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A Court of Jealousy and Haters: ACOTAR chapter 12, or “Tale as old as Disney’s long history of issuing C&Ds”

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As promised, I’m importing the A Court of Thorns and Roses recaps here from Patreon. These were originally written beginning in August of 2020, so there will be references to upcoming or seasonal events that won’t fit with our current timeline. I am not a time traveler and you’ll never be able to prove that I am. I will also include editors notes like this every now and then as we go, mostly to amuse myself but to give re-read value to those who’ve already been on this awful, awful journey with me.

Yet again, this book both impresses and deeply disappoints me. There is nothing I loathe more than wasted potential. ed.—speaking of “wasted potential,” it appears that after much speculation and rumors of Maas’s difficulty behind the scenes, the ACOTAR television show may be dead. The post announcing the show has been removed from Maas’s Instagram. Thanks to Chel from the Jealous Patrons Discord channel for the hot tip.

Feyre doesn’t want to sleep because she’s still upset about her nightmare in chapter eleven. Instead, she wanders around the castle in the dark:

A bit of paper in one hand and a pen gripped in the other, I carefully traced my steps, noting the windows and doors and exits, occasionally jotting down vague sketches and Xs on the parchment.

I’m being picky, but I would have rather seen this earlier in the book. Stealing the knife, setting up trip wires, that stuff all seemed really slipshod in terms of escape and survival. If this had happened her first night in the castle, it would have backed up all the times the author has told us, rather than shown us Feyre’s toughness and quick thinking. It’s not a fatal flaw in the narrative, it’s just something I would have pointed out if I’d been doing developmental edits on this.

Which it appears nobody actually did.

Feyre also notes hiding places and escape routes but her thinking has changed from “escape” to “have a plan for if shit goes down in the future,” which is a nice shift away from alternating between fae killer and Fae Wray for several aggravating chapters.

You know what hasn’t changed, though?

These past three days, there had been servants in the halls when I’d worked up the nerve to look at the art—and the part of me that spoke with Nesta’s voice had laughed at the idea of an ignorant human trying to admire faerie art.

That’s right! Everything is still Nesta’s fault! Even Feyre’s own thoughts! Because that’s full-on Feyre there; Nesta hated faeries. She didn’t have anything positive to say about them at all.

I get that this is incorporating a lot of Beaumont’s version of Beauty and The Beast, in which the heroine (literally named Beauty, just in case we don’t get it) has two horrible older sisters and a merchant father who loses their fortune, etc., etc. but the wicked (step)sisters trope is supposed to show us how pure, virginal, kind, and selfless the heroine of the story is, and how deserving she is of her happily ever after. Most of the time, the heroine gets her revenge at the end as a reward for her patience and humility, often in a way that protects her from the moral consequences of her tormentors’ punishment (in Beaumont’s telling, for example, a sorceress turns Beauty’s sisters into stone). 

Any patience or kindness we’ve ever seen on Feyre’s behalf toward her family has been coming from a place of selfishness. To preserve her identity, which she has built around her vow to her mother, Feyre grudgingly helped her family survive. She’s the opposite of the Polly Pureheart Princess we see scattered throughout European fairy tales, but the surrounding features of the trope have remained the same. Now, the story is demanding us to cheer for and sympathize with someone who is vastly unlikeable and has no qualities that redeem her above the family she hates, simply because there are elements of familiarity.

Like, either subvert the trope or don’t subvert the trope, but don’t just toss plot and characterization into some weird demilitarized zone between the two. Or do; it’s possible that this book hit just the right sweet spot for readers who haven’t let go of the Kick-Ass Heroine as a feminist figure but who like those same Kick-Ass Heroines explicitly helpless. ed.—following this book’s popularity, the Kick-Ass Yet Helpless Heroine has become an infestation in the fantasy romance genre. They do a lot of talking about stabbing, but are about as useful as a necktie at the guillotine.

Hey, did you want to read the novelization of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast as written by someone who saw it in the theater and kind of vaguely remembers what it looked like and what the plot was? Well, you’re in luck because there are descriptions like this:

I crept down the main staircase, moonlight flooding the black-and-white tiles of the entrance hall. I reached the bottom, my bare feet silent on the cold tiles, and listened. Nothing—no one.


A breeze announced his arrival—and I turned from the table toward the long hall, to the open glass doors to the garden. 

