Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. ***MAJOR SPOILERS*** Being an assassin, and holding the title - 'The World's Best Assassin' comes with a few givens. The first one being mainly - you do not grow attachments to anyone or anything as your job doesn't afford you this luxury. After all, people can easily be exploited against you, so emotional attachments are to be avoided at any cost.
I mean did the author of this book not see The Professional with Jean Reno? In this movie, the assassin, Leon, basically seals his fate the moment he lets Mathilda into his life. Wasn't this clear to anyone who saw this. No? Them what about the Jason Bourne movies? Does that make things any clearer?
Assassins are loners, and unattached to any one thing as they just sift through life completing their mission. They have been honed and trained (oftentimes brainwashed or experimented on) to do one thing and one thing only. Can we get on board this, or is it because this book's setting is in a magical realm that all of these truths we hold to be clear are negated?
As I read that Cel is living in a plush room, allowed her freedom to go wherever she wants and is just living a teenager's life - making friends, playing with her dog, deciding on a boyfriend and choosing which one to lose her virginity to, and trying out the latest fashions to see what style she likes best - just completely missed the mark for me.
So while I tried to make sense of things and think that perhaps life moved differently in this magical realm, and tried to get into the story, I just couldn't make sense of another plot line: Cel choosing Chaol.
That perhaps sealed the final nail in the coffin for me. Who in their right mind chooses a guard over the Prince? Sure, if the Prince was a jerk and evil then I'd totally get it, but Dorian isn't, and on top of it, he has MAGIC! Umm - that's a no brainer there. Gorgeous, magical, honest, kind, and amazing Princes don't get friendzoned and chosen over the help. Really? Ugh.
Yeah, there's a million other reasons this story is a total fail for me, such as it's revealed later in the story that Cel is actually a descendant of the Fae and a princess. When her former Master kills off her royal family, she's now the legitimate queen of some who-cares land and is the new King's most feared rival. Yet, her former Master couldn't bring himself to kill her as a child and instead takes her in and trains her as his assassin. Plus, later he falls in love with her and wants to keep her for himself. So when in the last books Cel falls in love with Sam and not her Master - he beats the living tar out of her and throws her in prison. Really?
You mean to say Cel's former Master went through ALLLLL that trouble to house her, protect her, train her, and provide for her, I'm thinking because maybe he wanted the throne to himself when Cel grew up? But he decides to just throw it all away because Cel gets a crush on someone else? Huh? You would think her Master would be a bit more intelligent and calculating than that.
Ugh. I'm not even getting into the rest of the story line which I just couldn't deal with since these glaring inconsistencies wouldn't let me get into this story.
But there is just one more thing that can't go without being mentioned - sex scenes in YA books. Normally they are a fade to black cut scenes when they come up, but this was not the case in Crown of Midnight, which totally pushed the envelope. It goes THERE without going THERE - if that makes any sense. But if you're thinking - what's the problem with getting a little bit extra? Well, everything. Maybe I was grossed out with Choal, but instead of coming across as extra details, the passages came across as if the author either 1) lacked the writing expertise to fully go erotica, or 2) was too lazy to actually dive into the art of writing a sex scene.
Ugh. I could have done without the details when Chaol and Cel get together. Really, I could have.
So finally, I've got to go back and re-read a story which does women assassins right:
Tangled Web by Crista McHugh and somehow figure out how to get back the time I've wasted with this series.
Crown of Midnight features: