I have kept my feelings welled up inside me– I have many times considered tearing the book apart were it not for my parent’s peaceful upbringing. So, I had to settle on tearing potato chips with my teeth as I scan the book and write my review.
Because I HATE A Court of Thorn and Roses yet, at the same time, I LOVE it.
Damn you Sarah J. Maas. Damn you.
I intended this as a different post but when I saw that TTT is having a freebie week, I decided to put the two together since I was having a hard time organizing my thoughts. The post shall contain rants and praises and god knows what else. Maybe profanity unless my zen upbringing proves stronger than I thought. At the moment, I’m listening to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, thinking of the time when fairytales were simpler but memorable; ACOTAR is anything but simple and its impact to me is as powerful as an ant crawling inside my ear. I think it is a brilliant book that subverts common fairytale cliches such as Instaromance and Happily Ever Afters into realistic affairs and turns innocent kisses to hot, steamy sex scenes. At the same time, it is a flawed book, which makes it more or less an interesting book to discuss. I’ll be talking about BOTH novels so there are spoilers of course.
FIVE REASONS WHY I HATE ACOTAR AND SEQUEL
Info dump. No, seriously. This book practically spoonfeeds you with information. Feyre (you say this as Fay-Ruh, not Fey-reh) gets dragged around, overhears Very Important Plot-Related Dialogue at her convenience and occasionally, a character would give her loads of info dump just so we readers could catch-up with the plot, in case we forget there is one. These are the occasions when I could almost grind my potato chips in atoms. With my nails. This lazy info dumping becomes even more prominent in the sequel.
Nothing Happens. ACOTAR has lots of dead spots where days jump and nothing important really happens. The good thing is, Feyre is often seen crafting up ways to escape her captor from hiding dinner knives under her pillow to catching oracle creatures to barging into fairy sex orgies or whatever. While her rushes of teenage angst and violence provide us insight to her character and entertaining action sprees, it appears pointless and stupid to the story as a whole.
And yet, I actually appreciated the pointless scenes in ACOTAR because it helps the readers grow comfortable in Feyre’s newfound world and we see her develop a sense of stability which she has a hard time achieving because of her family. I just wished the book used the time to explore the minor characters of the book as well, which brings me to my Wasted Characters point later. Frankly speaking, I’m pretty sure Maas has no idea what to do with her book.
ACOMAF, meanwhile, is littered with nothingness. The annoying thing is, ACOMAF has a plot which the previous novel lacks of. I like to call it fanservice– sometimes we are subjected to Rhys and Feyre flirting like teenagers (wait, they are teenagers) and Feyre gossiping about the relationship status of her teammates. There are instances where Feyre practically does NOTHING for one or two chapters. Please Maas. PLEASE. I’m running out of potato chips at this point so I had to make do with peanuts.
Wasted Characters. You would expect in a book where info dump happens and, at the same time, nothing happens, you’d see atleast good fleshed out characters who could impart wisdom and knowledge to our naive heroine. Haha. No. And the annoying thing is, I can count the number of characters with my fingers and I couldn’t give a shit about them because the book couldn’t possibly provide screentime to our minor characters and make Feyre do stupid things at the same time.
At ACOTAR we have Lucien, an ass who actually develops a love-hate relationship with Feyre and whose backstory we receive second-hand because of reasons. I actually liked Lucien and his hot-cold semi-friendship with Feyre. He is quickly cast out because of, I don’t know, painting and shit and Rhysand, who gets more screentime than any of the characters Feyre lived with. We don’t even get to see Feyre’s dad again since Tamlin took her away because the novel deems him unnecessary. This is a complete waste of paper.
Relationships are dumped in your face. Feyre only has to stand and people will start spilling tragic stories to her and for Maas, this is the equivalent to building relationships between her characters.We need Feyre to empathize with Lucien? Have Tamlin tell her his darkest past! We want Feyre fit perfectly in Rhysand’s circle of friends? I know, let’s have everyone spill their tragic childhoods. At this moment! Well, doesn’t that make everything easier?
