Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

After winning the competition and earning a spot as the king’s personal assassin in Throne of Glass, Celaena Sardothien must hide her lack of allegiance in Sarah J. Maas’ Crown of Midnight.

Do you see how short that blurb is? That’s all I’ve got sans spoiling the second half. Despite having read Crown of Midnight less than a month ago, I struggle to describe the plot. At over 400 pages, it isn’t a small book, but I can’t help but think that nothing really happened in it. I can remember enough material to make a book of about 200 pages, so I don’t know where the other 200 come from.

This felt like a filler book, which it very well might be since it is the second in a six-book series. It was all exposition, with just a couple of inciting incidents. While every series has its filler books, the end of Crown of Midnight has me concerned. The end places Celaena far from the conflict between Adarlan and the neighboring nations, which I assume is the overall arc of the series. If Crown of Midnight is setting up the subsequent books, why is she getting further from the main conflict? It makes me feel as though Heir of Fire will also be a filler book.

I have the same reservations when it comes to Celaena’s development that I had in the first book. She still feels like a cliché. Too pretty, too talented, too perfect, with just her wrath as a character flaw. Temper is an overused flaw, so I’m not crazy about her characterization.

I was also bothered by the relationship reset trope.* It happens in books and movies all the time, where two characters get together but it’s too early in the series, so they need some contrived reason to break up just so that they can get together or something later on. Why bother investing so much time in Celaena and Chaol’s relationship (400 pages is a lot of reading time), just to have them break up? The reason for their break up wasn’t even good.

Crown of Midnight is exactly what you would expect the sequel to Throne of Glass to be. While this is still an entertaining series and I will definitely be reading on, I can’t say I am entirely on board.

*Not the official name of the trope. I tried looking it up and these three tropes are the closest I could find to the cliche I’m referring to: Third-Act Misunderstanding, Second-Act Breakup, Anchored Ship.

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
My rating: ☆☆ (3 stars)
Recommended for: those who enjoyed Throne of Glass. (Sorry I couldn’t come up with anything better, but it’s a series. If you liked the first, you probably like the second.)

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