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.
As with the first installment in this series, Sarah J. Maas has an incredible writing style. It is really beautiful and elegant, whilst still offering a rich and detailed description. It’s the kind of writing that I think a lot of people find too much and have to skim over some sentences and paragraphs. But I personally love this kind of descriptive writing. I think it really builds the story, world and characters.
We start to see a little bit more of the world in the second book, especially with Celeana’s journey’s into rifthold and the visiting carnaval, which includes a witch – a race that has been mentioned but not expanded on before. We also get to learn more about the magical lore that is interwoven in the world, something that is developed really well.
However, when it comes to character development, Celeana remains the same for me. I don’t find her that interesting or that individual. I feel like there are plenty of scenes that show her character but it’s never really dived into. She feels very much like the strong willed female archetype for fantasy protagonists and there isn’t much to her beyond that. The same with the other characters, many of them seem to fill character tropes and then not have all that much more to them.
Two characters that are developed pretty well though are Dorian and Chaol. It was really nice to see more chapters from Chaol’s perspective in this book, especially since his questioning of where his loyalties lie mirrors that of what many of the citizens of Adarlan are also experiencing. I also really appreciate that the romance was very much a secondary plot line. In a fantasy this intricate I believe that romance should take a backseat. Whilst it can be fun, I think it’s often forced. But Maas manages to make it feel very natural and uninvasive to the plotline.
I still have an issue with the lack of diversity. Both in race, sexuality and character tropes. Again, a lot of the smaller characters seem to be imitations of each other, and for a world that is so expansive, there doesn’t seem to be any different types of culture or diversity.
The plot started to get more complicated in Crown of Midnight, which meant that the middle lost it’s direction a bit. There was a bit of info dumping and a fair few scenes that weren’t particularly interesting, nor did they seem to have much of an impact on the overarching plot. Which meant that it was easy to become distracted in the middle of the book. It’s slow. But I promise sticking with it is worth it for the ending.
Something that did really bug me though is when Celeana was working as the King’s champion. We know that she has no issue killing people. She was an assassin in the past, when she snapped at the mine she killed dozens and when Chaol was kidnapped she also killed without a second thought. So why does she spare Lords and Ladies of Adarlan, people who would have supported and funded the campaign that got her parents killed and her country invaded and tortured. Furthermore, she saves them knowing that if she got caught it would put many of her loved ones in danger. It’s really confusing to me, and I don’t think it fits with her character at all.
It also reminds me largely of Graceling, where Katsa pretends to kill people, except in Graceline, this storyline makes sense. The whole thing felt so out of place in Crown of Midnight.
What did you think of this series?
Send me a message and I’ll put the kettle on,