I’m the anon who asked you for “age problem” in the acotar series. Sorry to annoy you again but when I reread the series I found another thing about Lucien’s mother, she was described the first time as someone who looked a little older than Amarantha(acotar chap38), yet we discover later that she was barely 40 years old during the war (acowar chap47). This should not be the opposite as Amarantha was already a commander during the war? Or do faeries seem older cause of what they have experienced?

Got no answers for you here, nonnie. Just a big ol’ shrug.

Yes, I was a Feylin shipper too at a time but Maas kind of uses his “PTSD” to turn him into an asshole so I can’t ship him anymore with Feyre :/ and I have never been a big fan of Rhys, have some issues with the way he treated Feyre even in ACOMAF when he uses her like a bait or “forced” her to steal that book at the Summer court. But I suppose it’s no use talking about it now. Let’s cross our fingers to find our OTP one day ! :)

Yeah, I’d argue that Tamlin’s bad behavior was evident during the first book as well, but I totally understand why you feel that way about Rhys. I don’t agree that he forced Feyre to steal the book, but his treatment of her Under the Mountain was ultimately glossed over. Feysand was my OTP for a while, but I couldn’t feel that way anymore after ACOWAR.


Different Anon asking about the cultural appropriation in books: I understand when books that take place in real life (as in, a real place on planet Earth) have cultural appropriation bc the cultures are real and racism/oppression is a part of the societies we live in, but in books such as ACOWAR that have a made up world, how do we know that made up cultures (such as illyrians) are the subjects of cultural appropriation? I mean it’s a made up world right? Doesn’t exist in real life?

Well, every reader comes from our world, so there are certain things they will recognize as being from an earth culture even if it’s set in a fantasy world or a world other than earth. Some examples, since you brought up ACOWAR are the fashions and aesthetics of Velaris, which seem to be taken from some kind of Middle Eastern culture without actually having any Middle Eastern-coded people present. It’s used only for the aesthetic, without thinking through all the implications of having clothes like that (i.e. the originating culture didn’t just wear them for the lulz–there were important cultural, environmental, and/or religious reasons they were worn). I was also personally uncomfortable with the use of imagery and some straight-up copy-pasted scenes straight from the Bible. I know SJM is Jewish so whether or not this is cultural appropriation is a little shakier, but it made me feel uncomfortable because my religion was being used for the sake of making things “cool.” That’s the impact cultural appropriation can have, but on a much more damaging scale in most cases (because at least in that example, I can’t claim Christianity is marginalized, where lots of other targets of appropriation are).

You also mentioned the Illyrians. They’re coded as people of color. The narrative barely commits to that when describing how they look (and especially in the case of our two main Illyrians, fandom tends to see/portray them as white despite the text), but they’re consistently darker than the rest of the cast. However, the narrative does commit to making sure we know they’re barbaric. To have a race coded as people of color painted as barbarians isn’t cultural appropriation so much as straight-up racist (and a trap that many fantasy books fall into). This to say, there is a scale of how intense and damaging cultural appropriation can get. It’s never a good thing, and it always causes some sort of harm. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a fantasy world or not. 

I’m in a similar position where I have a nation in my world that is based on North Africa and the Middle East. The people there resemble Arab people in our world, and they use words that are inspired by Arabic. However, I have to be very careful in understanding what parts of desert culture are impacted by Islam and which are not (I don’t have Islam in my world–I’ve created several different religions instead). If I had my people praying five times a day facing a particular city, but didn’t have so much as a word about Allah or Islam or anything, that would be cultural appropriation. The same goes for jinn–I can’t have jinn in my world because those are a part of the Muslim faith and worldview, and it would be appropriative to use them. There are lots of things to look out for and think about when writing a culture that doesn’t resemble your own, especially in a fantasy world where you might take things for granted, but in my opinion it’s part of being a responsible writer and a good worldbuilder. No one’s perfect, and I’m sure I’ll make mistakes despite my best efforts, but the point is that I learn and keep growing and don’t repeat mistakes should I be called out on them. 

Top Five Wednesday

Welcome to Top 5 Wednesday! Every week, join me and other bloggers/booktubers as we discuss our Top 5 Books according to the theme from the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads Group! This group, started by @thoughtsontomes and @gingerreadslainey, has prompts every week.


Some books we disliked or they were just okay, but they still have a lot of discussion points to sink your teeth into.

