Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Crowned by Evil. Bound by Duty. Divided by Love.

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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…

 

4.5 Stars

With the release of Kingdom of Ash only mere weeks away (30 days, exactly one month just in case you were wondering) I figured it was due time for me to actually form semi-what coherent reviews for this epic series. I mean, Throne of Glass is probably my favorite fantasy series of all time. Hands down. So, I feel like I owe it to try to write a kick-ass review for Crown of Midnight. (You can be the judge of that).

Throne of Glass is that series that I just keep going back too. It has absolutely everything -and I do mean everything, a sweeping high fantasy novel should. There are some seriously bad ass women with equally swoon-worthy men and a sprawling world with fantastic world building. And if that doesn’t make you want to pick up these books then what about dragons (oh, I’m sorry; Wyverns), assassins, princesses and princes, castles with secret passage ways, a mysterious evil, hidden agendas and plots within schemes plus a whole lot of blood-letting. That and the fact that there is some seriously delicious romance. I mean, man can Sarah write sexy scenes! What more do you need?

Crown of Midnight is officially the second book in Sarah J. Maas’s series but personally I count Crown of Midnight as the third installment. This is where some of the fandom disagree but I prefer to think of The Assassin’s Blade as book one. Anyway, Assassin’s Blade aside, Crown of Midnight picks up right where Throne of Glass leaves off. Everyone’s favorite cut-throat assassin Celaena Sardothien is back and now she’s deadlier than ever as the King’s Champion… Basically a fancy-schmancy title for the King’s lackey. Even though Celaena’s moral compass doesn’t exactly point due north working for the King of Adarlan forces her to decide just where her loyalty really lies. Everything is about to change and she’ll have to choose which side of the rebellion to fight beside.

Speaking of Celaena Sardothien, can we just talk about how much her character develops over the course of this installment? This is the beginning of her decent to rock bottom and as painful and gut-wrenching as it is I loved every minuet of it. For the first half of this book I was frustrated with her selfish, almost cowardly attitude. Then that twist happened. I was not ready for that and I am so freaking mad! But, it’s this twist that catapults her from her current state and smack bang at the beginning of her epic character arch. This is it guys – this is where it all begins.

Then there is the world building and the overall sense of mystery surrounding basically everything starting with wyrd. You know, as in wyrdmarks, wyrdgates and wyrdkeys. There are still so many questions to be answered but a lot of the lore surrounding the old magic is revealed and basically I was pretty much on the edge of my seat the entire time. Erilea was always a brutal empire but Crown of Midnight takes a much darker, menacing turn. We get to learn more about the fall of the kingdoms, specifically Eyllwe and Nehemia’s role in her kingdom’s rebellion as well as Terrasen and the fall of the house of Galathynius. Besides learning more about Erilea’s geography and fallen kingdoms, we gain precious snippets of the magic system and how it was repressed. Obviously there is a lot more to tell, what with important characters exhibiting signs of magical gifts but the threads that make the bigger picture are beginning to knit together.

For me, Crown of Midnight is the crucial turning point in the series. This is where the original trio expands and allegiances shift as loyalties are tested. This is where we finally glimpse the bigger picture, the beginning of the end. Everything changes from here on out. The story expands to include new characters and new worlds as the true antagonist forces reveal themselves. What starts out as one woman’s fight to win her freedom from a tyrant king will become something so much more. I mean, who saw that plot twist coming? Definitely not me! Looking back after my third read through I’ve found so many clues and signs sewn into Crown of Midnight’s pages. It really was all here all along, guys. Sarah did such a good job of keeping us all guessing all the while planting the answers in plain sight.

All I can say is that if you’re still on the fence about reading Throne of Glass I beg you to jump aboard the fandom. Yes; we can barely pronounce the character’s names (Kale???) and no one really knows who the actual hell to ship. Then there’s the fact that our babies go through literal hell but this series is so inspiring. Full of head strong women, the epitome of girl power and feminism, Throne of Glass will always hold a special place in my heart. But please, please do yourself a favor, trust my judgement and start with The Assassin’s Blade. You won’t be sorry although you may hate me after the ending…

Alexandra

10 thoughts on “Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

  1. A bold statement to say The Assassin’s Blade is book one! 😝 Only joking, The Assassin’s Blade might be one of my favourites of the series! And it’s cleverly plotted. I don’t see 5 novella’s, I see it as a whole book.

    What you said about Crown of Midnight being a turning point is so true. I never thought of it as such. I guess because it’s only book two in big series, but I so agree with you there!

    I wanted to do a re-read, but didn’t want to commit! Now with only 30 days to go I’m contemplating it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Assassin’s Blade was the very first Sarah J. Maas book I read and for that it will always hold a special place in my heart. Besides the nostalgia, it really does provide crucial backstory, hints as to Celaena’s true identity and how it will shape the later books. It pains me to see that so many people skip over this gem! And you are too right about the plotting – even though it is a bundle of novellas it reads as a whole book with a beginning, middle and end. I think to fully understand the complexities of Celaena’s character we need to see her rise and downfall as Adarlan’s Assassin. It also sets the framework for the world – Throne of Glass mainly takes place in the castle so it helps to know what the world looks likes outside of the confines. But really, The Assassin’s Blade is just storytelling at it’s best! Hahaha I rest my case 😂 😂 😂

      As for a re-read, I’d started The Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight at the beginning of the year so I’ve kind of cheated here. I’m planning to finish Heir of Fire today and then I have allowed one week to finish the remaining 3 books. I left it a bit late but what can you do? If you were considering a re-read we could always do a read-along 💗

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      • You are so sweet! I’d love to do a re-along some day. Unfortunately it won’t happen this month with upcoming exams. 😂

        But I’m loving your reviews — they are preparing me well for Kingdom of Ash. Which I guess I don’t need to read ASAP if I wanted to re-read the previous books.. but I kind of have to in order to avoid spoilers right?!

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