It is no secret that ACOTAR was my favourite book of 2015 and 2016’s was ACOMAF. Instead of writing a traditional review for each book, I’ve decided to post my thoughts about the series in general. This review is divided into 2 parts – Part 1 will convey why ACOTAR and ACOMAF are books that I believe delivers powerful messages to its readers while Part 2 will explore reasons why ACOWAR didn’t quite work for me. Note that I wrote Part 1 before I finished reading ACOWAR and Part 2 was written after.
Books are powerful. The messages they convey, the portrayals of characters, relationships and the dynamics between people, family members, friends, partners etc. are very likely to shape a reader’s understanding and perception of the world. Perhaps not always. But I know it does for me.
The reason why I’ve suddenly developed an immense gratification and admiration for Sarah J Maas is due to her willingness to incorporate important social issues into her ACOTAR series. I read ACOTAR 2 years ago and ACOMAF last year and only TODAY discovered the ‘hidden’ messages within the books. Perhaps I’ve become more in touch with my social surroundings and social media has alerted my attention to the grave significance of issues such as domestic violence, abusive relationships, sexual assault to name a few. There will be none of my usual fangirling in this review; I suppose this will be more of a personal reflection for me than an actual review.
Reading Colleen Hoover’s ‘This Ends With Us’ was the first time I recall sitting down and thinking about something that is prevalent in our society but is rarely discussed openly. I myself am not too acquainted with this topic but I am aware of how important it is for men and women to identify the red flags and leave the relationship. I’m an active Reddit lurker, especially on the AskReddit subtopic and some of my favourite threads are ones that are marked “serious” where people from all over the world share their personal stories in response to whatever serious question is being asked. I recall reading several threads that were associated with people leaving a relationship/marriage because of physical and/or emotional abuse and it truly breaks my heart to read these stories.
I love how Sarah J Maas draws on this type of relationship in ACOMAF. Perhaps the red flags were evident in ACOTAR, perhaps not, but if they were, I certainly missed them.
“I trashed half the house,” he said, leaning forward to press his brow to mine.
I remember reading Beautiful Disaster years ago and a similar quote came up. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I thought it was “romantic” but now? Holy shit this violence is disturbing.
“During that first week back, I wasn’t allowed out of sight of the house. “ | “He’d trapped me in here; he’d locked me up.”
Having her entire life dictated by Tamlin and treated like a possession as opposed to a human being was so upsetting for me. The fiercely determined Feyre from ACOTAR was gone and replaced by an empty shell. She withered away day by day, yet no one fucking helped her.
I’ve detected a gradual increase in Rape Culture interest/posts on social media and in newspapers in light of recent incidents that have made headlines over the last year. I’m sure you know which ‘incidents’ I’m talking about. (If you don’t, think judges handing out light sentences to rapists or blaming the victims for getting themselves into those situations in the first place.) There is no excuse for rape. None at all.
I’ve seen many personal stories about men getting raped and/or sexually assaulted and keeping silent about this their entire lives because there is a stigma in society that “men can’t be raped”. Yes they can. They can and society needs to stop thinking otherwise. The ‘relationship’ between Rhysand and Amarantha in ACOTAR was a cleverly crafted representation of sexual abuse – Rhysand being tortured and assaulted at the hands of Amarantha. Despite Rhysand’s cold, merciless exterior, this ordeal has left Rhysand traumatised and broken, as illustrated in ACOMAF.
I’m currently reading ACOWAR and so far I’m really liking it. I’ll most likely end up reading it twice – the first time for my pure enjoyment only and the second to pick up on things that I missed the first time round. Lastly, I need to mention that while Sarah J Maas seems to advocate very strongly for redemption and forgiveness, personally I could do without Nesta and Elain’s recurring appearances in all the books. In my opinion, there is absolutely no need for them to play such a huge role in the series – sisters or not.