I’d forgotten how huge he was in this form—forgotten the curled horns and lupine face, the bearlike body that moved with a feline fluidity. His green eyes glowed in the darkness, fixing on me, and as the doors snicked shut behind him, the clicking of claws on marble filled the hall. I stood still—not daring to flinch, to move a muscle.

And the fact that yup, he’s injured from going out and killing the thing that tried to kill Feyre? That’s pure Disney. That part isn’t from Beaumont or Villeneuve. I went through a pretty heavy fairy tale phase in the ’00s and I can’t remember a version with the wolf attack or any kind of rescue. There’s a Spanish version where a wolf rescues the heroine. Or maybe not. I’m getting old and I smoke a lot of pot.

But I’m sorry, you saw Disney’s Beast with his cape swirling and snow behind him bursting through some castle doors. And you saw Belle sneaking through the foyer. If you didn’t, you may be less picky and suspicious of big-name YA authors than I am.

Dripping blood all over the floor, Tamlin changes his form to the human-y one.

No sign of the baldric, or his knives. His clothes were in shreds—long, vicious slashes that made me wonder how he wasn’t gutted and dead. But the muscled skin peering out beneath his shirt was smooth, unharmed.

So, he came in limping and bleeding, he’s now transformed and his skin is smooth and unharmed. Is this an indication that transformation heals him? Or that wounds sustained in one form won’t carry over to the other form?

I bet you think that will be somehow explained, don’t you?

I admire the endurance of your hope.

“Did you kill the Bogge?” My voice was hardly more than a whisper. 

“Yes.” A dull, empty answer. As if he couldn’t be bothered to remember to be pleasant. As if I were at the very, very bottom of a long list of priorities.

When I was reading this chapter the first time, I actually got to those lines and stared out the window and just went to this totally blank, peaceful place in my mind where I transcended the limits of human consciousness just to protect my sanity and reason.

Let’s break it down:

Did you kill the monster who tried to kill me?

Could you make me feel more special and valued when you answer that question?

What the fuck does she want?! He’s bleeding! He’s bleeding so much he’s leaving trails behind him on the floor (while still having super hot, unblemished flesh beneath his shredded clothes). And Feyre feels slighted because she’s not his priority.

And because he’s not pleasant enough.

While he’s bleeding.

I was so furious just writing this that I had to take a break and go on Twitter and complain about Feyre.

And it’s not like I’m overdramatizing the bleeding thing, okay? Feyre notes yet again that there’s blood actively spattering on the floor and that his hand is covered in it. And he’s so injured and weird acting that Feyre wonders if he actually knows he’s injured. He’s supposed to be in super bad shape here. In fact, when Tamlin asks Feyre about the map she’s drawing, this line interrupts the dialogue:

Drip, drip, drip.

As in, blood audibly dripping while he talks about the map and Feyre is trying to point out that he’s losing huge amounts of blood.

But Tamlin has to do some quick thinking to throw the Mouse’s lawyers off the scent, so he talks over Feyre to point out that she can’t write. See? Sure, he’s a beautiful man cursed to be a beast and he just went out to kill the thing that almost murdered the heroine during her escape attempt and now his hand is injured but this is way different because instead of him not being able to read, it’s Feyre who can’t write.

Totally different.

I wouldn’t make fun of this section so much if it hadn’t been such blatant fanfic. I love fanfic, but it’s a totally different medium from a novel, so to have some AU just plopped into the middle of the book is jarring.

And hilarious.

Feyre asks Tamlin if she can help him with his hand and he leads her to an infirmary.

But as I followed him there, avoiding the blood he trailed, I thought of what Lucien had told me about his isolation, that burden, thought of what Tamlin had mentioned about how these estates should not have been his, and felt … sorry for him.

Wow, and only for like the third time, too. And believe me, I’m as shocked by this revelation as the ellipses demands.

There’s a section break followed by strong evidence that an editor left a note like, “Why do they have an infirmary if they can heal themselves with magic?”

The infirmary was well stocked, but was more of a supply closet with a worktable than an actual place to host sick faeries. I supposed that was all they needed when they could heal themselves with their immortal powers. But this wound—this wound wasn’t healing.

