When I entered into the second installment of the Throne of Glass series with Crown of Midnight, I found myself surprised by an entirely different tone and feel to the story. Maas had transitioned the world easily between the two installments to show how much had changed with the growing conflicts, and Celaena’s new position as King’s Assassin made for an emotional ride not just for herself, but for characters around her.
While it started a bit on the slow side for me, it didn’t take long to pick up and take me for the non-stop page-turning just like the first installment had. There are twists and I admit they were a bit predictable. Did it affect my enjoyment? No. I’d already pretty much figured them out well into the beginning pages of the book I think, so when it came of no surprise, it didn’t really bother me. The ending "reveal and big surprise" that was supposed to be the shocker, I'd already guessed long before as well, but not an issue either. There'd been some speculation from the first installment even, and when little hints started through the first half of this, I was actually rather glad at the direction it was taking. I am certainly fascinated to see how it will play out for the future installments though and what this means for the characters and their world.
I’m torn between deciding if I liked this installment better than the first or not. Now that it’s been a few days since I finished and I’ve had time to mull it over, I just don’t know. While the first is where I met and fell in love with all of the characters and the story, the second is where things do start to come into play. I also finally understood what was so evil about the King. Something I couldn’t quite get in the first installment because it was never really touched upon (and I discussed this last year in review and with a group topic on the blog). But I get it now. Instead of telling, it is really shown how power-hungry and evil the man is, and I felt it. The action I felt lacked in some places in Throne of Glass, were prevalent throughout in Crown of Midnight with detailed scenes--some that made me gasp out loud. The romance I felt lacked in areas in ToG, turned into scenes of passion and well-written beauty here.
Be prepared to have your heart ripped to shreds, too. There’s a shocker in there. I wasn’t prepared. And now every time I think about it, I want to start crying again. My heart hurts. But when these turn of events happened, I certainly saw the emotion come out. The anger and hurt. And I learned more about Celaena. It was some of the most emotional reading moments I’d done in some time, and everything was so easily visualized for me that it was as if I was there with the characters in their world, and it hurt me also. Because let’s face it: We get attached to characters as if they’re real people sometimes, right? At least, I know I do.
With all that said, it’s easy for me to say that I adored this sequel and that makes me happy. I usually have a hard time with sequels and I admit to being a little worried before I picked it up. No worries anymore. I know now for sure that no matter what Maas writes, I’ll be grabbing my hands for it. Once again, I found myself immersed in the world and characters, caught up in a whirlwind of romance, and at times agonizing heartache. I didn’t want to let go when it came time to turn the last page.