Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas Book Review
Updated: Jan 25
Crown of Midnight
by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury
Book 2 in the Throne of Glass series
"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 as 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.
RATED: 13+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violence #Fantasy Intriguing
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas is the second book in her Throne of Glass series, and centers around assassin, and now King's Champion, Celaena, who is currently serving her four years, doing the king's dirty work, in order to secure her freedom. Crown of Midnight also reveals the story through Prince Dorian's perspective, Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, and once from Princess Nahemia, the King, and a mysterious creature. Everyone has there secrets, and after tragedy occurs, Celaena must face her own secrets, and learn of the secrets those around her are keeping, before it's too late.
Now this was better.
If you saw my review for Throne of Glass, you will know that I wasn't a fan. The writing was too choppy, the characters were meh, too many unanswered questions ... but Crown of Midnight somewhat redeems that. Somewhat. I think one of the problems I have with this series is that it's written in third person. I hate third person narratives. That aside, there was a lot of improvement with this book. I could tell that Sarah Maas's writing skills matured a bit between the first and second book. It felt more unique for the genre this time around, whereas before it was a little too Hunger Games/Game of Thrones-y for me. The story this time around was action packed, and didn't have important parts skipped over, which was a major issue in the first book. Characters were given a bit of room to breath and grow. I started to see what they saw in one another to form the bonds they have. I still feel there is a lot of room for Sarah to do more in this area. More background, more depth. Give the reader more to latch onto and love. As the series grows, I hope that's the case. Consistency was flawless. Things that didn't line up before, finally did, and it was nice that small little moments that occurred in the first book, finally made sense. I had my theories of course, but having it confirmed, and how it was confirmed, was done well in my opinion.
I read some other reviews that some readers didn't feel Celaena was brutal enough in Throne of Glass to be an assassin. Well, this book definitely changes that. I went back and forth between liking her and hating her. It's been obvious since the first book, that Celaena isn't an assassin because she enjoys killing people. It's survival, and her training, and other assets (will get into those with a spoiler warning) have saved her life many times over. It also can turn her into a bloodthirsty, true assassin. I wouldn't want to be on her bad side. She grew up in this book, but it sucks that tragedy had to occur for it to happen.
Regarding my theory on Celaena ... called it!
Who else loves Chaol? Their romance quickly established, and I was all for it. I should have known that was going to be ruined. Ugh. I found myself frustrated with Celaena, though. I get she was angry and grieving ... but she was angry with Chaol for the very same qualities she loves about him. Specifically, his loyalty to his Kingdom. She often thinks that any Court would thrive with Chaol in it. The way she treats him is heartbreaking, because while he kept things from her, she did as well! If Celaena told Chaol anything ... he would have known something was up. By the end, I think she knows this, and while it seems she has forgiven him, she obviously believes that his loyalty will always be with the King ... which I don't think will be the case.
Dorian's arc this book was a bit predictable. I always felt like there was something about him (specifically, mention of his eyes), and the fact that he grew up being kind and empathetic, despite his family, that just made me wonder ... spoiler -----> I predict as he learns to control his new abilities, he, combined Celaena, will bring down the King. <------- It will be interesting to see where his character's story goes.
There are others I can mention, but I think I would like to concentrate on the three main characters of this story.
Crown of Midnight was a big improvement from the first book, but still harbors some little problems. I can get over that though, because I feel like the series is going somewhere intriguing and exciting. The book ends with Celaena essentially giving Chaol the last clue to who she really is, telling him without saying the words, that she loves him too, but in the end ... spoiler -----> When she comes back, she won't be Celaena anymore, at least the one he knows and loves. Assuming his loyalty to the King sticks, they will be enemies. But again, I don't think this is the case. I have high hopes that Chaol and Dorian will be doing their own part to take down the king, and help Celaena however they can<-----. Crown of Midnight seems to be setting up for one epic adventure, and unlike the last book, this book excited me enough to want to continue. So onto Heir of Fire!
Where to Buy
Throne of Glass Box Set (Chapters/Indigo)
His nose grazed the nape of her neck
Chaol: "Gods above, you smell horrible."
