Here's the summary of Crown of Midnight from Goodreads: After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes. Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?
What I Liked: 1) Well, I liked Celaena much better in this book. When I reviewed Throne of Glass the biggest thing that was an issue for me was how Celaena was always staring at herself in the mirror. Well, I am so excited to say that she seems to have finally gotten over her fascination with her own face. Yay. That was one of the first things I thought when I finished reading: She didn't stare in the mirror as much!! (This is both exciting and sad). 2) There was much more of a romance in this book than in the first. I...think I like that. Actually I know I did. We were given the opportunity to get to know Chaol and Dorian both much better than we had in Throne of Glass. It was clear that author Sarah J. Maas has upped her game when it comes to character development, because I really thought we got to know these two a lot better. 3) There is a sense of strength and power that I got from this book. Each of the characters exude their own kind of strength and power, and even the flow of the story arcs is powerful. This is one of those elements that makes Crown of Midnight, and Throne of Glass also, unique. 4) There were several new characters that I don't want to bring up for fear os spoiling it for someone. But these characters came with new settings and added a new dimension to the story. 5) There was something kind of shocking at the end. It's not shocking when you happen upon it, because you start to get the sense that it's being led up to. But if you've only read Throne of Glass so far, it is shocking in that sense because you can tell it's a hugely significant piece of the story and wasn't really mentioned in the first book.
What I Didn't Like: Something was missing from Crown of Midnight. I won't come out and say that it fell into the dreaded "second book trap" because it didn't. But it just wasn't as exciting for me as Throne of Glass was. Maybe because the element of the contest was missing since obviously that contest was over, but the energy level of the story line dropped once the contest for the King's Champion was completed and there was not anything that picked up where that energy level left off. Also, Nehemia=my favorite character. Once you've read it, you'll know why I included that piece of information in this section of the review.
Overall Thoughts: Despite the fact that the energy level left a little bit to be desired, Crown of Midnight is still a nice addition to Sarah J. Maas's series. New characters, even better plot development, and the exploration of a romantic story arc are all elements that I loved about this story and I know many readers will too. It should not surprise anyone that the author has produced another wonderful work, and I am now anxiously awaiting the next part of Celaena's story (especially after the big reveal!)
My Rating: 4 shots
Also big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC!