Thursday, August 8, 2013

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

Release date: August 27, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Pages: 432
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
So... Uh... I only gave Throne of Glass three stars. I thought the plot was predictable and the love triangle pointless. I don't know what happened between books one and two, but HOLY CANOLLI was Crown of Midnight AMAZING. And I mean amazing. I can't recall any other book recently that has so quickly immersed me into the story and had me so emotionally invested so completely. I feel like Sarah J. Maas has the magic recipe to making me melt into varying puddles of excitement, fangirling, and heartbreak--and somehow that doesn't bother me one whit.

Despite having won the competition to become the King's Champion, Celaena is far from his simpering puppet. She is dispatching those she is ordered to but keeping secrets that she doesn't dare tell a soul. When the king assigns a task that brings Celaena's past into play, she has to decide where her loyalties ultimately lie, and how far she is willing to go to protect them.

There is so much going on in this sequel that it's hard to know where to start. From the very beginning, I was completely immersed into--and a little obsessed with--the story. Everything technical has gotten better. The writing is better, more descriptive, and the plotting--OH THE PLOTTING--is miles and miles above where it was. If these books follow this trajectory, I can't even imagine how good the rest of this series will be.

I loved Celaena in the first book, and I loved her just as much if not more here. While she's still as hardcore as she was, there's so much more to learn about her. She has a past no one could imagine and a depth of despair and heartbreak that is beyond tragic.

(Now, I would get into Chaol but that would end in this review being several thousand words long and you don't want that--nor do I. Suffice it to say, he's even more swoon-worthy in this book. Forget Dorian, y'all!)

Crown of Midnight is among the top five books I've read so far this year and the top two sequels. It's alternately thrilling and heartbreaking, sweet and pulse-pounding. It's head and shoulders above the first. Crown of Midnight will draw you in and not let go until you've been put through the ringer--just what the best books should do.

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