Hey y’all! I’m about 84% of the way through A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (note that I actually got the title wrong there and had to correct it — which will make sense at the end of this…). It’s the second book in a series that I started a long time ago and was incredibly underwhelmed by and figured I wouldn’t bother continuing it. I adore Maas’ Throne of Glass series, but this one was an absolute flop for me.
Obviously I ended up giving this second book a go, at the encouragement of a friend who had loved this series and said the second one got some new characters who I would probably like a lot more. I encouraged her to read Throne of Glass since she hadn’t, and we essentially traded Maas series’. Ahh, reading buddies. ^.^
Unfortunately… I’m nearly done with the second book and I still don’t care for it. But worse is the other revelations that have come with my disinterest in this book:
- I think if I re-read the Throne of Glass series, I wouldn’t like it very much
- I think… I might just not like Maas’ usual form of story anymore
- I think I might be worn out on the supremely-powerful-character line
Would I now dislike the Throne of Glass series?
This all kind of conglomerated in my head when I read a discussion recently where people listed some of the “strong female characters” in books that they actually really disliked (I couldn’t find where I read that though, apologies). One that came up was Caelena from ToG. I was surprised to see that, but their description of her as a character and the story itself overall was a new perspective to me since I devoured that whole series.
The points they made had me thinking that if re-reading it now, I might have changed enough as a person that I would align more with their opinions of it than of my own opinions from ten years ago. Hmmm… I have been putting off reading that last book…
And maybe Maas isn’t for me
I say this because as I mentioned, ACOTAR has been like a damp blanket to me. It’s baffling to me so see the absolute frenzy for it across the YA bookish community. Things like the original book cover design getting sold for hundreds of dollars, just so folks can have the original cover (which I actually think is pretty unappealing anyway?), is so wild! I’m very much standing on the outside of it.
Specifically with ACOMAF (is that the acronym people use? I don’t know but I’m not typing the whole dang name every time. We’ll go with MAF which is also terrible), I find myself rolling my eyes at the same dramatic words being used to describe things (midnight, rage, etc) where everything is just the most extreme possible. The sex scenes are yawners for me where I skim through, bored, because I don’t care at all about these characters. If I’m right about ToG changing for me, then that’s another strike. Her more recent adult series House of Earth and Blood was one I thought I wouldn’t like, and didn’t at first, but ended up enjoying. However… I’m still not rushing for the second book, because I didn’t love it.
Maybe these stories are all reading as somewhat the same to me, despite a different plot or character traits. There’s a strong sense of people who feel they’re worthless, insane cosmic power, and magically bonded soulmates. If only finding love were that easy. 😑
Is all-powerful all boring?
Looking at my reluctance to finish the ToG series, I can’t help but resonate with that statement of a character who is just massively, magically powerful being kind of dull. That’s clearly where Celaena is now, or maybe just shy of it. And Rhys’ whole “most powerful high lord ever born” “I could wipe everything out of existence if I ever relaxed for a moment” vibe is 😑. When they are defined by just being wildly powerful, there’s not much that feels like a risk.
The common trope that goes hand in hand with that is a person sacrificing themselves for others because they’re so strong and whatnot. A real martyr. And that’s noble and all, but it’s also become predictable to me. They probably have to go through some struggle to obtain or control said all-power, but in the end they aren’t necessarily clever or funny or kind, just really godly strong. “I could light your whole city of people on fire in a second” is a pretty effective threat, it seems.
Do I dare re-read these books? Do I stay away from these tropes for a while?
Honestly, I’ve also been in a bit of a rut. My recent first-time read of the City of Brass series was SO GOOD that I think everything else is paling in comparison, and probably will for a while. That series is basically my new measuring stick. I think I might cut back on the YA fantasy for a while (*GASP*) and see if these things bother me less and allow me to enjoy them again soon.