Sunday, January 20, 2019

Review: CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 4/5 stars

I liked Crown of Midnight more than Throne of Glass, but so far The Assassin’s Blade has still been my favorite. I thought Celaena’s character was much more developed in this book, and she finally started to act more like an assassin than she did in the first book.

*The rest of this review has SPOILERS for Crown of Midnight.*

Early in the book, the name Aelin Galathynius came up as being the lost heir of Terrasen, and I know that the main character in the later books is named Aelin, and that Celaena’s name is not her real name, and that Celaena is from Terrasen, so my guess was that Celaena is the lost heir of Terrasen but doesn’t know it because she’s been away since she was so young, and she’s actually named Aelin. This was pure speculation, but lo and behold, at the end of the book we learn that Celaena is actually Aelin—and she knows it. Lots of clues led up to that revelation, so I wasn’t very surprised to learn the truth, but I am pleased I guessed correctly who she was.

I’ll stand by what I said in an earlier review: Celaena is described as the fiercest assassin in Adarlan, yet she is actually quite compassionate, and she wants to kill only people who deserve it. And even then she still has reservations, like how she spares the people she’s assigned to kill by the king simply because they’re innocent. She’s not quite the brutal assassin I imagined and was led to believe, but I guess having morals is a good thing, even for an assassin.

There were some scenes when she was brutal and full of vengeance and I honestly liked those moments. The action scene that happened in the warehouse when she’s rescuing Chaol is the most exciting part of this book and my favorite action scene I’ve read about Celaena so far. She was so fierce and ruthless and I loved every minute of it because she just dropped all those men like they were nothing. I wish more of the book could have been like that part. I would have liked to see more killing, especially an attempt on the king’s life, although I doubt that will happen until Kingdom of Ash because there’s so much more story to be told surrounding him.

The King of Adarlan was actually my favorite perspective to read from. His was a rare point of view to see, but we learned a lot in this book about him and his plans and his secrets. He is a very cunning man, and I want to know more about what he is hiding. I hope we get more scenes from him in later books as well. It’s clear there are a lot of mysteries and lies circling around the castle, and I sense a major betrayal at some point in the series, if not a handful of minor betrayals as well. People in power know things and are keeping that information hidden for massive plans of destruction and control.

The magical elements of the series are slowly coming into play and I am curious how the story will change once magic makes a full return (if that ever happens). I’m also curious about the limits of the magic the king is using from the Wyrdkeys. I also wonder if he banned traditional magic but still kept it for his own use only to become the most powerful ruler, or if he came across it later on after he banned it, or if he even has access to this magic at all (it was not totally clear in the book). As I had hoped in my review of Throne of Glass, the nature of the Wyrd and Wyrdmarks are described more fully in this book. We actually learn a lot about this form of “magic,” and I was pleased that so much information was revealed to Celaena. I still would like to know more about the magic that’s not related to the Wyrd though. What is it? What can you do with it?

I expected the Throne of Glass series to have a classical fantasy setting but the more I read, the more supernatural it gets. I’m not opposed to magic in this kind of setting but all these demons and inhuman-like creatures keep showing up and that’s just not what I wanted to happen and it honestly made me a bit disappointed. The last sixty or so pages of Crown of Midnight took me so long to read and made me less excited to start Heir of Fire because I know there will be more supernatural elements and creatures because that’s the direction the story is going, but I’m determined to finish this series anyway! I guess I also want more action and assassinations to happen, and not just Celaena fighting monsters but her fighting and killing evil people, that’s what I wanted to see. The Assassin’s Blade was my favorite because it had the most action and interesting scenes and character development, and it was the closest to what I was expecting out of this series.

I’m happy Nehemia was in this book again; she still might be my favorite character, at least thus far. However, it took me the whole book to decide whether she was on Celaena’s side or not because I couldn’t tell what she was truly after. I am sad that she was killed, but we needed an important death in this book as a compelling force for Celaena to proactively search out the answers she needs now.

Chaol is growing on me. In Throne of Glass, I liked Dorian and Chaol equally. But now, I like Chaol more, but that might just be because he was more present and we got to see more of his emotions in this book. I loved his (short-lived) relationship with Celaena and the slow build up it took to get there. There’s definitely not insta-love going on in these books, which I appreciate. Quite the opposite, actually, when I was itching for something to happen every time they were in the same room. I liked Chaol and Celaena together, and I really hope that they mend the rift between them and revive their relationship eventually because I like her with Chaol more than with Dorian. I am sad that they split so soon, but I figured something had to happen because it’s rare for a relationship to be cemented by book two of a seven-book series. I don’t want her to flip flop back and forth all series though, so if she ends up staying with Dorian for the rest of the series then I’ll be fine.

Archer was the most infuriating character, I swear. He’s good, he’s bad, he’s good, he’s bad. He’s about to die, he lived, he’s on this side, he’s on that side. I was so glad when Celaena finally ended him, like seriously, I’d been waiting for that to happen for a few hundred pages.

Crown of Midnight was a good installment in the Throne of Glass series. I’m so glad I’m finally reading all these books. The story ended with a big reveal about Celaena and her Fae heritage and about the Wyrdkeys and magic, which is going to lead to some interesting adventures for Celaena as she travels to Wendlyn in Heir of Fire. I’m excited to see where the story goes from here because there are so many open ends right now.

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