I hoped this would be better than its previous novel, and in some ways it was. Maas has now shied away from solely telling Celaena’s story, and has instead gone for a multiple point of view, Game of Thrones style narrative. After the disappointment that came from the last novel, it was a bit of a relief. Maas had taken Celaena’s storyline in a completely different direction to where I thought she was going to take it, and at first I was unsure of what to make of it. It grew on me in the end, but the attempt to make Celaena appear vulnerable fell flat to me – instead Maas seemed to paint her as a bit of a wet lettuce, which was very frustrating. Eventually this dropped from the narrative THANK GOD and Celaena returned to the strong character I had loved so much in the first novel.
One narrative arc I loved in this novel was Manon the Blackbeak witch and her wyvern Abraxos. It was such a cute storyline, and at times I found it way more entertaining than the overall plot. Though my only problem with it was I wasn’t entirely sure why it was in this novel – I get that it was to show part of what the King of Adarlan had been up to over the years before these events, but it wasn’t really clear as to how her narrative fit in with all of the other characters. She was still one of my favourite things about this novel, though.
I liked the romance between Sorscha and Dorian, but this felt glaringly like it was put in to stop readers thinking that Dorian and Celaena might get back together in future novels. It ruined it a bit, as well as the repeated statements in Chaol and Celaena’s chapters that they weren’t ever going to get back together. Did this really add to the overall narrative? No. Was there a need for this repitition? No. There was no real need for this until the two characters meet again, which Maas made pretty obvious won’t be any time soon.
Chaol and Dorian’s sections of the narrative felt like the more plot fuelled aspect of the novel. This was clearly more set up for further novels, but actually felt like it was going somewhere – and it really exploded at the crux of the narrative arc. In some ways I was pleasantly surprised by this, after the sedate nature of the previous novel, and while it had a sad ending to it Maas left plenty more interesting plot points for the next novel. Despite the disappointment I felt when reading ‘Crown of Midnight’, this plot twist reeeally made me want to find out what happens next.
I would give it a 4/5 as it was a definite step up from the previous novel, where as Celaena’s chapters did feel like they were once again dragging. However Maas rescued it with her later chapters, as well as the other characters’ storylines. I’m curious to see what Maas has in store for her characters, but wasn’t expecting the direction she’s taken her narrative in.