A Return to Erilea: Review of Crown of Midnight


Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Book Two)
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Page Count: 420 pages
Summary: 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. (via goodreads)

So, I reviewed Throne of Glass before my long break, and then I finally was able to give book two of this series a read. I didn't go into this book with any expectations, just some excitement about experiencing this world again. Crown of Midnight starts off with Celaena on a job, doing exactly what was intended from the point she won the contest in the last book: assassinating others under the order of the king. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. Yet again, Maas is able to draw you so rapidly into the world of Erilea to witness the struggle of living under a king as cruel as the one Celaena has to serve. I thought I truly hated him last book, but that feeling just keeps building as new discoveries are brought to light for the characters; specifically Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, and Nehemia. The underlying rebellion of these characters because of a man this evil had me on the edge of my seat, especially because he’s a king who is extremely cunning. I didn't ever doubt the genuine danger of Celaena and Nehemia, and eventually the others. We’re also given some new characters: Archer Finn and Dorian’s slimy cousin, Roland.

Where the first book focuses mostly on the competition, this one focuses more on the rebellion and how deep the oppression is over all parts of their world. Celaena is truly tested in this book and she's a very real character to feel for. She's badass, but she's not invincible. She's relatable, and it's so easy to understand everything she's going through and the fear she has to take the risks that Nehemia is asking of her to take. She has real vulnerability, and it sets her apart from the typical ass kicking character trope often given to female protagonists. She's quickly becoming one of my favorites.

The relationships in the second book grow and are taken to another level. One that had me exploding and squealing and just all around fangirling for my ship. I loved the progression of Celaena and Chaol and it was not hard at all to further convince me just how well they work together. Not just romantically but also with their friendship. They work hard together, they communicate so well, and the intimacy that grows between them was really amazing to experience. They're a team. There’s such amazing chemistry that I was constantly FLAILING ALL OVER THE PLACE. Then, a certain something happened that had me close to passing out from happiness.

Then ANOTHER CERTAIN THING HAPPENS, and my world is shattering around me. Everything was hurting, especially for these characters and the tribulations they have to go through. That happiness from before was gone. So long and farewell because I’m soon given a long road to travel full of ANGST and betrayal of all sorts. But it doesn't take away from the story because not long after these events, which act as a catalyst of sorts, some big questions are answered in regards to the plot involving the king and rebellion. Such as, just how much power does the King actually have? Then the book ends with a major bomb drop, one I was not expecting even with the hints given. I was as shocked as Chaol and left immediately wanting to start the next book but also wanting some cool off time because wow the second half of the book went up in intensity. I was biting my nails by the end.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was everything I believe a second book should be to get readers even deeper into a series and its characters (I think I'm a little in love with Chaol). I want more more more and I’m not ready to be done and left waiting after book three!

This book left me like:

highlighted quotes:

"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."

"His hands grazed lower, down her back, not even stumbling over the scar tissue. He'd kissed every scar on her back, on her entire body, last night."