OPINION | Are these trending books worth the read?

Out of the millions of books in the world, only a select number have blown up on BookTok. Some of those books include “Throne of Glass,” “It Ends With Us,” “Fourth Wing,” and “Shatter Me,” which can be found at your local book store or online. Mia Tom | Sun News Daily

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Readers use reading as a way to escape reality and jump into an entirely different world. 

Sometimes the real world can be a lot to handle. I use it as an escape for that reason—our everyday lives can be overwhelming, and finding another world to jump into and explore is a fun way to take a break.

I have made it a goal to read a majority of popular books the media has been sharing. I have enjoyed a good majority of them, but there are others that I wouldn’t recommend.

“Fourth Wing” and ”Iron Flame” by Rebecca Yarros

These new masterpieces are some of the top-ranked books in the book community right now. Released Nov. 7, “Iron Flame” has sold nearly half a million copies, with the first book of “Fourth Wing” selling over two million copies.

This new series is quickly beginning to be one of my favorites. The themes are pushing toward the opposite of the typical book women stereotypes.

Usually in books that focus on women empowerment, it is the “I’m different from other girls, and I can pick up on skills quickly and always get the guy, but I’m already really pretty and the top of my class.”

Whereas in this book, Violet Sorrengail is relatable. She is a small girl who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a chronic condition that affects the body’s connective tissue, and isn’t at the top of her class like other stereotypical book girls would be. She has to find ways around her conditions just to survive that aren’t the traditional ways.

Unlike “regular” stories, Violet and Xaden Riorson, have a hard time trusting each other, yet they love each other through it all. But, that trust causes them a lot of issues on top of everything else they are dealing with. 

I can relate to the characters that Yarros has written because I am about their age, and I am going through a lot of the same situations that they are going through emotionally. Also, being able to read about these characters and their passion for what they do and what they fight for makes me want to grow as a person and push myself not only physically—because it would be cool to fly on a dragon and throw knives—but mentally as well.

This book has war and colleges, but there is also magic and dragons. It is a very nice balance to allow the reader to escape reality, but also keep them intrigued with themes that they feel they could relate to in some way. 

“Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi

“Shatter Me” is a book series that most new readers start with and end up loving. It’s a very easy read. The books are not very long, but they have a good amount of development and world-building but not so much that it is overwhelming or too hard to keep track of everything. 

The characters are much simpler compared to other series such as “From Blood and Ash” or “The Inheritance Games,” with the reader having to get past the first few books to learn what the characters are like and what they think and feel. These characters are a little more surface-level and easier to read. 

I like these books overall, but I wouldn’t read it more than once. The characters are cute, but they don’t resonate like a lot of the other characters in other books have. The whole plot of the book changed as soon as the love story came to pass. I felt that Mafi could have focused more on Juliette Ferrars’s storyline and how she grows as a character since the book started out with her in such a devastated state.

I love the impact that these books have on new readers. It is a great series to begin your reading journey with, and it opens the door to a whole new world of books.

“Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is seen as a writer who is overhyped, but I have to disagree with that opinion. Her books have a lot of themes and character development that a lot of other authors lack. “Throne of Glass” is Maas’ most widely selling book and for good reason. The level of development that this eight-book series has is amazing. 

Going back to the typical stereotypes of women in books, Aelin Galythinius doesn’t match those stereotypes either. She starts out as an assassin, which we don’t typically see as a strong woman. Then she finds out her own heritage, and by doing that step alone, invites a lot of interest in her story. She is a strong woman and has a lot of impact on other characters from the very start of the series before any love interest is introduced.

At the end of the series, Maas does an amazing job of connecting things from the first book to the last book, which as a writer, is really impressive to keep all of that information in line.

Usually in books, the male tends to be the leader and supports the woman, oftentimes holding their significant other back from accomplishing things out of fear of being hurt. But Rowan Whitethorn doesn’t hold her back. He does fear for her safety, but he doesn’t stop her from doing dangerous things. More often than not, he just goes into those situations with her in support. This is a good way to show how this series is very different from your typical relationship.

Maas has a new book coming out in January 2024. For those who have read her books, specifically “Crescent City,” they know exactly why this next book is such a big deal. 

Excited doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about her next book. I love her storytelling, and I hope people are open-minded enough to give her books a chance and enjoy them as much as I do. 

“It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover

When I first started reading Colleen Hoover’s books, I thought they were decent, easy books. And that opinion still stands, but “It Ends With Us” is overhyped. It is a good book and was fun to read, but the level of excitement it has is a little much.

The lessons I learned from the story were good, and I give props to Hoover for writing a story about things that she had experienced in her own life, but the way that the fanbase is reacting to it isn’t a good thing. The negativity toward the book and its connection to the movie meant to come out in 2023 makes me ashamed to be a part of the group that read and liked this book. Body shaming and comparing a real person to a fictional character in a book is unacceptable.

I am a passionate book reader, but for these other passionate people to be looking at a false reality and expecting that reality to come to life is unrealistic. So, even though the book was a good read, I don’t entirely want to be a part of the group of supporters for this book.

Although the story was rushed and there weren’t a lot of details about the characters, I look forward to reading more of what Hoover writes. I hope she can include more detail and time into her characters and stories.