The Dish: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J. Maas

The Dish: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J. MaasCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Published: August 27th 2013
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"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

dish

 

Andi: I’m not sure how to even start this chat. I mean what can you really say about Crown of Midnight other than it was amazingly fantastic??!! It broke my heart and made me cry in public, but I LOVED it. What is your initial reaction?

Michelle: Oh man, what part made you cry?  Then again, you probably can’t say without spoiling.  My initial reaction was that this book had a much darker vibe. Even though we saw Celaena in the labor camps and fighting to be the King’s Champion in the first her assassinations and the progression of the King’s desire for world domination was quite a bit of doom and gloom. I thought the magic aspects were infused pretty well though, not too over the top.  What did you think?

A: Yah, I’m not ruining the story for everyone. I’ll tell you on the side what made me cry. HA

I’m not going to lie, the magic part through me off a little bit as I wasn’t 100% expecting it. In the first book it was more contemporary fantasy so when magic was brought it making it even more fantasy I took pause. But I didn’t hate it. I think it worked well for what Maas was trying to do to the story, how she was trying to further the plot. After I got over my initial shock, it worked for me. And made me understand some of Celaena more.

And you are right, it was a darker book. There was a lot more darker themes, but it worked. I think it played a nice juxtaposition to the stronger bound of Celaena and Chaol. A nice mix of the dark and the light, kind of like Celaena herself.

How did you feel about Celaena being somewhat darker in Crown? And her relationships with both Dorian and Chaol? It was quite the shift from the first book in my opinion.

M: Being dark was more of a necessity than anything else. She had so much to hide about herself and her job that lying, cheating and stealing were the only ways to navigate her circumstances. I liked, however, that she wasn’t a victim in this book.  She was far more dominant than in the previous book in the series and didn’t take a bunch of crap from anyone.  The counterpoint to that was the softer side she was able to enjoy in her relationships with Chaol, Dorian and Nehemia. Their interactions were much more softer in tone and gave the book a nice balance. The relationships also did a great job of creating conflict.

Speaking of, which conflict did you find to be the most interesting?

A: 100% all Celaena and Chaol interactions were the top bill for me in terms of conflict. There were a lot of levels to their relationship where it was romantic or not. On the surface they are completely different people that have stood for completely different things their whole lives. It was so interesting to see that relationship have its ups and downs and I think it added a level to the story that was missing in Throne of Glass. It added some depth. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Chaol is one of my favorite characters in the series. HA. But seriously I love how they never backed down from one another and got in each other’s face.

What about you?

M: I agree !One of the best dynamics in the story is the internal battle Choal had related to loyalty. He was constantly in flux between his loyalties to the King and Celaena and was desperate to find a way to be true to both. I’m interested to see how that dynamic progresses in the Heir of Fire; I imagine there will be a great deal given how this book ended.  Though I suspect there will be a real shift in roles for everyone in that installment.

Let’s talk Dorian shall we? I kinda felt like he was wallpaper through most of this book.  He pined for Celaena a lot but only had a few really pertinent moments when he felt like a strong character in his own right. I have to say there was a real missed opportunity with he and Nehemia from the romantic and political perspectives.  Without giving anything away I was sorry to see that potential fizzle out over the course of the book.  How did you find his role?  Satisfying or just meh?

A: He was super meh for me. As I’ve said in my review of Throne of Glass and many times on Twitter I compared Dorian, Chaol and Celaena to Dawson, Pacey and Joey in Dawson’s Creek. There was one season of the show that Dawson was just background and that is how Dorian was in Crown of Midnight. I understood some of it to a degree as Celaena is the focus of the book, but he was written to be more than that in the other book. I know a lot of how he was written was to lead into stuff in Heir of Fire (not to give anything away) but I still would have liked more depth from him. And like you, I would have liked to see something with he and Nehemia.

But really what I liked most in Crown of Midnight was the interwoven relationships and what it all meant to the story. Dorian and Chaol, Celaena and Chaol, Celaena and Dorian, Nehemia and Celaena; each relationship has a purpose to further the story, to add tension, but it wasn’t tension for tension sake. It worked and was one of my favorite parts.

M: Yes! I agree 100% on how the development of the differing relationships contributed to the larger dynamic of the plot.  I didn’t feel as though anything was superfluous or distracting to the story. It all revolved around Celaena and the progression of her story in a way that didn’t take away from it or make the plot so confusing that it was difficult to follow.  Maas did a fantastic job with weaving it all together and creating a really dynamic cast of characters that each played a significant role in a larger story as opposed to smaller roles in their own individual sub-plot.

A: All I know is that I’m excited to see just where this story is going to take us and just how these relationships will survive.

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