I think there’s a minimum number of ellipses and em dashes required in every Fantasy-Lite YA. I mean, I love ’em, you know I do. Use ’em all the time. But holy cow, the unnecessary drama, the unwarranted build-up of the end of that sentence. We know the wound isn’t healing. He’s been dripping blood all over the place.

Belle cleans and binds the Beast’s wound, though she’s initially hesitant to touch him. 

But his claws remained retracted, and he kept silent as I bound and wrapped his hand—surprisingly enough, there were no more than a few vicious cuts, none of them requiring stitching.

He was bleeding like a faucet but he wasn’t really hurt? And none of this is explained, by the way. There’s no, “huh, why isn’t he all slashed up where his shirt is slashed up?” or “why isn’t this wound healing,” or even, “Wait, he was literally trailing blood across the floor, how does he only have a few cuts?

Fuck worldbuilding, Feyre has to get the kind of fluttery and erotic tension Fantasy-Lite YA heroines don’t pick up on. You know, like his gaze burning her because he’s watching her every move, the room seeming too hot and too small, describing his skin as “an inferno,” but not linking any of that to being attracted to him.

Here’s a real “Uh…what?” moment for ya:

I was almost at the open door, stifling the urge to bolt back to my room, when he said, “You can’t write, yet you learned to hunt, to survive. How?” 

What does writing have to do with hunting? Is she supposed to leave a note to the animals? “Don’t run too fast, I need to shoot you. XOXO Feyre.”

I don’t recall ever even taking a pen out hunting, let alone writing anything while I was out there. What kind of “hunting” is Tamlin doing?

Anyway, Tamlin tells Feyre that she isn’t what he expected for a human and she walks out and we get to another section break. It’s the next morning, and Feyre is finally gonna be able to look at some of these amazing paintings, until she hears Lucien and Tamlin arguing and goes to snoop.

Through the space between the hinge and the door I could glimpse the two of them standing almost face-to-face. On Tamlin’s nonbandaged hand, his claws shone in the morning light.

So, things are tense. Lucien is all, what do you think you’re doing, Tamlin is all no, what do you think you’re doing?

“Me?” Lucien put a hand on his chest. “By the Cauldron, Tam—there isn’t much time, and you’re just sulking and glowering. You’re not even trying to fake it anymore.”

By the cauldron, I cannot take any more of this shitty worldbuilding. I will straight up die from shittyworldbuilditis. Throught this book, characters talk about things being hell, tell each other to go to hell, but there is no fucking concept of Christianity or Judaism or Islam anywhere in the fucking book. At all. Anywhere. But Maas throws “by the cauldron” in there so that’s good enough. No reason to think of why you’re including the fantasy elements you’ve chosen.

My brows rose. Tamlin turned away but whirled back a moment later, his teeth bared. “It was a mistake from the start. I can’t stomach it, not after what my father did to their kind, to their lands. I won’t follow in his footsteps—won’t be that sort of person. So back off.”

I guess the topic of conversation is supposed to be mysterious but I’m gonna take a wild guess here and say Lucien is probably talking about how Tamlin should kill Feyre. Maybe not, I mean, the rest of the conversation escalates into an argument in which Lucien points out that a bogge got really close to the house and the woods are full of bad fae things and there are no barriers between courts, etc. But the whole thing about “their kind” and “their lands” sounds like something to do with humans?

Look, at this point, I can’t honestly tell what’s going to happen. Not because this is a tensely plotted thrill ride but because this book is trying to be nine hundred different things at once. It’s trying to be epic fantasy and swords-and-sorcery fantasy and a fairytale all at the same time. It’s a pastiche of distinctly different subgenres that just isn’t working.

Moving on.

Feyre tries to piece together the conversation the same way I’m trying to, but like, so much of the dialogue reads so vaguely that it really just feels like the author wrote this scene and went, “eh, I’ll try to work that into the plot later.”

Which is fine like, on Wattpad or AO3. But not necessarily in a book that I’ve seen hailed as one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time.

But this is what Feyre comes up with:

The blight. Perhaps it was contained, but it seemed it was still wreaking havoc—still a threat, and perhaps one they truly didn’t want me knowing about, either from lack of trust or because … because I was no one and nothing to them.

Yup! That’s right! The entire conversation, like the entirety of the cosmos, this universe and all the infinite universes outside it, the very mind of God and the collective consciousness itself REVOLVES AROUND YOU.

I leaned forward, but as I did, my finger slipped and softly thudded against the door. A human might not have heard, but both High Fae whirled.

