(This happened last March. I kept thinking I’ll write about it later, and before I knew it it’s already August. Ooops.)
Okay, first of all I have to admit that despite being interested in Sarah J. Maas’ books, I hadn’t read her at all until this year. This is despite the fact that I’ve been lobbying Bloomsbury to add Malaysian dates to her Asian tour since at least February last year. (I knew I’d enjoy her books from Kit’s descriptions of them; I just hadn’t a good excuse to binge-read them yet, at the time.) Most authors skip Malaysia when they do Southeast Asia, for many reasons – one of them being local sales aren’t that much compared to other countries, because many readers here opt to buy from Book Depository (which won’t count as local sales) or from remaindered stores and warehouse sales (ditto) instead. But I told our reps that there is a fandom here, and thankfully, they listened!
I was asked to moderate the events – I was the only person doing YA here that read YA at the time (personally I don’t see how this could be true, but this is what I’ve been told by reps) but of course I couldn’t just go and moderate events in other stores, so I ended up only doing it for ours. That meant I had my excuse to read the books! 😀
What Kit had told me about the books was that the story was totally engaging and made you really want to know more about the world and what would happen next, but that the protagonist (Celaena/Aelin) was annoying af. I don’t mind unlikable characters and I’m more used to YA than she was, so I happily started on the series expecting to enjoy it. And enjoy them I did – the writing wasn’t stellar, but improved with each book, and the third book introduced a character who is now one of my favourite characters ever, and I loved her character development, and Kit was right about the story – it hooked me from the get-go. So… yeah. By the time I was done with Queen of Shadows and A Court of Thorns and Roses I had decided that I would try anything by Sarah J. Maas. The fact that I love fairy tales and both series were loosely inspired by them helped, of course.
We’ve hosted a few other YA authors before this, but somehow I felt both more nervous and more at ease with Sarah. Maybe the fact that the turnout was greater than we expected (we don’t have a big event space) and the fans were more intense made me more nervous, and at the same time I was also more at ease because I’m more used to my work by now and Sarah was just amazing – she was warm and fun and utterly professional the whole time. I really loved the way that she was “switched on” and gracious to all her fans the whole time, despite the fact that she was seriously tired and overwhelmed, because we were the last KL store and the last stop for her SEA tour. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to host her at our store, and hope she could come again one day.
First two photos were taken by my colleague Eeling. The third is from my instagram.