Khanh the Killjoy

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass)

Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas This book was just pure fun and excitement; it is not without a lot of flaws, but overall, my enjoyment of the plot propelled it into a highly satisfying read. I have to swallow my words when it comes to this series; I did bash on the first book in this series a lot because it was so similar to one of my favorite books. Due to my prejudice, I did not much like the first book in this series. It was an enjoyable read, but the characters were too lacking in depth for me, and the entire book just lacked a certain something that would otherwise make it shine, make it memorable.With that said, I loved this book. This is an excellent, excellent sequel; I love being surprised, I love being proved wrong in my pessimism about a book, and Crown of Midnight turned out to be so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. There is no second-book syndrome here.It is not without its flaws by any means. Celaena remains perfectly...well, perfect, for the most part. The love triangle is persistent and painful, and at more than one point, I wanted to take Dorian and Chaol and just bash their heads together. However, every single character mature and develops, and I did make up my mind as to whom I prefer before the book is over.A complaint I often have in fast-paced plots is that, interestingly enough, they're often so boring despite everything. This was not the case for this book; from the very beginning, I was hooked. The action rarely stops, and even in the quieter, more introspective moments, I never find myself yawning. I finished this book in 2 sittings, rarely finding myself switching books in-between. Given my highly ADHD book-reading personality, this says something about my enjoyment of it and its ability to keep me constantly engrossed.The plot: fast-paced, completely immersing. The plot twists and turns are just interesting enough to keep me absorbed, and are never too far-fetched that they would stretch the boundaries of my disbelief. I absolutely loved it. It was never bogged down by too many flashbacks, the main narrative is Celaena's, alternately Dorian and Chaol's. Their narratives, particularly those of Chaol's, were more on the introspective side, but never bored me, and were short enough so that it did not slow down the rapid pacing of the book. The writing is great; actions scenes were well-done, the dialogue is believable, the verbal style is descriptive and flows well without ever coming close to purple prose.Celaena: My main problem with her in the first book is that Celaena is too perfect. That problem still persists largely in this book, but I found it more tolerable, in part because she breaks down. That's right, our rational, cool-headed, perfectly calm Celaena finally breaks down---and I loved it. She has her Bella Swan moment, and for once, I have no complaints. She literally does not eat, does not bathe. She cries, she is prostate with grief...and it was awesome. I loved seeing her being emotional, I loved seeing her break through her tough outer shell. I loved seeing her come out of it.A familiar, dark fire rippled in her gut, spreading through her, dragging her down into an abyss without end.Celaena Sardothien stood from her chair.I fucking stood up from my chair and shouted "YEAH," at this scene.It is fleeting, in the grand scale of the book, and I do wish she had more moments of vulnerability, of still more development that would make me relate to her more as a character, but I'll take what I can get.Celaena's other fault is not her own...not so much as the author's. The author seems to shy away from the idea that Celaena is an assassin. For a king's assassin, she makes Celaena one in name only. Celaena does not act like an assassin. She only kills when she absolutely has to---by accident, almost. Celaena is not so much an assassin as an investigator, a detective, someone caught in the fray in the middle of a desperate fight who has to kill or be killed. Right at the beginning of the book, Celaena reveals to us that she does not actually kill her targets, but instead helps them to escape. I think this is meant to make us empathize with Celaena as a character, to make her more human. It just makes me respect her less. It's a book about an assassin. I expect an assassin to kill. If I wanted to read a mystery novel, I'd go get one.Give me my fucking assassin, dammit. Celaena doesn't act too smart sometimes, for me, she acts rather foolishly. She trusts people with too much more information than I was comfortable with, despite everything, she still acts more naive than I would expect of someone so seemingly competent. Her actions aren't without consequence, if found out, she could endanger the lives of so many, and she seems to disregard that.There is one plot twist within this book that I desperately, desperately hate. It launches Celaena from mildly perfect right smack into the middle of a Mary Sue stereotype. Ugh. We'll see how that goes.Dorian: for a large part of the book, Dorian is...let's face it...a huge fucking pussy. He doesn't stand up to his father, the king. He is largely passive. He spends the majority of the time resentfully angry at the developing relationship between Celaena and Chaol and whining and not doing much about it besides mope. He is depressed about the fact that Celaena is no longer his pretty pretty assassin-to-be in lovely dresses---and could be, in fact, a cold-blooded killer. Which he knows she is. But he's still shocked. Just SHOCKED. Sigh.Her lovely dresses and ornate clothes were gone, replaced by an unforgiving, close-cut black tunic and pants, her hair pulled back in a long braid that fell into the folds of that dark cloak she was always wearing. She was a beautiful wraith---and when she looked at him, it was like she didn’t even know who he was. He couldn’t help wondering if he’d ever meant anything to Celaena at all.Get over yourself, Dorian!Dorian's character does improve for the better...eventually. It takes a while. Actually, a long while. A teenaged girl could get a lesson or two from Dorian about how to mope. Overall, I do think his character development was one of the better ones depicted within this book. If I had to pick a side, I'd be on Team Dorian for sure.Chaol: I may be showing a definite bias here, but Chaol can go screw himself. PURELY OBJECTIVE, OF COURSE. He worries so goddamn much. He has no trust in Celaena's abilities to take care of herself. He acts more like her goddamn mother (who's dead, but whatever) than a potential love interest.This dress, with its close-fitting bodice, long, tight sleeves, and gently flowing skirt, was about as new and different as it came.Which was why, when she ran into Chaol on her way out of her rooms, she wasn’t very surprised when he stopped dead and blinked. Then blinked again.Chaol stood in the hallway, his bronze eyes traveling down the front of her dress, then up again. “You’re not wearing that.”Ok, mom.I hate his constant worrying and fussing over her; it shows a lack of trust, it shows a lack of confidence. Despite Celaena's obvious competence, Chaol hides things from her, he constantly berates her, and basically never trusts her to do her own fucking job. I'm just a little biased. Grumble. Fine. He's really not that bad overall. But I still prefer Dorian.The love triangle: I'm not exaggerating about the continued love triangle here, but I have to admit, it wasn't that bad. The emotions were well-done, the indecisions and internal conflicts were well-depicted, and this is one of the better triangles I've seen within a book. Dare I say it? I like it, and I'm glad that the triangle continues. It makes things interesting, even though if Celaena ever makes a choice and it's the wrong one (according to my opinion, of course), this reader will be very, very upset.Overall: a highly enjoyable book, and goddamn, I have to wait how long until the next?