Then why didn’t they hear your footsteps when you came up to the door?

Feyre tries to play it off like she’d just casually been looking for Lucien. She asks if he wants to go out riding and he’s like, nah, but Tamlin does.

I bet you’re wondering what Tamlin’s baldric has been up to:

His usual baldric was armed with more knives than I’d seen before, and their ornate metal handles glinted as he turned to me, his shoulders tight.

I did a Kindle search and it looks like Tamlin’s baldric is really the star of the show here. The longest it goes between mentions is fifty pages. Then it just drops off the planet somewhere around page 296 so I’m on the edge of my seat to see what tragedy befalls it that it just vanishes from the story like 3/4 of the way in.

Tamlin is like, okay, we can leave for this ride whenever.

No. I almost said it aloud as I turned pleading eyes to Lucien. Lucien merely patted my shoulder as he passed by. “Perhaps tomorrow, human.” 

Alone with Tamlin, I swallowed hard. 

He stood there, waiting.

Ohhhhhh feeeeeeel that awkwardness. Feeeeeeeeeel it. Because then, Feyre has to admit that she doesn’t want to go hunting. And I’m like, cool, but you just asked about going for a ride, nobody said shit about hunting. Either way, Tamlin asks her what she wants to do.

After a section break, Tamlin and Feyre are walking down a hall, and Feyre notes that he’s acting differently:

No trace of the hollow, cold warrior of the night before, or of the angry Fae noble of minutes before. Just Tamlin right now, it seemed.

But Feyre’s like, nah, don’t trust that. He still killed that bogge thing and that means he’s real super extra dangerous, which is true but also it’s pretty clear that he’s severely anemic and can be killed by a papercut from a thick-enough envelope.

He flexed his bandaged hand, studying the white bindings, stark and clean against his sun-kissed skin. “I didn’t thank you.” 

“You don’t need to.”

That’s a trap. Don’t fall for it, Tamlin.

Tamlin mentions that the bogge’s bite slows healing, so that’s why his hand was still injured. Doesn’t explain the conveniently shredded clothes, but whatever. We had to know about his skin. Feyre tells him she wrapped his hand the way she would have done hers, so she could still pull a bowstring. Which is for some reason amazing to an immortal being.

He was quiet as we turned down another sun-drenched marble hallway, and I dared to look at him. I found him carefully studying me, his lips in a thin line. “Has anyone ever taken care of you?” he asked quietly. 

“No.” I’d long since stopped feeling sorry for myself about it.


“I’m curious,” he said casually. The amber in his green eyes was glowing. Perhaps not all traces of that beast-warrior were gone. “Are you ever going to use that knife you stole from my table?” 

I stiffened. “How did you know?”

We just went from “they heard my fingertip nudge a door while they were shouting at each other” to “how did he realize I stole a piece of cutlery?” Okay. Let’s just ride this broken rollercoaster straight to hell at this point.

Tamlin says he figured out the knife thing because he smelled her fear. But it’s okay because her attempts to murder him are amusing. ed.—This is also a feature of several popular fantasy romance books now. The hero finds it cute and infantilizes the heroine when she threatens and/or attempts to harm him.

He gave me a crooked smile, more genuine than all the faked smiles and flattery he’d given me before. “Regardless of the Treaty, if you want to stand a chance at escaping my kind, you’ll need to think more creatively than stealing dinner knives. But with your affinity for eavesdropping, maybe you’ll someday learn something valuable.”

Probably not, because yous all are so vague when you’re talking an eavesdropper can’t get a crumb of context.

Feyre figures since he already knows she was eavesdropping, there’s no reason not to ask what Lucien meant about running out of time.

“I’m an immortal. I have nothing but time, Feyre.” 

He said my name with such … intimacy. As if he weren’t a creature capable of killing monsters made from nightmares.

I’m going to start calling this entire genre “ellipses fantasy”

Tamlin goes on to explain that some bad fairies might keep coming, since they know they can get onto his lands now.

If the borders between the courts were gone, though, as I’d heard Lucien say—if everything in Prythian was different, as Tamlin had claimed, thanks to this blight … Well, I didn’t want to be caught up in some brutal war or revolution.

Yeah, it would be fucking terrible if something exciting finally happened.

