Friday, October 9, 2015

Review - Crown of Midnight (DNF)

Crown of Midnight
(Throne of Glass #2)
by Sarah J. Maas
Date: 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 363
Format: e-book
Source: library

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt. But her heart never wavers.

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?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I read Throne of Glass at the beginning of this year.  I wasn't all that impressed.  I didn't particularly like the characters, I thought the writing left a lot to be desired, and I just didn't get sucked into the story the way I expected to.  Pretty much everybody says that Crown of Midnight is better; in fact, it seems to be the favourite book of the series of many.  So I thought I'd give this series one more try.  I waited weeks to get my copy from the library (because the series is just so dang popular), and started to read immediately.  I got to 18%... and I'm sorry I wasted my time.

I do not connect with the characters at all.  I don't even like them.  None are developed all that well, beyond continual descriptions of their looks (these books all have a strange superficiality to them that I find off-putting).  Celaena is still one of the biggest Mary Sues, and she's just... boring.  She's supposed to be this kick-ass assassin, but even almost 1/5 of the way into this book, she'd yet to actually assassinate anyone.  Much of her time was spent shopping, flirting, and wandering the halls of the palace in the dark for no good reason (other than to position her to see certain things or gain bits of presumably relevant information).

I'm also allergic to Maas's writing.  The same things that bothered me in the first book bothered me here.  She just doesn't write in the third person point of view very well.  Put more than one "he" or "she" in a scene, and you can't figure out who's talking.  And then, in scenes where Celaena is the only girl, the author will use both "she" and "Celaena" in a paragraph (in that order), as if we'll somehow forget in the space of a couple of sentences that Celaena's the one who's speaking.  Also, Maas doesn't seem to know when to break up the paragraphs, leading to odd ones where one person speaks, a second person performs an action, and then the first person speaks again, all without a break (which could be confusing at times, figuring out who was doing and saying what).  It's just really weird, and I suspect that if the books had been written in the first person (with shifting points of view) they might have worked better.  (I'm not a huge fan of third-person narration, but it can be done right.  For example, I never got confused about who was speaking when Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were both in a scene together.)

After reading way too many pages of overly long descriptions of irrelevant things ("She glanced at the clock on the small table beside a wall.") and seeing few hints of anything remotely interesting happening, I decided to give up.  I wasn't enjoying the book at all.  I caught myself up with synopses and spoilers... and I'm not regretting my decision to quit this one.  (Aelin Galathynius?  Seriously?  That sounds like an STD.)

I'm completely baffled by the love for this series and for this author's writing.  Perhaps she manages to strike an emotional chord in her readers.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.  I find her writing weak and juvenile, and the stories tedious.

So, in the final analysis, the reasons why I didn't finish Crown of Midnight are as follows:
  • weak writing
  • superficiality
  • cardboard characters
  • boredom


  1. Yes! I only did the first book and I just hated the writing. So glad to know someone else feels the same way!

    1. I really wanted to give this series a good shot before I gave up on it. But since the writing bothered me in the first one and it didn't get any better here, I didn't really feel like continuing.

  2. I completely feel you. I didn't dislike this book as much as you did, but I still couldn't understand the hype around it. Sorry you felt the same way. :( Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. I'm kind of sorry I didn't like this book (and series), too. It sounds like it would be something I'd like. It's just not for me, unfortunately.

  3. I'm sorry to hear you had another DNF. I think I'm the only one not to read this series. After your review I'm not regretting that decision. lmao at the STD! It so does! One of these days I'll have to see what all the hype is about, but not soon. Sounds like the writing is really poorly done. Talk about confusing! I guess most people over look it because they enjoyed the books so much.

    1. Yes... a lot gets overlooked when people like a book. I think that's one of my biggest pet peeves. "I loved this book" does not equal "This book is so well written". I've been burned so many times because of other reviewers' failures to understand the distinction (and, possibly, because there are a lot of readers who just don't understand what technically good writing is).

      The Throne of Glass series may be popular and entertaining to some readers. That doesn't necessarily make it objectively good, though!

  4. Ah, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it...but only like a little bit sorry, because while THIS one is one of my favourite books of all time...after Queen of Shadows...I'm kind of sworn off?!?! I don't even recommend them anymore and I FEEL SO SAD BUT. It just lost all of the things I loved about it. *sigh*

    1. I've seen that a number of people are less than pleased with this series after the events of the fourth book. I went and read some of the spoilers, and I think I'd probably agree if I'd read that far. It almost seems like the author wants to write a completely different story, and rather than come up with new characters, has just used the old ones. I wonder if there's some sort of huge plot twist coming up in the next couple of books that will bring things around to a satisfying conclusion... or if the author's just gone off on a tangent and the series will actually get worse.

  5. Ha. I'm not the only one who felt that way. Friends have been urging me to give this one a try and I did twice but both times, I couldn't get past page 10. Her new series was even worse. Some of us seem to be immune to whatever magic she wields.

    1. Yeah, I've heard some things about her new series that make me really wary. I doubt I'll be reading that one, either.