So. I have been wanting to write this post since November last year – around the time I wrote my need for diversity blog post. It is taking a lot of patience not to rush this is all out. But no I wanted to wait until all my thoughts were ordered, to make sure that I didn’t write anything that I would regret later. I was also a little afraid – not because it is an unpopular opinion what I am about to write about – but because I didn’t want to seem hypercritical. But here I am writing it.
*Disclaimer: This post is full of spoilers – it would be virtually impossible to write it without any. So if you would like to read her books, I would advise you not to read ahead.
I have always been the biggest Sarah J Maas fan you have ever known – ever since reading all her books in 2015 I have been obsessed with her creations, she was actually the first author I thought was ‘the one’. Until now. I think I have always realised that Throne of Glass and A Court of Mist and Fury are problematic and racist. But it wasn’t until late fall last year that I truly began to accept that her books are in fact not that great after all. It sent my brain into chaos, half of my brain wanting to love these books to death the other half angry as hell that I was so willing blind towards these books. I was angry, confused and did not know what on earth to do about it. That is till I read this blog post: http://thebookavid.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/problematic-ya-books-by-mostly-non.html and it didn’t completely change my view but it helped me straighten a few things in my head and how I was going to approach a lot of books on my bookcase.
So the next thing I did was do a quick reread of the books – marking everything with a fresh mind – making A NEW OPINION – an opinion which overtakes what I have said before about these books and an opinion that I will now talk about regardless of what I have said in the past. Here is a little mini-review of each book from TOG:
Throne Of Glass:
Right, so this book, I think nearly everyone will agree with me, is actually alright. It has magical world building and Maas perfectly crafts a story that is suitable and interesting for YA fantasy readers. I think her characters in this one are surreal, they are flawed, well developed and lovable. We get a plot that is faced paced, rich in colour and voice and pretty much leaves you screaming for the next book. Maas perfectly operates information by giving us suitable sips of the world she has created but still keeping us slightly in the shadows. Sure there is the cliche trope of love triangles emerging, and Celaena is quite a typical white-heroine-escaping-from-her-past type of character – but nevertheless it is an amazing read. And there is also not, from what I’ve learnt and read, really anything wrong/offensive with this book. So my rating still stays as 5 stars.
Crown Of Midnight:
The next book in the series is always the one everyone fears for. But Maas effortlessly slides into the next narrative – she opens up a darker twisted world that Celaena tried to ignore in the first book. Trust and betrayal are tested, friendships are formed and broken – and everyone’s past and future slowly start to unravel in rich writing. The plot is intense and exciting leaving us breathless for the next chapter. We discover Dorains power and another kick ass story line starts to blossom alongside our heroine, we fall head over heels for a relationship between with Celaena and Choal – one that seemed impossible and was so carefully developed. And then Sarah J Maas kills the only person of colour character (that we are physically aware of) off. And in a bloody brutal way. I think this is what turned the ending off a lot for me – most people love this book (in fact it’s the last book they really like!!) But that death still haunts me to this day and how it is dealt with in the later books makes me physically sick. I have to admit the ending of the book was pretty amazing and even I (the master of discovering endings) didn’t spot it coming – and Maas leaves us on a bittersweet note as our trio is separated – off to find their destiny. My rating on this book is now 4 stars.
Heir Of Fire:
A lot of people are turned off by this book – with it being about 400 pages of virtually nothing and Rowan being decrepit as glorifying abusive towards Celaena, I understand. However I still have a soft spot for this book in my heart, I was really interested in this new world expansion Maas offered us and was excited to see the new demons on the world. I also thought that Celaena character development was very important – and refreshing in a way – as I had never really seen characters mourn after dramatic deaths, and seeing Celaena change and grow after her best friend’s death actually helped me in a way. Another opinion about this book is I loved Manon story line. A lot of people didn’t, but I thought she was such a dark and twisted character that I was desperate to explore her background and see how her story became involved with the rest of our trio. Now, this is common knowledge if you know me. I liked Rowan in Heir of Fire. I liked how their relationship played out – just a strong friendship where the almost both helped each other from the dark hole they were in. I know now what a jackass he was and also how it was so not okay how things developed in the next couple of books. Another thing I noticed rereading was the lack of Dorian and Choal story line – I was really desperate to see some action around these two, especially with Sorscha in the picture. And we didn’t get any until the last couple. And then Maas killed off another person of colour off. My rating: 3 stars
Queen Of Shadows:
Then there is this book. This book is just shambled. It is a mess. I don’t know if its because Maas was getting sick of writing the book, she didn’t plan it properly or whatever it what its a total mess. You go in extremely over the moon because I mean the trio is getting back together! We have Dorian who is living in the shadow of a terrible father and has a freaking demon inside him!! We have Celaena who is more bad-ass than ever and with a passion for revenge for the family and friends she lost. And of course, Chaol, who was by far the most well-developed, most flawed character in the series – who was battling against the views he was brought up with. And all these characters disappear. We barely get anything from Dorian and that just pisses me off – his storyline could have been amazing except we only get a couple of POV from him. Celaena is not even existing like WHAT IS happening why is there this rude, unloyal, mean person in place of someone who is kind, loyal and strong?! And then chaol. This was the shittest piece of character development I have ever seen in my life. Chaol did not deserve this at all, he deserved more time on him. And what the hell happened to chaol and Celaena relationship? I know they spent time apart but why are they so mean to each other? What is happening? They were in a relationship that was beautifully developed and pure and Sarah just goes and ruins it?
