Tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. Click the link to see my review of the previous novel, Throne of Glass!
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.
If you’re one of the people who felt Throne of Glass was lacking because Celaena didn’t use any of her superior skills to kill somebody, look no further, because Adarlan’s Assassin herself is slaying her way back to center stage. Gods, I love her. She is still the same clever, girlish warrior that we all know and love, but truly in this book do we begin to see Celaena in her element and killin’ it in more ways than one (Okay, sorry, that’s enough puns…for now). From the very first chapter, she is more brutal, ruthless, and unmerciful than we’ve seen her ever before. It’s a great start to the second book because we readers are just as much like, “holy crabcakes, where did that come from?” as Dorian and Chaol are from the looks on their faces. I’ve got an evil little smile on my face just thinking about it. We also get little snippets into her past as the book goes on, most notably a courtesan from the Good Ol’ Days with contacts in the rebel uprising. Between almost-hidden thoughts about characters we have yet to meet and flashbacks to the trauma that got Celaena where she is now, we are knee deep in secrets that will keep readers hooked from start to finish.
The first time I read this book was almost exactly a year ago, and I remember having to take a break halfway through so I could grab tissues because I was crying so much. That’s right: not even 50% into this book, and I was already weeping. Even rereading this book for a review had me tearing up! It’s an emotional rollercoaster, and the entire ride was spectacularly well done. As if I wasn’t seriously invested in the story from the first half of the book, the second half had me in chains from how impossible it is to put this book down. I still feel so deeply connected to each character months later, sharing in their grief and anger over something no one could control. This is truly where the character and plot development both take a darker turn and become something stronger than Throne of Glass ever accomplished. Everything from this point on sets the stage for the next book with an impeccable and unparalleled ending to one of the greatest sequels I’ve ever read.
Admittedly, the book isn’t perfect: the pacing at times speeds up and then drags on, and some of the final moments seem predictable only because Celaena really should have acted way earlier, but overall the improvements from book one far outweigh the minor bumps in the road in this sequel. I highly recommend picking this up if you didn’t enjoy Throne of Glass as much as (seemingly) every other blogger, because the difference is palpable with very positive changes. If you did adore Throne of Glass, you’re in for an absolute treat…and a river of tears. 5,000 out of 5,000 stars.
What did you all think of this book? What other sequels knocked your socks off when you read them? Let me know in the comments below!