I’m in three book clubs. Three. That seems like a lot, but they’re all so fun and different from one another. The dynamics, the way we chat, the type of books we readeach is unique in these things.

The most recent one I joined started because my writing group talks about Sarah J. Maas books a lot, going back and forth between whether her books are actually good or not and why are they so popular and why are we talking about them if we don’t even like them. But I hadn’t read a Sarah J. Maas book. I wasn’t even sure if I was interested in reading a Maas book because I’ve heard such varying degrees of opinions about her books. They’re good. They’re bad. They’re the best. They’re the worst. Multiple people who don’t even know each other even mentioned they didn’t think I would like her books.

But when my writing group decided to have a book club to read A Court of Thorns and Roses, I caved. I decided, maybe a little hesitantly, to read this book.

And I did read it. I read the whole thing. And I didn’t hate.

I wouldn’t say I liked it either, but I didn’t actively hate it like I have with some other books. Really, a part of me just felt a bit apathetic about the entire book. But I also can’t say I liked it because it’s just so back and forth.

Sometimes it’ll have this moment that’s pretty cool or badass and then the next moment something absolutely freaking ridiculous is happening. Sometimes Feyre is dope with her actions and choice and then she turns around and does something completely stupid. Sometimes I’m following the plot pretty well and then something is added that makes no sense.

My friends and I had a group chat open while we read through the book so we could make comments and share reactions, and honestly that was more entertaining to read than this book. It’s one of those things where it’s almost more enjoyable to make fun of the book or movie than to actually read or watch the book or movie.

Maybe that’s your type of story. A sizzling romance with lots of magic and dark vibes. But it’s not my thing, and even when I read the rest of this series (because the book club must continue!), I don’t think it’ll become my thing. I don’t like the dark, brooding love interest. I don’t like the morally gray decision making. I don’t like really obvious plot points and bad decision making.

But a book that makes you want to throw it across the room or to grab the characters by the shoulders and scream at them until they see sense isn’t a bad book. It’s good to have reactions to a book, even if it’s to roll your eyes or laugh and say “What?!?!?” So that’s why I didn’t hate it.

I just thought some parts could be better.

Like Feyre.

Like Tamlin.

Like “convenient” equivalent exchange that does not mean immediate death.

Like it took ten pages for the main character’s first name to be mentioned and another twenty for the love interest’s name to be mentioned. I hate that.

Like magic plagues that aren’t really explained.

Like using lingo that sounds like Millennials instead of ancient fae from a fantasy world.

Like LIMERICKS.

Like how repetitive Feyre is about literally everything.

Like the word choice for a certain scene. (I can’t stop laughing about the word “sheathed.” It’s terrible. That word is forever going to be ruined now.)

Like very specific ways to break a curse.

Like super obvious answers to vague and open riddles.

Like introducing a potential love interest 2/3 of the way through book one after I’m already sorta kinda invested in the first potential love interest.

Like being able to predict what would happen in the end on page one.

Like everything wrapping up a little too neatly in the end despite lots of plot gaps. (I get it. There are more books, but still.)

Like borderline abusive relationships and nobody calling out the faeries on their garbage.

But really, I didn’t hate the book. I just thought some parts were ridiculous and some parts made me angry because of it. But it was fun to read and I can see why people eat this kind of story up. I’m actually glad I read it so I can say I read a Maas book and I read this book so I am allowed to judge it for being the ridiculous hot mess that it is. A part of me is looking forward to what other shenanigans Feyre finds herself in, though 600 pages seems too long.