Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Posted June 1, 2014 by Jessica in Fantasy, Jessica, Reviews, Young Adult / 94 Comments

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
Published on: August 27 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 420
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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"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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Ten(ish) years ago, before the explosion of hair removal services, I used to go to this tiny, South Korean lady who rented a space in a nearby salon. The moment she got me in her room, she’d keep up a constant stream of very bad English. The only thing she said that I could understand was, “Oh my GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.” This was also her favorite thing to say, so I heard it a lot.

That’s how I feel after finishing this book.

Oh my GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.

Throne of Glass is one of my favorite series right now. It’s probably my #1 favorite YA series, and it’s also the only one of my favorite YA series that isn’t ending sometime this year—WOOT. So, of course, after loving the first book so much, I was worried about book 2. How could it possibly live up to its predecessor?

But what I learned about Sarah J. Maas is that she is not a one trick pony, b/c Crown of Midnight was one of those perfect second installments. Everything was more. Celaena was more kick-ass. Chaol was more swoonworthy. The King was more vile. There was more action, more betrayal, more heartbreak—just more.

Celaena is now the King’s Champion, having killed (HA!) it in the competition (like we knew she would). But trained assassin or not, she of course has issues with her new job title. The King is responsible for the death of her entire COUNTRY (not to mention her immediate family) after all, so does she like being his personal, one-woman hit-squad?

Not so much.

But the King warned her that if she didn’t toe the line, he’d kill everyone she cares about—Chaol, Nehemia, Nehemia’s family, probably her dog too, b/c he’s just that kind of bastard . . . so what’s a girl to do?

Plot and scheme, that’s what.

But she’s not the only one, and up until the half-way point, this ominous feeling kept building and building. Nothing bad was happening yet, but everyone kept making bad decision after bad decision. Little things that kept up a steady flow of dread, b/c I knew that those little things were going to eventually combine to form a great, big whole. I knew something was coming, I just didn’t know what.

Then, suddenly, I was too happy to be bothered with silly, little things like bad feelings.

But a storm was coming, and that “happy place” was just the eye, meant to lull you into a false sense of security . . .

And then the Bad Thing happened. Which caused the Even Worse Thing to happen.

And I’m not gonna lie, it was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E.

And then you start to cope. And just when you start to get your land-legs back, you get your mind friggin’ blown.

Anyone who was kind of on the fence about this series will get most, if not ALL, of their questions answered in this installment. And as terrible as the terrible things were (and man, they were terrible), Maas somehow managed to not only end on a hopeful note, but to also have me dying for the next installment the way the absolute worst kind of cliffhanger will have me dying for the next installment . . . but without the cliffhanger . . .

How did she do that?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I can’t get my hands on Heir of Fire, coming to you September 2, 2014, soon enough.

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.

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94 responses to “Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

  1. Probably my number one YA series on the TBR pile for me. More and more people jumping all over it. Of course Divergent was the last YA series that sucked me in with hype and that failed spectacularly for me, but hopefully this will go a bit better.

  2. Why, oh why, do I still have Throne of Glass in all of its gorgeousness still sitting patiently on my shelf? No excuses! I NEED to read it ASAP! I swear, sometimes I get so overloaded with current review books I’m totally unable to catch up on books I have on my shelf. I’m sure it’s a common blogger complaint. I need to make more time for ME books! 😀 So glad you enjoyed this one! This series sure is loved by many. I need to see what it’s all about. 😉

  3. You have this strange, strange effect on me, making me want to read YA. It’s quite rare, lol, I dunno how you manage it. I actually think I’m gonna start reading this series sometime soon. After I read The Hallows though, must be disciplined, lol.

  4. Fabulous review, Jessica! And I totally agree about Maas keeping the over quality of writing up. She is fantastic! I knew it straight from the novellas which were excellent.

    • Me too! I was one of those people of stumbled across the novellas a week or two prior to the release of ToG, and I absolutely devoured them. The series keeps expanding into greater and more wonderful territories, and I LOVE it.

  5. Yes! I agree! Throne of Glass was a great read, but Crown of Midnight took everything I didn’t like about Throne of Glass away, and amped everything I DID like about it up 10 notches! Like you said, there’s so much more emotion-provoking scenes, so much more character development, so many more plot twists…it was all just absolutely fabulous. So glad you liked it as much as I did Jessica, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    • I still maintain that the novellas gave a lot of helpful background about Celaena and her motivations, but for people who didn’t read them first, I can see how ToG would have lacked a bit in that area. Regardless, I absolutely agree that CoM did a fantastic job of filling in the blanks even without the novellas, and I cannot wait of Heir of Fire. I’m glad you loved it too, Zoe 😉

  6. Damn, I’m going to have to start this one soon. I have the audiobook all lined up and ready to go, probably for sometime this summer. As long as I do it before September 2! 😀

    • Sounds like a plan, but don’t forget the prequel novellas! They’re actually important for this series, and I don’t think you’ll mind them b/c they almost read like they’re own separate book 😉

  7. I love it when a series gets better with every book! I honestly had never heard of this series before (don’t judge me I’m not a YA girl!) but it sounds really good. I’ll have to check out, maybe I’ll start with the prequel. Your intro was absolutely hilarious, I was like okay, where is she going with this…does the heroine work in a hair removal spa? LOL Entertaining review, as always 😉

    • Me too! And no judgement, you’ve introduced me to several UF/PNR series that I’d never heard of, and I AM a UF/PNR girl 😉 Definitely start with the prequels though. You can get them all bundled together now.

