A Court of Thorns and Roses Series Review | Part 2

 A Court of Thorns and Roses A Court of Mist and Fury | A Court of Wings and Ruins 

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 Sarah J Maas | Bloomsbury Australia

Welcome to Part 2 of my review of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas! In this review, I will be detailing everything I didn’t like about ACOWAR. (I liked the first two books too much to find any fault in them.) Keep in mind there will be spoilers ahead!

While Sarah J Maas has a penchant for creating picturesque worlds using a combination of imagery and metaphors and very, very descriptive language that generally causes me to gawk at how beautiful her writing is, I couldn’t help but notice her writing in ACOWAR was unpolished. I understand that when we talk, we sometimes pause in the middle of the sentence to search for the correct word to describe whatever it is we’re talking about and adding “…” certainly adds authenticity to such dialogues BUT adding an ellipsis every single time someone speaks ruins the flow of the narrative. Another thing I noticed was Sarah J Maas’s questionable choice of words. I’m not a great writer so I usually don’t criticize an author’s use of words, phrases, or writing techniques (I merely comment on the overall writing style ) but there was one phrase that made me laugh out loud at how ridiculous it was – “… the back of my palm” . Umm….did you mean the back of my hand?

 Romance

Look, it’s completely fine if certain characters don’t get their happily-ever-after. I would rather they be happily single than forced to pair up with another character out of sheer convenience. Isn’t it so convenient that Nesta and Elaine became high Fae and are paired up with Cassian and Azriel respectively. ( I don’t see Elaine and Lucien getting together and as Mor is officially out of the picture, I feel like Maas is pushing Elaine and Azriel towards each other) Amren’s sudden romance was also unnecessary. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with characters staying unattached so why did Sarah J Maas have to pair Amren, the deadly, formidable otherworldly being with a High Fae? Was it really necessary?

 Nesta and Elaine

Nesta and Elaine read to me like Cinderella’s two stepsisters. I understand that Feyre forgave Nesta and Elaine for failing to help/provide for the family in the years before ACOTAR but I’m unable to forgive them. Perhaps Nesta redeemed herself in ACOTAR by attempting to climb over the wall to reach Feyre, but that doesn’t change the fact that she would rather to watch her family starve to death and blame her father and everyone else in the world than get her ass out of the house and help Feyre hunt for food. It doesn’t help that she’s unnecessarily hostile to everyone and I certainly don’t care how powerful she is. She does not deserve Cassian nor a place in the Night Court.

As for Elaine, I think she’s even worse than Nesta. She reminds me of Bella Swan from Twilight. A beautiful damsel in distress that isn’t capable of physically doing anything to help out. No one got angry with her for not helping to provide for the family because she was kind? Really? That sounds to me like she’s just utterly useless. In ACOWAR, she spent a good few weeks wasting away in her room – exactly what Bella did in New Moon. What about during all the battles? Someone always had to look after her because she was so useless she couldn’t defend herself. Sarah J Maas attempted to portray her as a hero in the last few chapters but I guess even Bella Swan had her heroic moments eh?

Despite having issues with ACOWAR, I was satisfied with the ending. Sarah J Maas’s battle scenes kept me at the edge of my seat and everything played out perfectly. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be back for the spin-off series (I have no interest in any of the other pairings.) I am however, looking forward to Sarah J Maas’s future projects as long as they feature sexy male leads like Rhysand, Az or even Tarquin J

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series Review | Part 1

A Court of Thorns and Roses | A Court of Mist and Fury | A Court of Wings and Ruins 

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 Sarah J Maas | Bloomsbury Australia

***Spoilers Ahead***

 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.

Abusive Relationships

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.

Sexual Assault

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.