#5 – The Selection by Kiera Cass

I know some people love this book, and I can sort of understand why, but for me it was kind of a trashfire. I didn’t like the characters, the world, the plot–none of it. Even so, I did read the rest of the series just to find out how bad it could get (spoiler: pretty bad). But bad books offer a lot of material to discuss and talk about, so this makes the list for me!

#4 – Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

I hated this book when I first read it, though I’ll admit I wonder if I’d feel the same if I reread it now that I’m older. I had a lot of thoughts about the quality of the retelling and the take on the mermaid’s sexuality and all that. I’ll probably reread it at some point to be able to discuss it better, but from my memory I have a lot to say on it as is.

#3 – Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I DNFed this one because I became uncomfortable with the painful amount of misogyny in this book. It had a clever premise of blending two different kinds of desert cultures, but it wasn’t done sensitively and just wound up reinforcing damaging stereotypes. This book offers interesting discussion points on cultural appropriation, how unexamined white privilege can damage a book, and sensitivity reading.

#2 – The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

I wouldn’t say “discuss” so much as “rant about,” because this book was so bad that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. That said, there’s a lot to talk about with regard to female agency, the use of fairies, and the sheer number of inaccuracies concerning the life of a grad student in the humanities. If you’ve read this book, hit me up, because I love to hate it.

#1 – A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Okay, so I hesitate to say I like discussing this book because I feel like I’ve said most of what there is to say, but this book offers a lot of material for discussing not only things like representation, toxic masculinity, and cultural appropriation, but also things like writing as a craft, what makes good prose, and the editing process. It’s a good case study, even though talking about it is still rather bitter.

The books above represent books that I DNFed and books that I finished, but all books that I rated three stars or less. I have strong feelings about all of them, which is why it’s so easy (and sometimes fun) to discuss them! What are the books you disliked or hated but still enjoy discussing? I’d love to hear about them!

Hello ! So I just reread the end of ACOWAR quickly and there is something I did not understand : when Rhysand wakes up (just after his death) he tells Feyre: “Stay with the High Lord”, I mean it’s exactly the same words that the Suriel had told her in ACOTAR. Maybe I had miss something but did you have an explanation for this ? Thank you for your answer (and I really love your blog) !

Feyre was thinking about the Suriel’s warning so passionately while she was helping to work the magic to bring Rhys back to life that he felt it through their bond. He was just echoing her thoughts back to her. 

Hope that helps! And thanks. 🙂

Just from reading the other anon I just want to chip in that I think using rape as a plot device can be really harmful if not done carefully and sensitively and personally I don’t think the ACOTAR series was sensitive enough. Yes it’s an important topic to address and have conversations about but personally I felt it was just used to get the audience to feel sympathy for Rhys which is just not an acceptable reason (sorry rant over)

That’s okay! This is something about which reasonable people can disagree. If you didn’t see the additions by @my-name-is-fireheart and @bookofmirth on the original post, I recommend checking them out because they both discuss this (not that they disagree with each other, but they consider both sides). As I mentioned in my initial response, I thought the use of sexual assault/abuse as a broad theme throughout the series as a whole was a little half-baked, mostly as a result of the themes not being carried through in the way they should have been in ACOWAR. But again, any reader’s mileage can vary with that. I know many have been really touched on a personal level by that element, but others don’t feel that way. These different perspectives are part of what makes reading such an engaging experience! 

So I know I’m probably going to have a lot of hate following this comment and maybe it’s not the better place to talk about it (even if I like your blog and your understanding personality) but now that I finish the ACOTAR series, I still wonder why Rhysand was Amarantha whore ? I mean Velaris was protected by a magic barrier (just like some place in the Winter court) and I don’t think the fact that make love to Amarantha “distracted” her to searched for a way to “broke” Rhys. (part 1)

Also when Rhys insinuated that Amarantha abused him I don’t think it was rape or abuse (following the official definition of it) because he was more than consenting and we don’t even know if he really disliked it; there wasn’t any “actions” that proved otherwise but just some words from his part. I don’t want to justify anything of course but I still have a doubt about the accuracy of the relationship he and Amarantha shared and if I’m wrong about something I truly want to apologize. Thank you.

