Review of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (when sequels get it right)

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Rating 5/5

I read Throne of Glass a little cautiously. I like gritty high fantasy with plenty of action, adventure and blood. I’d heard good and bad things about Throne of Glass. Some reviewers talked about the ruthless main character, some complained about the romance. The romance put me off for a while, until I decided to give the book a shot.

Throne of Glass turned out to be pretty good. There was romance, but Maas put enough other elements into the plot to keep me interested, and the set up for the sequel promised good things.

And it delivered. Crown of Midnight is a different book to Throne of Glass. Celaena is a different character. In Throne of Glass she had to hide her assassin side, but in this book it’s unleashed in almost every chapter. And on many of the characters.

The plot of the first book had mystery elements, but the tournament was the focus of the story. This time around, the mystery comes to the fore and the book benefits from it. All of the characters have secrets and agendas. The castle is full of secret passages and hidden chambers. It’s hard to know who to trust, who not to, who wants who dead and why. Which makes the book even more addictive. Characters’ pasts are revealed and change the course of the story.

The world-building is more solid than in Throne of Glass, the politics and laws of Erilea are developed and the world starts to seem bigger than just the castle where the story is set. But the world doesn’t get too big and complicated. Maas still focuses on the castle and the secret places revealed beneath it. It’s these scenes where the book is the most gripping. Maas writes so it’s easy to imagine the dark tunnels and ancient chambers.

The romance is still a large focus of the story, and at times I was itching to get back to the mystery and action, but Maas gets the balance right on the money in Crown of Midnight and this series is edging closer to a YA Game of Thrones. The action scenes are bloody and brutal, the fights gripping and well-written. Maas has an eye for awesome set pieces and this book has some pretty standout ones.

Overall, this is a sequel that knocks it’s predecessor out of the park. Crown of Midnight is action-packed, fast-paced; characters are more developed, as is the world, and rarely a chapter goes by without a plot twist or some secret being revealed. Where the first book focused too much on the romance at the risk of appealing only to a certain readership, Crown of Midnight doesn’t let up with action, adventure and fight sequences and makes sure there’s something for every kind of reader.

This isn’t a stand-alone read; the plot threads aren’t all resolved and the awesome cliffhanger sets up things for the next book–but if you haven’t given this series a shot already… give it a shot.

Highly, highly recommended. I hope Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows can keep up the momentum. 

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About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 05/04/2015, in book review, books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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