“I wonder if some part of me knew what was waiting for me. That I would never be a gentle grower of things, or someone who burned like fire – but that I would be quiet and enduring and as faceted as the night.”
Well, hello. Counting from today, I turn 25 in exactly fifteen days. Yesterday, I ordered eight books that I absolutely want to read as an early birthday present for myself, and I’m here today to brood a little, as promised. This post was originally supposed to be me raving about all the fantastic books I managed to read during quarantine, but I believe it’s better if we just don’t try to find a particular point here. I’m in a mood.
The quote above is from A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J Maas. If you know me in real life, you know how the series that this book belongs to has had the honor of being the first ever fantasy series that I’ve read, and needless to say, love. After August left me reeling from a major sensory overload, I fell into this reading slump that turned my mouth sour at the mere thought of picking up any book that I was so excited to get to just days ago (Midnight Sun has been sitting on my shelf since two weeks now, for that very reason). I tried re-reading old favorites, and when that didn’t yield affirmatory results, I tried an item off the Things I’d Never Do list: reading fantasy. Starting with A Court of Thorns and Roses.
The book started out a teensy bit slow, but before I knew it, I was done with the whole series, had pre-ordered the signed edition of the next book, and had a folder in my phone full of fan arts and memes. To say that I’m surprised things turned out this way would be a gross understatement. I was almost desperate to hate the book, write off the fantasy genre as something that just isn’t my cup of tea and be content with the knowledge that after nearly 25 years, I know myself enough to avoid surprises when it comes to what I will or won’t like.
I was wrong. Horribly, shockingly wrong. Turns out, there is a lot about myself that I’m either reluctant to admit, or just simply haven’t discovered yet. Nothing is set in stone, not even the most basic of instincts, and with just the correct scenario to catalyze actions, guide them along, I bet there are going to a lot many surprises in the future. And not just with book choices.
ACOTAR induced a lot of anxiety, I’m not going to lie. Parts of it weren’t pretty, parts of it were just downright nerve-wracking, and peace was never permanent; there was no neatly-wrapped-with-a-bow-on-top ending. The characters were morally gray, and even the heroes were sometimes selfish and cruel. It dredged up a lot of unpleasant incidents from my own life, which is always such a delightful experience. But it was real, all of it–as real as a story about faerie people can get.
Feyre Archeron tells you it’s okay to be fiercely protective of your loved ones, but also of yourself. It’s okay to be subservient and do things to make others happy, but never okay to let love be a blanket over your eyes about the horrible things. Most importantly, it’s okay to choose for yourself.
I feel like I’ve been scraped raw all over, to be honest. Usually, the month before my birthday is grounding–it’s when I feel most sure of myself, of the future, ready to pick up and run with whatever is coming. This time, I don’t seem to be able to tell which way is up. There’s this indescribable feeling roiling in the pit of my stomach every day, but I haven’t made any attempt to unravel what it is. Another point that this rollercoaster of a year has driven home thoroughly: things happen when it’s their time, and it’s ill-advised to mess with the order. So, yeah, not doing that now.
I am also yet to fully discern what I expect of the coming year, even if that’s as far as my control over reality extends. It’s nice to at least have the illusion in place, helps me sleep at night. Maybe next post will be about that.