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5.0 out of 5 stars Cloak and Dagger... and Dresses, 27 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
This series is an all-rounder for me. It has a wonderful, effortless feel to the writing, a romance subplot that I'm clinging to with a desperate hope that will not be denied, a protagonist that can be a ruthless, cold-hearted assassin one minute, and a vulnerable, frivolous female the next - and switch between the two sides of her nature with ease. It has terrific story scope and a lot of detail and foreshadowing that shows tremendous thought and planning. It has action, court politics, humour, love, betrayals... Everything I love all in one nicely-wrapped package, basically. And CROWN OF MIDNIGHT was no exception.

Speaking of Celaena's colder side, there's something that happens here in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT that causes her to... devolve, shall we say, back to that creature we met in the first book, fresh from the mines. Someone so filled with rage and grief that she's all but blinded by it and becomes as much a danger to ,i>herself as she is to others. And, let's face it, she's pretty dangerous to others. I worried for her a lot in this book. What's great in Maas's delivery is that through experiencing the three different POVs - Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian's - we get an unfiltered view of Celaena when she's gone over to this dark side and, whoo boy, it's not pretty. I think there's probably even more heartache to come for her too, which I find thrilling from a reader's POV, but terrifying on Celaena's behalf.

Although the imminent threat of death present throughout book one was somewhat lessened here thanks to Celaena's more powerful status within the castle - indeed, she now outranks most people - that's not to say all danger is gone. Far from it. It's just that this time Celaena is the one putting herself in danger through her deceptions. If caught, death would be her best option by far, which is a sad and sorry state of affairs.

One character you get to know a lot more about in CROWN OF MIDNIGHT is Chaol. While he's the quieter, more unassuming of the two men in the series, he's my favourite pick for Celaena. He's just so...good; so honourable and decent. He balances out some of Celaena's rougher edges (assassins have those). I enjoyed the time dedicated to getting to know his character and am greedy for yet more still in books to come.

That's not to say dear Dorian didn't get time to shine also. Although, with him, the romance angle is the least of his current worries. The stuff happening with him came as a surprise, but a welcome one because I confess I had been wondering what his role might be now that "shameless flirt" is off the table. Having said that, he clearly still carries a torch for Celaena. I think it's because she's so real with him, lacking in any pretenses, that he feels such a connection to her. She would never fawn over him just because of his title like the rest of the ladies at court. Which, although not what he's used to, is just what he needs, I think. I find it reassuring that he can be humble like that, and isn't a power-hungry fiend like his father. If he survives long enough to rule one day, he may turn out to be one helluva king because of it.

One thing I did find unusual in this instalment was the author's decision to keep certain things about Celaena a secret, not only from other characters, but from us readers as well. Not until one character discovers some truths do we have it confirmed for ourselves. This is an unusual method of delivery - you'd normally expect to know such things from the narrative and be "in on the secret". And it was a whopper of a secret, too, and is going to mean BIG changes for Celaena's character in books to come. Of which I sincerely hope there will be many.

A great continuation of one of my now favourite fantasy series - 5 Stars! ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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