Book review: 'Crown of Midnight' gripping, dark sequel

Published: Saturday, Nov. 16 2013 12:00 p.m. MST

CROWN OF MIDNIGHT,” by Sarah J. Maas, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $17.99, 416 pages (f) (ages 15 and up)

She was crowned the King’s Champion. Now in "Crown of Midnight,” Sarah J. Maas’ second novel in the Throne of Glass series, she is working as the king’s assassin, 18-year-old Celaena Sardothien is given deadly missions to eliminate the enemies of the king of Adarlan. But she's expected to not question why they would be considered traitors.

The political climatic is uncertain, and it’s difficult to know who is lying and who is truly loyal to the crown.

Then there are the whispers that Aelin Galathynius, heir of Terrasen, may have survived the brutal attack on her family years ago and is still alive and, if so, supporting her could mean overthrowing the king’s brutal and dark ways.

Even those closest to her — the king’s son and crown prince Dorian Havilliard and Chaol Westfall, captain of the guard, and friend, foreign Princess Nehemia — have secrets that could each cost them something very dear.

Celeana’s secret is that she is less than loyal to the king and his dark, iron-fisted methods, and will fake the deaths of her targets. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t afraid to kill if she’s in danger or if it’s avenging a friend.

Celaena’s next target is an old local friend of hers, and it takes many different tactics to figure out what he’s about and what his secrets may be.

The magic the king of Adarlan sought to banish unmistakenly yet quietly begins the rise, and it’s that magic that unlocks hidden passageways and helps to solve riddles. There is a darker magic that is being mysteriously harnessed.

A tragedy leads Celaena to question everyone and everything around her, human or magical, as she tries to make sense.

“Crown of Midnight” is a fast-paced and engrossing fantasy novel. There is enough background to not be lost in the world of the Throne of Glass if jumping in at the second book.

Maas has built a complex, well-thought-out world that, although darker, there are small beams of hope as Celeana, Dorian and others put together the clues that may mean their freedom, leaving the ending wide open for any number of possibilities.

Celaena is an assassin, and there are several descriptive violent fights, killing and death scenes. There is also a generally described sex scene along with other sexual innuendos throughout, along with mild swearing.

Email: rappleye@deseretnews.com Twitter: CTRappleye

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