North Lake student news since 1977




Fantasy series takes over BookTok


Book Review: Sarah J. Maas Series

Sarah J. Maas has created a universe that will either immerse you into her fantasy romance Fae world, completely bore you or enrage you. There are three series in her universe: “Throne of Glass,” “A Court of Thorns and Roses” and “Crescent City.”

There is some controversy regarding this problematic author and the ratings of all three series because of the level of smut —a word that describes a book that has sexually explicit scenes in it. A lot of parents and government officials believe that these series are not appropriate for children in grade school. TOG and ACOTAR are on the ban list under House Bill 900.

Maas wrote TOG when she was 16-years-old and while there are some scenes that are questionable, I believe it is okay to keep it in the Young Adult section.

However, there are scenes in ACOTAR that made me put the book down while out to eat with family because it was just too uncomfortable to read next to my father. “Crescent City” is an adult urban fantasy series with some smut, but nothing compared to ACOTAR. This series needs to be moved out of the YA genre for its content.

Maas immersed me in her world-building with the first book, “A Throne of Glass”. This story follows Celaena Sardothien, an 18-year-old assassin in the Kingdom of Adarlan.

After a year of suffering for her crimes in a slave camp called Endovier, Celaena accepts the offer of Crown Prince Dorian Haviliard, the King of Adarlan’s son, to compete with other assassins and thieves for a chance to serve as the King’s Champion, and eventually gain her freedom after four years in the King’s service. 

This leads her to form unexpected bonds with Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, and Dorian, the crown prince. Over time, Celaena is drawn into a conspiracy and a series of battles, leading to discoveries surrounding both the Kingdom and her. There is love, war, magic, death, dragons, betrayal and more in this story that evolves over eight books and leads into the next two series.

Managing editor for TODAY, Bryanna Cappadona, said it best, “These books have the extraordinary world-building of ‘Harry Potter,’” the romanticism of a Taylor Swift album, and the jaw-dropping crossovers of Marvel movies.”

However, engrossed in TOG as I was, it was only as professionally written as it could be by a teenage girl. Maas desperately needs a thesaurus or an editor who has one.

BookTok, TikTok’s book community, comes in hard by making sure people know how badly she needs one. Many videos will scroll through each book and show you how many times a single word or saying is used.

Purred was used 161 times, growled or growl(s) 483 times and my all-time favorite, mate was used 202 times in one book. Over 100 different words could be used instead of using the same one over and over. 

Maas’s writing would improve immensely if she changed it up, but BookTok has a list of other reasons this author is problematic outside of her writing style — See pg. 2.

Her second series ACOTAR is by far my favorite. This story follows mortal Feyre Archeron after she is brought into the faerie lands of Prythian for murdering a faerie, and the epic love story and fierce struggle that follows after she enters the Fae lands in a span of five books.

I quickly fell in love with some characters and despised others. It felt like a twisted “Beauty and the Beast” spin off. Feyre is the beauty who is held captive by Tamlin, the beast. She quickly falls in love with him, until she meets Rysand who is supposed to parallel the villain Gaston.

Sadly, Maas uses the same character algorithm every time. A female main character who finds herself in trouble only to be rescued by a male, then she gains immortal powers that she had no idea she had and becomes the strongest person in the war that everyone must protect.

In the last book, “A Court of Silver Flames,” we learn more about Feyres sisters, Nesta and Elian. There are many people who despise Nesta, and I was one of them before this book. While it follows that same character arc it also talks about mental health in a way, I haven’t seen in a YA book before. 

It helped me, as a sexual assault survivor to cope with aspects of my past. Nesta deals with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. I have heard many people say that Maas talks about mental health and the healing process poorly, by having a man come in and help Nesta push past her triggers and depression by exercising, reading and being isolated while she copes. 

However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing if done properly. I found someone who helped me through my PTSD and depression by pushing me to do things I love and to take time for myself. Each reader will have a different take on that book, however.

I am all for women empowerment but, this same storyline gets a little old after the second series. However, it doesn’t deter me from loving the characters, I just wish there was a different story arc. On the upside, readers see all three worlds collide in the third series, “Crescent City”.

If you can manage to read the first 62 chapters of “Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood”, you will finally learn that you have been on the same continent for 13 books. The books cover different timelines and if you catch it, you will see when they start to merge. 

CC follows half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savoring every pleasure Lunathion—otherwise known as Crescent City— has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city—and Bryce’s world.

Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step.

My favorite part about CC is that it is a murder mystery with some romance. Maas does an amazing job building the characters and their world up. The city is divided into four houses, with a god that the citizens follow. 

There are more than just Fae and humans in this series. She created dragons, necromancers, Mer people, nymphs, kelpies, vampyrs and sprites of all elements and they do not all get along.

The next installment, “Crescent City: House of Flame and Shadow” will be released Jan. 2024. All we know is that this latest book will unite Bryce, Rysand, Feyre and eventually Celaena together for one magical battle.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All News-Register Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *