Wednesday, September 4, 2013

[Review] Crown of Midnight *****

Hopefully soon I'll be able to post a bunch of books at once, but since the EXPLOSION of the fall is upon us, you're probably going to get a bunch of reviews. There are so many amazing books that are out and coming out between now and December that almost everything I read requires a review.

The Story
If you haven't read Throne of Glass you're missing out on a large chunk of the story, so I'll do my best to bring you up to speed.
Celaena Sardothien is Erilea's most deadly killer. Trained as a child to be a master assassin, her past is rife with murder, loss, and secrets. After being betrayed and sentenced to a criminal camp, Celaena is rescued by the King, a man with less than admirable intentions.
In Throne of Glass, Caleana fights and wins the position of King's Champion, a job that puts her under the beck and call of the King, but affords her the ability to delve into the mysteries surrounding the kingdom. Along the way, she gains the trust and friendship of Dorian, the reluctant heir to the throne, and Chaol, a captain of the guard who's loyalty begins to turn into something more.
In Crown of Midnight, Calaena's discovery of magic, which disappeared over ten years ago, leads her a deadly game that she doesn't want to be apart of. The King has ordered her to kill those who he believes are trying to destroy his hold over the country, but Caleana has her doubts. She becomes entangled in a web of lies, treachery, and her own past that threaten to unravel everything: the tenuous stability of her life, and her every growing relationship with Chaol.

What's So Great About It?
If you have ever been a fan of Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Robin LaFevers, and Laini Taylor then the intrigue, politics, and old style setting and plot of this novel will snag you. I'm not sure the best name to give this genre of YA, but it usually centers around castles, kings and queens, and even some magic. Each character of Crown of Midnight comes with a past deep enough to continue to affect the overall story. Calean's own background has not only been a mystery to the others, but also to the reader, which I find really refreshing and interesting. Sure, there are a few hints here and there, but nothing solid enough to not make it a surprise.
The relationship between Caleana, Dorian, and Chaol is one of the more realistic, practical, and solid "love triangles" I have read in a long time. There is maturity and solid basis of friendship between the three of them that I have only ever seen in Casandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy. I'm not often a fan of love triangles mostly because they often center around shallow attraction, especially in YA. Rarely do you find examples where there's a legitimate reason to want to be with one or the other, which COM has.
Characters and romance aside, this book's most intriguing point is the huge 180 degree plot turn that happens halfway through the book. When I read the first novel, I thought these books would go the direction of Robin LaFever's Grave Mercy and just be about court intrigue with a hint of magic. Instead, what starts out as some magic and faeries turns into a story that might eventually center around them. I felt like this was a bit of a smack in the face, especially because I didn't necessarily see it coming. Did it stop me from reading the book? No way. It just took a bit to get used to.

Why This Book?
The quality of Crown of Midnight and the maturity of how it handles it's content is plenty of reason to highly recommend this novel. The writing is great quality as well and Caleana herself is a fierce lady who takes no prisoners. Caleana is tough as nails, so much so that sometimes she becomes hard to like and rather frustrating, which is great. I'm becoming so impressed by the maturity that is coming out of the YA genre lately. Make sure you get a copy of Throne of Glass on your way to getting Crown of Midnight! You'll want to set aside a long weekend as well.

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