She hissed and shoved him, her face burning in earnest now
Celaena: "Carrying around dead body parts for weeks isn't exactly conductive to smelling nice! And maybe if I'd been given time for a bath instead of being ordered to report immediately to the king, I might have -"
She stopped herself at the sight of his grin and smacked his shoulder
Celaena linked arms with him
Celaena: "Come on. Let's go to my rooms so you can debrief me like a proper gentleman."
Chaol snorted and nudged her with his elbow but didn't let go.
Celaena: "If you're suggesting that I have no reason to be here and show leave, then tell me to go."
Chaol: "I'm just trying to figure out whats so boring that you dozed off ten minutes ago."
She propped herself on her elbows
Celaena: "I did not!"
His brows rose
Chaol: "I heard you snoring."
Celaena: "You're a liar, Chaol Westfall. I only closed my eyes for a minute."
He shook his head and went back to work.
Celaena: "I didn't really snore, did I?"
His face was utterly serious
Chaol: "Like a bear."
Celaena: "Leave the talking and the charming to me."
Chaol raised his brows
Chaol: "So I'm just here for decoration?"
Celaena: "Be grateful I consider you a worthy accessory."
Celaena: "Are you going to tell the king?"
He crossed his arms, coming to the edge of the bed and staring down at her.
Chaol: "No. Because I don't feel like having to argue that you're still capable. My men will keep their mouths shut, too. But the next time you do anything like this, I am going to throw you in the dungeons."
Celaena: "For killing him?"
Chaol: "For scaring the hell out of me!"
Chaol: "Dance with me."
Nehemia: "You have power in you, Prince. More power than you realize. It sleeps. In here. When the time comes, when it awakens, do not be afraid. When it is time, I will help you."
Celaena: "Can't you hire a servant like Philippa, so we can have someone bring us treats?"
Chaol raised an eyebrow
Chaol: "Don't you ever stay in your own rooms anymore?"
She kicked Chaol in the ribs with a sock-covered foot
Celaena: "All I'm saying is that I'd like some chocolate cake every now and then."
He closed his eyes
Chaol: "And an apple tart, and a loaf of bread, and a pot of stew, and a mountain of cookies, and a -"
He chuckled as she put her foot against his face and pushed. He grabbed her foot and wouldn't let go when she tried yanking her leg back.
Chaol: "It's true and you know it, Laena."
Celaena: "So what if it is? Haven't I earned the right to eat as much as I want, whenever I want?"
Chaol: "Yes. You have."
After a few moments of silence, he stood up and walked to the door.
She sat up on her elbows.
Celaena: "Where are you going?"
Chaol: "To get you chocolate cake."
You know, the courts weren't always like this, Nehemia had said. There was a time when people valued honor and loyalty - when serving a ruler wasn't about obedience and fear ... Do you think another court like that could ever rise again?
Celaena hadn't given Nehemia an answer. She hadn't wanted to talk about it. But looking at Chaol now, at the man he was, and the man he was still becoming ...
Yes, she thought. Yes, Nehemia. It could rise again, if we could find more men like him.
Baba Yellowlegs: "Hide from fate all you like. But it shall soon find you!"
Celaena: "Is that ... chocolate cake?"
Chaol: "I thought you might need some."
Celaena: "Need, not want?"
Chaol: "For you, I'd say that chocolate cake is most definitely a need."
Celaena: "I can't tell if I should be ashamed of wanting to hold you on this day, or grateful that, despite what happened before now, it somehow brought me to you."
Celaena: "Traitors! Traitors. For refusing to grovel before a conqueror? For sheltering escaped slaves trying to get home? For daring to believe in a world that's better than this gods-forsaken place? I will not be his butcher."
Chaol: "Where will you go?"
Celaena: "Anywhere. As far away as I can get."
Chaol: "And what would you do?"
She shrugged, and both of them realized that he'd been gripping her shoulders. He eased his grip, but his fingers ached to grab her again, as though it would somehow keep her from leaving.
Celaena: "Live my life, I suppose. Live it the way I want to, for once. Learn how to be a normal girl."
