Crown of Midnight is the second volume in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series and takes places two months after the events that end the first volume. We continue the adventures of Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s Assassin and newly appointed King’s Champion.
In the two months she has been employed, Celaena has been sent on four missions to assassinate four of the king’s so-called enemies. Celaena successfully returns from her latest mission with a decapitated head and the signet ring of her latest assignment. However, Celaena – despite her reputation – hasn’t killed anyone and has instead faked the death of all of her targets, a secret she must keep with her to keep her friends safe and alive from the king.
Meanwhile, Dorian finds himself struggling with the feelings he has for Celaena even though their romantic relationship has been brought to an end. But his feelings aren’t the only thing he struggles with as he slowly finds himself capable of magic – something that is expressly banned by his father. Chaol also struggles with his growing feelings for Celaena (who, by the way, feels the same way) and his loyalty to his position as Captain of the Guard and to the royal family.
As if our main three characters aren’t the only ones keeping secrets! Princess Nehemia herself is keeping information from Celaena, who has been sent out my Queen Elena on yet another mysterious mission involving the king. But Nehemia’s secrets are deadly, and more than figuratively so.
I found Crown of Midnight a much more enjoyable read that Throne of Glass. While Throne of Glass introduced us to the world and the characters, Crown of Midnight gives us more character development. Each character is more than they seem, each carrying secrets that they know by keeping them is dangerous to their companions – but so is revealing them. As the story progresses, only the reader knows everyone’s secret; the other characters know things are being kept from them but they don’t know what and oftentimes the climate doesn’t allow them to discover until later.
While I still find Celaena a vain, spoiled, and somewhat arrogant girl, I’ve come to appreciate these traits as part of her character. They are traits she has and is well aware that she possesses, but they are also traits that hide her past and the struggles she has had to endure to get where she is. All the characters are so much more than they appear and I like the fact that this second volume allows them to develop more.
The story itself starts off a bit slow at first, but I believe that is done to give the reader time to acquaint themselves with the changes in the characters. It does pick up in the second half when some of the secrets are revealed. There are still a few secrets that aren’t fully explained, but this is a six book series so there’s plenty of time for that. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next volume as it will take place (at least partially) away from Adarlan.
My rating: 4/5