Monday, April 30, 2018

The Book Lover's Den No. 25: When the last third of a book spoils everything....




Welcome to my renewed literary musing feature! I have decided 
to post it on Mondays now!


In each weekly post, I explore 
my thoughts on several 
book-related topics.



This Week's Topic
When the last third of a book
spoils everything.....





https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16096824-a-court-of-thorns-and-roses?ac=1&from_search=true


Warning!
This post contains several important spoilers. If you haven't yet read this book, and would like to, you might be better off not reading this post. You have been warned! Read at your own risk!

My review of this book can be found HERE.

Many obsessed YA fans out there have either read or are about to read this novel, or perhaps they are halfway through the series. This book had a LOT of hype attached to it before its release, back in May of 2015. So, of course, I grabbed it when I first saw it, sitting in the Book Dept. of a local Target store, sometime in September of that year. I was all set to have an enthralling reading experience!

At first, I was indeed totally enchanted with the story. It's basically a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling, and I was immediately drawn right into the story. Feyre is a skillful hunter, and her family depends on her for their sustenance, as their father has been incapacitated, and thus, unable to hunt. But Feyre is also a sensitive artist, and this is something I was able to relate to right away. She sees the world with an artist's eyes, which is very evident from the author's beautiful prose. 

The whole basis for this retelling is that Feyre has killed a wolf who was really a faerie, and friend of Tamlin, one of the rulers of the Fey Kingdom of Prythian. So Feyre (who is very appropriately named, I think) is taken away from her family, and is held prisoner at this ruler's palace. From there, the story develops with the theme of the original fairy tale, and Feyre comes to love and understand her captor, and the reason for his actions. There's also an ancient curse involved....

This novel was a page-turner for me at first, and I really enjoyed all of the gorgeous descriptions of the Fey Kingdom, as well as the various characters. I was floating blissfully along, although there were also some exciting action passages that made me sit up and allow myself to be immersed in the action. I was all set to give the book five stars, no question!

So what happened?

Well, in my honest opinion, the author ruined the story. Not everyone who has read this book will agree with me, I know. Some might even be aghast that I did not wholeheartedly love this book. Of course, there are reading tastes for everyone. What one reader detests, another will love. But I do have my reasons for not totally loving this book.

First of all, this novel should not be classified as Young Adult Fiction. It should, instead, be labeled as New Adult Fiction, or even better, as straight adult fiction. The funny thing is that it reads like a YA novel until the last third of the book. Then the author inexplicably switches gears. At one point during this last third, Feyre is, well, DISPLAYED AS A SEX OBJECT by another faerie who belongs to a rather sinister Fey court -- the Night Court. His name is Rhysand. What he does is to dress Feyre in EXTREMELY scanty clothing, and parades her around to be seen by the other members of the EVIL Queen Amarantha's court. I am unequivocally stating that Feyre did NOT want to be paraded around like that. Nor did she want to wear this "clothing". But guess what? She can't do a thing about these things, because Rhysand is CONTROLLING HER BODY. She walks where his mind FORCES her to walk, and she has to do what HE wants her to do. 

There are reviewers on Goodreads who, incredibly enough, RAVE about Rhysand. I just have to scratch my head, as I just don't see what could possibly be attractive about a male character who does what I have described above to a female character. 

Second, there's also VERY graphic violence described -- you guessed it -- in the last third of this novel. It really became too much for me at several points in the narrative, and I almost didn't finish the book. I just HAD to see how it all ended, though......

Third, Feyre and Tamlin also have sex, and again, there were graphic details. This is totally outside the bounds of a YA novel. It's not that YA authors won't allow their protagonists -- whether male or female -- to engage in sex. It's that they usually won't provide any details of the act, let alone graphic ones. They will usually just mention that it took place, or else, imply that it did. 

Lastly, after Feyre has been at the evil queen's court for several days, being forced to carry out "challenges", some of which are also graphically gross, she is then given the ultimate test -- she must KILL a faerie, knowingly this time. She is told that, if she doesn't do this, she herself will be killed. SO SHE DOES KILL THAT INNOCENT FAERIE. Now, I understand that this queen is REALLY evil. But WHY did Maas HAVE to let us readers see this by having her FORCE Feyre to commit MURDER?! And WHY didn't Feyre do the only honorable thing, letting herself be killed instead of herself taking a life?! Sure, no one wants to die, but to live at the expense of another?! She could have said, "I will NOT commit murder. Go ahead and kill me." 

I do admit that, were I to be placed in that same situation, I might do exactly the same thing Feyre did. However, the NOBLE thing to do is just that -- allow oneself to be killed, rather than kill another. If Feyre had been such a good person, she would have chosen this route. 

Well, everything went downhill for me after that. Now the female MC had actually killed somebody. Add that to the other stuff I had already disliked, and it's a real wonder I was able to finish the book! I did give it four stars, but I'm still asking myself why I didn't give it three, instead. I guess it was the lush writing that stopped me. There was no arguing with THAT; the book is beautifully-written, and I'm repeating that because it's as true as the book's less savory aspects. 

