Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I remember it used to be that I preferred the even-numbered entries in the Throne of Glass series to the odd-numbered ones, because I tended to feel like (except for the first, of course), the odd-numbered ones are loaded with filler (HoF and EoS especially are guilty of this.) But after rereading Crown of Midnight for the third time - I actually sort of gave up the first time, then really enjoyed it on the second read - I realize that this book was the one loaded with filler, contributing to a case of Sophomore Slump. Not quite on the level ofHunger or, more recently, Windwitch, but still.
That problem is mostly confined to the book's first half or so, where not much happens other than the occasional look at Celaena being the King's Champion, and the reading of more Wyrdmark books (I still chuckle every time I see the title The Walking Dead, for obvious reasons.) Then the second half picks up the pace considerably, not only with a majorly controversial character death (I'm reminded of the third season of The 100 here, because here the book sacrifices one of its most diverse and interesting characters to kick the story into high gear), but also some majorly shocking (at the time) reveals that really inform the sequels. Reveals that actually come to the reader through Chaol's POV, more often than not - highlighting his importance to the story and highlighting that Maas really didn't know how to handle him properly after a certain point or so. (Not to mention he just wasn't perfect enough for her, I guess...but at least he's getting his own book soon.)
So, while Crown of Midnight boasts a few Franchise Original Sins for Throne of Glass - which I really hope the forthcoming Queen of Shadows TV series works to correct - it's still an enjoyable, easily devourable book in its own right. For the third time, I'm changing my star rating for this one. Hopefully it'll be the last time I do so for any of the remaining books - I'm anticipating sticking by my rankings of four stars for HoF and EoS, and five for Qos, which rightfully earned itself an honorable mention in the 2015 Pinecone Awards for a reason (and, to me, is still Peak Maas if only for its banana-nuts Lovecraftian nature). All of the above, of course, is still subject to change. Stay tuned.
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