Crown of Midnight is the second installment in the Throne of Glass series, a young adult high fantasy about a female assassin. This wildly popular series is a bestselling saga with four full novels in print, several accompanying novelettes, and a fifth full novel set to be published at the end of this year. Bloomsbury | Paperback | 2014 | 418 pp
In the first book, Throne of Glass, Calaena Sardothien was the most famous assassin in Adarlan but she had been caught and sentenced to the mines of Endovier to eventually die. She was plucked from her misery and brought to the King’s castle for a competition. Alongside other assassins, thieves, and other degenerates, she would compete to become the King’s assassin. After surviving the competition and dark demonic magic – with a little help from a captive princess, the royal prince, the captain of the guard, and some spirit guidance from the other side, Calaena won the position. It would eventually mean freedom after a few miserable years of working for the man who killed her parents. It was better than the mines.
Crown of Midnight bumps it up a notch – and the death/kill rate skyrockets.
It begins with Calaena already in position as the new King’s assassin. She has free roam of the castle and the city without being tailed by guards, a large salary, and a long list of people to kill. But she’s not actually killing anyone. Instead, she corners her targets, tells them to get out of town, and fakes their death with a few body parts from the city’s infirmary. She’s a killer – but she isn’t interested in killing for no reason.
That is until Chaol is kidnapped. At the end of the first book, her interest in the Crown Prince Dorian had run its course and the Captain of the Guard took its place. Their romance was at an all time high when he was taken. A note was left for Calaena and they told her to come alone. Some people in the city knew that the King had a hit list and this was the best way to lure the King’s assassin away. With thirty men in the warehouse where Chaol was being held, they underestimated her. She was just a girl, right?
Do you remember the scene in Kill Bill with Beatrix Kiddo and the Crazy 88s? That.
“Enough! We have enough enemies as it is! There are worse things out there to face!”
Calaena slowly turned to him, her face splattered with blood and eyes blazing bright. “No, there aren’t,” she said. “Because I’m here now.”
It is shortly after this scene when the secrets that are being kept by multiple people explode in one heinous night. Calaena changes into a different person and the novelty of being a girl wearing gowns at court wore off. The challenge she didn’t want to face is upon her, whether she likes it or not. And it is much bigger than the freedom she was working toward.
In Crown of Midnight, Calaena turns into the assassin we had heard so much about. In the first book, she showed her might. Underestimated by all of the competitors, it was almost too easy to take them out one by one. But she was preoccupied with dresses, her appearance, and a bit of kissy kissy. Where was that ferocious assassin? It was still a great book – but her back story did the talking. In this second book, Calaena becomes an extension of the war gods.
It’s almost as if she becomes a completely different person – but that would be the wrong assessment because she actually does become a different person. Ten years prior, the King had ordered the death of any and all people possessing magic and drove the Fae out of the lands. But magic still impossibly existed in the castle, and it changes Calaena and even the Crown Prince Dorian.
You’ll have to read it to believe it. This one will put you in book recovery mode after reading.
Crown of Midnight
by Sarah J. Maas