July 1, 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by S. J. Maas

Title: Crown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass Series 

Past Reviews: (Book 1 Review) (Novellas Review)

Published: August 2013

Edition Read: Purchased Hardcopy

Level Recommended: Young Adult 

 I enjoyed book two of this series more than the first, and I'm very intrigued to see where Maas goes with the final two books in the series. 

Summary: 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 willing to fight for?

Review: I know I wasn't too thrilled with the first book of the series (Throne of Glass), but strangely enjoyed the four e-book novellas more than the first book. I attribute this to slow pacing and the book being marketed as high fantasy, but with very little fantasy actually occurring until nearly the end of the novel.

Book two follows Celaena after becoming the kings champion. She is tasked by the king to dispatch his rivals, conspirators, and anyone else that he believes is opposing him. The opening scene of book two is, rightly, Celaena completing one of her assigned tasks to kill a conspirator. However, she is actually deceiving the king by giving her targets a choice. She can either kill them or they can disappear and never be seen again. 

Along with her ruse Celaena cannot tell anyone what she is  doing. Either to protect herself or to protect  those that she loves. When the king decides that Celaena is trustworthy he tasks her to infiltrate a group of conspirators where she is confronted by more of her past.

Maas did a good job bringing more fantasy into this series. This second installment broached many subjects in the world that Maas has created. Where did the magic in the land go? How did the king somehow stop magic from existing? How does the king continue to keep magic from reinstating itself into the world all over again. Why where Celaena's parents killed?

I truly enjoyed learning more about Maas's world and the players that built it. Throw in a blossoming love between Celaena and her captian of the guard and you have sold me on the story! Crown of Midnight continued with its slow pacing, and that did still make me wish that events moved along faster. Or, in some cases, wish it had been removed over all. 

However, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this second installment. I can't wait for book three, Heir of Fire, to be released later on this year. While this series isn't blowing me away it is continuing to be apart of my To Be Read list. I hope to continue to see more of this world that Maas has created.  Slowly, Celaena's world and what was lost when the king destroyed magic is becoming more and more formed. I'm intrigued to know what comes next in Celaena's journey towards freedom and her seeking to find answers about her past.

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