If you follow me on Goodreads then you’ve probably noted by now that I award perfect scores rather sparingly (3.9% of the 252 books I’ve read since joining have been rated as such, to be exact). Which is why when I say Sarah J. Maas’ Crown of Midnight gets 5/5 stars, it’s a pretty big deal.
Almost as if course correcting upon hearing my complaints about the first book in the series, Crown of Midnight really does give me all that I wanted and more from a sequel – and one thing that I most certainly didn’t want, but I’m doing my best not to dwell on it. What I am focusing on is that now that the competition to become the king’s champion is over, all restraints have been removed from Adarlan’s Assassin and we get to finally see what she is fully capable of. I was excited enough as the book opens with Celaena out on a job, stealthing her way to her target in a way that we’ve only imagined up to this point, but it’s more than safe to say I had no idea how much things were going to escalate as the story progresses. I thought she was scary enough when cold, calculating, and restrained, but when the switch is flipped, when the red fills her eyes and she fully loses herself to her rage and steel, she becomes something truly terrifying. And I am here for it: whether she is stalking her fleeing victims like a true slasher film baddy, or I am hurriedly trying to pry my jaw off the floor in time to avoid losing it beneath all the bodies dropping around her. Celaena is a beast, and there is no longer any doubt in my mind that the awe and fear we’ve repeatedly read about her inspiring in her time before being imprisoned was more than earned.
As I constantly found myself comparing Throne of Glass to The Hunger Games, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Ellie’s journey in The Last of Us Part 2 when it comes to Celaena’s unrestrained anger in Crown of Midnight. In other words, I may have been revelatorily singing “let the bodies hit the floor” as Celeana went full blown Punisher mode, but the blood splattering everywhere can only do so much to mask the sorrow I was feeling as Maas repeatedly went straight for my heart. Turns out Celeana isn’t the only one adept with daggers that cut deep. And every high was balanced out by moments drowning in the guilt, and the pain, and the loss that Maas bleeds into the pages. Let’s just say there’s a reason the note I wrote in the margins of my book the most was the exasperated sadness emoji.
Crown of Midnight might not have the structure to fall back on as Throne of Glass does with its competition, but the journey Maas takes us on is still so beautifully crafted that it isn’t missed in the slightest. There’s still plenty of plot, don’t get me wrong, but sinking into the characters is what makes this book as engrossing as it is. And for as much as we still don’t know about this world, there are so many answers given that not only feel so satisfying to be let in on, but open up a whole new realm of possibilities for the future of this series.
Seriously, Crown of Midnight is easily one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and, just as I said in the conclusion to my review for Throne of Glass, I cannot wait to settle in alongside Celeana and see where the next leg of her journey takes us.
“Off the Shelf” is my review series of non-new book releases outside the “TV/Film Prep” write ups, because it was just too sad to call this “Lauren’s One Person Book Club.” If you have any book recommendations please leave a comment below, or share them with me on twitter @BewareOfTrees!