Tamlin strode ahead and opened a set of double doors at the end of the hall. The powerful muscles of his back shifted beneath his clothes. I’d never forget what he was—what he was capable of. What he’d been trained to do, apparently. 

What? Open a door?

This paragraph tripped me up because of the word “shifted.” Because he’s literally a shapeshifter-type creature, my brain thought he’d shifted back into Beast form. Something to think about when you’re writing. That was one of the hardest things to remember when I first started, that words might be perfectly fine in a sentence, but the context of the story might cause a reader’s brain to do something strange. ed.—For example, I removed a line in my werewolf book that referenced a character “knotting his tie.”

Now, I bet you can’t guess what’s behind these big doors. Because if you said, “a library”

“As requested,” he said, “the study.” 

You’d be wrong. See? Totally different.

So, Feyre requested to go into the study, I guess?

I saw what lay beyond him and my stomach twisted.

But she doesn’t want to be there?

I have to say, I read ahead because that was the chapter hook and I was like, wait a minute, is the chapter hook really just me being confused about why Feyre would be upset to find herself in a library, sorry, study, if she asked to go there?

If you haven’t read the book, I hope you come back and get as big a laugh as I did about what it is that Feyre can’t stomach about the library.


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  1. Mab

    I just want to make sure I’ve got this right. There are two guys, Lucien and Tamlin. Lucien constantly talks about wanting to kill Fay while Tamlin, though grumpy, has chosen to let her live in his fancy palace, killed the thing that threatened her and generally just talks to her, and Lucien is the one she trusts more? Am I missing something?

    I am more and more convinced that she suffered some kind of serious brain damage when her family was attacked because nothing she says or does makes any sense.

    I can’t wait to see what is so horrible about the study. Is it because it shows how insensitive Tamlin is that she is a moron who can’t write and he’s rubbing it in her face that he can? That monster!

    Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite fairy tale because I was an avid reader as a child and the idea of being locked in a castle with a massive library full of books, beautiful dresses and all the food I could eat sounded like heaven to me. And I didn’t even have a horrible family I was forced to provide for because of some ridiculous martyr complex. I just like reading, eating and wearing pretty dresses.

    September 20, 2023
    • Dove

      I kept getting confused about that earlier too. I’m thinking maybe originally their names were switched. That’s my honest guess. And Maas just… didn’t replace them everywhere so we have this disconnect where Lucien is trusted instead??

      Or maybe she thought it’d be a plot twist? I’m really uncertain but that’s been throwing me off this whole time too.

      Or perhaps the process is “Tamlin is the beastly one, therefore less trustworthy” even though Lucien is the one actively saying shitty things. Which I can buy given how Feyre keeps focusing on the stupid shapeshifting in a not-quite-sexy way.

      OR maybe she was just trying to make the love triangle work and couldn’t think of anything else than Feyre betting on the wrong horse because she’s secretly a Sword Lesbian so choosing Lucien was completely random, much like choosing Egg Boy was back home.

      Or god IDK maybe Maas was trying her hardest to avoid the bestiality thing and she did a bad job.

      There’s so many reasons but none of them correct the text so it’s still frustratingly weird and pointless.

      September 20, 2023
  2. Dove

    So, this is something I notice a lot when there’s no actual chemistry or connection and I’m pretty sure it’s piping hot misogyny or rather an attempt to come to terms with it for people who don’t really comprehend why they feel this way, which is fine! We all work through things are our own pace and since this is directed at young adults/teens they definitely have trouble coming to grips with this issue. They experience it for sure, teenage girls are extremely hated and dismissed and objectified by society so they’re well aware but won’t automatically have a concept to put it into words.

    It’s the focus on how the male love interest and I guess now how the female protagonist could be murderous monsters but they won’t hurt each other because true love prevails or something. And ya know, I understand. This is what BDSM is kinda propped up on… it can subvert this or feed off of it or do both. Kinky shit involves danger that isn’t real or shouldn’t be real anyway.

    The problem is that the danger is actually there. If this was real life a lot of things the heroine focuses on would be true red flags and she should avoid this but because sadly a lot of media tries to paint this as sexy and exciting and fluttery because in actuality abusers have most of the power in our society or at bare minimum our societies reward abusers, hide their crimes, scapegoat anyone who gets caught in a dastardly enough variant of said crimes, but most of the time will instead punish their victims. It’s rare that isn’t the case unfortunately.

