I try hard not to be one of those overly gushy bloggers, not to be one who cries and screams and throws books in a tear and snot fuelled emotional tantrum; but then I read the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas.
To say that I have been completely consumed by this series is an understatement. I have become so obsessed with it, that the emotional tatters it has left me in has repeatedly seeped into my real life, giving me unrealistic expectations of what real life should be. And it has made me cry on many occasions, a feat only managed once, by Suzanne Collins, when a certain character from District 11 met their demise in the Hunger Games.
If you haven't read the series you may want to stop reading now as the rest of this post is going to be *spoilertastic*
I'll be honest, when I first picked up ACOTAR, I was a little underwhelmed. It was the first step for me out of a firmly entrenched indie ebook habit that I had been sucked into for about 2 years. We were going away camping and I wanted a paperback (after all it doesn't need to be charged) and A Court of Wings and Ruin (book 3) had just come out and I thought I would join in to see what all the fuss was about. Not the best environment to start a book and I accept that it probably took me a while to get used to the feel of a paperback again. However once Feyre reached Prythian and entered Tamlin's Spring Court I was hooked. Beautiful imagery, immense world building, characters who were, funny, cruel, sensual, kind, and terrifying. When Feyre entered into Amarantha's trials I couldn't stop reading, Feyre and Tamlin had to be ok, they had to get together at the end! They were meant to be! If only that pesky Rhysand would stop butting in. Thankfully all was well at the end, the good guys won, the girl got the guy and save for the fact that a bargain left Feyre having to visit with Rhyand every now and then, the book was closed with a big smile.
But then a Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) came along and shattered my bubble. Because for once a female character who had gone through an immense trauma was not OK by book 2. Clearly suffering from PTSD, haunted by the murders she had to commit, her death and then life and the horrific trials she had to undertake. But Feyre had Tamlin to help her, to sooth her, right? In perhaps one of the biggest about turns I have ever made in a book, I came to hate Tamlin. As a person who has suffered through an abusive relationship the first part of this book hit home hard. Locking Feyre away, not caring about her wants and needs, not seeing how broken she was. She had to bend to his will, be a trophy to be admired from a far, dressed up and paraded and belittled when she tried to speak her mind. I cried. It was a relief when Rhysand popped up on their wedding day to whisk her away as part of their bargain before the ceremony could start. Rhysand, that cocky and unlikable cad, had been playing a sneaky game all along, he's actually awesome in every way. The unfurling love story then between Rhys and Feyre is beautiful. Feyre is given time. Time to heal to become herself, to learn to fight and be strong and speak her mind and everything was always her choice. I cried. The time taken for Feyre and Rhys to join together is completely right - which makes the cliffhanger this book ends on all the more wrong, forced back into the arms of Tamlin, I cried.
The weeks wait until payday so I could get A Court of Wings and Fury (ACOWAR) stretched an age. I had to know what would come next. Thankful that Feyre was on a secret mission, I still cringed every time she was forced into spending time with Tamlin, the ever watchful gaze of Lucien, knowing that Feyre was playing a game. I was just willing the time to reach a point where Feyre would be able to get back to Velaris, away from HIM. ACOWAR is the longest of the 3 books, much of it is spent at war with Hybern but even Tamlin's seemingly small acts of kindness weren't enough to redeem him in my eyes. I think it's fair to say I cried a lot through this one, the emotional bonds I now felt with these characters was overwhelming. My anger and sadness spilling over into my real life, my longing for a place like Velaris leaving me feeling a little empty at times and at a loss when all seemed lost for them.
I finished ACOWAR an hour ago and I still feel a little lost as to what will come next - can any book series come up to that standard? Can any other book series consume me so wholly? In some ways I would rather not have a series do that, I read for escapism and at times reading this series made me feel a little imprisoned. I didn't enjoy how emotional it made me feel and how that in turn impacted upon the way I reacted to loved ones in my life. I do however congratulate Sarah J Maas for creating such an immense and involving world, for making me feel so much about a story, another book set in Prythian is due next year, i'll bring the tissues.....
Have you read the series so far, I would love to hear your thoughts on the issues raised!