Top positive review
Despite a few disgruntled readers, my 10 year old & I love the series!!!
Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2017
Okay, truth...my daughter is 10 and in the 5th grade. Grandpa, an avid reader like myself, went out on a limb and bought the book for her last Easter. We struggle to find books that are in her 8.4-9.5 reading level, have age appropriate content with a plot she has the life experiences to connect to and comprehend, that are also challenging AND interest her...tall order. We have read all the popular series - adore Harry Potter, of course; tore through the "Greggor the Overlander" series, etc. - so even though in previewing the series I noticed it contains some very minor-vanilla...no F-bombs or S$$T level, mature-type language, and there are a couple scenes that hint at an intimate relationship in book 2 (trying not to spoil books), I gave the book a green light. We started reading it together, taking turns reading aloud, and were BOTH immediately, read 30-40 pages at a time, wake up needing to see what happens to Celena, come home from school hoping to fit in a read and "see what Celena has gotten up to now" before dance, hooked like I have never seen her before!!! And while she is an awesome reader, she is not, by any means a sit & read person, preferring to dance, sing, socialize, game, etc...yet another challenge to add to the list. The challenged are important to note because the way Maas has crafted the characters has achieved what NO OTHER series has for my daughter, and that is to draw her in to the point she NEEDS to keep reading, every single day. The characters are beautifully developed to the point where my daughter was crying when she thought her favorite character died, and was angry at who did die. Maas has painstaking developed 3-dimensional characters that are ever evolving, and that are relatable to all ages. She has also created an entirely new setting that is similar enough to other books of the same genre, like Hunger Games (she has read/watched all), yet it is entirely new & fresh. The writing is clear & thought-provoking, and she weaves in asides & flashbacks that challenge and engage readers. We have had the most incredible conversations and my daughter has made multiple connections to other texts, movies, life, and especially music/song lyrics while reading. These connections are the reason I personally & professionally recommend the series to children beginning at age 10 who are reading at a 6.5-7+ grade level, primarily due to the challenging vocabulary. The twists and turns, the co afflicts & themes, character interactions, vivid & selected detailing, and obviously careful/thoughtful word choices make this series, in my opinion, an award winning, best selling series. As a reading specialist and 18 year veteran teacher of struggling readers, I fully give not just this book, but the entire series 5 stars! I could rave on and on...but I don't want to give away a single detail and only, sincerely hope what I have shared has piqued your curiosity enough to give the series a try yourself, along with a loved one, and that through sharing our personal experiences with the books I have helped answer the question of reader age appropriateness & interest level. Buckle up...it's a wild, wonderful ride through Adarlan!
Added info for Book 2...
Please note: I am reading the series aloud with my daughter, so as we go we just naturally, out of habit, change cuss words to "gosh" and "darn.," and the intimacy scenes were handled as follows: "A., this next chapter has Choal and Celeana interacting like a married couple sometimes do in private. Shall we read or skip?" Reply, "Well, um is it very like detailed?" Me: "Nah, it's pretty vague." A: "Well, I know she shouldn't be doing that stuff because they are not married, but let's just read it...it's not like I'm embarrassed or going to act like that myself...ewwww!" (Love the sweetness this age!) Basically, here is my point and yes I have one... if you take the time to first, preview what you will read with your child later; second, spend the time to read aloud with your child; third, talk to your child & maintain open dialogue, all the time, about everything, just as though they are the adults-in-training they really are (not saying talk like you are buddies, peers, or equals), the content of a fictional novel is not going to become controversial or be outrageous to them, throwing them into a tizzy of misadventure and exploits! So yes, while, the series is for ages 14+, I still maintain that WITH parental supervision/accompaniment, this is an incredible series to read together!