Of course, after this experience, I had no further interest in the series, ESPECIALLY when I found out that, in the second book, the romance between Tamlin and Feyre DISAPPEARS, and she then enters a romantic relationship with.....RHYSAND. That's right. The guy who dressed her up like a Playboy centerfold and MANIPULATED HER BODY. The very same guy. 

Needless to say, I am TOTALLY DISGUSTED with this development. I REFUSE to continue reading this series. And, I will most likely NOT pick up another Sarah J. Maas book again, especially not if it contains a fickle, murdering female protagonist.

Now, here's the ULTIMATE irony.....this book is VERY popular on Goodreads. There are a LOT of very favorable reviews of it. Even though I stated, in the first paragraph above, that there are many different reading tastes, I have to state that I fail to see the appeal of a man who treats the woman he professes to love, like a SEX OBJECT, even going as far as MANIPULATING HER BODY. But well, look how popular the Fifty Shades of Grey series is. I guess not much has changed at all in this 21st century.....

I ended up donating this book to my local Goodwill store. Perhaps the best thing to do in the future is to buy the ebook first. If I don't like it, then I will forget about getting the print edition. Unfortunately, nowadays, ebooks can be just as expensive as printed books. In some cases, they are MORE expensive. And I adamantly refuse to pay more than $5.99 for a simple download! Lol.

 




What are your thoughts on
 this topic?
Please leave me a comment
and let me know!









4 comments:

  1. I’ve only read one of this author’s books, Throne Of Glass - I reviewed it on my blog, ages ago. This one doesn’t sound like my kind of book either, so thanks for the heads-up. But all the Maas books were very popular in my library when they came out, so I kept buying them.

    Look, if you like faerie stuff, I recommend Melissa Marr. It’s urban fantasy and very good. The woman is a PhD and has done her research about the Faerie folklore, though she has added tattoos to their culture because, hey, she likes tattoos.

    For fairytale retellings I recommend Kate Forsyth, Sophie Masson and the amazing Juliet Marillier, whose Heart’s Blood is one of the two best B&B retellings I’ve read. The other is Robin McKinlay’s Beauty, of course!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Sue!

      I'm glad this is not your type of book, either! You're very welcome for the heads up! :) :)

      I don't think I'd read the Throne of Glass series, After all, the female MC is an ASSASSIN. Nope, not my thing at all! Lol.

      Oh, Melissa Marr! Yes, I've heard she's SO good!! I do own the first book in the Wicked Lovely series, but I haven't read it yet.....Can you believe it?! :)

      Juliet Mariller is another writer I know I would like. Some time back, I featured the cover of one of her books in my "Shelf Candy Saturday" meme. I don't remember the title, but that cover is GORGEOUS!! I need to look it up, so I can buy the book and read it!

      I'm not familiar with Kate Forsyth or Sophie Masson. I need to check them out on GR. As for Robin McKinley's "Beauty", oh, yeah, I read that one years ago! I need to revisit the plot, though, as I don't remember much of it.... :(

      Thanks for the GREAT comment!! <3 :)

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  2. First of all, I agree, everyone has their own opinions about books so if anyone gets upset because you don't love this one, that's on them. I think if I recall correctly, it was mislabeled as YA when it was first release but then was corrected to New Adult. I think it came out right on the verge of the NA revolution which added to the confusion. I sort of understand the Rhysand issues because ultimately, it's a beauty and the beast retelling and weren't we all afraid of the beast at some point? Your concerns are very valid and I can see why you won't pick the rest up. My verdict is still out. I read this one so long ago. This may sound awful but I couldn't stand Feyre and that's the reason I hate the first 1/2 of the book so much. I'd have much rather had a story about her sister (who I can't remember her name to save my life). Great discussion and I enjoyed reading your thoughts. (On a side note, seriously go read the synopsis for the new Stephen King book - The Outsiders).

    (Booker T here - Hey Auntie Maria, I will convince Mom to stop harassing you about Stephen King - I have my ways! WOOF WOOF)

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Barb!

      Oh, yes, DEFINITELY everyone has very different reading tastes. Just look at me and the HORROR genre! It gives me the CREEPS. LOL.

      Regarding the whole Rhysand thing.....I just can't BELIEVE that a writer would publish a novel in which the female MC is USED as a SEX OBJECT by a male character, and she ends up falling for him!!! And worst of all -- FEMALE readers are LOVING it!!!!! What's WRONG with this picture? Well, this is the 21st century, DUH. This kind of thing is DEFINITELY dated. I mean, come ON!! Meanwhile, I wonder what happened to poor Tamlin...... He was VERY much in love with fickle Feyre. Hey, GREAT nickname, right? "Fickle Feyre"! LOL.

      I did like Feyre.....well, until, you know, she killed an innocent faerie to save her own butt. And then there was Rhysand.....UGH. SURE CAN'T STAND HER NOW!!

      The synopsis of the new Stephen King book?! OH.MY.GOSH. Really?! Booker!!!! I need your help PRONTO!! You say you have ways to get your mom to stop egging me on about SK? So get on this, man! And thanks so much for your help!! ARF, ARF!!!! :) :) :)

      Thanks for the TERRIFIC comment, Barb!! HUGS TO YOU AND THOSE MISCHIEVOUS PUPS, AND WOOF, WOOF, TO THEM!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

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