A majority of the time, second novels in trilogies tend to be the weakest of the three, but this is not the case with Sarah J. Maas’ Crown of Midnight, book two in the Throne of Glass series.
Now reader be warned, if you haven’t finished reading the first book of the trilogy, Throne of Glass, stop reading this review because it is NOT spoiler free (as already indicated by the tag at the beginning). Come back once you’re done with book one.
Okay, now that those readers are gone…Celaena Sardothien survived the killer competition, barely. But, her life is just going to keep getting more complicated now that she’s decided she cannot be with Crown Prince Dorian due to the complexities that would occur with a ruler dating an assassin.
Dorian’s father has made it clear to Celaena that if she does not follow his orders to kill who he lists, he will harm those closest to Celaena’s heart (and who isn’t related to him) – Chaol and Princess Nehemia who is still at the castle trying to protect her people while also exposing the king’s plan.
We already know Celaena is a clever and talented girl, but despite her pure intentions, how long can she pretend to be killing people before the king discovers the truth?
That’s just one of the issues weighing on Celaena’s mind. But now, she’s gotten word from the king that there’s a rebel group planning to start an uprising against him, and she’s in charge of dispatching the leaders, who happen to be individuals she grew up with.
How can Celaena maintain her “fake killings,” discover the plan of the rebels and use it to help her own cause in addition to Priness Nehemia, how can she ensure her safety in addition to those she loves, is it possible for her to ever return to the life of a normal girl that she always dreams of, and how can she stop the king’s growing power that seems to be from another world?
Celaena is relatable to readers because her mentality and reactions to demanding and horrific situations are so realistic — she grieves, she expresses frustration, and she gives in to the feelings of first love… she makes mistakes. She’s not a perfect heroine. That is what makes her so admirable and lovable — we see that she has good intentions, but in book two she continues to fall, and become more and more destroyed by personal tragedies, molding her back into the cold assassin she was raised to be.
I was completely SHOCKED at the big revelation at the end of the novel, leaving me CRAZY for the next novel Heir of Fire, which is done and printed, but won’t be released unit September! I typically pay close attention to detail and purpose of characters and events in books because I love figuring out the twists and turns that keeps the reader engaged in books, but I was still a bit stumped until the last 30 pages when it finally hit me that Celaena’s past will play an important if not, most important role in an impending war.
With every positive step Celaena makes towards her freedom of self and freedom to be a normal girl comes a task filled with tragedy. How will Celaena make it out of this world alive and standing among her loved ones? Will she ever be able to love and be loved? Or will she always return to what’s been engrained in her assassin training?
It’s going to be a long summer…