My good friend the Book Fairy – who loves YA fiction as much as I do – has raved for a little while now about the books of Sarah J Maas, and what can I say? She’s the Book Fairy. I trust her judgement.
I was going to post just about the first book, Throne of Glass, but since I’ve had the chance to sit down at my laptop and blog, I’ve managed to burn my way through the first four books of the series (including the novellas, which are five short prequels best read, as the Book Fairy advised, before book four). So instead I’m going to post about the entire story up to the point I’ve read.
The Book Fairy knows her stuff, let’s face it -the Throne of Glass series is chock full of story elements that have me gobbling pages almost faster than my fingers can turn them.Let’s review:
- Epic battles
- Badass women
- Enchanted swords
- Friendship and romance
- Destiny and choice
- Heroes with flaws
- Villains who come good
It’s easy to criticise storytellers for being cliched, and using elements that have worked before, in other stories. The YA fiction ‘tropes’ of a tormented, often orphaned young woman who turns out to be some kind of Chosen One, and has to save the world all while trying to figure out who she is, which of the two beautiful and brooding guys (who are both in love with her) is her soulmate, and how to effortlessly maintain her perfect hair while simultaneously being the most naturally skilled fighter the world has ever seen… there are two ways to approach these things, I think. Sure, I love it when something new comes along – when a story is so surprising that it feels like it’s never been told before and could never be told again – but I also love the comfort of a story that feels like a well-loved sweater wrapping around you.
This is how I feel about Throne of Glass. The story has been told before – not in quite the same way, by the same voice, of course, and more so towards the earlier books in the series (as you read on, it becomes more and more original) – but then again, story archetypes are important, and they hang around for a reason. Just because a story has been told before, does that make the story any less worth telling?
I don’t think so.
I am really enjoying this series. I love the comfort and justice when the narrative leads where I knew it would, and when characters play out the way I think they should. I also love the moments when I’m surprised by a creative variation on the theme.
And, truth be told – I will never get tired of reading about badass women saving the world.