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. HOLW COW BALLS. 

(Here’s my coherent attempt at writing a review without giving away any spoilers). 

The plot and character development in the second book felt so much more real and relatable to me now. I remember having an issue with the relationships that played out between Celaena, Chaol and Dorian, because it lacked any true depth - but this in book, there was more to all their bonds, more character, more context and it fleshed out each of their characters and relationships wonderfully. The friendship and romance (though I won’t spoil who with) that developed, was much more enjoyable and had me smiling. 

I still loved Celaena’s character, how when she walked into a room, often the first thing she would notice was a big chunk of chocolate cake. I loved how despite being such a badass assassin, which I enjoyed seeing her prove time and time again, she still enjoyed books, food, dresses - it’s a refreshing change for me to see a female strong lead who could be a wraith and be a woman, and not be devoid of femininity and girlish charms, rather than all masculine in character. Her wit and sarcasm were still a joy for me to read and all around she’s a great character that I enjoyed reading about and can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. 

When it came to Dorian, his character development has been my favourite of all - you can see how every event has marred or changed him and the effect it has on who he is and how he deems the things around him - he’s fair, he’s kind and he’s loyal and it’s not a huge surprise to us readers because we’ve already seen glimmers of those traits in book 1, but in book 2, they’re being strengthened. 

As for Chaol, I can’t help but compare him to Dimitri, from Vampire Academy, which is a huge compliment on my behalf because I loved Dimitri and he’s probably one of, if not the best male character in supernatural books. Chaol has proved himself as a strong, valiant force who is both loyal, caring, fiercely protective and yet at the same time a good friend. Reading about how he teased and hung out with Celaena made a nice change for me I felt it was fitting of his character - despite being 22 and captain of the Royal Guard, I feel like he uses his time with Celaena as time to unwind. When he’s on duty for the king or hanging out with his friend Dorian, his guards are always up, his first and foremost priority is to be aware of danger. But he’s still so young, and I feel with Celaena, he shares a friendship based on where they both can relax, unwind, act their age and I especially enjoyed seeing that. 

Plot wise - the underlining stories that were woven in about power, lost magic, and Fae was a welcome surprise for me. As someone who isn’t keen on high (or regular) fantasy, I loved learning about the magical bloodlines, of the politics of the land and the lineage of power, especially when we learn about a specific someone who inherits a special trait wink wink (that’s my subtle attempt at trying not to give anything away LOL) but I honestly believe he couldn’t have been a better recipient, and he’s absolutely a character I’ve come to love, respect and think there are great things in store for him. 

There were many exciting events which just had me curling my toes with happiness, and holy cow balls, will the ending and cliff hanger at the end of the book get to you. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming and the way it was hidden throughout the 1st book up until the end of this, is applaud worthy. I was so engrossed and enamoured by this book and I’m so happy I gave it a chance after being not as pleased by the first book. 

Overall this second book was great and delivered much better than the first - I was hooked on this story and even as I type out this review, I’m already reaching for the 3rd book to see how this all plays out. Be sure to come back in a few days to read the review for the 3rd book, Heir of Fire. 

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