a court of I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH

Sarah J Maas has been on my radar for quite some time. Even before i read anything by her, here’s what i knew – she’s around my age, she’s successful, she’s prolific, and she’s pretty. This is all a perfect storm for me to be wildly jealous of her, and i am – but i am also in awe, and am now also a genuine fan. I had been toying with the idea of reading Throne of Glass first, as it is the first novel in her first published series. However, the cover of A Court of Thorns and Roses, as well as its sequel, would not stop calling out to me. Finally, after picking up the book at work and flipping through pages “just to peak,” i dreamt that i was reading ACOTAR. The next day i downloaded a copy of it and began furiously reading.

 

What a lush, imaginative, thickly plotted world Maas created. Just when you think this Beauty and the Beast retelling is just that – a BATB retelling – she spins the story on its head, and dizzies the reader with future prospects for the story. To me, a person who admittedly doesn’t read as much fantasy as she’d like to, the faeries and magical creatures were spectacular. If I had to compare ACOTAR to another faerie book or series I loved, that would be Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series. If you haven’t read the WL books, get a move on!

 

But anyway – I found myself caring so much about Feyre and Tamlin and Lucien and Alis – and I’ve only just met Rheysand, who is a *fan favorite,* and I’m so jealous of all those who have read A Court of Mist and Fury, the sequel, as well as SJM’s other series. I’m sorry I didn’t hop onto the Maas Train sooner, but I’m so glad I now have! I’m looking forward to meeting more characters from Feyre’s world. Not to mention it was great seeing such a kick-ass heroine, reading a sex-positive book, and falling deep into an unproblematic, inspiring world.

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Hogwarts, My History

I was in third or fourth grade when I saw a book on my friend Jessica’s desk that looked mildly interesting. I had loved to read ever since I learned how about 5 years prior to this scene, but I don’t remember if at this point my mom chose my books for me, or I chose them on my own. I do remember going to one of Queens, New York’s many public library branches, and in subsequent years, East Meadow Public Library (also New York). In any case, Jessica’s mom had taken her to the book store, where she bought this book and it was her new favorite. So I decided I wanted to try it out too.

A few months later on my birthday, my wish was granted. My neighbor purchased the soft cover edition of Sorcerer’s Stone and presented it to me. This is the first book I remember devouring. I didn’t want to watch tv, or listen to my walkman. This became a pattern. My aunt used to go to a charitable auction and happened at one point to win the first three books in hardcover. I reread the first book, and began the second. What an epic adventure the Chamber of Secrets held! I read eagerly as Harry heard voices in the walls (and I couldn’t fall asleep because I was scared!) I loved to watch Harry’s friendship with Ron and Hermione grow. The Burrough became my dream home. I wanted nothing more than to be a witch spirited away on a candy apple red engine to a magical school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

I read the third book twice, back to back.I didn’t understand it the first time I read it. There was no Voldemort, the time-traveling, the betrayal and suspicion. This book has steadfast become my favorite in the series and one I think about often. Doing a reread of the series now in my late twenties has been, as a writer, eye-opening. The pacing, the characterization (so many fully developed characters!!!!) As a reader, my heart breaks for the loss that so many characters have lived through, even before the fourth book even starts. Hagrid lost out on his education and therefore, a huge section of his adulthood was marred by a past that wasn’t even his. Harry lost his parents so young, and was raised by people who hated him. Ron’s family are such good people, who work hard, and have nothing (material… but they have everything like love, and hope, and family). Dobby shows the plight of those who are seen as less-than.

I am two chapters into the Goblet of Fire, so don’t mind my not mentioning books 4-7 yet. But I have already become misty-eyed remembering what is to come, and the devastating losses I will have to relive.

Rereading Harry Potter has brought up a lot of emotion within me. As a millennial born in 1990, I was part of the first generation who grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. My copies were well loved, well worn, and reread many times. However, as college got harder and more involved, and becoming a grown up got in the way, I had to set the magic aside for a few years. This is my first reread as not only an adult with an apartment and bills, but my first true read as an adult who is far enough away from the ages of Harry and co. to understand more than I did before.

The Sorcerer’s Stone is of course the first novel (Philosopher’s Stone to most of the rest of the world). It’s not the best in the series, but it’s a perfect set up for the events to come. I recently wrote a paper based on this book and the second about death.

I’m currently in the middle of The Chamber of Secrets, and so many old memories of reading these books in bed, in various homes, in school, are coming back to me. Like Pretty Little Liars has become for me now, Harry Potter is my comfort blanket. Going back to Hogwarts has been amazing so far.

Thoughts on The Cursed Child?.