When I read Sarah J. Maas’ debut novel, Throne of Glass, last summer, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Crown of Midnight, its highly anticipated sequel and the second in a planned series of six, is even better. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book through Netgalley, and I could not speed through it fast enough. This review will be spoiler-free; so any fans who are eagerly waiting for the book’s official release date: it’s safe, I promise. An early warning, though: keep tissues close when you’re reading this. And chocolate, lots of chocolate. You’ll thank me later.
Throughout the entirety of Crown of Midnight, I found myself silently thanking Sarah J. Maas for creating such a well-rounded, flawed and lovable cast of characters. Celaena’s narration, whether it’s hilarious or heartbreaking, is the driving force of the story; and her continued character development is stunning. She is the spark of the series; and yet Maas also spends a lot of Crown of Midnight showcasing the struggles that the other major characters face. Dorian and Chaol continue to prove that they are much, much more than two points on a love triangle; while Princess Nehemia, a real favorite of mine from the first book, also manages to subvert the archetype of “main character’s best friend.”
Now that I’ve mentioned the love triangle, it seems like an opportune time to discuss the strong presence of romance in these books. Although an influx of romance can annoy me, I think that in these books, it is an essential part of the story that makes the series a lot stronger. These characters have such fantastic chemistry with each other, and some of these scenes were so intense, so well written, that I was basically ready to yell at the characters to just go make out already. If you want to know whether or not my yelling succeeded, well, you’ll just have to read the book!
Another strong point of Crown of Midnight is the deepening of the world’s mythology and the series’ overall plot. As in all epic fantasy, setting is important, so I was glad to see Maas stepping up and showing us that she’s got a clear idea of what the land of Erilea looks like beyond Adarlan. I’m hoping that Maas will include a map in her books at some point; since the world of this story is quite complex.
Although the plot is less straightforward than I would’ve liked, there were many great twists along the way that kept me glued to the pages. However, it is worth noting that one twist, which Maas hinted at for most of the book, was remarkably easy to figure out; and so I spent a lot of the novel wondering how the characters didn’t make the connection earlier. Still, this was a small weakness in a strong novel.
Overall, I would recommend this series to anyone who loves strong female protagonists, epic fantasy mixed with believable romance, characters with lots of emotional scarring, or assassins. If you’ve already read Throne of Glass, you should definitely check out Crown of Midnight when it comes out; if you haven’t, go read it. Now. You’re missing out.