Format: Digital ARC
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA- Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.
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. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
This was not the sort of hunt that began at the front door.
Holy YA Fantasy!
It took me some time to sort out my thoughts and come up with a decent review for CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, the sequel to Sarah J. Maas epic fantasy series, Throne of Glass. Following the events of book 1, Celaena Sardothien is now the Royal Assassin, killing off the King's dissenters and enemies one by one. Given that Celaena's day job is an executioner, still I was astonished that SJMaas pushed the envelope further by going a tad graphic with the kill scenes. My eyes bugged out and my jaw dropped on the floor from the first chapter alone because I know this will be another epic installment. Blood, gore, dismemberment and decapitation, it's all part of Celaena's JD and I give SJMaas props for staying authentic to Celaena's character. I'm just not sure if her young adult readers will appreciate these compelling scenes as much as I did.
There's so many plot twists and mini-resolutions that happened in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT it completely shunned the "sequel-filler" curse. For starters, the conundrum that is Prince Dorian or Captain Chaol Westfall has been semi-resolved. It seems Celaena has finally made her choice but we never really know with these YA novels. These heroines are fond of getting caught in complicated love triangles, relishing on being courted and seduced by two guys, if not more, a clear indication of their low self esteem. Fingers-crossed, I'm hoping that Celaena will remain steadfast especially after sampling the bitter taste of losing several loved ones.
As for the other characters, I was ecstatic when Kaltain Rompier got her comeuppance in Throne of Glass, now I only feel pity for the former Queen B. As a prisoner, she's been deduced and humiliated like a common thief and left to rot in her own filth in her dark and musty prison cell. I was really hoping that SJMaas will take up the Arobynn Hamel, Celaena's mentor who turned out to be Judas, subplot. Since the novellas, I'm really itching for at least a confrontation between these two. But it seems either Arobynn has been forgotten or he's reserved for a latter book. Baba Yellowlegs (I imagine her like a blowfish, very poisonous), the gypsy-like lastborn Witch of the Kingdom gave me the creeps! I'm only happy that Celaena got rid of her but not without consequence. My gut tells me we'll hear more from these witches in the coming book/s.
And as with Throne of Glass, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT has influences if not parallelisms with Game of Thrones. In one scene where Celaena was simmering and reciting the names of those people who died under her watch, she reminded me of Arya ennumerating her hit list. Renegade Queen, Aelin Galathynius, is reminiscent of (Lady Boner) Denaerys Targaryen, building an army of slaves from afar with a promise of a future siege. Like Denaerys, Aelin is expected to free the people from their oppressive King and bring balance to the land.
There was a great tragedy that happened in the book and though it was heartbreaking, I find it necessary. This death started a chain of events which will define Celaena, Chaol and Dorian's loyalty and future role in the series. With this, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT ended with a big promise: more blood and an even bigger plot in book 3. Celaena's significance in this brewing dissension and discontentment with the King is quickly growing and with more players added to the mix, I can easily see a great war brewing in the distance. How it will play out is yet unknown but I'm pretty sure SJMaas will and can deliver.
Never Forgive, never forget.