Book of the Week-Crown of Midnight

So I apologize for the fact that this is a day late. This week, check I started school, went to TWO different book signings, worked and got a new tattoo. This is apparently just too much for me to handle and so I got a little behind in the blogging. However, I finished Sarah J. Maa’s new book, the second of the Throne of Glass series, last night and I can’t wait to share my review with you!

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas 

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Genre:

young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?

Yes. This is the second novel of the Throne of Glass series

Warning: This post will NOT contain spoilers for this particular novel. However, there very well could be spoilers for any previous novels. Please check out my review of Throne of Glass here.

You May Like if You Liked:

The Tortall books by Tamora Pierce, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Plot Summary:

The book is a sequel to Throne of Glass. In Throne of Glass, the famous Aderlan Assassin Celaena is freed from a terrible work camp/prison in order to compete in a deadly contest to be the King’s Champion. The prince has chosen Celaena to be his sponsor, and after much dramatics, Celaena wins and becomes the King’s Champion. Spoiler alert. I told you that I was probably going to be spoiling Throne of Glass.

The thing about Throne of Glass is that Celaena is determined to become King’s Champion in order to guarantee her freedom, away from the mines, and away from the cruel and powerful king. When she accomplishes this, she merely has to serve the King for two years and she’ll be free. But there is way more going on than she realizes. She’s given the tasks to find and kill people who the king claims as traitors and rebels to the crown, until he gives her the name of someone she knew long ago. Her friend, the princess Nehemia, is determined to make more of Celaena’s power than she’s been using it for. Chaol and Calaena’s friendship has the possibility of being more, while Dorian watches on the sidelines and tries to forget about her. Celaena has to spend her time deciding who is right and who is wrong, who to trust and who is lying to her, all while trying to preserve her own life under the rule of this powerful and cruel king. Then a tragedy occurs, and everything that Celaena had known or guessed is now in question and she’s on a mission, a mission to make things right, for revenge, for justice.

The Bad:

Uh, that it ended? Seriously. I think the worst part of the book is the fact that it ended and who knows when the third book will come out. Without ruining anything for those of you who have not yet had the chance to read it, or can’t read it because it hasn’t released in your country, I will say this: this book breaks your heart in several different ways. And it leaves you absolutely begging for more. I stared at the last page for a long while, wondering if that was really the end or if there was going to be a little note “just kidding, keep reading”. Of course, there wasn’t, but I wish there was and I wish that I could read what happens next!

The Good:

Sarah’s ability to tell a story is absolutely fantastic. Just when you think that you have figured out what is going on, you’re thrown completely for a loop and you’re sent spiraling into a completely different direction. That is great storytelling. She creates these characters, every single one of them who is so well developed, so believable and so memorable and addicting, and she puts them into this complex and ever looping stories that you can’t help but be glued to the pages the entire novel. Because here’s the thing: Sarah doesn’t just make you addicted to Celaena’s story, she makes you care about all of them, even the characters that aren’t necessarily “good”. Every character has his or her own story, and all of these stories sort of build together, pile on top of one another and make one gigantic story. And since we don’t get everyone’s point views, the story creates this long mystery, a mystery that never really gets solved. Things unravel, piece by piece, and when one piece is uncovered, another mystery is revealed. I think that is a magical thing, to be able to build a story like that.

I also really love that she is so fantastic at world building. You may have noticed that most of the books that I read are fantasy or sci-fi, and yet, what I actually write is contemporary. And that is because the world building of some of these authors is just out of this world, and I am daunted by the task of doing that. Some people just are better at this, and Sarah is a genius at it. She makes this world that is so familiar and relatable but creates in in a completely new universe. What I love about it is that she takes elements from different stories, different myths and cultures, things we’ve seen before and creates her own universe and that is the mark of a good writer. She takes things that we’ve all used, all these fantasy writers tend to be inspired by, and really does a great job of creating her own universe based on it. I think a lot of people think authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling and such all have brand new ideas, but they don’t. They take myths and legends, different aspects of religion, different aspects from different stories and they build their own universes from that. It shows talent and research and imagination and creativity and it is really accomplished in this world, and its so impressive.

I also just adore the characters that Sarah creates in these books. I love Celaena the most, especially after the way Sarah described her when I met her a few days ago. She is a unique heroine in that she has this strength, she’s a fighter, a warrior…an assassin who has an ease for killing, who was trained to kill and to be good at it, but she’s also lovely, calm, intelligent, addicted to books…and she’s super girly! She loves clothes, and looking pretty and shopping for clothes and perfumes. I love that. I love that she is capable of being both, because so many times I feel that female characters are either one or the other. Its the reason I love Isabelle Lightwood from the Mortal Instruments because she embodies that so it was nice to see that sort of kindred spirit in Celaena as well. I also love Nehemia, and the strength that the princess shows, the loyalty and passion and strength of Chaol, and the openness and genuine nature to Dorian. I even love Fleetfoot, Celaena’s dog.

Lastly, I love that there are so many depths of this novel. I love that it follows up this completely great debut novel, and it doesn’t disappoint. You sometimes wonder with an original novel, whether the sequel will be as good and this one doesn’t disappoint in this slightest. I love that it was completely worth the wait, and that it was a continuation of the previous story but it brought about new stories, new enemies while sticking to the conflicts of the previous novel. I also am attracted to the fact that there are SO many elements to the story: romance, action, adventure, revenge, fantasy, justice, drama, so MUCH. There are so many layers to the novel, and that is what makes it SO good. If I were to write a paper about this, there are so many angles that I could take on it, so many themes and so many conflicts and ideas going on in there. I absolutely love it and it makes me excited and anxious for more novels.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?

Yes. Of course. Especially if you’ve already read Throne of Glass. If you loved Throne of Glass, you’re going to read this book and wonder how it was even possible to get better than that, but it did. She took a book that was an amazing debut and made it even better in the sequel. I met her Tuesday (check out the pictures below!) and she informed us that there would be six to seven books in total for the series. I canNOT wait!

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Book of the Week review!

Don’t forget to check out previous reviews here! And stay tuned for more awesome this weekend!

Book of the Week-Throne of Glass

Hello everyone :) Welcome to this week’s Book of the Week. I have to tell you, there I read three new books this week and it was kind of hard to narrow it down to just one to review for this week. I chose this one because it most fits what I usually review and its awesome but I’m thinking…

Should I maybe do a video blog occasionally? Maybe like, “Sara’s Quick Picks“, and I’ll profile the other books I read that week that don’t make it to the Book of the Week? It’d be like…quick reviews of the other books? What do you guys think? Let me know!

Anyway, I saw this book all over GoodReads and people were talking about it and Im like, I need to get on this train and I added it to my “to-read” list. Then I went shopping at Barnes and Noble last week to pick up some books to get signed at the Ontario Teen Book Fest and I saw this sitting on the shelf and was like “LOOK AT THAT COOL COVER!” and immediately grabbed it off the shelf.

And read in a couple days, as per usual. Its a very good book, but I’ll tell you all about it below :) Check out this week’s Book of the Week!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
The first book in the Throne of Glass series. The second, Crown of Midnight, will be released this summer!

You May Like if You Liked:
Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, Kristin Cashore’s Graceling

Plot Summary:

Celaena was trained from the age of 8 to become an assassin, and she becomes the most feared assassin of them, until she is caught and sent to Endovier, to the salt mines, where most criminals do not survive very long with the hard labor. However, Celaena continues to survive until the Crown Prince of Erilea, Dorian, comes to fetch her. He has has a bargain for her: if she participates in a contest of sorts as his Champion, a competition where former criminals battle it out to become the King’s Champion, a coveted role. Dorian wants Calaena as his Champion, so that she can win, serve his father for four years and then earn her freedom. Celaena immediately agrees, though she doesn’t have much of a choice. She comes from a country that no longer exists, taken over by Dorian’s father, and has worked against him her whole life. But this means her freedom.

