Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
“It was war upon them all. Let them tremble in fear at what they had awoken.”
As the King’s Champion, Celeana is sent to exterminate anyone who opposes the king of Ardalan. Yet she is not exactly loyal to him, but there are so many secrets around her that she doesn’t know who to trust. As the pressure from an ancient dead queen increases for her to discover what evil the king has brought on and her relationships are strained, irreversible choices are made that eventually lead to Celeana breaking. From that moment on, she must decide what her loyalties are and role she will play with her life.
This book doesn’t necessarily suffer from second book syndrome, but it certainly is a bridge book. A lot of relationships are made and broken in this story as Celeana battles with her choices – who to trust, what to do, etc. Her decisions are not limited to whether or not she will follow the kings orders, but her loyalty, morality, and heart is tested over and over in this book. So much happens in this book that just piles on more and more to the mystery behind the king’s power and his rule over his empire.
Trigger Warnings: violence, genocide, kidnapping, implied rape, & torture.
The World Building
Being a second book, we already have a nice established look on the world in this series. I love how despite that, we get an expounded look and a deeper development of surrounding lands that play into the series as well as the history that the current monarchy is built on. This book starts to introduce more about the magic that the empire is stripped from. From the wyrdmarks, to fae, to the slight introduction to witches that just add extra flavor to keep you interested in the world. Like, what else will be coming in? Magic, that’s what. It slowly leaks into the story until the barriers cannot hold anymore, and then BAM, there’s some pretty cool magic.
Continuing like the first book, there is also some creepy dark magic going on. We don’t know anything about it, and it’s scary enough to get Celeana having the heebie jeebies. That’s a lot coming from a girl who has faced a ridderak and seen a lot of death. I love the idea of this otherworldly and powerful magic that is still foreign to the world they live in.
I like that in this book we get a small taste of the seedy underworld that Celeana grew up with and much more about her history before that. This helped me appreciate more of her character because of all that she had gone through and had seen. There’s something endearing about a character that can still love after all that.
The characters go through some amazing ARC’s as they start to fall into their roles in the bigger picture of the story. Each of them are tested to what they believe is right and wrong, and how much they can stomach the cruelty of their kingdom.
In the beginning of the book I always think, look at this assassin not assassinating people. Like what? Why are you bragging so much and then not following through? Why because the relationships that Celeana has developed has reintroduced humanity and conscience into her. That is, until she’s pushed over the bring and she snaps and goes bat shit crazy. I mean DAAYUUMMMM, behold, the greatest assassin of Ardalan!
CLOVES – Wasted Time