She is the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But does she have the heart of a killer? 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. But Calaena is far from loyal to the crown. Keeping up the charade - while pretending to do the king's bidding - will test her skills in an entirely new way. And it certainly isn't the only point of confusion for the young girl. Because though she's made her choice between Dorian and Chaol, the ways of the heart are never simple...
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I read and loved Throne of Glass (first book in the series) and was really looking forward to the sequel. Now I'm 90% sure I won't continue on to book #3.
Here's my main problem: all the problems I remember from book #1 are back in book #2, but even STRONGER than they were before.
Examples: 1. Celaena is a shallow main character. 2. Too many subplots. 3. Too many unexplained details. 4. Other main characters are insincere.
I guess I could sum up all these problems into one larger, global problem with the writing: Just because there's this really cool new fantasy world and a super badass heroine and other "cool" things in these books (princes! magic! monsters!) doesn't make me BELIEVE IN THEM. I need good writing for that. I need the author to give me characters who have more merit than the fact that I am told she is totally badass and cool. I need to see her being better than this, I need to connect with her.
And in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, connect with Celaena I did not. (Actually, connect with ANY of the characters I did not.)
An example of a book series that does this infinitely better is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Never once does she have to say outright that her characters are funny or brave or richly layered or very human despite their non-humanness; She makes us believe it first, and I feel like Crown of Midnight throws all the coolness at you before you actually believe in the coolness.
NOTE on the Audiobook: I thought the performance was just okay. The narrator has a very snarky reading style that wears on you after a while. Plus, since she read the entire novel in the same tone, it all became a bit... boring. Tedious. Blegh. Just listen to the sample before you buy and imagine that same tone the entire 15 hours or so!!
All in all, I'm very disappointed and wish I would've spent my credit on something else.
This installment brings drama, heartbreak, and game changing reveals as it ramps up the intensity. I loved the first book and am even more impressed with the sequel. How often can you say that?
In the first book, Throne of Glass, the world building is set up nicely and we get acquainted with the key players in the series. In the sequel Crown of Midnight, the author gets to have more fun with the characters and push some boundaries. The action, romance, and suspense build to higher levels of intensity. And excitingly, Celaena gets to strut her stuff as the assassin only hinted to in book one.
As the king’s champion/assassin, Celaena has to do his bidding, no questions asked, in order to earn her eventual freedom. She has some trusted allies in the kingdom including Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, Dorian, the crown prince, and Nehemia, a visiting Princess. This series has one of my favorite love triangles currently in YA, since I’m quite fond of both Chaol and Dorian. Depending on who your favorite is, you may be in for some pain as the romance takes a turn for the angst. (But there’s still more books in the series for the author to fix things, right?)
For me as a contemporary fan to rate a fantasy series 5-stars is pretty unusual. But man, I just eat these books up! Sarah J. Maas weaves a great story no matter what your preferred genre is. There are so many emotional highs and lows in this book that you know as a reader not to get too comfortable when things seem to be going too smoothly The plot moves in unexpected directions and effortlessly weaves magical elements into the story.
There is character development with all of the key players in this installment. Celaena is more confident, calculating and kick-ass when she needs to be, while also keeping her softer side. And there are new dimensions to explore in Chaol, Dorian and Nehemia in the sequel. There are so many surprises in this one that I just have to be vague about all the exciting developments in this one.
I again listened to the audiobook, performed by Elizabeth Evans. With all of the action in Crown of Midnight, Evans keeps up by reading with more intensity. She matches Celaena’s growth beat by beat and gets you good and wrapped up in the story. Evans makes all the characters sound unique and with their own personalities so there’s never any doubt as to who is speaking. She uses an appropriate tone for the romantic, action, and quiet scenes and reads with a brisk pace. This 12-hour audiobook just flew by and I was anxious to keep listening to it.
Be warned that this book ends with a big cliffhanger that will leave you clamoring for the sequel.