After reading Crescent City and writing the book review, I simply chalked it up to the fact that this book was a product of too much hype. It was okay but didn’t nearly give what was promised. However, I then had a conversation with my sister who had less than pretty things to say about Court of Thorns and Roses, another bestselling series of the same author. It came to my attention that there is something more to be discussed when it comes to Sarah J. Maas books and the immense support her books get.
The common critiques given during the conversations with my sister was that the fantasy elements were pretty half-hearted, the romance was tepid, characters were silly and most of all, it reads like a fanfiction. Which would be great but the book industry still doesn’t take fanfictions seriously whilst giving Sarah J. Maas a pedestal for writing great “epic fantasy” so… are we looking at a little hypocrisy here?
Speaking of the book industry, we have our main problem. If you told me that Crescent City by Maas was a romance story between a Fae/Human and an Angel after they were thrown together for an investigation on the Fae/Human girls’ dead friends then my review would’ve been far kinder. Except that’s not how Crescent City was marketed. Even in the blurb section, it describes this book as an “epic adult fantasy” when really it should be a “fantasy romance”. Am I only one who thinks that this is an incredibly important distinction? Especially when looking for books to read.
Think of this for a moment. A Game of Thrones is also considered an “epic adult fantasy”. Anyone who has read Crescent City, can you honestly tell me that they are fit to be in the same sub-genre?
When you look at Maas books as fantasy romance, you can easily see that there’s nothing actually wrong with the books. It’s just marketed and promoted in all the wrong ways. Even the reading audience tries to play it off as if I would like Court of Thorns and Roses if I enjoyed A Winters’ Promise by Christelle Dabos or A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne Brown.
Those two stories take their fantasy worlds with intense care. In A Winter’s Promise, the main couple have minimal three private interactions at best. In A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, both main characters have sturdy personalities (making it less like a fan-fiction).
You probably wouldn’t see Maas doing something like that in her books. At the same time, Maas can’t do that because that’s not the style of her storytelling. I can imagine people won’t really enjoy it if she stopped the way she told stories because there is a specific audience that likes reading it. That’s why Twilight was popular and that’s why people are hyped about Shadow and Bone. There is an audience that likes fanfiction style sprinkled with accessorized fantasy.
Though I do think people should know the difference. If not the actual publishing company, book reviewers need to be able to tell the nuances between different types of fantasy.
I probably won’t be reading any Maas books after my experience with Crescent City and then the reaction my sister gave on Court of Thorns and Roses. This was honestly just a post of thoughts on why her storytelling irritated me and maybe it helped you encapsulate why you might not have liked it as well. It’s not to bash Maas but just to explain how important marketing is especially with books. You can always hype a bad movie and it really would’ve only taken two hours of your life. Books tend to take a month on average to finish so it really gets on nerves when it turns out to be just ‘okay’ or heaven forbid, a complete dumpster fire.
So here’s to finding good books that work for you and give you enjoyment!
Be sure to check out the two stories I mentioned as well: Mirror Visitor Series by Christelle Dabos and A Song of Wraith and Ruin by Roseanne Brown.