An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.
Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.
Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
Five Stars: A stunning sequel! This series gets better and better!
After earning the hard won title of King's Champion, Celaena is expected to assassinate whomever the king requests without question. In exchange for her murderous services, Celaena will earn her freedom after four long years. As an assassin, Celaena is used to killing, but she finds herself suddenly having second thoughts. Especially when the king commands her to murder Archer Flynn, someone she knows well. Celaena wavers. Yet if she doesn't obey the King's command he threatens to kill everyone she holds dear. Suddenly the stakes are higher and the danger is far greater. Will Celaena uphold her vows and murder without question?
What I Liked:
- The second book surpasses the first! I was blown away by the intricate story line, the higher stakes, and new revelations. If you enjoyed the first book, you need to get Crown of Midnight immediately. This book is amazing!
- This time around, more of Celaena's history is exposed and there are some exciting and shocking revelations regarding her heritage, abilities and past. Celaena's brutal side is unleashed when she loses it and goes on couple of rage fueled killing sprees. She is shocking, scary and deadly. I liked seeing the fierce side of Celaena that earned her the name of Ardalan’s greatest assassin. She is intense! If you thought you knew what Celaena was capable of after reading The Glass Throne, think again. A whole new Celaena is unleashed in Crown of Midnight.
- One of my minor complaints regarding book one was that I felt like the King played a small role and he didn't come off as vile and villainous as I expected. This time around, he is the horrific villain I imagined and he is definitely scary. He is a dangerous and a formidable opponent, one who makes your heart beat fast every time he appears. He is ruthless and murderous and completely evil.
- I was excited to finally learn more about Celaena's past and some of her hidden secrets that were missing from the first installment. Many of my lingering questions were answered.
- The stakes are raised in this one and the story takes on some deadly new angles. There is even more danger and action. This read is a thrill ride from beginning to end with plenty of shocking surprises and cruel twists.
- A hint of magic is exposed in this one as a couple of the characters tap into their hidden magical abilities. More about the demise of magic is uncovered as well. The scenes with the crazy old witch were particularly exciting and creepy.
- Prince Dorian shows remarkable growth in this one, and I was so pleased to see him learning more about himself. I liked that he was finally pulling off his blinders and opening his eyes to the unspeakable crimes of his father. He is moving in the right direction, and I cannot wait to see how he continues to transform.
- I loved the complexity and depth of the plot. This book tackles multiple realms, magical portals, fae, traitorous uprisings and the maniacal plans of the King to take over the world, not to mention the unfurling of a lovely romance only to have it stomped upon. There is plenty to keep you engaged in this one!
- This book grabs at your emotions with its gripping, heart pounding action scenes to the horrific cruelties inflicted by the King. The romance will sweep you off your feet with its sweetness only to turn around and crush you and tear your heart out. This book is raw and impactful, and it won't be one you will soon forget.
And The Not So Much:
- The romance made me want to pull my hair out in frustration. At the end of book one, Celaena makes her choice and it appears that the flimsy love triangle that was briefly introduced is done. Then a delightful romance blossoms with everything you love in a good romance. Just when everything appears to be on track and headed in the right direction, disaster strikes and all is undone and you are left hanging, only to wonder if the love triangle will reemerge. Don't get me wrong, I did like the romance, but then I was frustrated. I have no idea where it is going. I can honestly say at this point, I am comfortable with her choosing either suitor as I like them both.
- I am still wanting to know more about Celaena's history with her assassin master. I kept expecting to learn more, but only received tiny tidbits regarding her training. The details that are provided are shocking and exciting. From what I gathered, training to be an assassin is brutal and hard. I desperately want to know more. What was her relationship like with her master? Why has she not sought him out since they are in the same city or vice versa? I am crossing my fingers that more will be revealed along these lines in the next book.
- My biggest complaint is that it is going to be a long wait to find out what happens next!
Crown of Midnight was an exceptional sequel, in fact, it outshines its predecessor and that is saying a lot. The stakes are higher, the danger is greater, the tone is darker and the emotions are heavier. Prepare to set aside some time because once you plunge into this one, you won't want to stop until you are gasping after the final pages. This is a must read series, and I am certain this book will end up on many best of lists for 2013. Don't miss it!
"Yes. More than anyone had ever loved her. He'd lover her enough to risk everything--to give up everything. He'd loved her so much that she still felt the echoes of it, even now."
"Some things you hear with your ears. Others, you hear with your heart."
"The kiss obliterated her. It was like coming home or being born or suddenly finding an entire half of herself that had been missing."
A huge thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for providing me with an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.