    So all of this is predicated on how these girls know they’re not safe and it tries to tantalize and tease this because sometimes excitement comes from what we’re not supposed to want (which is probably why some people, male and female, will internalize the misogyny but vent it with humiliation and torture play.) And apparently unfortunately the porn industry has noticed, trends fucking hard on shock value and reinforcing everything rather than really helping anything because they just want to make money off the Madonna/Whore complex (and degrading women as much as possible makes this more viable as a fantasy I guess.) This also really only benefits the people making big profit off these industries of course and many of them are exploiting the working class bare minimum but they as shit probably aren’t held accountable or get caught most of the time if they’re casually raping a lot of the women that they know.

    It’s depressing as fuck and of course this isn’t tied to just straight coupling but there it’s most insidious because the traditional norms people push for get wrapped up in all this ugly baggage that doesn’t have to be there. I frankly blame the 1% and I’ll never stop blaming them.

    But that’s also why of course these high fae in power are presented as “not so bad” while also being “vicious and horrendous” because it’s similar to the aristocratic hot vampires in charge… it’s just twisting our own world and trying to repackage and sell it to young girls who are thirsty for some relief. Because Feyre is presented as “not like other girls” it’s theoretically okay to respect her or want to be her. Feyre’s bitching and moaning is predicated on the whole gaslight, gakekeep, girl boss meme tied into the teenage girl experience of being shat upon by everyone else even if only in hindsight.

    And it’s exhausting. And I hate it.

    The easiest fix is just allowing these characters to share vulnerability, trust, and respect, to acknowledge their triumphs without knocking others down, and well… chemistry. And god… I’m Aro Ace Asexual, I’ve been that way since I was an AFAB NB kid though it took me a long time to realize the Aro Ace part, so I pretty much live exclusively off the high of my crushes not actually existing. And because I literally hate trying to put myself directly with a character (not a jab at people who do that, y’all enjoy directly banging those fine characters, it’s just not how my brain is wired) I can still detect when there’s just nothing there. No relationship, no excitement, nothing to build upon. I mostly write fanfic for love and lust and even when I wasn’t certain what was wrong, I could tell when I floundered.

    I also have trouble writing female characters; I focused mostly on writing male characters for a very long time and dabbled in women here and there but I often flailed at making them interesting. I”ve also been shockingly lucky and privileged in life. Doing research on various social topics and gender differences (lol which aren’t what people try to make them out to be even if they do exist) and also just getting more info on feminism has helped a lot but I still have plenty more to learn. And I’m not even that young; I’m approaching middle age.

    All that to say, we need more stuff like the Owl House to take off in YA novels it sounds like.

    Sorry, I ramble a lot. I hope some of that made sense.

    September 20, 2023
  3. Dove

    OH and I forgot to add the intersectionality helps a lot to. One of the biggest problems is that the heroine just kinda spins herself into accepting everything and not necessarily being part of the problem but benefiting from the privileges which are painted as bad. So then there’s the cognitive dissonance and jumping through hoops to try and make this okay again.

    And like we all have our problems… Not acknowledging this or that other people have to deal with different things is one of the issues with this kind of book.

    Man, I wish there was an edit feature lol to add this but also fix previous typos. Anyway, yeah.

    I’ve also been hanging out in Unpopular Lore Olympus on reddit. That’s the webcomic version of this kind of BS and while sometimes people can get a bit aggressive on the whole it’s just really good to have somewhere the audience can take a step back and get some clarity on what’s wrong. So I love these chapter book reviews for the same reason. It’s a learning experience as well as a way to vent for sure! And I know these are from three years ago but I really wanted to see your opinion on this series so I’m extremely glad people voted to release them here too. lol I could’ve paid for Patreon even just for one month and binge on them. I considered that but I’m poor right now and very easily distracted so probably would’ve bought a few more to finish it. The past 5 years haven’t been kind to me.

    I wish I could actually write novels to make money but I can’t. I just have so much trouble creating original characters and worlds. I can create them for fanfics/fanart. I can spin lore and world-building from fandoms to the point my head canons could almost have the serial numbers filed off but I still can’t bring it to that point and make it my own either lol. Even when I get close, I just lose interest before it really gets anywhere. Somehow. Anyway, I’ve just come to terms with that and wanted to vent a bit. Like, I could probably write at least as good as Maas if I managed this (it probably wouldn’t take off because I also generally write very niche things for every fandom) which is what kills me. Of course I also suspect some of her success is due to marketing and luck so… there’s that too.

