I have literally only just put down the second book in this excellent series and had to write about it immediately!
In ‘Throne of Glass’ we meet Celaena Sardothien, an eighteen-year old girl serving a life sentence for being Adarlan’s most notorious assassin. The first novel in the series follows her participation in a competition to find the King’s Champion – the prize being employment. The world Maas has built is medieval-esque – an era suited perfectly to the world of magic, particularly when it is forbidden.
The book is a young adult fantasy novel – I’ve been reading way too many of these recently! I normally like my fantasy gruesome and weird and this didn’t disappoint in those departments. The only thing I didn’t like very much was the love triangle that kept coming up and taking away from the more intriguing storyline of the competition.
Being a fantasy novel, there is, of course, magic involved. However, I liked that the major aspect of magic was that it had disappeared ten years ago. There is something weird going on and, like Celaena, I really just want to know what the hell is causing it!
The characters are superb but probably more suited to a female audience. The men – Captain of the Guard Chaol and Crown Prince Dorian – are too perfect but make for great fictional crushes. And we can suspend belief in reading and pretend that all men are this great and ours is just waiting…. Nehemia, princess of Ellwye, is a lovely character trying to save and represent her country in the face of Adarlan’s might and their fearsome king.
While it isn’t a work of great literary merit, the story is captivating and easy to get into. The first could have worked as a standalone novel but I’m glad it isn’t. After finishing, I wanted to keep going!
And I did! Unfortunately, I did have to take a little break (I read ‘Days of Blood and Starlight’ by Laini Taylor instead) because, being a good person, I let my little sister read it first. To her credit though, she read it quickly enough that I barely felt withdrawal pains!
‘Crown of Midnight’ was a bit slower to get into than the first one. Celaena has won the competition – like that wasn’t going to happen – and is the King’s Champion, disposing of those whom the king dislikes and distrusts.
So much happened in this book that I really can’t write much without giving important details away!
Here are some things I can say…. It was really great to get into Celaena’s conscience and discover the workings of an assassin’s mind, particularly one who we haven’t seen in this capacity yet. We knew that she was dangerous but this is another level.
There is a devastating death in the novel and, while I was horrified, I really liked how Maas illustrated different patterns of grieving among the characters.
Celaena also begins to uncover what is behind the disappearance of all magic and the king’s unnerving power. There is still so much to learn for which we have to wait for the next book!
The book ends on a fantastic twist which I only barely saw coming. We finally learn something about Celaena’s past – always hinted at but never outright said. While I think the first was the better book, both stories are addictive and fun – great, easy reads that propel you along at a quick pace.
The third book ‘Heir of Fire’ is set to be published in September by Bloomsbury – hoping that I have no assessments around that time so that I can jump right in! In the meantime though, there are prequel novellas, released as a collection in ‘The Assassin’s Blade’ which look intriguing and tell more about Celaena’s fascinating life as the most deadly assassin in the country and her early training.
This series is great for readers of all ages but especially lovers of young adult. If magic stories annoy you though, this isn’t for you. The books are fun and fast reads that provide a great deal of entertainment. Plus, there is always room for your imagination to run wild about all the things left unsaid.