In a sentence or so: Something dark is stirring in the glass castle. Not just the darkness of the king who is ordering Celaena to go out and murder th...moreIn a sentence or so: Something dark is stirring in the glass castle. Not just the darkness of the king who is ordering Celaena to go out and murder those he considers a threat (aka show compassion to those he oppresses), but something far more ancient, mysterious, and unstoppable.
It's almost impossible to write a review for CROWN OF MIDNIGHT because there is just SO MUCH going on!
We have Celaena at the center, of course, who is trying to stay on the down low about not really fulfilling her killing orders and instead offering those marked by the king a chance to escape. She begins to question why the King is so worried about these people. Is he planning something? Is there really a rebellion he's trying to quash?
And then there's Dorian. Oh you beautiful prince, you. Something is going on with that boy and he's trying to figure it out while nursing his broken heart over Celaena who is quite smitten with Chaol (and for good reason!). Dorian and Chaol also take turns narrating chapters which allows for an even broader narrative of what's going down in the glass castle and beyond.
For the sake of mystery, I won't divulge all the nitty gritty details of what exactly is revealed in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT but you should know that it is a lot. A LOT A LOT. We already know from THRONE OF GLASS that there is something magical/fae that was banished 10 years ago by the King. Obviously, you can't really eradicate magic. Seriously, hasn't the King read any books?!
When I'm reading CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, I enjoy it. I really do. I like Celaena's voice and I think Sarah J. Maas's writing is addictive and that woman can really craft a cliffhanger. The action is top notch and there's enough castle intrigue to keep my heart happy.
But when I'm done reading and I reflect on CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, I realize that it falls short for me as an avid fantasy reader. Before you set my blog on fire, hear me out! I love fantasy books that take the time to world build and really commit to a cohesive narrative that feels controlled. With CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, it feels like so many of the fantasy elements are dumped into a melting pot. Again, Maas's writing is totally addictive and her characters are some of my favorites, so I can forgive it while I'm reading...but when I reflect back, I'm left with a sense of being overwhelmed with too much information and not enough development.
Anyway, if you were down with THRONE OF GLASS then you will absolutely adore CROWN OF MIDNIGHT because Maas brings the noise with this book! We get more of our favorite characters and more happens and just MORE MORE MORE. I am happy that at least we don't have a second book syndrome situation happening!
And how this book ends sincerely has me excited for the next in the series, which I just heard will be titled HEIR OF FIRE. Oh yes please.
Fave quote: "With that, she walked away, the courtiers parting, then swallowing up her wake. He stared after the princess, wondering what her last words had meant. And why, when she had said them, something ancient and slumbering deep inside of him had opened an eye." (Dorian, 138)
Fix er up: THE NOVELLAS. There are like 15 of them and I will not have it. Put it in the book or don't! This is going to be a big fat series and so I'd think there'd be plenty of room to put those in the published books. And honestly, there were points I was confused while reading and I thought perhaps it was because something was in the novellas and not THRONE OF GLASS. Ugh.
Pairs well with: The first in the series (duhhh) but also someplace where you can burrow away undisturbed for awhile because you won't want to put this down!(less)
in a sentence or so: Katsa is Graced with killing. meaning, she's virtually indestructible and capable of just about anything. while she's on a secret...morein a sentence or so: Katsa is Graced with killing. meaning, she's virtually indestructible and capable of just about anything. while she's on a secret mission she discovers a man who is Graced with fighting and, through some unforeseen and very unfortunate circumstances, will be her companion to stop a wicked king of unthinkable acts.
everyone born with a Grace (noted by two different colored eyes) are sent to their king. the king then decides what to do with them - keep them for his service, or send them to live in their villages and freak people out for the rest of their lives. and king Randa just could not pass up having an advantage like his niece Katsa in his court. with the ability to inflict immense pain to those who defy Randa, she proved an amazing asset. obviously, she hated being used like a wild animal in this way and started doing things her way. when Katsa is rescuing a kidnapped noble, she discovers the reasoning behind the actions and gets to know the people she meets along the way which permanently alter the way she sees the world, her Grace, and her purpose in life.
okay, so i had heard tons of buzz about this book on the ya lit circuit - both by bloggers and by the recognition it received from official channels. and i can confirm that it was all worth it. the characters are complex and thoughtful, while the plot is constantly twisting and creative. the landscapes are so vivid and there is a sense of plausibility to the whole story, which i personally find very refreshing in fantasy books. it's kinda like a 'coming-of-age' in a way, because of Katsa's realization about who she is, what she does, and why she does it. i don't want to geek out too much, because the mystery behind what happens is part of what makes this such a great book.
i am blown away that this was the first book by Cashore. she wrote with confidence and respect for her readers. and i LOVED that the opening segment of the book was in the midst of action, not a long drawn out explanation of what Grace's are, who Katsa is, etc... you find out along the way - which keeps the pacing exciting and fun. also, there is a map in the front. i LOVE maps in books.
at times heavy, at times funny, at times romantic, always exciting and adventurous and clever, Graceling was quite a journey and one that is well worth the read!
fave quotes: "She practiced every day. She learned her own speed and her own explosive force. She learned the angle, position, and intensity of a killing blow versus a maiming blow. She learned how to disarm a man and how to break his leg, and how to twist his arm so severely that he would stop struggling and beg for release. She learned to fight with a sword and with knives and daggers. She was so fast and focused, so creative, she could find a way to beat a man senseless with both arms tied to her sides. Such was her Grace." (11) "Who were they, to take her fight away from her and turn it into some sort of understanding between themselves? He should've taken more care of her face? She would knock his nose from his face. She would thump them both, and she would apologize to neither." (90)
fix er up: coming in just shy of 500 pages, the book is a bit of a beast. but trust me, it's well worth it! it seemed intimidating at first, and then utterly un-put-downable after page 1. (less)