A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah J. Maas
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
I splurged last week and bought myself A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR). I kept telling myself I’d wait until after my birthday, but after reading a bunch of brilliant reviews and talking to Kate from Liberty Bay Books about her thoughts on it, I decided I just had to take the plunge and I don’t regret it one bit. I stayed up late into the night devouring it in what was more or less, one sitting.
I will admit it took me a bit to get into it. I don’t know what it was but the first 1/3 or so, (when Feyre is still in the village livin’ life) I wasn’t totally sold. The book had my attention, but it hadn’t really like GRABBED me as much as I hoped. But once the middle and end hit I was totally invested and just couldn’t put it down!
I was surprised by how closely it followed the original tale of The Beauty and The Beast. I didn’t dislike that about it. I was just surprised because most of the retellings I’ve read are much more loosely rooted in the original tale, following the general plot arc, but not necessarily the little events or details. ACOTAR was unique in that a lot of my favorite “little” moments from The Beauty and The Beast.
The whole concept Maas went with was both well done and really interesting. Maas doesn’t let her audience down and delivers the grand and well executed world building that most have come to expect from her. I loved that she chose Fae mythology as her platform express her reimagined fairytale. She did a great job of making it simple and clear enough that it could be understood by everyone, despite typical fae legends being quite complex and confusing without lots of prior knowledge and/or explanation.
I loved everything about the romance. The pacing was well done, and the entire relationship was super sweet. I liked that there were flaws and struggles in it and it wasn’t a perfect fairy-tale romance. In fact, the day after I finished the book, I went back and re-read all the parts from when Feyre is at the castle. Twice. I re-read twice in a row, because I loved the romance so much. And I usually don’t like re-reading things!
The characters were pretty darn great too. Lucien was by far my favorite. He was witty and funny and the perfect addition to the cast and the story. Feyre was well done. I appreciated her growth as a character more than her over all personality. I mean I loved her personality, but it wasn’t as striking as her growth was. Tam was mediocre in my opinion, but I was much harsher on him when I read it the first time. I felt like he didn’t have much personality to him, but then when I started re-reading parts I realized that I actually really liked him and that I was wrong about the lack of personality. His personality does come out, but it tends to get a bit covered up because he has a protective and relatively mild-mannered personality and the other characters all have these big bold personalities that on occasion over power his. In the end though, I really did wish we got to know him a little bit better. Surprisingly Rhys became one of my favorites as well. By the end we got to see his character come out and he was mysterious and sultry and had so much turmoil going on. It was stunning.
I couldn’t agree more with Cait from Paper Fury on one thing about this book, which is that out of all the Sarah J. Maas books I’ve read it’s my least favorite. I still really liked it, but it just didn’t strike me like the Throne Of Glass books did. It didn’t have that jarring emotional impact that made me fangirl all over the place. (See Cait’s review here!)
My biggest and only major problem was that this is book one of a series! This makes me very upset. In my opinion this is one of those books that just has to be a stand alone. The ending is great and it wraps 99.9% of everything up flawlessly. There is just one question that could go on to be answered and it isn’t even important! Sure there are some residual issues that need to me solved, but they are the type of thing where we don’t’ really need to see them being solved. I can just imagine life going on for them and them fixing it. I have a feeling though, that if the ending had been styled just a tiny bit differently, I would be dying to read book #2, but the thing is that the ending made it feel like everything was finished. The story was over. Which yes that’s true, but I mean it in a way that the entire storyline itself is done, all the plot, the characters, everything. I don’t know if that makes any sense or if anyone agrees, but that was how I felt and it drove me nuts.
Last Words: All that being said, I really loved ACOTAR. It was enchanting and original while still remaining true to the original tale. The end of it was filled with action, intensity, and mystery. The world and legends spun by Maas were simply stunning and the romance does not disappoint. By the middle of the book I was utterly enamoured and I loved ever last word of ACOTAR. Despite my frustration that ACOTAR is the start of a series, I couldn’t help but enjoy myself when reading it and would recommend it to fans of Sarah J Maas, retellings, and romance alike.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone willing to try.
Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books.