A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Retelling
Extent: 421 pages
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.
“She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.”
I may have arrived to this fandom late, but I’m here to stay. In this faerie folkore meets Beauty and the Beast mash-up, Sarah creates a realm uniquely her own. I’ve been waiting to read her work for some time, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Feyre lives in a divided world where faeries rule, and most mortals fight to survive. When a High Lord demands retribution for the Fae wolf she kills, he gives the 19-year-old hunter, who despises Fae, two options: sacrifice her life for the life she has killed or live out her life in his Spring Court. She reluctantly agrees to the latter. In time, they fall love in. But a curse may just break them apart.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is my first exposure to Sarah’s writing. Sarah doesn’t just stick with a Beauty and the Beast storyline, though. She introduces a new approach to this well-told tale. The first instalment draws you in to an authentic realm. It is a richly thought-out fairytale. And I’m surprised by how much I enjoy reading this book. The story and characters develop beautifully. And the writing and storytelling compel me to keep reading. I couldn’t get enough of the story.
I was hoping for more politics in ACOTAR. And even though you get some hints, especially in the last half of the book, Sarah doesn’t give enough. What the book lacks in politics more than makes up for in folklore. She weaves in these fairytales and produces an elaborate world that keeps you guessing and wanting more. She impresses me with her world building and keeps me on my toes.
“Because your human joy fascinates me—the way you experience things, in your life span, so wildly and deeply and all at once, is … entrancing. I’m drawn to it, even when I know I shouldn’t be, even when I try not to be.”
I enjoy Feyre’s storyline. Her voice is strong, and her strength pulls you in. I was hoping for a stronger bond with her sisters since she risks her life for them. But they’ve built a barrier among themselves. Their father’s fall from power pushes Feyre and fuels her need to protect her family. The father infuriates me, but I find that Feyre thrives as a character who takes charge. Obviously I was expecting her eventual attraction and love for Tamlin. I wasn’t expecting her to give up everything to break his curse.
Do not expect Tamlin to be the beast. The High Lord wants nothing more than to break the curse that strips him of most of his powers and forces him and his people to wear masks. Feyre has a hard time believing faeries can show kindness, which he does give to her. Instead of imprisonment, he gives her freedom. I find their slow attraction sweet. But something in him bothers me. Lucien, that glorious fox, I could eat him up. Sass and sarcasm mix up to create this delicious man. I adore him, and I hope that Sarah builds off this character.
“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”
Someone should have warned me how dangerous this Rhysand is. He needs a warning sign permanently slung around his neck. Surprisingly, I see more attraction between Feyre and him than I did with Tam and her. While he’s complicated like Tamlin, I find his character more alluring. I want to punch him, but his actions surprise me the most.
This book will not appeal to all readers. Some will hate the controversy and won’t move past these passages. Others will question the drugging and lack of consent in the last half of the book. I was fully warned about these issues. So while reading, I expected them. And even though I don’t like some of them, I look at the overall story itself and see how they build an intricate world where nothing is as it appears. I don’t condone them, but the author integrates them into her world for a reason.
I’m slowly introducing myself to the retelling genre. And while I always adore Beauty and Beast, I enjoy this new twist. This enticing and sensual retelling will lure you in. Even though some scenes are difficult to read, this book catches me off guard. No, I wasn’t expecting to revel in ACOTAR, yet Sarah has an uncanny talent that traps people. I can’t help but admit that this series may just ruin me.