      Thanks, Lori. That is literally what I did, LOL. I finished and closed the book, and I then I yelled “Oh my GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.” A couple of times, I think . . .

  8. Christy  

    Dang it, I need to read this series. It’s one of the few fantasies like this that I WANT to read really bad. I have the first book, but gah, haven’t read it yet.

  9. Naomi  

    I am so excited that I have Heir of Fire!! Because I am just like you, keen to read it! I loved this book too and am so glad you loved it. There were so many twists like you said. Looking forward to see where things go now!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  10. wow it’s great to know that book 2 is up to book 1! I really need to try them! Marcela bought me them 2 but I haven’t read them yet, I know I need to and I hope I’ll enjoyt hem as much as you did. Great review!

  11. Alise (Readers in Wonderland)

    Yes! So glad you liked it! And I have to agree with everything you said, this one showed improvement on the first which was such a nice change when second books in a series tend to go downhill otherwise.

  12. I loved, loved this one! I really enjoyed so much more than the first book. It had a little of everything, just like the buttons indicate.
    Wonderful review! And on audio this is a 5…LOL just saying..lol 😉

    • Seriously, this is my favorite YA series. Maas is quickly joining my list of whatever-it-is-buy-it list of authors. And I believe you, LOL. I really do wish I could do the audio thing 😉

  13. I CANNOT POSSIBLY LOVE THIS SERIES OR AUTHOR ANYMORE THAN I DO. OMG. CHAOL. OMG. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! Also: I’ve read 3 of her books now, and *dies a little* I’m absolutely floored. How can you consistently write so well?!!! I’m reviewing The Assassin’s Blade soon, and gah, I had to just struggle to find anything WRONG with it. And I couldn’t! Maybe I’m biased now, but everything she writes has gotten 5-stars from me so far. Omg. Heir of Fire? Will you destroy me? PROBABLY.

    • PROBABLY, yes (HoF will destroy us)! I CANNOT wait for it. And I don’t know how the Chaol thing happened, but oh my GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. Those prequels are seriously awesome too. Which one is your favorite? I think it’s The Assassin in the the Desert for me. And have you checked out the serial that she and her bestie Susan Dennard are writing? They’ve taken a bit of a break from it, but what’s there is friggin’ awesome:

      http://thestarkillerscycle.tumblr.com/

  14. YEESSS I am so glad you read this Jessica because it is one of my favourite series EVER and it hasn’t even ended yet! How amazing was CoM, everything was just made so much better. And the super bad thing is just wow, no. Why is that happening! Great review. I chuckled at the little waxing story lol

    • It’s one of my favorite series too. CoM was completely amazing, and I’m DYING to get my hands on Heir of Fire. Maas is quickly joining the ranks of those very few authors that make up my I-don’t-care-what-it-is-give-it-to-me list 😉

    • Do ittttt, Traci! If you make an exception for a single YA series, this is the one I’d recommend. Just don’t forget about the prequel novellas b/c this is one of those few situations where the info is actually important 😉

    • Me TOO! I’m gritting my teeth here. Friggin’ NetGalley, making me wait, LOL. It’s been a long time since I read GRRM, but Danaerys was definitely pretty badass, so I could totally see a comparison 😉

  15. I’m so glad that this one gave you so many *feels* from low to high! I’ve heard such amazing things about Crown of Midnight, I need to read this ASAP! Awesome review, Jessica 🙂

  16. YES. YES. And YES! LOVE this series! My mind has been blown and I’m so eager for MORE! I love how you start a little story about yourself, that got me all eager to hear more. Very clever way to start your review. Awesome review, it got me all excited all over again!

  17. I wish I loved this series half as much as you did just so I could fangirl over it with you but alas. *sigh* But hey I did put CoM back on my TBR list a while ago so that counts for something right???

    I am glad you enjoyed the sequel, my fair lady (I just felt like saying that)

    Fantabulous review, Jess <3

  18. Oh my GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH…I loved your opening blurb! *giggle snort* I can totally relate to the overall feeling! I’m obsessed with this series because of you…like OBSESSED and yes, I do use the word like a lot! 😉 This book was a rollercoaster ride for sure and I’m sure HoF won’t be any different!

