I used to have a set of rules when I would go to the bookstore: I don’t do vampires/werewolves (anymore), no spirits, ghosts, or paranormal, no “urban fantasy”, absolutely zero witches (unless of course it relates to HP), hell to the no for paranormal romance, and I peaced out at the first mention of…faeries.
All of that changed when I picked up my first Sarah J. Maas book.
Before SJM, I used to think of myself as a fantasy expert (Harry Potter was my favorite book afterall) but little did I realize because of my “rules” I was missing out on a whole world of great fantasy novels! I realize now that I have barely even scratched the surface of all fantasy novels have to offer.
Even way before I started my own YouTube channel, I would watch countless hours of other people’s “booktube” channels; watching reviews and recommendations, book hauls and book tags. It was in all my watching that I first came across the fantastical worlds created by Sarah J. Maas. Here were some of my most beloved and favorite booktube channels recommending a book about…faeries. Curiosity got the best of me and I finally broke down and picked up the first book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. From that moment on, my entire reading game changed.
For two and a half days, I barely slept, never wanting to peel my eyes away from the beautifully constructed prose of ACOTAR. Everything I thought I knew about the fantasy genre blew up in my face, and I realized that faeries were now some of my favorite characters to read about!
Never in a million years would I have ever guessed that I would come to love a book about faeries as much as I loved the ACOTAR series. If I loved this series so much I thought what other fantasy tropes have I been missing out on because of my stupid rules?
Since reading ACOTAR, I’ve tried to widen my collection of fantasy novels as broadly as possible. I’ve read some urban fantasy that I have genuinely enjoyed. I’m reading a book about witches right now that even though isn’t as good as HP (but lets be honest, what is?) I am still enjoying nonetheless. And ACOTAR has taught me that paranormal romances may not be as bad as I originally thought (when done well that is)
All in all, I have SJM to thank for broadening my views on fantasy. I’ve learned my lesson about putting my reading tastes in a box and come to realize that things I’ve originally thought I disliked can actually surprise me by how refreshing they are to read!
I guess the point of this post is to say, let go of your reading “rules”. Break outside of your comfort zone and reach for something that you may have overlooked before. One of the most beautiful things about books is the element of surprise; there will always be more worlds to discover even when you think you’ve seen it all.