Okay, yeah, I understand that you’re just trying to figure things out, but this sounds a lot like rape apology, so you do need to be careful when talking about things like this. Whether or not Rhys’s decision to subject himself to Amarantha makes sense from a narrative perspective isn’t really the point in this case. Taken as it is in the text, Rhys was still very much Amarantha’s victim. Yes, he had his own reasons involved in the scheme, but it was clear throughout Rhys’s recounting of events that he really didn’t want to participate. He also describes in both ACOTAR and ACOMAF in great detail how very much under her power everyone Under the Mountain was. 

I waited. But he [Rhys] shook his head. “Even if I felt like helping you, I couldn’t. She gives the order, and we all bow to it.” He picked a fleck of dust off his black jacket. “It’s a good thing she likes me, isn’t it?”

  I opened my mouth to press him—to beg him. If it meant instantaneous freedom—

  “Don’t waste your breath,” he said. “I can’t tell you—no one here can. If she ordered us all to stop breathing, we would have to obey that, too.”

ACOTAR pg. 301

He has no power to deny Amarantha anything. Without an option to say no, there is no consent, regardless of what Rhys’s long game is. He was far from “more than consenting” and we definitely know he disliked it. 

“But for fifty years—whenever I was inside her, I’d think about killing her. She had no idea. None. Because I was so good at my job that she thought I enjoyed it, too.”

ACOMAF pg. 433

You claim that there aren’t any “actions” that prove he wasn’t consenting or didn’t dislike it. What about when he tried to kill Amarantha? Or this line, in ACOWAR?

Rhys murmured, “If she …” His swallow was audible. “If she showed up at this house …” I knew who he meant. “I would kill her. Without even letting her speak. I would kill her.”

ACOWAR pg. 249

Further, the suggestion that a rape victim needs to act in order to be believed, and that their words are not enough, is a very dangerous thing to say. The U.S. Department of Justice’s updated definition of rape says, “physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent.” Claiming otherwise is the very thing that has allowed rape and sexual assault to be so ingrained in our society. “Why didn’t she say anything sooner?” “Why didn’t he fight her off?” “How do we know they’re telling the truth?” If you look at the #MeToo movement, this is exactly the kind of thing they’re trying to fight against. 

SJM’s use of sexual assault as a thread in her series might not be baked all the way through, and there’s certainly some things you can criticize there from a narrative perspective. But in this case, Rhys was clearly a victim of Amarantha, he clearly was not consenting, and he clearly did not like it. Again, I understand that you’re trying to figure this out and mean no harm, but this is an important thing to learn when discussing a difficult topic like this. Believing a victim is, as a rule, a far better take than disbelieving them.  

I know you don’t particulary like ACOWAR (just like me) and maybe you won’t want to answer this question but generally what is the opinion that emerges from this book ? Do you think the community appreciates it as much as the other two?

Well, I know a lot of BNFs jumped ship because of this book and the fandom really tore itself apart. It was overall a pleasant place during the ACOMAF stage (and I still think that’s the overall favorite of the series), but after ACOWAR it was no longer fun because the fandom was so divided. But the book still won the Goodreads Choice Award for YA Fantasy, so plenty of people still loved it. And if they loved it, I’m happy for them. My disappointment was never meant to ruin it for anyone else and everyone should be allowed to form their own opinions.

Hello ! I would like to know, are you more into Feylin or Feysand after reading acowar ? Because I think I can be more into Feylin, I didn’t like Feysand interractions during the last book, I still have that impression that Rhys doesn’t care so much about Feyre. For example, in the last chapters Rhys would have sent Feyre and Amren to death if Cassian and Nesta wouldn’t have occupied the King elsewhere so he is much more concerned about the fate of Cassian than Feyre, if I read that scene well..

Uhhh…I’m not really sure how to respond to this. I definitely didn’t read it the way you’re reading it, and there’s no way I could go back to shipping Feyre with Tamlin. And despite the fact that it might not have been written the best, I don’t get the impression that Rhys doesn’t care about Feyre. 

I will say that going into ACOWAR, Feysand was my OTP, and after finishing it, they weren’t my OTP anymore. Make of that what you will.

Okay thank you for your quick answer ! To be honest, I was rather disappointed when I read that scene because I did not see Rhys at all like this (on the idea that I made myself of him since acomaf). But it’s nice to see other points of view, I think.

Sure, everyone has their own readings! But since there’s very little LBGT+ representation in the series, it became pretty common for people to headcanon some of the characters as bisexual, asexual, or other non-straight orientations. 🙂