Series: Throne of Glass #2
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 416 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2013
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?
This is one of those books that makes it nearly impossible to write a review because you adored it so much. I loved this more than book one, which is saying something. I know that book one got mixed reviews upon its release because it is such a polarizing story, but those who continue on with this series will be nothing short of utterly blown away by this sequel.
Before I begin, I want to throw out the fact that reading the novellas really enhances your experience when reading book two. Several aspects of Celaena's past are mentioned in this book and their overall stories are told in the novella. It gives you more back story to the summarized endings that are mentioned throughout this book. It also gives you a ton of back story as to why Celaena is the way she is, especially in regards to her love life.
If you ask me, the driving force of this magnificent series is the characters. I care about them in ways I never thought I would. I mean, our main character is a freaking assassin and I love her to death! I identify with some of her emotions! An assassin is supposed to be possibly the most despised and unlikable character out there, yet Maas made me so easily adore one. As King's Champion she is already being sent on assignments and being forced to bring back severed heads as proof of her mark's death. But it's really amazing to watch Celaena figure out what is right and wrong and find ways around the wrong to make them right. For an assassin she has a very healthy and respectable conscience, and while part of me was sitting there with bloodlust for her assassin abilities, she brought them out several times only when necessary. I mean, don't deny it, the scenes where this girl mows people down are absurdly awesome--and that's coming from someone who hates death and gore to the umpteenth power.
I also adore Chaol. I mean, it's Chaol! I am 100% Team Chaol. He's so delicious and complicated and can only be described as perfect. He's got the biggest heart and he's torn between his honor to the King and his honor to the woman he loves. I also really adored Dorian in this one because some really awesome new plot points came out evolving around him that promise chaos and fun in the future novels. He also begins to stand against his father for what he thinks is right, which is very satisfying since we all know his father sucks. Nehemia is easy to love because she is Celaena's soul friend, though she's frustrating and secretive as usual. And even Fleetfoot has a special place in my heart, too. If you want a loyal dog, deem thy dog Fleetfoot. Without feeling such immense emotions for this plethora of characters this book would not have been as amazing as it was. My love for these people is indescribable.
When these characters hurt, I hurt alongside them. Which, unfortunately in this one, was a lot. When they soared, I soared too. And when the romance blossomed, I was rooting for them until my fist couldn't pump anymore. The romance in this one was expertly done because it shows first love and adoration slowly blossoming on Celaena's end and it was great to hear the reciprocated thoughts from the male end as well. It was the way a romance should be, and while it satisfied my taste for love it did not deter from the overall plot for a single second. If anything, the passionate positive and negative emotions driven by this romance made the plot even more believable and powerful. These are very emotionally driven characters, after all.
Speaking of the plot, I was thrown for a million loops. I met people I didn't think I'd ever meet and the plot was taken places I never thought it would go. With that being said, looking back on it I felt like some of the things I thought were so awesome could have been explained. In the moment when there was mention of a new dimension I thought it was awesome. But when I completed the book I was sitting here wondering how the hell that dimension was even brought into the story. It was just there, it didn't make that much sense. Little things like this need more detail behind it instead of unexplained character knowledge.
There are also two huge plot twists in this one that will leave you reeling. One is at the very end, the other close to the end. To put it simply, I saw them both coming, especially the huge one at the end. It's very easy to get caught up in this story and sit back and be shocked. Heck, I was, but the second that shock wore off I was shaking my head and going into my twitter account, viewing old conversations where I totally predicted this would happen. While it's a bummer that the two biggest plot twists of this book were so transparent to me, most of the book wasn't, which makes me very happy.
And, again, while it is a bummer that the predictability in regards to the end was somewhat high, these two plot twists promise even more chaos to ensue in the future. There will be more secrets, more lies, more heartbreak, and of course, delicious catastrophic events under the threat of war and annihilation. What would Adarlan be without chaos?
I'm sitting here shaking in anticipation for book three because the plot progressed so much in book two. While I was initially hesitant about this series being six books long, I'm totally welcoming of the awesomness that will undoubtedly ensue after so many promising twists in this book with more to come in the future. I have to say it...I truly think Maas has mastered the high fantasy genre.
Disclaimer: I received no form of compensation in exchange for my honest review of this book picked up at BEA 2013.