Thursday, September 4, 2014

{Book Review} Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2): Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 8.9/10
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Magic, Action, Adventure,
Publisher: Bloomsburry USA Childrens
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Page Count: 418
Format: Hardback
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: "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 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.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Fans of..... strong, female protagonists
action, adventure, and SERIOUS butt-kicking
an aggravating love triangle

Would I Buy It?

Absolutely, positively with a maraschino cherry on top! I'm going to the Sarah J. Maas book signing later this month, and of course, I HAVE to have the full collection of her released books for the signing. 

Background & Backstory

It turns out.... not EVERY book I read has an elaborate backstory about how I obtained it. Literally, the only remotely interesting fact is that I would advice reading a book or two between the time that you read any of Sarah J. Maas' books, because even though I am in love with her.... I'm not certain on her marathonability (new word!). I purposefully didn't pick up Crown of Midnight RIGHT after The Assassin's Blade, because each book is such a rich, thick, adventure, that it might be overwhelming to the everyday reader to jump IMMEDIATELY into the next book.

How Long Did It Take Me To Read This Book?

August 27 - 30
If I had had it my way, I would have read, reviewed, and felt for Crown of Midnight in one day. Unfortunately, life doesn't comply to my whims. It was a rather large book (plus I kinda sorta read another book in between that was for a deadline I should have fulfilled weeks ago), and school has been the biggest thorn in my side possible.

Yet.... we have to remember what is important.
I finished CoM just in time for the release of Heir of Fire.
I think I deserve to be commemorated for that.

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Give me Heir of Fire. Now! *stomps feet like 2 y/o*

*This is a kind of "My Overall Thoughts" that I wrote AFTER I finished composing this review, but what I tend to say a lot is that certain elements "weren't the best I had ever seen." Yet, I say it so much that it makes it sound like CoM was a bad book, when in actuality.... I'm praising it's solid reliability and faithfulness to the reader. Some books have a breakneck pace.... but under-developed characters. Other books have a rich, defined world.... but slow plot. Crown of Midnight, on the other hand, has a solid 4 stars on every one of the categories that impact my personal enjoyment of the book*

Characters 8/10:

One of the largest and most prominent changes in CoM from ToG, and even TAB, is that I FINALLY like Celaena. I think part of my brain had never actually believed in character development, but Crown of Midnight proved my sorry arse incorrect. Celaena was forced to wake up by the events in CoM, and realize the world is more than expensive clothes. I actually agreed with the decisions she made, and she didn't aggravate me (all the time) with her arrogance.

Romance 7.75/10:

Ah. The lovely category where I may express all my ship-related feels. In Throne of Glass, I was pretty indifferent to Chaol versus Dorian. It felt waaay too much like the triangle in Defy (Sarah B. Larson) with Rylan, Alexa, and Damian (even the name is similar!) because of the dynamics and positions each character held. 

However, Crown of Midnight somewhat secured my feels.
I am 70% Team Chaol, 30% Team Dorian. 

[hover your cursor over the blacked-out sections for spoilers (Thanks Nath for this tip)] The gist of it is that there's a certain event that happens around two thirds through the book, and I personally think of it as just a plot device used so Celaena can go running into the arms of the other guy. In that aspect, it's annoying, and feels like it will flip flop between Chaol and Dorian the ENTIRE series until one of them dies or she stops being bipolar.

It took sooo long for Chaol and Celaena to kiss, and you could feel the tension rising every scene they were together. Yet, the moment they admitted their feelings? They're suddenly sleeping with each other every day? How does that make any sense? Anyway, they were all good for a while. Then Celaena HAD to go an say that stuff about how she would never forgive him and how he wasn't different. WHY?!? Of course, this gave Dorian and Celaena to bond, and I have a feeling Heir of Fire will be a book about the two of them. 

Pacing 8/10:

So the pacing of this book is quite a puzzle to me.

I gotta admit, it wasn't the most action-packed read, at times, there were whole chapters that bored me. 

Now here's the thing.... 

I was nevertheless enthralled, the ENTIRE time.

Maas has the ability to write with such fluidity and grace that makes her readers want to devour each book at inhuman rates. Her style was never choppy and instead, was consistent throughout my reading experience.

Ending 7/10:

This happened with Throne of Glass as well, but because these novels are SO large, it feels as if the exciting, pulse-pounding events happen.... and then there's a chapter or so of useful, insightful information that sets you up for the next book, but is a killjoy for your enjoyment of the pace.

A similar thing happened with Crown of Midnight. I am eternally grateful for Maas that she left us with a cliffhanger, while still wrapping up and concluding the book nicely. Characters had been dropping minor hints about Celaena's true identity, and when Chaol says it.... my heart literally broke and I wanted to scream out loud. If that isn't a good ending, I don't know what is.

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?

If I didn't have  i in my possession.... I would be half-tempted to just re-read Crown of Midnight again so I can devour more of Sarah J. Maas' amazingness. While I will not be doing that at the moment, I know that I will have to re-read and marathon the whole series around the time that the last book is released. 

2017, get here FASTER! 

Do you know how old I will be by the time the 6th book is released?

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel To This Book?

There is always that slight chance that I won't read a book. You know, if the apocalypse happens, and I'm more worried about books than reading. But besides the apocalypse, there is NOTHING preventing  me from reading Heir of Fire. Especially because of everything I had to go through to obtain my copy (I'm saving the backstory for the review).

Conclusion: A solid, strong, sequel that was even better than the first novel. Maas' worldbuilding, characters, and prose is beautiful, rich, and satisfying.

What Were Your Thoughts On....?

-The pacing and overal flow of CoM
-The ending and revelation of CoM. Did you see the plot twist coming from a mile away?
-Who do you ship Celaena with?
-What do you think the title, Crown of Midnight, means?
-Do you have any dying questions for Sarah J. Maas? If so, please leave them in the comments, because I might be able to have them answered when I go to the signing.

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