Read or Die

Review of Sarah J. Maas’s HOUSE OF SKY AND BREATH

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room first: Ms. Maas needs to find another outlet for her obsession with poorly-written porn. There’s a market for such, even an audience. But it isn’t the YA shelves. It isn’t even the Fantasy or Science Fiction shelves. Alluding to such liaisons or referencing relationships between characters can easily take place without the need to fill pages with nonsense better suited for seedier sites on non-paying pages of the internet. There’s nothing worthwhile in those scenes. Save some trees and leave them out of the final edits.

Unfortunately, once you trim away Ms. Maas’s crutch, you’re left with 75% of a book that does little to keep a reader awake. The action slogs through a treacle swamp, offering nothing enlightening or interesting to engage attention until the final 50 pages. Assuming, of course, you haven’t thrown the book across the room or donated it for someone else to attempt to wrangle. The potential lies buried within drama – and not the sort intended to snag someone’s mind for more than a few fleeting moments. I literally could not keep myself awake for more than a few sections at a time, taking ONE MONTH to get through the tome. And I go through books at record speed.

There’s nothing remarkable about the cast of characters to engage empathy. They’re polarities of caricatures, bordering on repulsive. You watch them engage with the plot with little interest in their outcome. Hunt’s a prime example: He displays the worst qualities of a male chauvinistic pig. He allows Bryce no room to exist as an independent woman. It’s repulsive for a modern female to read and expect to admire him as a romantic interest. Better to witness an untimely demise and cheer it.

Then there’s the “surprise” of the end, which only made me want to shred the book. This was the best Ms. Maas could come up with for originality? A circle?! It’s abhorrent and lacking in creativity. (Though it explains the heavy-handed porn) Why not allow a new series to stand on its own? Is it THAT difficult to develop a new story arc and world?

Frankly, I’m finished. Stomaching any more of this weakness wastes my time and energy. My reading is better spent with authors who can craft well-written works of fiction – minus the tawdry nonsense.

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