Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak - but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth - a truth about her heritage that could change her life - and her future - forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed? The best-selling series that has captured listeners all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall listeners from start to finish.
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I first started listening to this series because i found it was suggested on a "books similar to Harry Potter" search I did. I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much. The first book was good. It seemed a little cliche at first, and it felt like the narrator hadn't quite mastered her craft. And yet, I downloaded the second book immediately after I finished the first. The second was better. There were some palpable plot twists, more complex characters, and the boom wasn't afraid to get a little darker, which I loved. But then, bam, this third novel hits you like a freight train. Intense, emotionally and psychologically gripping writing. And the narrator has really come into her own. She's like a different person! Honestly, never thought I'd be recommending this series so strongly, but you should read it. I'm downloading the 4th one right now :)
Okay, so I am going to be 100% honest. I wasn't a huge fan of this series. I enjoyed the first book, but I felt like Maas focused too much on a possible love triangle than on this incrediblely awesome world she has created! It was also extremely frustrating that the characters didn't know what was going on like what "wyrds" were, and it seemed like we were never going to learn. Then the end of the second book happened...
I am absolutely thrilled with where this series is going. We are FINALLY getting some answers! I'm crazy about the world-building that is going on, and, yes, everything is starting to click together. I almost feel like re-listening to the first two now, so I can understand the hints at what is happening.
So, if you know me, you know what sets books apart from being "good" to "amazing" is character development. And, boy oh boy, did I get some character development. Let's break down by characters since it's a mixed POV:
1. Celaena Poor Celaena. I will admit I really didn't care for her at first! I didn't find her arrogance charming. She seemed one-dimensional to me...Until now. She has so. much. depth. I loved learning about her past and why she is the way she is. I was a little weary that we, the listeners, were going to be bogged down by her despair (like in Mockingjay), but we weren't. Her fears are tangible, and it was thrilling to watch her become the woman she was born to be. The training scenes were beautiful. The development of her magic was beautiful. Her friendship with Ronan was beautiful.
2. Ronan I am always hesitant about the introduction of new males. Celanea was just coming out of a terrible break-up, and I truly did not want to have another book focusing on Celaena developing a new boyfriend. Ronan was not that. They had a wonderful friendship, where, if it developed into a romance, I would be completely fine. Ronan was broken, just as Celaena was. They healed each other. I'm still not over how beautiful there last couple scenes with Ronan were. My only complaint is that he probably won't be too prominent in the next book.
3. Manon We are introduced to another new character...which, again, scary. But, Manon's POV ended up being my second favorite to listen to! She is a witch, but in a different clan than the only witch we have been introduced to - Baba Yellowlegs. She is a cruel creature that revels in violence. I've never read anything where you are hearing from a deeply mean person's perspective, so that was neat. Her development gave me chills. The witches are preparing for war, and they are given these creatures as their mounts. The mounts are supposed to be mindless killing, flying machines. However, Manon develops a relationship with her mount, Abraxos. Abraxos is a literal slave, and he shows Manon that she is a slave to her culture. I cannot wait to see where the series takes her - hopefully with an alliance with Celaena.
4. Dorian and Chaol I didn't want to hear from these two. Is that bad? Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed them both in the past books. They just aren't as exciting as witches or fay. I'm sad for Dorian, and that is all I have to say on that front. Chaol was annoying. He could not chose a side; he felt like it was between Caleana and Dorian BUT THEY ARE ON THE SAME SIDE. That just annoyed me. Chaol ended up making his choice in the worst possible moment...I won't spoil it.
Yes, I loved it. Yes, you will love it. Yes, you need to drop everything and listen immediately. You will laugh, and you will probably cry. It is worth it.