And then Rowan and Aedion are introduced: 1. What the is this fae bullsh*t? This trio makes me so angry like I do not get or like it. 2. Rowan and Aelin are not a great couple and they can leave. I was fine with them being friends but this whole sexualizing their relationship in a blink of an eye and ignoring the past they went through together is enough to make me pull my eyes out.
Then there is the plot. Which is a mess? I did not like it. I didn’t like Abroyness death. Like I think Lysandra’s cool and a complex character and her character development was perfect. But in all seriousness? That was the most boring death I have seen for a group of killers. then there was also the situation regarding the king That ‘redemption’ was a total cop out and just makes my eyes water. And then they leave Dorian who has been tormented by a demon to run a kingdom? It does not make any sense. The only part I enjoyed was Manon and Elide but that was mucked up in the next book. My rating: 1 star.
Empire of Storms:
This book had some serious major flaws that I am deeply disappointed were not addressed by any editors or publishers. First of Nephima. That story of how she ventured to find her destiny? Yes? And then it turns out she is not the one but Celaena is? That is the whitest and most offensive use of “white saviour trope” I have ever seen.
Rowan and Aelin relationship is creepy and unnecessary and should not be in a Young Adult book. It was completely undeveloped and like she is 19? What is she doing that sort of stuff on the beach please stop? Aelin is literally a 2D character. I didn’t relate to her. I didn’t feel what she was feeling. I didn’t hear her views because Maas was doing her ‘secret’ thing. She may as well of be a minor character. She was boring and predictable.
Also, what was Dorian character development? We literally saw nothing of him. Maas promised us a dark and twisted character who is struggling because duh he has had a demon inside him. The only dark thing we get is handcuffs. Nothing. Where was his pain? Where was he missing his best friend, his mother? Where was his confused guilt over his father? I swear to god if Maas makes him the ‘one’ to die I will riot.
I also really didn’t like how everyone got paired off. It was totally unnecessary and didn’t make any sense at all. Adeion and Lysandra relationship was toxic. Elide and Lorchan no thank you. And Manon and Dorian can just leave thank you very much. Manon and Elide could have happened and it could have been amazing but no.
Moreover, that ending was too intense with me and I felt extremely uncomfortable with Maeve. Which I suppose made her a really good villain. But the whole mask and box thing? That was really scary and I didn’t like it. Although I did feel we got a shimmer of the old Celaena during that scene. But that was it.
And then Chaol was not even in the book. My rating 1 star.
I am not the angry with Acomaf as I am with Tog. But it still has problems. I understand what Maas was going in ACOTAR so I guess it’s okay in a way? But Rhysand and Feyre relationship still glories a bit – I mean I know it was all for a reason and the stuff he did do to her he had to – but still, I’m a little uncomfortable with the books and won’t fully know my opinion till I reread them again.
So you are probably wondering what I am going to do about. First thing first lets me get this straight. I still like these books – I deeply know their flaws and are wholly not supporting them however like the blog post said I can still like them. And I do, I do like the world and some of the characters and I am interested in how this is going to play out in the last book. So pre-warning. I will still be posting about these books when they are about to be released. I will be talking about them. However this time I am not hyping them up. I am not making a big deal about them. And my reviews are going to be blunt and straight to the point about how she dealt with her problems in her book.
Thank you for reading this
-S O P H