Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: August 27th, 2013
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
"...What I loved about Throne of Glass and continue to love in Crown of Midnight is Maas' ability to find a balance between action-driven plot and character-driven plot and to be able to develop them both, with many of the sections even tying both together."

I was so excited to start Crown of Midnight soon after finishing Throne of Glass. Alas, I hit a small reading slump right as I started, but I made myself read through a few pages at the very least. That was the start of the very long journey towards finishing Crown of Midnight. A lot of it was time, but part of it was also just parts of it that didn't engage me as much as Throne of Glass did and parts that quite honestly disappointed me a bit.

The first thing I must say is that I love Nehemia, and I love the character arc she has and the friend that she is to Celaena. I loved seeing that relationship grow, and you could tell how much they loved one another as friends. Friendships are often forgotten about in books, particularly in fantasy novels that are more plot-driven, but what I loved about Throne of Glass and continue to love in Crown of Midnight is Maas' ability to find a balance between action-driven plot and character-driven plot and to be able to develop them both, with many of the sections even tying both together.

There's so much character growth in this novel for almost all of the main characters, and once again, I found myself intrigued by their actions and words. Their interactions were extremely well-written and were really interesting. On that note, however, I did not like how there seemed to be an extreme focus on the love triangle. I know, I'm sorry, but while it worked for me in Throne of Glass, I was really put off by it in Crown of Midnight. What Nehemia and Celaena's relationship had, Chaol and Dorian's relationship lacked. I hated to see their friendship be affected by their mutual love (and respect) for Celaena. I understand both sides, and I understand their motivations, but it honestly annoyed me. A major factor in the reason why it took me so long to finish the book was just being tired by it being bogged down by the love triangle. I'm fine with talking about it, but it seemed a bit excessive after a while.

Nevertheless, much of what I enjoyed about Throne of Glass, I continued to enjoy in its sequel. While there were some plot twists that I saw coming, I liked seeing Celaena figure out the riddles and figure out what the heck was going on. Again, I predicted a large part of it, but it was exciting and kept the pace going. 

Maas' world building also continues to amaze me in this book, and I loved getting to see a little more of it, including within the castle itself. I think it lent itself well to the plot of the book.

I'm so excited for book 3 (Heir of Fire) after the revelations and actions made/taken at the end of this book. I can't wait to see what else is in store. I'm hoping that now that it seems there will be more action, some of the heavy love triangle aspects of it will diminish a bit, at least for the time being. All three of our main characters have various problems to work through, and I can't wait for more.
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