Bookish Ramblings – how Sarah J Maas continues to emotionally ruin me with Throne of Glass

So I have been pretty quiet around here for the last couple of weeks, I realised it’s been a long time since I’ve done a proper ramblings and again I have to blame this on Sarah J Maas.  Last year, long standing followers may recall I read the first 3 books in the Court of Thorns and Roses series and it emotionally ruined me.  I was sceptical about starting the Throne of Glass series, firstly because there were so many books already written and I didn’t know if wanted to commit to a series that long and secondly because I was worried that I wouldn’t love it as much as ACOTAR.  However, last year Bloomsbury publishers had an epic sale and I managed to get the whole series so far for just £25! Looking at the whole set on my shelf left me feeling a little intimidated I have to admit, there are A LOT of words.  I suppose at this stage I should do a spoiler warning because I have now read all but Tower of Dawn and I’m going to be talking about the series as a whole – if you’ve not read up to Empire of Storms, continue at your own risk…..

I’m going to be up front and say it took me a while to fall in love with this series. Where ACOTAR pulled me and kept me going, Throne of Glass came in waves  Throne of Glass starts off with Calaena and it’s a book with purpose, Calaena is liberated from the Endovier Mines by the Crown Prince Dorian, the reason? To fight to be crowned Kings Champion.  Few know her history as Adarlan’s Assassin and so the journey to her becoming Kings Champion begins.  What could have been a book by numbers, actually wove in so much in it’s short pages (in comparison to later books) so much history, mythology and politics, this is all the more amazing when you consider that she started writing this book when she was just 16 years old.  Many aren’t a fan of book 1 and I personally can’t understand why, it remains one of my favourite of the series.  I would love it if eventually a version could be released which incorporates the prequel novella’s (contained in the Assassins blade short story collection) This is how she wanted the book to be but was apparently advised to edit them out, or so I’ve heard.

By the time I got to the end of Crown of Midnight, she was starting to pull me in with the feels again. I loved Calaena and Chaol’s relationship, I was gutted when it ended and by ending the way it did.  I found myself rooting for Chaol, wanting him to be able to rekindle what he had with her.  It was also clear that Celaena was incredibly broken by the loss of her best friend and the perceived betrayal of her lover.  This is where I adore the way that Sarah J Maas is fearless in her portrayal of mental health issues.  She doesn’t shy away from how loss effects a person and how PTSD survival features heavily with her characters.

Heir of fire was a bit of a low point, I just could get into it – I didn’t like Rowan and I didn’t enjoy how we started having to recognise Calaena as Aelin.  This then really put off reading Queen of Shadows and I left the series for about a month – I wish I hadn’t.  Most of the series had been a solid 4* for me up until this point and QOS blew the series out of the stratosphere.  By some miracle I seamlessly made the transition between Calaena and Aelin and the cat and mouse games were phenomenal.  Rowan started being worthwhile and Chaol slowly faded from my feels – I kind of feel bad now for how much I didn’t care about him by the end of this book – even though he did end up one of the most worse for wear. What made this book outstanding though was Manon, I found myself looking forward the the witches chapters more than any other.  There was just something so awesome about her, unnervingly cruel and calculated but with a spark of such greatness.  I just knew that there would be more to her as her humanity started to weave through and without her, poor Dorian would have had a very different path. One of the stand out things about this book was the choice to have Lysandra be the one to take out Arobynn and showing that Aelin has a maturity to understand that whilst Arobynn caused her pain – hers was by no means the worst.  Much as I wanted for the sake of this blog to give myself a breather between stories I just couldn’t and after a brief respite with the latest instalment of the ACOTAR series – I had no hesitation about plowing straight into Empire of Storms.

This is the book where she did it to me again.  I could not stop reading, at all.  Every evening for 3 nights Mr Playground had to occupy himself elsewhere as I became utterly consumed by the story.  Whilst it did get a bit fruity in places it wasn’t anywhere near as what I had been led to believe and pretty tame in relation to Feysand standards! This was a book where I did draw similarities between the 2 stories as well – the secret wedding of Aelin and Rowan reminding me of the end of ACOMAF. This one though, this is the book which utterly ripped my heart out and stomped upon it, I’m feeling emotional still about it and it was 2 nights ago that I finished!  Even the smaller things like Lysandra becoming the one woman shape shifting army that seemed to continually get all the crappy jobs really got to me.  She revisits the PTSD issues with Dorian fixing his sights on Manon because she is less breakable than a mortal woman and Aedion’s struggles with coming face to face with his father, years of resentment and hurt pouring out. Tears were forming at the decimation of Rowan’s lovingly created tattoos on Aelins back at the hands of Maeve but the real kicker for me was everyone turning up to that beach just moments too late, Aelin knowing that her destiny was preordained to end in her death, set about a contingency to trump all contingencies – Lysandra taking on the shape shifting role of a lifetime.  The heartbreak of Rowan being left with nothing but a bloodied shirt and the knowledge that he had been lied to in the most terrible way by Maeve – ughh I’m welling up all over again!!!

I know there are still several months until Kingdom of Ash comes out and I still have Tower of Dawn on my shelf but again, I’m not sure how I feel about picking that up.  It means reverting back to Chaol and I just don’t think I care enough about him as a character any more to read a book of this size about him.  Nesryn was also one of my least favourite characters in Queen of Shadows.  It’s perhaps only the presence of Yrene, which is drawing me in at the moment – hers being one of my more favoured of the Assassin’s Blade short stories.  I have heard such mixed reviews about it, and after the cataclysm of emotion that Empire of Storms left me with, I’m worried that I will be left disappointed in the story.  I think for now I will leave it until the raw emotion has settled down, Maas still remains the only authors to bring about such in me and I don’t think that Tower will be the book hangover cure that I need.

I would be interested to hear some spoiler free thoughts on Tower of Dawn though, so if you are at that point in the series please let me know, perhaps I’m being silly in needing to stay away from it!

 

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