A while ago, I reviewed Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. As with most of Maas’ books, I really liked it although I had some reservations. Still I decided to continue reading. I picked up Crown of Midnight shortly after. I already looked at the Goodreads ratings before I started reading. The general consensus was that Crown of Midnight was much better than the original. This seemed promising. To be fair, in Maas’ ACOTAR series, I adored the second book in the series more than the other two. Maas doesn’t appear to suffer from the second-book-syndrome. But is Crown of Midnight truly any good?
As always, Goodreads provides a much better synopsis than I could have written, so here we go:
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as 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.
So is it any good?
Crown of Midnight is a much stronger book than Throne of Glass. The main thing I enjoyed about this book is that it appears to have more direction than Throne of Glass. Even though fighting in a competition to become the King’s assassin, while champions are murdered left and right seems quite intense as well. Yet I was never as much on the edge of my seat reading Throne of Glass as I was with Crown of Midnight. Shit went down this time around and while the first half of the book was generally a bit slow, the action picked up fast enough.
Events unfolded in a way I never expected, making me utter “holy shit” more than once. I loved the mystery in this book. While Throne of Glass was slightly predictable, this one provided enough twists and turns to make me dizzy. But in a good way! Apart from that, it managed to be soul-destroying in some parts. Maas has taken a page out of George R. R. Martin’s book of Make-People-Love-A-Character-And-Murder-Said-Character-In-A-Brutal-Way. Still recovering to be honest.
While Celaena will never be my favourite character, despite the fact that I can appreciate her cockiness. She has improved a lot compared to Throne of Glass, so I will give her that. My absolute favourite character in this book is Chaol. He is not perfect, but close enough to make me want to put him in a jar and keep him with me forever. I don’t care if that sounds weird.
Also, everybody needs a friend like Nehemia. She is smart and kind and fierce. Basically everything I aspire to be. Dorian is a cool character as well and I liked his development in this novel, but he did not steal my heart the way Chaol and Nehemia have.
Naturally, not a single book is perfect and Crown of Midnight is no exception. Sometimes the slower pace was slightly distracting and made me struggle to read through certain parts. That is why I did not manage to finish it as fast as I would have liked. Furthermore, at times it was tiring to read from Celaena’s perspective. While I do not mind her as much as some readers do, her behaviour became a little bit tiring at times. When you spend so much time in somebody’s head, you want to like them despite their faults and mistakes. But this was not a major issue and overall the book was very good.
+ More suspense and mystery
+ Character development
– Slower pace in the first half of the book.
– Main character not entirely likeable.