Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
Book 2 of Throne of Glass
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?
Oh my goodness, you guys.
I read this book last weekend and had to look for the right gifs to do it justice.
This is the Celaena book we've wanted: she's put in moral dilemmas, she has squee-worthy romance moments, she finds and loses friends, she gets all dressed up and she also straight-up murders the crap out of people. There are reveals. There are Serious Moments. There is humor.
It's just....it's so much. My poor little heart, cold and reptilian though it might be, was struggling to handle all the input it was getting. (Randomness of the day: when I tried to type "input" my finger muscles typed "pinup" instead. Make of that what you will.)
So now Celaena is the King's Champion, which is great because it means she didn't die in a tournament for the honor. Score. The downside is that she is under contract for four years. And it's not like the king is friggin' Arthur or something. So her gig pretty much involves slaughtering people that are basically decent because she has the skills to do it. She doesn't want to, but King Jerkwater has threatened to murder everyone she loves if she doesn't toe the line.
|Mistress Kick-butt's reaction to the king's "plans"|
Readers get to see more of her tender side when she finally - FINALLY - gets the guy that's been admiring her for longer than he cares to admit. She's gooey on the inside. Aww.
But even with her marshmallow center, her outer shell isn't made of candy. It's made of titanium, and Not-Taking-Any-Bullsh*t Celaena draws a line in the sand and breaks her own heart to stay on the correct side of it. When our heroine is at the lowest of the low, even I needed a hug.
She can be decorative. She can be petty. But she also uses her brain more often than not. She has a line even she will not cross. She even has secrets that she hasn't revealed to the reader (which shouldn't have been a surprise, but still was because I was doing the reading equivalent of the "Phoebe Run" through this book).
To sum up: We get to see our legendary assassin actually get bathed in blood. We get to see her fall in love and dress all pretty. We get to see her show her moral mettle - and suffer for her sacrifices. AND we get a frickin' cliffhanger that makes me want to grab the next book. Which is, of course, nowhere near being published.
Read this book. Read it right now.*
*"now" means "after finishing the first book"