Read or Die

Review of Sarah J. Maas’s CROWN OF MIDNIGHT

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ll tackle the heart of the review in a moment, but I need to get something off my chest first – something that pricked at my reader’s nerves throughout the Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well. (However, in that case, I adored the plot and emotion so much it slipped from my mind. Also, I haven’t reviewed the majority of the books here)

Am I the only one to notice a heavy influence (verging on blatant plagiarism) of Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels world? The phrasing surrounding temper is almost identical. It’s fan fiction run amok. I appreciate falling in love with another author’s worlds, characters, and species (I’ll leave the winged angle alone as it doesn’t apply to this book), but when you lift words whole? It treads into dangerous waters. (Or perhaps Ms. Maas felt her readers wouldn’t have picked up Ms. Bishop’s books?) It leaves my mind split, throwing me into a different realm entirely. (After all, I’m a raving fanatic of the Black Jewels, hitting the bookstore the second anything Ms. Bishop publishes drops) And I have to wonder that editors let it slip.

Then again, they saw no problem waving past the oldest trope in the fantasy genre, so why should I be surprised? (I won’t bore you with spoilers here) Not even halfway through the book, and I needed to set it down, close my eyes, and groan. I knew what was coming. Publishers could have inserted a neon pop-up for theatricality. WHY? The possibility for a different route, for something NEW was already there. All Ms. Maas needed to do was resist the temptation to follow the same tired, worn path no one wants to read anymore. But, no; we’re going to slog down the trail that’s hit bedrock by this point.

Because YA audiences aren’t prepared to embrace something different?

I keep gritting my teeth, waiting for the anticipation I’ve been promised. And all I find instead is a resistance to hurl the book across the room in frustration. Wasted potential. It’s enough to make you curse. No one wants to see a writer throw away SO MUCH possibility.

But I (grudgingly) made a promise. And I don’t go back on my word. So on to the next book. To wade through more of the same, I have no doubt.

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