Forced from her impoverished hovel and ungrateful family, Feyre, a teenaged huntress with ice in her heart and a debt to repay, serves as a moody and headstrong tour guide through The Wall to the enchanting and Faerie-filled lands of Prythian. From daily meals with the High Lord of the Spring Court, convenient eavesdropping sessions, and constantly being in places she shouldn’t be, Feyre, slowly unravels the Faerie caste system, a magical blight (read: curse) spread across the Faerie realm, and the problems that arise when a mortal falls for a Fae. Full of steamy romance scenes, beheadings, paintings, and a trio of tests akin to the Triwizard Tournament this Beauty and the Beast retelling provides a thorny twist to the tale as old as time.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Title & Author: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy/YA Fantasy
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Series Details: Trilogy (Book 1)
Page Count: 421 Pages
Description: “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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.”
I love you…thorns and all…
As someone who has multiple shelves devoted to fairy tale retellings, I have to say the subject matter captured my interest first: A Fae/BatB combo? What’s not to love? I was instantly lured into the world created by Maas from the District 12-ish land Feyre calls home, to the simplicity of the Spring Court, to the labyrinthine land Under the Mountain.
In addition to the scenery, one of my favorite elements of this book was the foundation it creates for future installments via the supporting cast of characters. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Feyre and Tamlin, but you can tell their interactions – despite some blush worthy hallway encounters – were rather baseline in comparison to the emotions and interest piqued by fellow characters. In only a few scenes you can feel the fire from #NastyNesta (as I lovingly renamed her while reading), the promising camaraderie with Mad-Eye Moody Lucien, and of course some sparks with “the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen” Rhysand (read: my fae bae). Ha, sorry! Couldn’t resist. To my point, these characters are my favorite part of the novel because you truly become invested in their fates, feelings, and futures – no matter how minor a role you initially think they’ll play.
And your hair is…clean…
My biggest issue with this novel was that it all felt like it came together too conveniently. And its overuse of the word feral, although that’s a rather trivial fault. But back to my main concern…On one hand, I understand it’s because those foundation-building characters I loved so much are likely about to throw us all through a loop in the second installment. But, on the other hand, for the amount of struggles Feyre has to endure it did seem to tie up a little too easy. I mean, not for her obviously, but for the reader.
In addition to a quick wrap-up ending, my two biggest contentions were: 1) the curse itself. It just had one too many elements that needed to be overcome perfectly in order to break the spell and 2) the obvious answer to the riddle that would end the trials and save the day. Don’t get me wrong, the Amarantha created death trials and the time Feyre spent Under the Mountain was my favorite part of the book, but when you, as the reader, know the answer 100+ pages before it’s revealed it does tend to be a buzzkill.
This is a solid read with a promising future that will leave you blushing as red as the cover art and asking who truly is the beast?