By Soyeenka Mishra
“To the stars that listen – and dreams that are answered.”
I first read this series sometime around September 2018 and immediately fell in love with it. I’d bought it for the hype and picked it up to read because the covers were pretty (I like to judge books by their covers sometimes), and the titles were intriguing. That being said, I have absolutely no regrets about it. What instantly roped me in was the rich vocabulary used by Maas, evident from the very first paragraph of the first book. It got progressively better as the plot proceeded forward. The world-building was done very efficiently with no major loopholes and the character descriptions were amazing.
It started off as a Beauty and the Beast retelling and bloomed into a vast world of exhilarating adventures. It has the perfect blend of fantasy, action, adventure, comedy, and romance. As someone who devours fantasy novels and loves to be introduced to new worlds, this series felt like I’d hit the jackpot. It used some existing fairy-tale creatures, but it gave new attributes to them; for example, Faeries can lie, and iron doesn’t have any effect on them whatsoever, but it also introduces a whole lot of new creatures as well. Add that to the various mysteries that need to be unravelled, the need to break ancient curses, and save the world; lo and behold, you’ve got my complete, unadulterated attention, and more!
I recently reread the entire series to get over a reading slump, and boy did it work! Always trust an S.J.M. series to solve all your problems, I say. Though as much as I enjoyed the series the first-time round, I must say, the joy of reading it all a second time was enormous. Now, if it was due to the fact that I already knew what was going to happen next or that my level of comprehension had increased over the last two years, I don’t know. But it was an awesome feeling to finally note all the subtle foreshadowing hundreds of pages before certain events took place, and just the sheer pleasure of sinking into a familiar world that I already loved, but one that I could now appreciate on a different level.
I will include just a single spoiler. As a masochistic reader who loves to torture herself by actively seeking out spoilers, let me say something to all the readers who ship Feylin: I’ve got a Feylin, and y’all are going to be sorely disappointed in the second book. Because, hello, do you even know the author? It’s your mistake in the first place to assume the first love interest is going to be the same by the endgame. Choosing your OTP from the very first (sometimes even second or third) book of an SJM series is a bad, bad idea for your heart; always remember that.
As a whole, the series has got diverse representation as well as brave and courageous characters that don’t let the demons of their past dictate their present and future. It also has plenty of strange creatures that end up playing important roles in the plot, and characters that will make you gush over them for all of eternity. Not to forget about the breath-taking visuals and nail-biting experiences either.
It had me roaring with laughter, cackling like a witch, shrieking like a banshee, crying like my world had ended, among others in random moments; to a point, my parents were genuinely concerned about my sanity. Now, I am known to break into a fit of giggles at certain funny moments, but this series roped me into its world so thoroughly, I became no more than a slave at the hands of the book. I’d have added a few more details and thoughts to this section but doing so would mean dropping a lot of spoilers. Rest assured, it’s good.
So basically, what I’ve been trying to convey from the very beginning is that you should stop whatever it is you’re doing and get started on this incredible series which I’m more than positive will completely change your life. By the end, you will be a new person with a good bounty of trauma due to the deaths and the wars, and pining over the characters who will spend the rest of their lives longing for a Rhysand of their own, but I promise it is all worth it.
Extended review, with spoilers, available on Soyeenka’s website.
Images: Soyeenka Mishra