    September 20, 2023
  4. Dove

    I hope it’s okay to share links here and again sorry for the excessive amount of comments but while I was trying to make sure I had the meme correct, I googled and got this which is a good, basic look at the whole issue, how it played out, and everything that goes into it and which I really do think has an impact on the rise of these types of feminine protagonists.

    Towards the end is a comment and a link to how this particular blog post applies to that phenomenon and also very relevant.

    Because these sorts of fantasy stories are also often laced with hints of racism too… certainly the whole “protect the delicate white women; ignore the other women suffering” mentality which things like Feyre becoming poor and learning how to hunt is meant to mitigate but truly just highlights this problem in some respects… but it’s easy to sell to ignorant people who just want some fantasy and probably feel guilty if they have any awareness at all. Like I know next to nothing about hunting, skinning, and weapons for example, I can guess some things based on comments here, other knowledge that I have, the few bits and pieces I have picked up along the way, and Maas clearly not doing much research.

    This I feel feeds back into tearing down the monarchy and the nobility and how the aristocracy fled and simply rebranded themselves as capitalists over the centuries so they could fill in those empty gaps left behind. It sort of feels safe to romanticize that stuff if it’s out of context so people will complain less about the realities of historical oppression and such.

    September 20, 2023
  5. Tina

    I wonder whether you have worked with another writer to have an outsider’s look at your writing? My fanfiction days are long gone but back in the day I saw a few that where so original they could’ve been turned into “own” novels with a few twists. And I’m not talking on the level of “Just re-name them Ana and Christian” 😉

    Making money off writing is very hard but if you truly want it, don’t let a supposed lack of originality keep you back. There are ways around it without pulling an EL James.

    September 21, 2023
    • Tina

      Argh, this was supposed to be a reply to Dove’s comment above…

      September 21, 2023
    • Dove

      Thanks for the response and lol I feel you on the mistake; it’s easy to click the wrong reply link.

      I know what you mean, there are definitely a lot of Alternate Universe or even more canonical fanfiction that can simply take the ideas and go in awesome new directions with a ton of vibrant OCs while just touching on what was provided as a spring point. Some of those could absolutely be their own thing if they diverge enough. And I’d like to think I can do that but I’m not certain that I can.

      My problem is that I often get bogged down in the details and can’t get a good start or else I’ve begun writing it but I lose interest too quickly. Because with fanfiction you can rely on your audience to either know what you’re talking about or be able to google it if they get a bit confused (though that can be a problem sometimes as well) and so I have more trouble filling in the information gaps that are inherently missing or realizing what those gaps are. Plus I’m inclined to go off into tangents so I’m still getting the hang of natural storytelling vs info-dumping.

      The other factor is I have more trouble focusing on my characters. I just get obsessed with a fandom and everything in it but because I’m building my own world and people I find it harder to recreate that experience and excitement. I can write a lot when I feel compelled about getting the idea out of my head but the second that’s not there, it becomes a struggle. I’ve gotten better at figuring out how to build a story with brand new characters but figuring out how to hit that sweet spot has simply eluded me for now. I generally only create OCs to further the plot or someone for a fandom character to interact with; never as the main character (though I do come up with a ton of head canons for any fandom character that I’m eager to write about based on what I already know.)

      I’ve only sometimes been able to get anyone to look at my writing and get some feedback but it was usually fanfiction that wasn’t going to be retooled. Most of the actual novels got into extensive notes and research, a tiny bit of writing, and then it just kinda fizzled out. At this point I also feel like any of that older writing is old enough that I might want a fresh start anyway or else it’s lost to time. Also some of them I’ll admit I cringe at now (because simply put I’m still reprogramming my internalized misogyny and patriarchy but it’s been a slow process) or it was just the barest bones before I lost interest.

      And then the last thing is that I just don’t know if I’d have the drive to promote anything I can finish, edit, and publish, nor if I can follow it up with another. So, there’s just a possibility I could never really do it at all.

      Ha ha so really I probably shouldn’t complain. Sometimes there just isn’t much point in it. But I appreciate the suggestion and I’ll keep that in mind if I get enough hammered out to show off; I’ll see if I can ask for some outside opinions from another writer. Though that can also be hard, I’m sure there are websites dedicated to that kinda thing.

