“Crown of Midnight” by Sarah J. Maas
3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
After winning the position of royal assassin, Celaena Sadothien is assigned tasks by the King of Adarlan and she must carry them out if she wishes to win her freedom and keep her head. Being the king’s lackey was a part of the deal to obtain her freedom, but it was a promise Celaena never intended to keep. With extreme caution and skill, Celaena has be able to deceive the King of Adarlan for the last few months into thinking that she has been doing his bidding when she has actually been undermining his authority. The more time passes, though, the harder it is for Celaena to keep the ruse up, and it is only a matter of time before she will make a mistake large enough for the king to notice.
Added to Celaena’s list of worries is how her desperate need for secrecy is straining her friendships with Nehemia and Dorian, and at times, Chaol. If she is found out, Celaena and anyone who knows her secret, will pay the price with their lives, and so distance might be the only form protection she can offer them. But when forces within the glass castle beckon Celaena to uncover their secrets, she discovers that there is far more at stake than her own life and freedom, and she will need her friends if she is ever going to fix what has been broken.
Time is short and with the King of Adarlan’s power rapidly expanding, Celaena and her friends within Rifthold are racing against the clock before everything comes crashing down around them. As Nehemia is working her angle at court, and Dorian makes a terrifying discover about himself, Celaena uncovers truths that could shake all of Erilea to its core. Can Celaena figure out who she can trust with such sacred and powerful knowledge, or will she place her fate into the hands of someone who could destroy them all?
“Crown of Midnight” was a very well-written book with an even more intricate plot than “Throne of Glass,” and I liked seeing more of Sarah J. Maas’s world beyond the castle in Rifthold. The second book in this series was good, but sadly it didn’t reach out to me quite as much as the first had.
Celaena remained a cool heroine, and despite the hard spot she was placed in as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she figured out how to not be his lap dog, and I also thought that her and Nehemia’s friendship was interesting. Both females were trying to, in their own way, undermine the King of Adarlan’s authority, and they were so brave for not choosing to sit back and wait for someone else to do what was right. Another thing that I thought was interesting in “Crown of Midnight” was how all of Celaena’s relationships were massively tested by circumstances in it, and I liked watching Celaena’s reactions to certain situations from an already informed perspective. After “Crown of Midnight” came out in 2013, my sister told me about most of what happened in this book (same with “Heir of Fire”), and so I went in carefully watching for any subtleties that I might have missed if the book had been new to me. One of the things that I really noticed within “Crown of Midnight” was how Celaena’s and Dorian’s relationship fell apart and then morphed into something new.
You all know how much I LOVED Dorian Havilliard in “Throne of Glass,” and that didn’t change after reading “Crown of Midnight.” Dorian was still an amazing and glorious character in this book, but his and Celaena’s deteriorating friendship in the first half of “Crown of Midnight” broke my heart. I knew they wouldn’t end up together as a couple once I had finished “Throne of Glass” even though they were quite nearly perfect for one another, but even with that knowledge, it was still torturous having to watch Celaena reject and push him aside so efficiently. Dorian was angry and hurt, so he distanced himself from her a bit, but he was never cruel or unkind towards her despite the fact she had torn his heart apart, and he always left the door of friendship open to Celaena.
“Crown of Midnight” was full of rejection and betrayal for Dorian from all of those he cared (namely Chaol and Celaena, but also his father), but he really stepped up his game in every way possible in it. I loved Dorian in “Crown of Midnight” so much because he never changed into something that he wasn’t, he just grew as a person, and I liked that Sarah J. Maas began to make an even more important character in her series. Dorian went through a lot in this book from loosing Celaena, Chaol betraying him in a way, to discovering a huge secret about himself. Depsite all that he went through in “Crown of Midnight,” Dorian stayed true and even became stronger as an individual. Personally, one of the most satisfying things in this book was when Celaena, by the end of it, realized that Dorian was her truest friend and that she would fight to protect him, and he for her, if it came to that.
It was so awesome to have Celaena acknowledge the fact that Dorian had always been by her side, on her side; I knew it, but it was still great to see her finally admit it to herself. I desperately wanted Dorian and Celaena to be together, but I was at least grateful that these characters had a really strong connection and relationship, even if it wasn’t the kind that I had originally hoped for.
I feel like most of the characters in “Crown of Midnight” experience some sort of change or growth, all except Chaol who, once again, irritated me. I think one of my biggest issues with Chaol was that he felt pointless, and if he were to be removed from the series entirely, it would have no effect on the plot. I mean, while Celaena was out getting business done, Nehemia was doing her own stuff at court trying to save her people, and Dorian was discovering quite a few new things about himself, dealing with his evil father, and trying to keep the people of Erilea from getting massacred, Chaol was doing nothing of great use or anything of importance. So, yeah, compared to everyone else in this book, Chaol was pretty useless, and the only thing he actually did that helped the plot of this series along was keep a HUGE secret from Celaena. *slow claps* Bravo, Chaol, bravo.
Although the amount of Chaol and his and Celaena’s romance made me not like “Crown of Midnight” as much as “Throne of Glass,” I still enjoyed reading it. I loved seeing Dorian grow as a person, and I liked learning more about Erilea beyond the borders of Adarlan. I didn’t feel quite as engaged in reading this book (not just because of Chaol/Celaena), but I think that the direction Sarah J. Maas took with Celaena and her relationships with other characters in “Crown of Midnight” was very interesting, and I am curious to see where she plans to take them in future books. Very well done, just didn’t leave quite the mark on me that “Throne of Glass” had.