  19. Michele

    So, there’s the first paragraph that made me giggle-snort, and then there’s “And then the Bad Thing happened. Which caused the Even Worse Thing to happen.” which pretty much makes this my favorite review of ever. Now, confession time: I have YET to start this series. I know. Oh my GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! But it’s on the list, and you just bumped it even higher. Fabulous review, Jessica! Please write me a book containing stories of your life. I need it.

    • LOL!! Stories<------I've got 'em. And you need to read this series. It's the BEST. I got Heir of Fire on NetGalley this morning and I actually danced in excitement. The only reason I'm not reading it RIGHT NOW is that I'm supposed to meet a friend this afternoon, and if I start reading it, I won't go. Just sayin'.

    • I approach YA series with caution too, but this one totally makes the cut. No mean girls, no high school drama. It’s fantasy that happens to have a teenage heroine (but she’s 18, so technically she’s an adult—ESPECIALLY by fantasy world standards). I hope you do decide to read it, b/c it is truly wonderful.

    • Yes. NEED. And definitely start with the novellas, b/c the lack of background was a big complaint for book 1 (for the people who didn’t read the novellas 😉 ). I hope you LOVE it!

  20. That terrible thing was very terrible. And sad. I love how easily Sarah can toy with our emotions! Fabulous review, Jessica—I agree with everything you had to say!

  21. I’ve been wanting to read that first book for a long time. You had me at… oh all my questions were answered, how she plotted… until you said cliffie. UGH! Hm… maybe by the time I can get to it, the next one will be out… sans cliffie! 🙂

  22. OMG! I’ve always wanted to read the first book, and I’ve always been meaning to get to the book eventually, but you know, TBR piles are enormously huge… I’m so glad that sequel was good because I always get afraid that I’ll get the Second Book Syndrome… xD

    • Michelle this series is amazing. The prequel novellas are bundled together in their own book, books 1 and 2 are both amazing, and I’m in the middle of book 3, which may turn out to be my favorite yet. This is definitely a series to make time for 😉

  23. Faye M.  

    Jessiccaaaa! Would it be weird if I tell you I haven’t read this one yet? I did read Throne of Glass and loved it enough to give it 4 stars, but I heard Crown of Midnight was waaay better! Have you read Assassin’s Blade yet? It’s the prequel, and the love interest there apparently trumps even that of Chaol or Dorian! @_@

    Faye at The Social Potato

  24. Didn’t you just die a little bit on the inside?! Oh I love this series with all that is in me! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! You know this isn’t going to be a trilogy or anything. This is like 7 part series or something similar… I’m so happy about that, because I never want these book to end! 🙂

  25. Jeeez. I really, really need to read the first book–after seeing you and Kim rave about this series so much, I feel like I need to find out what all the fuss is about! She stood in line for 2 hours at BEA to get HOF, hah.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  26. You know how to make a girl WANT TO READ A BOOK! LOL I loved book 1 and planned on reading book 2 anyway, but I’m really itching to read it now! My plan is to pick it up just a few days before book 3 comes out, so I can launch right into it after finishing 🙂 Good plan, right?
    Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 45th Edition

    • For sure. BUT this is another one where you need to read the prequels/novellas. If you haven’t already read them, you don’t need to read them before book 2, BUT you do need to read them before book 3 or about a million things will fly right over your head. ALSO—just in cases you didn’t know, they’re all bundled together now in The Assassin’s Blade 😉

      • You are welcome. It WOULD have been a total bummer, b/c from the way Maas set things up in book 3, not only would about a million things have flown over your head, but it looks like several key characters from the prequels are going to have important roles in the last half of the series. It’s going to be AWESOME 😉

  27. What a fantastic review Jessica!
    I was also worried while reading the book, I was so damned scared of when would the other shoe drop, as the saying goes… And then YESSSS!!! And then I stopped breathing until I turned the last page and I was panicking!
    Massive massive book cliffhanger after this one, and I remember very clearly thinking that at least the puppy was ok! I don’t think I could have forgiven Sarah J Maas if anything would have happened to the puppy!!
    So yeah, Heir of Fire cannot get here soon enough! I’m still offering a limb in exchange of an ARC!!
    Pili recently posted…Showcase Sunday #38!

    • Thank you, Pili! When I was reading this book, I was in a perpetual state of tension. Even when the REALLY awesome thing happened, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was still, yes, waiting for the other shoe to drop . . . and then it did. And my heart broke. I BAWLED in the book. And no, I don’t think I could have forgiven that either (BUT I was having a VERY hard time with all the stuff that DID happen).

      PS–Heir of Fire is MADE of awesome!! 😀 😀 😀 And I just checked out your BEA post–SO jealous that you have Salt and Storm!! I requested it on NetGalley, and the request is just sitting there taunting me every time I login, LOL.