      September 21, 2023
  6. Ilex

    Wait a minute. “Prythian” sounds like “Prydain” and these faeries swear “by the Cauldron”?

    It just feels a little jarring, even though there are no other similarities that I’m noticing.

    September 29, 2023
    • ShifterCat

      Lloyd Alexander was very intentionally writing fantasy based on Welsh mythology. Maas might have borrowed a few names from the Mabinogion.

      October 3, 2023
      • Ilex

        If the faeries are swearing by the Cauldron, it can’t be as terrifying as the one in Prydain, anyway. The Cauldron-born are still some of the most frightening things I’ve ever had to imagine — they gave me nightmares as a kid.

        This book might give me nightmares too, but for a completely different reason. 😀

        October 3, 2023
  7. IcyPheonix

    I don’t see what the existence of Christianity or Islam (not mention Judaism b/c they do NOT have a concept of ‘hell’) have to do with the existence of hell. They’re not the only religions/belief systems to have the concept of an infernal realm in the afterlife where the wicked go.
    Greek mythology has Tartarus where plenty of extremely shitty people went to be punished/imprisoned (and Roman probably has their version), and heck, Norse mythology has both a place and a goddess called Hel (the word coming from old norse iteself), and there is a place near Hel that is reserved for ‘those guilty of murder, adultery, and oath-breaking’. Diyu in Chinese mythology, Xibalba in Mayan belief.
    ‘Horrific place in the afterlife where bad people went’ is not exclusive to those two belief systems, and honestly calling it Hell just works as a short hand for the audience to understand so I don’t see the problem. (also I doubt this is the only fantasy book to do this so)

    October 13, 2023
    • ShifterCat

      Oh, totally. I’d be willing to give Maas a pass on “hell”. But those Hells were different from the Christian vision of “lake of fire and brimstone”. IIRC, Helheim is supposed to be *cold*.

      And a character later says, “burn in Hell”. Despite these people having at least one ritual involving sacred bonfires.

      October 30, 2023
    • Hek

      I find that my patience for anachronisms or lazy worldbuilding dwindles as the quality of the writing decreases. I can put up with these things if they’re being handwaved to carry on with an otherwise good story, and fair enough, so much of language is tied to specific real-world places or events that trying to be consistent about it is a fool’s errand.

      But when the writing is bad? Oh man. Out come the nitpicks.

      Just wait till you get tulle, porcelain toilets and magical texting in book 2.

      IS Jenny planning on reading book 2? I couldn’t get through more than a few chapters; it took a nosedive into “so bad it’s good territory” in a way that puts book 1 to shame. It would be absolutely fantastic for a recap series, especially as the writing is bad in some very interesting ways. (Not to get too spoilery here, but some of the drama in early book 2 effectively undercuts the themes and plot of book 1 quite a bit.)

      For the sake of your sanity, I understand if you’re not going to touch book 2, Jenny. But oh man, it might be better th6an 50 Shades for sheer cringertainment value

      I think I calculated once that book 2 uses the words “male” or “female” on average once every… two pages, was it?

      December 15, 2023
  8. Hek

    Feyre’s relationship with her family is yet another example of something that COULD have worked, with just a touch more nuance.

    Maybe she started hunting for food because it was a skill she’d already been picking up, and because she genuinely wanted to take care of her family. Maybe at first she was even proud of it, and it was only gradually, over time, over many years, that her resentment for it grew as the rest of her family proved either unable or unwilling to pick up the slack, at least enough to meaningfully spread the weight. And over time, it poisoned her relationship with them and things turned spiteful and resentful.

    Being someone’s solitary source of livelihood sucks. Being dependent on someone else as your source of livelihood sucks. Lots of interesting things could have been done there, and unlike Jenny, I don’t even mind that her feelings about her family after leaving them are contradictory AF. It’s only after leaving them for the first time ever, and not by choice, that she gets the chance to realise that maybe she does miss them. Maybe she wants to get back because she misses THEM, not because of her vow or whatever.

    It really could have been super interesting and nuanced and hit close to home for many people, if written just a touch differently.

    But no, the book only cares about using them to advance her martyrdom. They’re barely NPCs, and she hardly even thinks about them.

    December 15, 2023

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