So a few weeks ago I posted mini-reviews of the best books I read since October. I also feel compelled to discuss the books that disappointed me. I don’t pick up books that I don’t think I would like, so bear in mind that no one is sadder that I couldn’t enjoy these books than I am.
I was SO excited about this. Portal fantasy and magical schools are both among my favorite subgenres, so a combination of the two was exactly the thing I should have loved. The representation in this book is great, I have to say: it has an canonically asexual protagonist, which is unfortunately still uncommon, and a ton of other diverse characters. I was delighted by that. The plot, however, was a bit of a mess; the mystery was rushed and predictable, the pacing all over the place but what truly got to me was that the characters felt very one-dimensional to me.
This book came with a lot of hype and sounded like something I would love. I actually read it very quickly because of how well crafted the tone and tension were. Sepetys definitely knows how to write pretty words and imagery. The problem was again with the characters. I love books with multiple point of views, but because of how short the chapters were, I felt that no one was fully developed. The pacing I thought was great while I was reading, but with hindsight, I realized that the fact that the book went by so fast that it didn’t leave much of an impact.
This one is on me because I went in expecting Harry Potter. Of course, it wasn’t Harry Potter and Pierce obviously had no intention of trying to write Harry Potter. The magical school elements were so few and sparse. I can definitely see potential for later books, as I’ve heard the series kind of grows up along with the characters Still, I had a lot of trouble with the writing style and the way Pierce does fantasy. I loved the Alanna Quartet, but right now this isn’t the type of fantasy I’m interested in.
I debated whether to put this book here or on my best list. Just as with the first book, I have a lot of mixed feelings. On the whole this book was a lot more cohesive than the first one, with the plot clear from the start. I adored the new characters introduced and I think Maas did a great job when it came to establishing new dynamics. My main qualm lies in the writing and pacing. Maybe it bothered me more because I was listening to the audiobook, but some scenes dragged and dragged even worse than in the first book. I had heard the second book was a lot better than the first, but most of the issues I talked about on my review were still there. In the mean time, I am cautiously awaiting the final book of the trilogy.