Chaol: "How far away?"
Celaena: "I'd travel until I found a place where they'd never heard of Adarlan. If such a place exists."
Chaol: "We'll find that place, then."
Chaol: "I'll go with you."
Chaol: "Why are you crying?"
Celaena: "Because you remind me of how the world ought to be. What the world can be."
Chaol: "I don't want you to think I'm agreeing to keep it secret because I'm ashamed in any way."
Celaena: "Who said anything about shame?"
She gestured down to her naked body, even though it was covered by the blanket.
Celaena: "Honestly, I'm surprised you're not strutting about, boasting to everyone. I certainly would be if I'd tumbled me."
Chaol: "Does your love for yourself know no bounds?"
Celaena: "Absolutely none."
Baba Yellowlegs: "I bet you wipe your ass with gold."
Dorian: "I don't think that would be very comfortable."
Baba Yellowlegs: "Why would a lordling as pretty as you bother yourself with such wicked stories?"
Dorian: "When we're not wiping our asses with gold, we need to find some way to amuse ourselves. Why not learn a little history?"
Baba Yellowlegs: "Indeed."
A broom closet. She followed his attention, and a slow smile spread across her face. She turned toward it, but he grabbed her hand, bringing his face close to hers.
Chaol: "You're going to have to be very quiet."
She reached the knob and opened the door, tugging him inside.
Celaena: "I have a feeling that I'm going to be telling you that in a few moments."
Nehemia: "So what will you be a part of, Celaena? What will you stand for? Or will you only stand for yourself?"
Celaena: "You have no idea what sort of things he can do to you, Nehemia. To your people."
Nehemia: "He massacred five hundred rebels and their families."
Celaena: "And he destroyed my entire kingdom!"
Chaol: "I don't think you realize who you're dealing with."
Man: "If you were that good, you would be more than the Captain of the Guard."
Chaol let out a low, breathy laugh.
Chaol: "I wasn't talking about me."
Man: "She's just one girl."
He gave the man a grin
Chaol: "Then you're really in for a surprise."
Man: "Enough! We have enough enemies as it is! There are worse things out there to face!"
Celaena: "No, there aren't. Because I'm here now."
Nehemia: "Elentya. You will not understand yet, but ... I knew what my fate was to be, and I embraced it. I ran toward it. Because it was the only way for things to begin changing, for events to be set in motion. But no matter what I did, Elentiya, I want you to know that in the darkness of the past ten years, you were one of the bright lights for me. Do not let that light go out.
Celaena: "How can you still look at me like that when you know what I truly am?"
His fingers grazed her cheeks, warming her chilled skin
Chaol: "Fae, assassin - no matter what you are, I -"
Celaena: "Don't. Don't say it."
Celaena: "I want you to know, that you were right. You were right. I am a coward. And I have been running for so long that I've forgotten what it is to stand and fight."
She bowed deeper, putting her forehead against the dirt.
Celaena: "But I promise. I promise that I will stop him. I promise that I will never forgive, never forget what they did to you. I promise that I will free Eyllwe. I promise that I will see your father's crown restored to his head."
She raised herself, drawing a dagger from her pocket, and sliced a line across her left palm. Blood welled, ruby-bright against the golden darn, sliding down the side of her hand before she pressed her palm to the earth.
Celaena: "I promise. On my name, on my life, even if it takes until my last breath, I promise I will see Eyllwe freed."
Chaol: "What does that mean?"
She smiled sadly
Celaena: "You'll figure it out. And when you do ... When you do, I want you to remember that it wouldn't have made any difference to me. It's never made any difference to me when it came to you. I'd still pick you. I'll always pick you."
Chaol: "Please - please, just tell me what that means."
But there was no time, so she shook her head and stepped back.
Chaol took one step toward her, though.
Chaol: "I love you."
She strangled the sob that built in her throat.
Celaena: "I'm sorry."
Check out the rest of the Throne of Glass series below!
#friendstolovers #secretidentity #royal #virgin #unrequited #trauma #slowburn #oppositesattract #grump #frenemies