Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, # 2)
By: Sarah J Maas
Published: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fae
Source: Borrowed from Holly
*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.
Goodreads description--"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 realizes 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.
Crown of Midnight started off with Celaena being a bit more active in the king's service. Where she finally won the title of King's Champion in Throne of Glass, the King is finally calling her into service to dispatch his enemies. And even though she's an assassin in deed, Calaena finds herself in a tough position. The King threatened Chaol and Nehemia and their families if Calaena doesn't perform up to his standards, but she knows that he is an evil man and will likely use her to simply further his world domination attempts rather than for justice. She has to fight back how she can, but it takes being extremely careful in how she chooses to do so. This means that her friends also aren't in the know because that puts them in danger as well.
Crown of Midnight felt a bit longer to me than Throne of Glass even though it's not really longer, and it didn't even take me but 3 days more to read. I think I felt that way because events were bee-bopping along and I was loving the direction that things were going until about 45% I realized that things were going too well too quickly. And then panic mode set in. I knew that something had to happen to disrupt all of the good things going on with the characters. And for the 2nd time in this series I wanted to seek out spoilers just so that I could prepare myself and not be so worried or stressed out about what was about to happen to these loved characters. I didn't. I did text my feelings to Holly. Thank goodness I could bounce my fears off her and know that she wouldn't spoil anything for me. But this fear actually had me putting Crown of Midnight down more often because I was trying to put off the terrible events I could feel coming for as long as possible.
And of course, I was correct. Things were going too well for these characters. Calaena suffers a major blow which causes a bit of an emotional break. She's been through a lot in her 18 years, and she's suffered and lost so much during that time. I can understand her grief in some ways, but who and how she chooses to lash out to didn't make complete sense to me. Yet, I can see how her actions and reactions were necessary to further the story and plot and her character in general.
All of the characters that I fell in love with in book 1 were just as loveable in Crown of Midnight. Nehemia is Calaena's best friend. She's a princess whose land the King is currently conquering. And she's desperate to do anything she can to get her people freed and not just her people, but all of those who are under the thumb of the King. She isn't afraid to say the hard things that needs to be said to Calaena. That's the proof of a true best friend. You might not always like what they have to say, but it is always for your good to hear it. Hugs and a salute to Nehemia.
Dorian took a step back from his relationship with Calaena. It wasn't entirely his doing, but he was gracious about it. Although, Crown of Midnight indicates that Dorian knew how Chaol felt about Calaena going all the way back to the Yulemas ball in Throne of Glass so one has to wonder why he chose to pursue her in the first place. However, I really came to respect Dorian. Not only in his graciousness, but also in his ability to be there for Calaena when she needed him and could go to no one else. He didn't have to be there for her. He could have behaved much differently towards her. But that's not who he is. Plus he has his own catalyst that will propel him into rebelling against his father that is entirely different than Calaena's. I look forward to seeing him become more of the man I believe he can be in future books.
Chaol was my man from the very beginning of Throne of Glass. He battles his position in being Captain of the Guard and what that means for his loyalty to the King with his friendships with Dorian, Nehemia, and his growing feelings for Calaena. His choices while not wrong do cause some negative consequences for him that he'll be regretting for some time to come. I felt so bad for him through the later half of the book. Yet he's still my favorite.
The villains are present as well. We know that the King is at this point the ultimate villain, but he wasn't even that active or present in the story of Crown of Midnight itself. I know he'll take on a larger role as the series continues. I don't feel like I can discuss the true villain of this book without spoilers so I'll keep that out of this review. Duke Perrington was mentioned but took an even smaller role than the king. Katlain which we loved to hate from book 1 had a small part. Mostly she's just pitiful now. And there's a new character on the scene, Roland Havilliard. I don't trust him. On the one hand, he seemed in league with the King and Duke Perrington, but on the other he seemed to be a pawn in their games/plans.
-"You will never forget killing Cain," she said at last, and when her eyes met his, his heart pounded so hard he could feel it across his whole body. "But I will never forget what you did to save me, either."
-"If she picked Roland over you, that makes her the greatest fool who ever lived."
-...it was the knight's gift, of seeing her for who she was--not what she was--that won her heart.
-But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.
-Then Calaena and the King of Adarlan smiled at each other, and it was the most terrifying thing Dorian had ever seen.
I do think that Crown of Midnight was intended to end in a little bit of a cliffhanger. Not in the way of withholding information from the reader, but more in the way of giving the reader some important information right before ending and not being able to see what the characters will do with that information. I wasn't particularly surprised by the revelation. The only big surprise for me happened about halfway through the book.
This book gripped me. I was so emotionally invested in what happened and was going to happen to these characters that I've come to love. It just doesn't get much better than that. Crown of Midnight was packed with happy moments that had me cheesing. But it is also packed with heart wrenching and stressful moments. There's action and mystery as well. Crown of Midnight gets 4 Stars from me. I can't wait to dive into Heir of Fire. Have you read Crown of Midnight? What did you think? Let me know!