Sarah J Maas is back with a novella that is supposed to bridge that first three ACOTAR books with a new trilogy, but it feels like she forgot she was writing fantasy. If you need more Rhys and Feyre, you’ll get it, but you’ll be left wondering if Maas really thinks that shopping is a 200+ page plot line and why the book felt so mundane.
Honestly, that’s my biggest complaint with this book: it felt so mundane. There’s shopping and painting that isn’t even that well described and drinking hot cocoa and talking about menstruation and bathroom habits. There’s like three conversations about actual magical things and mentions of the war that just finished but if she hadn’t used the words “mate” and “wings” and “winnow” it could have just been a very intricate but boring contemporary novel. Seriously, I know it’s a novella, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to have a plot. Look at the Three Dark Crowns novellas. Those are even shorter but they still have a purpose. They still convey useful information to the world aside from what the protagonist wants for a gift and that she likes hot cocoa. I was listening to this on audiobook and I actually forgot it was fantasy for awhile because it felt so boring. I didn’t need huge battle scenes but did it really have to feel so hum-drum? If a contemporary novel focused just on shopping for a holiday and having sex with a man it would be panned. We shouldn’t let Maas off the hook just because we like her other stuff. I’ve had a lot of qualms with the series over the years, but this one just felt…eh. Not even worth having written. I get it, everyone is glad they survived and things are still awkward for some people. That could be have been conveyed in a single chapter.
I didn’t hate the writing of this book, and definitely thought this sex scene was better than some of her others (No sheathing!) but this novella just lacked pizzazz. Maybe she’s been too focused on her newly announced Crescent City series. I ended up giving ACOFAS two stars on Goodreads because it wasn’t offensively bad. There was nothing HORRIBLY WRONG about it, but it didn’t keep me entranced or caring about the world at all. If anything, it pushed me away and reminded me why I’m so skeptical about fantasy. When you get into the mundanity of life you lose the magic.