I’m in the “OwlCrate Society” Facebook group and it seems like the only books anyone can ever talk about there are A Court of Thorns and Roses and it’s “infinitely better” sequel A Court of Mist and Fury. They’re both big books, and ACOMAF (as it is affectionately called) is over 600 pages long! I’ve had them on my TBR list for awhile, even though I’m not the biggest fan of “high fantasy” and I finally settled down to read them during my winter break.
First off, these are my first books by Sarah J Maas, but she’s a great world builder, maybe to her own detriment. The details in this book are intense and you get a lot of history about the world she has created and introduced the reader to. Some of these details are woven in seamlessly, but there are several “lectures” by one character or another to the main character, Feyre. They grow a little tiresome and unbelievable. A war is about to rage and you’re really going to lecture the human on the history of mating practices?
Speaking of mating practices, I was a bit taken aback by the sex in this book. It’s not really necessary to the plot at all, and some of it is just bad. Please, Sarah J Maas, never use the term “sheath” again. Please. I beg of you. I laughed out loud several times during both books and how she would insert little snippets of sex scenes into the end of paragraphs and sentences. I swear I read multiple lines like “and then we made love in a babbling brook” or “and then he sheather himself inside of me as we lay on a bed of freshly fallen leaves.” This book is apparently “new adult” not “young adult” and these sex scenes make it clear. Still, I have no doubt that many libraries are shelving these books into “young adult” sections and there are going to be some very taken aback readers. I think telling us that the characters have sex is one thing, and giving us explicit details in the middle of an otherwise regular fantasy novel is a bit off-putting, especially when the sex scenes seem really repetitive.
Do I like Feyre as a character? Yes, and no. By ACOMAF, she is clearly struggling with what the author wants you to know is mental illness, but the way the character addresses it is really bad. “I will never be the same again” doesn’t mean much when you used to be a peasant girl who had to go into a scary forest and hunt for her food and now you’re a little warrior with a hot boyfriend. What is the same? Why would you want to be that? Maas makes a really valiant effort, and the reader definitely sympathizes with Feyre’s nightmares and issues of overcoming trauma, but it could be handled by the character herself better.
The third book in the series, A Court of Wings and Ruin, comes out in May of this year and will no doubt feature even more pages, even more “sheathing” and hopefully a resolution to this love triangle that doesn’t leave one of them dead. For all the “fantasy” and fighting there isn’t as much death as I expected in this series. Maybe Game of Thrones ruined me.