My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is hard for me to write — which probably seems strange since I’ve just given this book a very high star-rating. How could this be so difficult for me? Why am I not crowing how great this book is from the rooftops?
Probably because it’s not good.
It’s not, and you won’t ever hear me say it’s objectively “good.”
It’s trash — pure trash.
But it’s good trash; it’s my kind of trash.
Most of it, at least.
There is more than one thing about this novel that makes me either roll my eyes or scream in frustration, and that comes down to SJM as a writer; she has some tendencies that drive me nuts, and they’re on full display in this novel.
For example: there’s a lot of sex and flirting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not care if there is sex in books. And I know that SJM likes to write characters who often take multiple sex partners. Good for them, have a healthy sex life. And this series, especially in the second novel, has proven it has no problem being sexually explicit…but it’s at the detriment of the plot and also, in this case, the tone/impact.
Rhys and Feyre exist mainly to find different ways of telling each other “I love you”, and their constant flirting really started to wear on me through the novel — and nobody tell me it’s just that “They’re young” because we meet another pair of married mates who haven’t been together all that long and they at least seem to have a healthy amount of decorum about them. (All hail Kallias and Viviane, who are basically #highfaemategoals.)
And there is one scene in particular that really, really upset me as it pertains to the way Rhys and Feyre behave. (view spoiler) I didn’t hate them, but every time they flirted or made an innuendo or had sex — which was basically every other page — I couldn’t help but make a noise of disgust and roll my eyes.
Now look, yeah, I’m not one to really be turned on by sex in novels, but good grief there was a lot of it — and a lot of it that served no purpose other than titillation. I’m not bothered by sex in novels, but sex that serves no purpose other than to just be sex? It’s boring after a while, especially when there are so many instances of it across 700+ pages. I think of the quote from Oscar Wilde:
Everything is the world is about sex except sex.
And, therefore, the moments where the sex actually makes sense beyond titillation and I think, “Yes, this works and I get it”…that’s fine! And there are moments like that, but they’re mainly in the back quarter of the novel when the war finally manages to show up.
Oh yeah, did I mention it takes a really long time for the whole war bit of this story to show up? We have to endure a lot of meaningless, and in some cases wholly anticlimactic and ridiculous, side-quests that constantly distract the story. And that’s not even mentioning the dumps of extraneous and unnecessary mythology from other cultures that show up to help in leading to what is, without question, one of the biggest deus ex machine endings I’ve ever encountered. And I was predicting it from a mile off because, honestly, SJM isn’t that subtle. All of her twists aren’t twists because she’s so heavy-handed in her foreshadowing that it might as well not even be called foreshadowing.
And this is just the beginning my innumerable complaints with this novel and with this series as a whole.
So how in the name of all the circles of hell can I give this five stars?
Because, though it took a while, I did get a war. I got battle speeches. I got betrayal and High Lords who were great additions to the cast— to be honest, that entire “Council of Elrond”-esque sequence was the best in the novel and I am now convinced I want standalone novels for all the other High Lords because they’re without question the most interesting players in this game and they basically stole the show. I got some interesting tidbits on Lucien’s older brother, Eris, who’s still an asshole but now intrigues me — also really annoyed that that went nowhere in this book, just sayin’. And even Tamlin got some fascinating moments. The shit that was my shit, was good shit. And I absolutely ate it up.
This book was garbage, but it was my kind of garbage and going along for the ride was a helluva lot of fun in the midst of all my groans.
And trust me, there were a lot of groans.