When she arrives, things don’t go the way she expects them to. She is gaining a lot of attention from both Dorian and the captain of the King’s Guard, Chaol. She’s forming a close friendship with a princess from a nearby land. And she’s having to hide her skills so as not to gain too much attention. But then weird things start happening. Marks called Wyrdmarks start appearing, in a kingdom that has absolutely forbidden magic, and Champions are turning up dead, in seriously gruesome ways. Celaena now has to worry about making it past all the Tests and not ending up dead like the other Champions…

The Bad:

The love triangle. I’m sorry. I mean that in the best way possible. But I am so tired of the love triangle. I am so insanely over it. Please make it go away. I understand it makes for a more interesting story, blah blah blah. I was so excited in Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s Obsidian because there’s no love triangle. Not in the slightest. It was amazing. And I will say that the love triangle in this novel…its very, very subtle. Its not in your face, so there is that. I’ll also add that its subtle enough, on both sides, that you’re not really rooting for either one. At the end of the novel, I’m left going “OHMYGOD, who do I ship?” Haha. But this a very slight love triangle, and honestly, more of an annoyance than anything.

The Good:

Celaena is such a badass. She is up there with all the super badass heroines that we’ve been getting. At first she really reminded me of Katsa from Graceling. They both are kind of trained at a young age to become an assassin. I do think there is a difference between them. I love Katsa and Kristin Cashore’s Graceling but I did have some issues with Katsa; she’s very…unemotional and lacking of humanity sometimes. Sometimes its hard to relate to her. Celaena is trained as an assassin but has such a deep personality and human feelings and emotions. I love that she has a ton of humor and sarcasm. I love that she is this badass assassin with the power to kill people fairly easily and yet she loves to curl up with a book and enjoy a story. I love that she loves dogs and doesn’t want the grumpy runt of the pack to be killed.

I love the sort of repertoire she builds with the different characters in the novel. She spends the most time with Dorian, Chaol and the princess and she is Celaena with all of them, but she has a different relationship with each of them and while reading, I get eager to see what sort of interaction she will have with each character. She plays all these different parts and she doesn’t hold back. I think that’s what really attracts both Dorian and Chaol to Celaena. She is this beautiful fighter, talented warrior, gifted and brilliant and everyone knows who she is, has heard whispers of her. But I think once this famed assassin is given a name, a personality, a face…Dorian and Chaol are able to really see her as a person. And the princess, Nehemia, is really able to see what Celaena is like because she doesn’t know her true identity or her reason for being there.

I also really love the conflict that goes on within Celaena. She’s an assassin from a country that was brutally taken over by the king, and she’s spend much of her “career”, fighting and killing and working against him. And she is sent to the salt mines, where she isn’t fed well, and she’s fighting off would-be attackers and doing extreme hard labor. Of course this isn’t a place that she wants to be at. She’s given the chance of freedom, but at the cost of working for someone whom she despises. Its a very strange internal struggle for her, as she fights to win the King’s Champion position, knowing it’ll both mean her freedom, but preceded by four years of killing for a man that she definitely does not see as her king. I love that we don’t just get to see her physical fight, but we get to see her fight internally as well.

I loved the ending to this book as well, but as I’m trying to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible because before, I just spoiled things like crazy, I won’t say too much. I loved how everything was wrapped and yet completely not wrapped up at the same time. You had a conclusion, an ending but there are so many loose ends, especially toward the end when you start getting different points of view and you see sort of the inner workings of this kingdom and what could possibly go wrong. So it leaves you both happy and frustrated which is the mark of a good ending.

And it makes me absolutely can’t WAIT til August to read the sequel. Maas has created a very realistic, fantastical world. She said it started out as kind of a throwback to Cinderella but I think the story kind of had a mind of its own and took on its own life form. She builds a world as real as Tortall or Fellsmarch or Middle Earth. You believe its real and you believe all these characters are real and it sucks you into the story. I very much enjoyed this book.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not?:

Definitely. If you like fantasies with girls that kick ass, this is the book for you. Celaena is a badass character with the right emotions and personality for you to both love her and hate her, and follow her story eagerly. I literally inhaled this book because I just had to find out what happened next.

As always, the book title above will take you to the Amazon page and the author’s name will take you to their website.

Definitely check this book out!

Last little note: I hope she comes to California soon because I would adore meeting her!

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If you missed it yesterday, here is my interview with best selling author, Eoin Colfer!

And check back soon for my post all about the Star Trek Into Darkness red carpet premiere!