Review: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J. Maas

I have reviewed this book before in the form of a discussion review. This is my own personal review written directly after reading.

Review: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J. MaasCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Published: August 27th 2013
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five-stars

"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.

Do not finish this book at lunchtime and have to go back to work. That is the very first thing I can tell you, the very first thing that comes to mind when I think of Crown of Midnight because of HOLY CRAP!

If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, I’m not a fantasy reader. I’ve tried it and have been successful a handful of times but unsuccessful just as much. It isn’t my usual jam. But if all fantasy books could be written like Crown of Midnight I would become a convert in a heartbeat. I mean did I say Holy. Crap. yet?? Because…Holy. Crap.

Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass trilogy which features our favorites Celaena, Chaol, Dorian, Nehemia and that adorable dog Fleetfoot. Celaena is now the King’s Champion and with that comes a level of responsibility. Trying to work towards her own freedom and keep the people she has come to care about safe, Celaena is waking a very dangerous line, but a line she sees fit to balance. But as Celaena is far too aware of, not everything is as it seems. And when one single night changes everything for her and those she loves Celaena decides it is time to take no prisoners no matter what the cost to her.

So my summary does the book no justice. I mean how could it when this book is filled with awesome, and awesome that I definitely do not want to give away. There are some major twists and turns, some I saw coming, and some I didn’t, but it is something you need to read for yourself to find out what they are. What I can tell you is that Maas is a genius for getting me to love this series the way she has with her writing, for getting me as invested in these characters the way that she has, and for getting me to want to read anything and everything she writes. And considering if you look at my auto-buy list and see that all the others are just about contemporary authors you’ll truly see what this means.

I could gush and gush and gush. I could tell you how much anxiety I felt reading part of this story. I could tell you about the time I cried on the train reading this book (true story!). But honestly, they are just words. All you need to know is that this book does not suffer from second book syndrome. It actually makes the story stronger when all is said and done. In the end, you will be clamoring for the final part because Crown of Midnight will get you invested no matter what you tell yourself. A DEFINITE must read series!

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Thirteen Days of Ash and Fire: An Heir of Fire Blog Tour Day 10 + GIVEAWAY

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As a newbie lover to the Throne of Glass series, I read all three books this summer, I was delighted when I was asked by Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, Rachel from Hello Chelly, Judith from Paper Riot, Katie from Polished Page-Turners, and Jaz from Fiction in Fiction in Fiction to take part in the Thirteen Days of Ash and Fire Tour to help celebrate the release of Sarah J. Maas’ newest book in the series, Heir of Fire with the other 12 fabulous bloggers on the following schedule.

heirBOOK INFO
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Synopsis:
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

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Book Depository
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AUTHOR INFO
Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire, and the series’ prequel, The Assassin’s Blade. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

 

 

Author Links:
Official Website: http://sarahjmaas.com/
Blog: http://sjmaas.livejournal.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SJMaas
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sarahjmaas/

 

Tour Schedule

August 25 – Jaz @ Fiction In Fiction In Fiction
August 26 – Katie @ Polished Page-Turners
August 27 – Kelly @ Belle of the Literati
August 28 – Elena @ Novel Sounds
August 29 – Nicole @ The Quiet Concert
September 1 – Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs
September 2 – Judith @ Paperiot
September 3 – Melanie @ The Daily Prophecy
September 4 – Magan @ Rather Be Reading
September 5 – Andi @ Andi’s ABCs
September 8 – Gina @ Behind the Pages
September 9 – Rachel @ Hello Chelly
September 10 – Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books

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I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do for my stop on the tour. I haven’t posted my review for Heir of Fire yet so I thought about doing that but it just seemed too dull. So then I started to brainstorm and I came up with what I always like to do, dress the character(s). So I decided to dress Celaena Sardothien.

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The Assassin
Celaena is an assassin. She kills people for a living and has for a very long time. That is what she has been trained to do. She’s hardcore and she would look hardcore. When pulling her look together I went for leather and lots of it. Since she needs to be able to move I found pants that also had some stretch to them and flat boots of course. And no assassin is any good without their sword. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley.

celaena3The Lady
The other side of Celaena is the girly side and that I love about her. She has killed and maimed more people than she could count. She has a reputation of being a cold blooded killer. But she is also a girl. She loves pretty things; dresses, shoes, jewelry. She has to hide that part of herself but it is still there. Because of that I chose a blue dress with sparkle detail and gold accents. Celaena would want people to notice her, but would also want to be able to blend in. I felt this dress fit that part perfectly and would work for any of the events at the palace.

So there you have it, the two sides of Celaena Sardothien. She is definitely a puzzle and grows into a bigger and bigger one with every book.

And that brings us to the GIVEAWAY. The Bloombury has kindly offered to giveaway copies of Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, The Assassin’s Blade & Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas + tote bag + signed print of Crown of Midnight and to open the giveaway internationally to the UK and the US ONLY. It is a fnatatic giveaway and something you don’t want to miss. Make sure you click on the picture below to enter!

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Thanks again for inviting me to participate. It was a lot of fun.

*Side note: Tonight I finally get to meet Sarah J. Maas in person and moderate a Q & A. I’m both excited and nervous. Wish me luck!
**Banner by the amazing Rachel!

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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
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

"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.

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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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