Saturday, August 4, 2018

Review - Crown of Midnight

Original Title: Crown of Midnight
Series: Throne of Glass, #2
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: August 27th, 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

That’s literally all I can say right now. I am stunned. Truly, and utterly, stunned. Never before a book series made me take back my words. I feel like giving it less than five stars wouldn’t be fair, because this sequel has been a wild ride. Wild indeed. If I had to describe it with one word, that would be intense. There’s not a moment to breathe as you read, as the events unfold and there’s simply… magic.

Although I’ve already put the spoiler alert, I’ll say it again. Don’t read this if you don’t want to be spoiled. Stop right here. 

First of all, I want to say that I stand by everything I said about the first book of the series. That was full of suspense, but mostly romance, and court drama, and did not fulfill my expectations. But Crown of Midnight was everything I wanted that first book to be. It was captivating from page one, in a truly unique way, keeping me up at night, saying “just one more chapter”. I normally take notes as I read so I don’t forget about the things I want to say later, but with this book, I didn’t even stop to do that. I’d never thought I’d be so hooked by a story that starts with a gruesome murder that had me wrinkling my nose in the first few pages. But that is exactly what happened, and as I write this, I realize that it rendered me speechless. It went exactly in the opposite direction I thought it would take. The gap between this book and the previous one is enormous. 

The first noticeable thing is the character development and the incredibly well done worldbuilding (so far), not only because of the places they visit, but for the people. Sarah J. Maas gave every character their own voice and depth, you can tell who is speaking simply for the words they use. Here, we can truly see Celaena as the feared assassin everyone said she was, but without solid events that could truly prove it. This woman is not perfect. She has a temper, she’s a badass, but even with all that, she’s still human, she still loves and fears, and that is incredibly well done. She’s not to be messed with, and she turned very scary when angry. I was particularly moved by the scene in which she remembers her past, and mostly with the part that, in the previous book, had been told as her attempt to escape from Endovier, because, in this book, we learned that her intention wasn’t escaping, but taking revenge. A payback for what happened to Sam, her first love. It was truly chilling. Well done, Sarah J. Maas! 

Can we talk about Dorian for a minute? I really liked the fact that he’s not the typical prince, trained to be a warrior, and the pride of, if not his father, at least his people. No, not at all. Instead of the fairytale cardboard royal, we are met with a fleshed-out character filled with fear and doubts, fragile, treading carefully in a court in which a misstep can have terrible consequences. And now he has found out he has magic! I definitely want to know more about that, since magic has been banned from Adarlan for a long time. Where does it come from? Was he born with it, or Nehemia put it in him when she traced the Wyrdmark over him? Can it get stronger? I have so many questions! Honestly, I don’t particularly love Dorian, but I do like him and I want to keep reading about him. 

Oh, my God, the love story! Although this book took it not one, but a million steps further, I still stand by what I said in my review of the previous book. The love triangle is simply not necessary. It doesn’t have to be there, it only tires me as a reader. Because, in the first book, Celaena was mostly attracted to Dorian, wanting to kiss him constantly and opening up to him, and in this book, she turns to Chaol. Here, their relationship is a lot darker, and deeper, and when they started to be happy together, I simply knew that couldn’t last. When things go too well in books, distrust shows its face, and I was not proven wrong. But the thing is that I don’t really like having both Dorian and Chaol having feelings for Celaena, and having Celaena going back and forth between the two of them and their load of qualities. It is like the line between the two is constantly blurred. Celaena certainly is unique, I give it that, but I don’t particularly root for this love triangle. Luckily, the story has a lot bigger pillars to sustain it, and it is not based solely on the romance, because I couldn’t read that without rolling my eyes. 

With that said, let’s go to the plot twists. I swear I never, ever, saw Nehemia’s death coming. I honestly thought Celaena would make it on time, but… *painfully sobbing*. I found myself in complete denial. Literally. All I could think was “Nehemia, no. No. That didn’t happen.”. I tried to think things like “I’m sure this is a ruse, she will turn up alive in one of next books, or something like that”. That won’t happen, but I want you to understand the level of my denial. I truly loved Nehemia, she had so much potential to be a badass, indomitable character with the temper and the attitude to be an awesome queen. I found her to be a character worth of admiration, an inspiration for her people, and I was seriously not ready to see her gone. I wanted her to be happy. It completely broke my heart. But, if I have to see the bright side, it means that I’m in for a story with great plot twists, and unpredictable turns, filled with deep, raw feelings. After Nehemia’s murder, Celaena went completely wild with anger and pain, and I could truly feel it, it is incredibly well written, and I can positively affirm that I love Sarah J. Maas’ writing. 

As for Archer, oh, my God! I knew that he was lying about not being involved in a rebel movement, but never, in a million years, could have guessed he was the one who had Nehemia killed posing as Lord Mullison! It took me completely by surprise, and I was actually glad when he died. I just thought that he, just as Nehemia, would stay for the next books. But good riddance, I say. Archer, you damn bastard!

As for Celaena being Aelin, I could deduce it at some point, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not intrigued. As I said in my review of the previous book, Celaena has a past that goes beyond the point in which we can start reading her story. I was glad that, when Chaol knew she was Fae, she was able to provide an explanation, if short (which is ok, it was not the time for it). My point is that it’s not that she knows nothing, and it took her by surprise too. She is aware of her nature, and the fact that she didn’t mention it before doesn’t make it a bad plot twist. On the contrary, it makes me ever more eager to get to Heir of Fire to know more!

Damn, this is what happens with good books. I end up so excited that I can barely review them. There’s so much happening in Crown of Midnight, that I simply can’t cover the details, but I’m definitely looking forward to read the rest of the books. There’s so much I want to know! What is up with Perrington, Kaltain and Roland? What will happen with the Wyrdkeys? What about Dorian’s magic, the portals, the mythical creatures, the Fae, the king’s twisted plans…?

In short, this book is simply brilliant. I could guess some things as it progressed (like the clue about the Wyrdkey on Elena’s tomb), but in general terms, it was amazingly done, and I wish I could say more about it, but I simply can’t cover all the details. I will for sure read the next books, and I hope the series only gets better and better!


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