I’m back again with another book review! I’m on a book reviewing bonanza over here, and it’s been kind of fun but also kind of scary because these are well-loved books and I’m just a single person trying to say things about them. I think this one is going to be one of the most difficult for me to talk about, because I loved it so much when I first read it.
Okay, so. Crown of Midnight starts up soon after the events in Throne of Glass. Celaena has won the competition to become the King of Adarlan’s personal assassin, and she is now completing missions for him. But it’s all leading her to believe that there is more at play in the palace than meets the eye. Between her relationship with Chaol (helloooooo to the beginning of kind of awkward SJM sex scenes in YOUNG ADULT BOOKS) and her friendships with both Nehemia and Dorian (and her dog, who is one of my favorite characters), Celaena’s got her hands full. But her curiosity gets the best of her and she starts pushing everyone away on her quest to figure out what’s going on in Adarlan and in Rifthold.
Needless to say, things start to snowball, and Celaena realizes that the King of Adarlan is messing with forces outside of his realm… literally.
3 Things I Loved
- Celaena’s dog. Okay, I know! But she’s cuddly and always around to make Celaena feel better and I just love her, okay? Fleetfoot or whatever her name is – she’s the purest soul in this entire series.
- Nehemia. I have SO MUCH to say about Nehemia and I’ll get to that in a second, but yeah, she is so necessary to this story and I loved her and I hate how things are handled.
- Celaena. She’s pretty badass, you can’t deny that.
This is the book where the problems truly begin, so I’m breaking this into sections. SPOILERS AHEAD.
How virginity is handled
Okay, so. Celaena loses her virginity to Chaol. That’s fine, I don’t mind reading that kind of thing in young adult books. Usually it’s handled as a plot point, and it sort of was here too. But what I didn’t like? SJM uses a phrase very similar to “Celaena opens up and gives Chaol everything she has.” AND I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THAT. Women (and men and non-gender-conforming individuals) are more than their virginities, for crying out loud. Yuck. I should have known that more was coming. This was an omen.
YES, THIS IS A HUGE SPOILER, I’M NOT SORRY BECAUSE IF YOU’RE PLANNING ON READING THIS BOOK AND YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS, SJM IS KNOWN TO HAVE ISSUES WITH RACE IN HER BOOKS.
Nehemia is the only character of color in this book that I can actually remember – I mentioned that in yesterday’s review. AND THEY USE HER DEATH AS A PLOT DEVICE. I hate it so much. In all of her books, SJM follows the white/blonde savior trope where it’s only the young, beautiful white woman with blonde hair who can save us all. Ugh. Nehemia was strong, and actually stood for something, and wanted more for her home. And she knew that her death would make Celaena act. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT??? Sorry, language, I know. But seriously – that isn’t generally how people’s minds actually work, and I have trouble believing that Princess Nehemia, who KNOWS she’s the last hope to save her kingdom, would sacrifice herself so that Celaena, AN ASSASSIN, would do what she wanted her to do. It’s just nonsense.
Sure, after the ending, and especially after reading the third book, the plot makes sense, because we know who Celaena actually is. But. BUT. Does that justify the killing of the only POC in the whole series? I don’t think it does.
The devolution into the love story being a main part of the plot
You know what I liked about the first book? There was no main plot that was entirely centered around a love interest. YES, there was a bit of a love triangle, but it came secondary to the competition to become the king’s assassin. This book is the beginning of love and pairing off always being part of the plot in the rest of these books. Which is just… ugh. YOU CAN BE AROUND OTHER PEOPLE WITHOUT FALLING IN LOVE WITH THEM IMMEDIATELY. It’s absurd.
Okay, I think that about takes care of it. Eep.
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
This one is hard for me, because I gave it five stars on Goodreads when I first finished it, and then I dove headfirst into Heir of Fire. But it was in reading Heir of Fire that I started to see the problems in sharper relief. So, with hindsight on my side, I’m going to give Crown of Midnight a YELLOW rating. And the problems only get worse from here.
What do you think of my assessment? Let me know in the comments!