Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Firstly, thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy <3

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)


Date Read: June 7 – 13 2013
Release Date: August 21st 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Source: ARC via Publisher
Genre: Fantasy
My rating:  (Not enough stars)

Synopsis:
“Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all… And trying to may just destroy her.
Love or loathe Celaena, she will slice open your heart with her dagger and leave you bleeding long after the last page of the highly anticipated sequel in what is undeniably THE hottest new fantasy series.”

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“Never forgive, never forget.”

If there was any doubt before, it can be swept away because Crown of Midnight has proved that Celaena Sardothien IS Adarlan’s Assassin, and it’s a title she rightly earned.
I can’t even begin to describe the tumult of emotions I went through whilst reading Crown of Midnight. I think I experienced every freaking emotion known to man. Legit. This book exceeded ALL my expectations, and then some. Crown of Midnight is thus far my favourite book of 2013, and it’s going to be hard to beat!

“And by the time she landed on the mezzanine and rolled into a crouch, two of her daggers were already flying.”

Adarlan’s friendly neighbourhood assassin, Celaena Sardothien, is now the King’s Champion and does his dirty work for him. I immediately questioned her morals – was she so desperate for freedom that she would willingly slay whomever the king ordered? But for all her badassery, she’s a girl who does the right thing. I absolutely loved her loyalty. Some may say she’s loyal to a fault, and heck it’s nearly her hamartia but nobody is perfect and I thought this trait was perfect for her personality.  There is just something to be respected about Celaena’s character – in her actions, in the way she goes about things to protect those she loves and cares about. She’s brave and courageous, but she is not without fear. In the words of Ambrose Redmoon “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear”. I think this quote describes Celaena perfectly. At times she’s called a coward, but she rises above that and faces what’s ahead of her and that character growth, the move from selfish to selfless, was what commanded respect for Celaena Sardothien. Now aforementioned badassery. This eighteen year-old girl is the most kickass heroine you’ll ever meet. She manoeuvres daggers like they’re extensions of her arms – I followed each slice of her sword, each swift movement that was the assassin’s dance and I revelled in each bloodthirsty swipe that earned her the title of Adarlan’s Assassin. The build-up that Maas created in Throne of Glass for Sardothien’s skills come crashing down in a symphony of clashing blades, whistling daggers and silent arrows in Crown of Midnight.

“And then there was nothing but metal ringing and the shouts of the injured going down around her, and she was soaring through them, delighting in the feral song that sang through her blood and bones.”

Captain of the King’s Guard, Chaol Westfall. Cue massive sigh. *Fans self* THIS BOY OMFG ASDLFDKLSFNPAOEIHGSLGJSD. *Runs around in circles to try to calm down* Nope didn’t help. Where do I even begin to describe Chaol? Do I start with his silky dark hair or those piercing brown eyes that see everything? The toned body of a soldier or that beautiful personality? I don’t even… Chaol is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. Kind, strong and protective he really keeps to himself and is one hard character to read. I loved his sense of honour and duty to the King. And I loved that sense of honour conflicting with his longing for a certain assassin. Every time I followed his eyes as he watched Celaena, my heart clenched in pain for him. He tries so hard to hide his jealousy, but Celaena’s probably the only one that doesn’t see it. After being introduced to Chaol in book one I knew I just had to have more of him in book two. And oho I wasn’t disappointed!

“Did his parents have any idea that in the entire castle, in the entire kingdom, there was no one more noble and loyal than him?”

It would be a crime to talk about Chaol and not Dorian. The sweet crown prince, Dorian Havilliard. Maas created a complicated love triangle in Throne of Glass that divided many – both Chaol and Dorian would be ideal for Celaena for different reasons. For those that remember the ending of Throne of Glass, you’ll remember the outcome Maas teased us with. Dorian with this charming smile, love for books and easy-going nature appeals to another side of Celaena. Well whatever your ship, Dorian has his share of longing glances too in Crown of Midnight. Oh right I was meant to be talking about his character. Absolutely nothing like his harsh father, the crown prince is a lot softer but he is just and I can tell he’ll be a good king one day. One that doesn’t rule through fear, force or violence but rather, with wisdom, care and genuine love for his people. The crown prince faces his own battles and there are a few revelations that left me shocked.

“… We will always stand apart. We will always have… Responsibilities. We will always have burdens that no one else can understand.”

