As of recently, I have all but steered clear of any work from Sarah J Maas, mostly because of how disappointing it has been for me as a reader. Here is why I believe it stopped clicking with me after the third book, with me disliking Queen of Shadows, dropping Empire of Storms and steering clear of Tower of Dawn.
#1 Characters changed according to the whims of the author
Many have complained about it, and I do agree with them. The second book was all about Caleana and Chaol, and how she will always wait for him. And by the fourth, she seems to have forgot about the existence of the promise and somehow disliked Chaol. For no apparent reason.
As for the romance with Rowan, if there was anything that disappointed me was the lack of development, because when I read Heir of Fire, it was clear that it was no more than platonic with no clues that it will all of a sudden turn into love. And if you want to change, make it work in the context, don’t
#2 Romance Ruled
I was fine with it at first, and really I didn’t mind if it took quite a substantial amount of the story. But the moment when it downgraded to just pairing all the characters together and creating characters as consolation prizes, I just lost it. There is no reason behind it.
I pair a lot, but I don’t do it for every character. Not all character will create good feeling for the other, in the same way that this book did. It just didn’t make sense.
Not to mention the amount of love interests for Caleana.
#3 Aelin Is A Mary Sue
I mean it. She lacked the same reliability. She didn’t have the same development, nor even resembled what Caleana was. Being Aelin changed all of that, she was suddenly everything and with all the hopes and dreams combined into one. And she could do no wrong.
#4 All The Characters Are Hot
I’m fine with having hot people do things, but the moment changes when it is all they are. Except in the same way. Men have broad shoulders, women curves that make others jealous. Almost all of them have perfectly sculpted bodies, and have almost no diversity in personality other than brooding, badass, playboy for men. While badass, flirtatious were a thing for women.
And I have no way to tell who was who. They are look and sound the same to me. None of them were distinct.
And this was what I found wrong with the series, which made me drop it at the end.