Review. Sarah J. Maas, Crown Of Midnight

I honestly can’t remember when I’ve read the second book in a series this fast after the first one. Normally, I take my time and after a few months or so, I pick up the next book. So what’s different this time?
Well, the BookTubeSFF Awards for one. The third book in the Throne of Glass series, Heir Of Fire is nominated and part of the October readalongs. Because my ambition is limitless, I wanted to read all three books before the end of the month and thus here I am, with Crown Of Midnight over and done. But credit where credit’s due, Sarah J. Maas made me want to read it fairly quick because of everything she teased in the first novel.

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…

Whereas Throne Of Glass was fairly entertaining and a nice read, it wasn’t the next big thing. I had heard, however, that this series gets better along the way and boy is that right! Crown Of Midnight makes Throne Of Glass feel like a mere introduction to the world and characters. The first book teased a lot of things, like the Wyrd, a nasty creature and headache-inducing black rings. Here, you get more and better of it all.
In Throne Of Glass we met Celaena, who was supposedly one of the greatest assassins. And yes, while she displayed some ability when performing tasks, it was no show and all tell. With the competition behind us and Celaena as the King’s Champion, we see her in action and we finally get to see why she was -is- a feared assassin. This part of Celaena’s story is interwoven with the broader story of the rebellion against the King and sees her doing some great stuff. Of course, a ball couldn’t be absent! Am I the only one sho keeps checking the gowns she is wearing to the one on the back cover, just to discover when she’s wearing ‘the dress’?
discover when she’s wearing ‘the dress’
Cue the romance. Throne Of Glass saw the introduction of the love triangle between Celaena, Chaol and Dorian. While it could have gone both ways, Celaena quite decidedly choose for one over the other and stuck with it here. A quite passionate scene – though mostly off-page – bears witness to that choice. While the other angle of the triangle had chances to rear its not-so-ugly head, Celaena was pretty quick with snuffing out the spark. Thank you, Sarah!
These romantic moments and fancy balls are moments to cherish, cause this book is way darker than its predecessor. The Wyrd starts playing a bigger role and haunts the pages of the book. There is also a lot more blood and gore and creatures and death. Kudos to Maas for doing what she did here! And the witch, oh the witch! I’ve heard that the witches will get their own storyline in the next book and I can’t wait. Bring on the hags! Another thing I can’t wait for is everything about the Fae and the big reveal at the very end. I should have seen it coming though.. I should have, but I didn’t. Still a great, great ending.
Bring on the hags!
A better plot, also better characters. They were very likeable from the first book, though, but Crown Of Midnight gave them all some more depth. I really liked seeing the dark side of Celaena. It once again cemented her reputation and makes her less of the Mary Sue she used to be. She has an edge, and she’s great. The guys just go further along their route as likeable men. Though I wanted to punch Chaol for messing up big time, the fool. I understand where his conlict came from, but still.. The new character, Archer, was annoying. I don’t know if he was meant to be like that, but he just rubbed me the wrong way everytime he walked onto the page. And then there is Mort.. I really really really hope he makes a return in the next book(s), cause he has the potential to be great. I feel like he’s a bit like Bob the skull from The Dresden Files. Lots of potential but always underused. Come on, Sarah, do right to him!
A better plot, better characters and better writing. I had no problems whatsoever with the writing in the first book, but compared, this one is way more engaging and fluent and has a richer vocabulary. Sarah strikes a better balance between showing and telling and knows how to build tension and when to release. This is one talented lady and only time will tell what her future brings. For the time being, though, no doubt it will be up and up from here on.

So yes, because of the awards I might have picked up Crown Of Midnight way before I normally would have, but I am so glad I did. In fact, if it wasn’t for BookTubeSFF, I wouldn’t have read Throne Of Glass to begin with. I might not be that big on YA, but this one definitely belongs up high at the top. Where the first book was in the lower three-star region, this one is upper class. I don’t want to give it four yet, even though I nearly did.

★ ★ ★

Take the throne, fit the crown.

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