Warnings: (minor) Spoilers for A Court of Silver Flames and (bigger) spoilers for my Princesses of Selmy Island series.
So, I finally read A Court of Silver Flames (review soon), and I almost had a nervous breakdown when I got to chapter seven and the name Koschei the Deathless flitted across my vision. If you don't know, my book series is a direct retelling of the old Russian fairytale "The Death of Koschei the Deathless."
I legit broke down in tears thinking, "everyone is going to say I am a SJM copycat." The funniest part is I hadn't even read any of the ACOTAR books when I started writing my series. I had read a few of the Throne of Glass books, but at the time I started writing Falcon's Kiss, not only did I not realize how popular SJMs books had gotten, but I had no clue that Fae were the next craze now that the Twilight Vampires and Hunger Games dystopias had died down.
I had never even read a book with Fae in them except for one series I read 15+ years ago when I was in high school by Anne Bishop—the Tiir Alain series that starts with the book Pillars of the World. (So good btw, everyone should read it, espcially if they love fae.)
I already felt like a bit of an imposter when I had people comparing my books to the great SJM because they are also about Fae, because they are not really that much like her books. Her stories are what I would classify as romantic fantasy, a subset of the fantasy genre that has a strong romantic component, often spanning multiple books in the series. My books are what I would consider fantasy romance, a subgenre of Romance where each book has it's own stand alone love story that ends in a happily ever after, but just happens to be set in a world with fantasy elements. (Think Bridgerton with magic). I was always worried people would see my books and expect something more like SJM and be disappointed.
Well, now my books are even more similar to hers than before. ACOSF is not Romantic Fantasy, it is clearly a true romance where the main focus is the Nesta/Cassian love story and the overarching world plot is the backdrop for their love to bloom. The next book in the series is set to follow the third sister (My trilogy is about three sisters that fall in love with three winged hotties too.) And the principal antagonist is going to be Koschei! WTF? How many people even know who Koschei is? (Unless of course you're Russian, super into less well known fairytales, or an expert in Russian literature... oh or really into the Hellboy comics).
Anyway, after giving myself time to mull it over, finishing ACOSF and seeing that it seems more like SJM is just using the character and not the whole tale, and reminding myself that there are literally hundreds of Beauty and the Beast retellings and people still love those, I have made peace with sharing Koschei with SJM. Who knows maybe it will be good for my books. I was already saying my books were a cross between Bridgerton and ACOTAR. Now it's even more so.
If you want to learn more about how I came up with the idea for my series, or read the original tale The Death of Koschei the Deathless, check out my blog posts about it from last year.