We are again graced with the headstrong Princess Nehemia. Nehemia’s guidance and friendship are a refreshing balance in the male dominated palace. Her beliefs and words of wisdom are grounds for treason, but they are a much needed look into the politics and harsh reality of Adarlan.  Another secondary character that’s introduced is Archer, an “escort” who once trained with Celaena and who becomes involved in the overall story. These characters all become intertwined in an elaborate plot that blew me away.

“If we do not strike now, then whatever he is brewing will only grow more powerful. And then we will be beyond any chance of hope.”

I think the part everybody was waiting for (well I was anyway) was the romance. Maas doesn’t disappoint AT ALL in this department. My goodness I get swoony every time I think about the romance in Crown of Midnight. I’ll be honest, I keep re-reading my favourite bits and squealing. Crown of Midnight has the kind of gradual romance that’s filled with stolen looks, longing gazes and an internal conflict that’s borderline denial. It’s the bittersweet kind where each instance is made the more precious by the effort it took to develop to such a fleeting meeting. Every touch, every kiss, every thrum of desire shooting down the body – they made my heart squeeze in every direction, made me sigh in happiness, bite my lips at the tension and UGH just pulled ALL my heartstrings! Maas toyed with my heart in every which way, making it twist in happiness, then ripping it to shreds, painfully stitching it back together only to rip the stitches open again. It was heartbreaking, it rendered me speechless, it was beautiful.

“He found himself gauging the distance between their lips, his eyes flicking between her mouth and her eyes, the hand he had entwined in her hair stilling. Desire roared through him, burning down every defense he’d put up, erasing every line he’d convinced himself he had to maintain.”

The plot itself had so many twists and turns I felt breathless reading it. Celaena’s adventure becomes a darker one as we delve into the world of the assassin underground. We’re given a glimpse into her painful past, Adarlan’s horrifyingly evil present, and it’s shaky future. The plot in Throne of Glass gave me the shivers, but this? This left me awestruck, feeling bleak and yet filled with so much hope at the possibilities. Maas amasses us with different stories that weave together to make one dramatic and suspenseful plot. She writes betrayal and evil like no other. And that ending?! I’ll be honest, I saw it coming from book one. But the way Maas unravels clues to fill in the blanks, to reach that climax that made me go “OH. MY. GOD.” Well, it was spectacular. And it will leave you pining for book three.

“There was nothing in the shadows. Just more and more locked iron doors on either side. It was so, so quiet…”

“… I want you to know that in the darkness of the past ten years, you were one of the bright lights for me. Do not let that light go out.”

Crown of Midnight is a sequel like no other. Maas’ grasp of the fantasy genre is amazing and her style of delivery is flawless. Her prose flows effortlessly and gracefully across the page, with as much skill as Celaena’s swordsmanship. Maas has managed to not just incorporate young adult fantasy in Crown of Midnight, but fantasy with a dash of a different kind of Fey, a pinch of the macabre, a hint of Gothicism, a douse of magic and a whole heaping of awesome. Filled with beautiful romance, stealthy assassinations, growing friendships, traitors and a plot bigger than the population of slaves in the salt mines of Endovier and Calaculla combined, this left me reeling.


“You remind me of how the world ought to be. What the world can be.”



8 comments:

  1. CHAOL <33 I loved Celaena way more here, she really was as kick ass as what she said she was in ToG. AND DAT ENDING. :O Tore me.

    Well written review as usual! <33

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    1. She really proved herself aye?

      THAT ENDING BROKE ME TOO D;

      Thank you thank you Mel <3333

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  2. I needed this book last year! I love you to talk about the characters as though you've met them in real life, actual I think I do it too...
    Great review Jaz!

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    1. Maas writes like you know them Keely! It's amazing. I WAS Celaena <3

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  3. *Major fangirling!!!* Waiting for this book to come out is pure TORTURE!!! I'm so happy it doesn't disappoint though.
    Team Chaol all the way! :D

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    1. I think you'll really love it (:

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  4. Love this review Jaz! I think I could have talked about this book forever too, I think my heart is still recovering. Maas toyed with my feelings in the cruelest possible way, I can't wait to see which way things will go especially the way things ended! :(

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    1. My heart is never going to recover :( that ending was so epic! Book three is going to amazing O_O

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