My word, what to say? I loved Throne of Glass but Crown of Midnight was about a million times better. Even as I gave Throne of Glass five stars, I always had the thought that the story could become more epic than it was - that the story needed just a little something more. I'm not sure what that something was but Miss Maas sure did because Crown of Midnight blew my mind.
Celaena did it. She is now the King's Champion and now she has to carry out his dirty work. But when she is sent to kill a former acquaintance, Archer, Celaena starts digging. Soon she is entangled in riddles and mysteries, all pointing in one direction, the King.
How in the world was Maas going to pull off an entire novel with Celaena serving as the King's Champion? That was one of my biggest questions after I finished Throne of Glass. Honestly, I didn't think she would. I figured she'd have to flee half way through the novel or something of that nature. Even as I read, I kept waiting for it to happen until I reached that half way mark and I realized it wasn't. But still, part of me knew, that at some point in this story, Celaena would have to leave the castle in order for everything to be resolved (I was right). But seeing everything unfold - everything Celaena was risking and doing as the King's Champion? That was... it was gruesome but she's an assassin so it was kind of like seeing Celaena the way she must have been before she had been captured.
Miss Maas didn't forget a thing. Right down to dear old Archer, which actually impressed me. She effortlessly wove the Wyrd marks into the story, just as she had in Throne of Glass. Every magical element was perfectly balanced with the non-magical aspects.
I loved how Miss Maas revealed Celaena's past in just the right portions every single time. If you remember my review for Throne of Glass, then you know I was worried that revealing Celaena's past (if done incorrectly) could diminish her character. Up until Crown of Midnight, we had seen the stubborn and less dangerous side of Celaena. But, if anything, knowing more about her past has made me more sympathetic and gives Celaena more depth. Honestly, I was actually surprised Maas revealed as much as she did.
It was already kind of obvious that Celaena had a very brutal past but I didn't realize how grief-stricken it had left Celaena. We see every part of her. We see her happy, sad, and berserk. Don't get the wrong idea. Her moods didn't wildly swing from place to place. There was always a reason behind her reactions and moods and they were all perfectly displayed.
Chaol was even more swoon-worthy than before. I can't even tell you guys. I mean, the build up to his and Celaena's relationship was perfect. It was realistic and heart-wrenching. But I do feel like Chaol's loyalty to the King is out of place and, quite frankly, doesn't make any sense. He's willing to keep Celaena's biggest secret from him, but is worried at the prospect that someone might actually fight his evil king who has awful slave camps. Loving Celaena has he does, and knowing everything the king has done, I don't know how Chaol is still loyal to the King. I need a reason but there's only blind loyalty. Chaol's smarter than that.
I liked Dorian much more in Crown of Midnight than I did in Throne of Glass. It was wonderful that when everything fell apart, he was still there for Celaena as a friend. Maas kept a firm boundary of friendship intact the entire time, so I was really able to enjoy Dorian as a character, and more importantly, I was able to enjoy his story line.
The ending was fantastic. I didn't see it coming at all. With that said, it wasn't like it came out from left field either. When everything was said and done, it all felt like the logical flow the story needed to take. All in all, Crown of Midnight is one of the best YA high fantasy novels I have ever read - I could hardly put the book down. Honestly, if you're looking for serious high fantasy in YA novels, then you need to pick this series up.