Crown of Midnight is the sequel to Throne of Glass and therefore this review contains spoilers for the previous book (which you MUST read, and then this one).
The King’s champion is sent far and wide to eliminate enemies of the crown. The once Ardalan’s Assassin, Celaena, is now that champion and she carries out the King’s orders without question. Even if it means it drives a wedge between her and her friends. But her public mask is hiding a secret, one that would get her killed if the King found out. When he orders the assassination of a man Celaena once called a friend, she asks for a month to uncover information on the rebels and their plans.
Throne of Glass made into on my best of 2012 list so Crown of Midnight had a lot to live up to. Somehow it managed to smash my expectations and be even better than the first book. These books deliver everything I think I want from epic fantasy (but struggle to find in 800+ page books) and it is easy to forget this is a young adult story. Celaena is so past a teenager in what she’s gone through and the prose never feels like it’s aimed at a young reader.
Picking up from the final events of Throne of Glass, Celaena and Chaol are still dancing round each other romantically. The first half of the book puts a lot more focus on their relationship but their bond becomes a really important factor into what happens next. It’s slow moving and sweet and…awww! And unlike other love-triangles, Dorian is sensible and mature about things and doesn’t become a third wheel or intrusive. I liked him much better as someone who could see the best for his friends. Yes, he admits to jealousy, but it doesn’t turn him into a Bad Person.
Somewhere in the middle something momentous happens and from then on it’s an action packed, emotional roller coaster of a read. It turns the whole book so far on its head. There will be frustration, I warn you. A certain reaction seemed a bit too extreme but by the end I think I could piece together the justification, even though I was pretty mad at the character in question. Don’t plan to sleep until you’ve reached the last page and then you’ll still want more. I think my jaw literally dropped in certain places.
There’s a lot more magic too. This seems to be a thing with epic fantasy…start off with the world building which is like an alternative version of medieval Europe and then bring in the actual fantasy in dribs and drabs. Celaena’s been learning the Wyrdmarks and there’s a slow realisation that magic is perhaps not as dead as everyone thinks. Which as a reader, we knew already, but it’s good to see the characters catching up.
Crown of Midnight is published by Bloomsbury and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 15th August 2013. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
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Also reviewed @ Booking in Heels
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.