The Weird Lines. If you read my Four of the Hottest Lines from A Court of Mist and Fury post, you’ll get what I mean. The book is filled with the most powerful imagery and the hottest dialogues. Even the sex scenes are funny to read and it reminded me of my experience reading Fifty Shades of Grey (Fun fact: There are scenes where Feyre and Rhys write letters to one another and the paper disappears and appears between the two of them and they use it to flirt like hell. If you haven’t read Fifty Shades, Christian and Ana does the exact same thing but through the magic of email). I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing these lines so perhaps it could be a pro as well? I don’t know anymore.
FIVE FOUR REASONS WHY I LOVE ACOTAR AND SEQUEL
The Rise and Fall of Action. At ACOTAR, the novel keeps a steady atmosphere and adds occasional bursts of action in between. It takes its pace slowly but not to the extent it’ll bore you. Like I said earlier, the novel doesn’t run out ways to keep Feyre busy so you’ll find yourself completely sucked in and at the same time, it knows when to lull you with lighter moments. ACOMAF also does a wonderful job building-up big action sequences and it’s almost like you’re watching a Marvel movie or something.
The Under the Mountain Arc @ ACOTAR. I like how the protagonist does absolutely nothing at the first half of the book and becomes a volunteer of The Hunger Games later on. It was totally unexpected and I found myself enjoying this arc. It had everything I was craving for in this novel– a motivated protagonist, a supervillain and hey, a plot! Plus action, intrigue, and even good character dynamics– everything that the first-half of the novel lacked.
Feyre’s Development. I was never sure if I liked Feyre or not but she is an engaging heroine. I can’t say her character has changed throughout the two books but we get to witness how she survives and continue doing so after the events of Under the Mountain. Feyre has always been a strong character but to see her stumble down so bad AND get up again amazes me.
The Romance and Not. Okay, here’s where I get manic. Personally, I liked Tamlin and Feyre’s relationship. It was pretty expected already but we want them to get it on anyway so it was still exciting to read about. I like how Maas builds that expectation in one whole novel, only to completely turn it around in the sequel. I think it was a good twist to the old fairytale ending where the good guy gets the girl and the girl finds happily ever after. This book is not all flowers and musicals and happy marriages and it gets quite complicated, surprisingly so. ACOMAF points out the flaws of an affair such as Tamlin and Feyre’s and how it could be destructive to the both of them. What I found messed-up in this turn of events is that Maas completely ditches their relationship so Feyre and Rhysand could hit off. Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship is probably the most honest portrayal of a relationship I have ever read in this book, even better than the obvious blooming romance between Rhys and Feyre. So why Maas?? Why?
And since I already mentioned Rhysand, I have to say that he’s quite the perfect fit to Feyre. Every misconception we thought about Rhys is pretty much justified while Tamlin gets the bad spotlight this time as we are revealed of his true character. This is a big twist to our expectations again and it works a lot for me because it gives the first novel a good re-read factor and see events in a different way.
Now, I would be cheating a bit in my next and final point. It’s not much of a positive point or even a negative one. It’s an issue that has been bugging me for quite a while and I would like to bring it up here.
ACOTAR (and sequel) contains explicit sex scenes that’ll make you blink for a few moments before moving on anyway. I actually find this not surprising since the book quickly establishes Feyre’s sexual awareness through descriptions of her physical relationship with Isaac. What surprised me is that this book is marketed as YA. I have my fair share of YA with sex but there’s the consistent theme of self-discovery and innocence etched in it. I only have Feyre’s age (she’s nineteen) as assurance that this is a YA novel. ACOTAR does not have the common theme of self-discovery or the bittersweet coming-of-age that is fairly necessary for YA to be YA. I’m not even talking about the sex anymore. If I didn’t know Feyre’s age, I could easily shelf this under New Adult.
So, my point is, should ACOTAR be marketed as YA?
Thank you, thank, thank you guys for reading my rant/rave for ACOTAR and sequel. What are your thoughts about the series? Did you loved it? Or hated it? Or are you like me who is a bit in between? Do you think ACOTAR should be a ‘YA’ novel? Just leave a comment below and let’s talk about this mother frigging novel.