*Minor spoilers and snark*
Superfans of the series look away- actually- on second thoughts- come back!- what with the spoiler warning there’s probably no one left. Ah well, I guess I can say what I want then…
So let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start…) At first, I have to say I was a little… disappointed. It was slow to start and there was not much ruin in the opening section– at least not as much as I’d hoped. Call me old fashioned, but I was hoping for some grim and gritty revenge fantasies. Instead we got some minor punking. Not really what I had in mind.
Okay, so now that we have established that my soul is as black as the night, we can move onto the action. Oh no, wait we couldn’t. Because the pace was slooow. I wrote in my notes that it started speeding up around 45%- 45%?!?- in a book this long??? You’ve got to be kidding me.
What gets me more than anything though is that on paper (obviously not the paper this was written on) this should have been good stuff. I mean revenge and planning for war- that’s dramatic, right?! WRONG! They spend *so long* planning for war, plotting who’s gonna be involved, where it’s gonna be at- never mind that going to war was a foregone conclusion. Add some posturing, where the strong masculine manly males show off with their “look how strong I am” poses, and it felt like reading the bickerings of a high school prom committee.
Okay- so not a great start- but now I’ve got to talk something else that bothered me (I swear after this, we’ll get to the good bits- probably…): the writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Maas writing in general. Still as you may be able to tell with how long it took to get to the action, this book felt bloated and like it could have done with a bit of a trim– I usually try not to complain when an author lets their freak flag fly and really goes for it with the word count, but there’s no way of getting round this one: sometimes less is more! Ultimately, while there were some gorgeous points to the writing, I’m kind of bored with being given “what I want” in the form of unnecessarily chunky books and would rather someone took an axe to the boring bits. Plus, even though there were some truly lovely, inspiring parts, there was the occasional corny line that can get under my skin when I’m in a crankier mood:
“Leave this world… a better place than how you found it.”
(Yeah sometimes I’m not into that level of cheese)
Okay *deep breath* that’s over- let’s hope I never have to critique Maas again, cos that was not fun. Let’s get onto what I liked- the characters! Now unlike Throne of Glass I’ve always found the characters in this to be a mixed bag– some I love, some I’m meh about. I’ve often found I’m a bit uncertain about Nesta and Elain, cos let’s face it, they can be whiny and difficult. Funnily enough Nesta, for all her prickliness, is growing on me more. On the upside, I’ve forgotten why I disliked Feyre in the first book, cos I really liked her in this. Of course a lot of my babies from the Night Court were back and some magnificent new additions from the other courts. And, major plus, I have a new favourite in Helion.
I have seen criticism from people that she shoehorned in the LGBT part- but I will say that I disagree cos it makes sense for the character she spent a book building up. Although I didn’t guess it, I had been wondering about what was up with them. To be honest when people complain about stuff like that, it just feels like a no-win situation for a lot of authors- damned if you do, damned if you don’t. (And for the record I never would have even thought of this non-issue, if not for seeing it in a ton of other reviews).
In terms of world building- well the aforementioned additions in terms of characters, and consequently courts, were some of the best parts about this book. Not only did Dawn and Day add an interesting dynamic to the story, we also got hints of things going on beyond the realms of the story. I felt like details such as the the Nephelle Philosophy added interesting layers and, while Nephilim are old hat for a lot of people, this will be a slight change for Maas. Plus despite the fact I’m not usually a fan of off-topic myth building, I did thoroughly enjoyed all the little Easter eggs for the rest of the series and I like the sound of where it’s going (possibly swan lake?).
In terms of the conclusion, however, I don’t want to hold too much stock in this being the first Maas ending I’ve read. It was good and shit went down, but it was only an ending of sorts and a lot was left hanging. I’m going to hold onto that feeling that it’s not really over- because to be honest, the ending was not as dramatic as I wanted, because *spoiler warning* it was a mirror image of the ending to book 1. And because of that, it didn’t feel like there were any real stakes and was far too predictable. As exciting as it got, I was never too worried about what would happen. It was just not the hammer blow I wanted it to be.
At this point it probably sounds like I didn’t like it, but I did. I know, I know, I’ve just spent this entire post moaning. There were some really exciting bits and I couldn’t fault it for grabbing my attention at times. Yet… looking back on this “trilogy” as a whole, I still feel like Throne of Glass is the more cohesive story and I find the twists more convincing. And yes, I shouldn’t really be comparing this so much to throne of Glass, but ah well. I guess I may only ever be a TOG Superfan…
Rating: 3½/5 bananas
Hope you enjoyed that- even if I did peeve some of Maas’ fans This actually turned out to be an appropriate book to review tonight, given that it’s the summer solstice and magic is in the air, so my question tonight is- WHAT’S THE MEANING OF STONEHENGE?