I’m going to start by saying that pretty much everything “big” about this series has been spoiled for me long ago because of how insanely popular this series is, and all the incredible art that gets done for it. That’s no one’s fault but my own because I have no chill about those kinds of things. But, despite nothing really being a mind-blowing surprise, and considering the beast this book is in terms of length, I still DEVOURED it. Really, that should tell you everything you need to know and it’s all I’m really letting myself focus on when it comes to “A Court of Mist and Fury”.
I love a good, dark twist on classic fairy tales, and on that front, “Second Hand Curses” definitely delivered. Our main characters (Jack, Frank, and Marie) have formed a mercenary band that tackles the jobs that are deemed “morally grey” by the Narrative—which is this land’s more active god figure, swooping in to help princesses and good guys in danger. In this land, beings like the Blue Fairy are not good, where their boons are curses (usually barely in disguise) and our mercenary trio will not stand for that. So, tell me why then, when you have a story that sounds like it should be an exciting, twisty adventure that’s read by a group of great narrators, was I not having more fun?
I have to say, I probably made a mistake with trying to read the “Throne of Glass” series before starting this series by Sarah J. Maas, as I am finding this book to be vastly better despite all the spoilers I’ve already encountered. The spoilers are my fault; this series is insanely popular and I wanted until NOW to start it. So with all the beautiful fan art of the characters floating around, let’s just say I knew certain elements very intimately of this series long before I cracked the spine on “A Court of Thorns and Roses”. But you know what? I think those spoilers actually helped me enjoy this book more. No, really! This first book is supposed to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I found it to be much closer to East of the Sun, West of the Moon. So, if you are like me and haven’t started this book yet, hopefully that gives you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into. The world is split between the humans and the fae by a literal wall that really only seems decent at keeping the humans out, so of course tensions rise when Feyre accidentally kills a fae when she was simply trying to feed her family. In the fae realm, Feyre learns what really happened during the bloody conflict between their peoples, and also learns to not hate the fae, and they in turn (at least some) learn not to hate humans.
“A Dark Infection” is the sequel to “A Dark Inheritance” in which ten years have passed since Tina was taken by the vampire, Kalmar. Slowly, she is being turned into a vampire herself, as the properties in her blood allow for her to accept the virus that is being introduced to her bloodstream through Kalmar. And, just like its predecessor, this book does not shy away from the fact that much of Tina’s current situation was, and is, not one of her choosing. So few with her blood type remain that she is coveted by vampires in order to ensure the survival of their species, but, and more importantly, she is vital to Kalmar. While Tina still struggles with the idea that perhaps her feelings for her vampire abductor, even ten years later, are not real and just a form of Stockholm Syndrome (which is valid), Kalmar has bonded to her, and wishes to remain that way. Despite stronger forces wishing to claim him as their own, and giving Tina away to another vampire in the process, Kalmar wants no other. While the vampire world of danger and intrigue continue to sweep Tina up in its wake, the world Tina was forced to leave behind also comes back to haunt her, weaving into a new mystery that threatens to destroy both of the worlds Tina inhabits. Except Tina, once again, doesn’t seem to be given a choice about which world she gets to save.
Here we are, the fourth book into SJM’s epic YA fantasy, and this has consistently been one of those series that I’ve been… unsure about the whole time. I’m definitely in the minority with not really falling in love with this series from book one, but I kept giving it chances because people so adore Aelin and her court. In “Queen of Shadows”, Aelin has returned to Adarlan to free her cousin and find out what happened to those left behind as the King devolves into more and more atrocities against his people, and more demons inhabit the bodies of the soldiers. Told in parts, we follow not just Aelin, but get the perspective of several familiar characters: Chaol, Manon, and Dorian (poor Dorian…) to name a few. But we also get the POV of several new characters as well such as Lysandra and Elide, which partially accounts for the sheer size of this book, but it does not account for the reason why it took me so long to finish it.
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