Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 416
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 5th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

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.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

I downloaded this for my week long vacation but only managed to read about 40 pages on the plane ride home before giving into the chaos of travel and fell asleep. But don’t let my travel weary mislead you! This book is packed with excellent writing, intriguing plot

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a fantasy retelling of two classic and beloved tales – Beauty and the Beast and the Scottish ballad Tam Lin. Scholars suspect that Beauty and the Beast is actually a retelling of Tam Lin, due to its many parallels: forbidden forest, rose motif, threatening inhuman figure who the heroin falls in love, former identity as a young lord, and the fact that the heroine must go through dangers and horrors to rescue him.

Sarah J. Maas intricately weaves these themes and motifs into her incredible fantasy realm of Prythian, Hybern and the Mortal Lands. Since this is the first Maas book I’ve read, I was pleasantly surprised with the unique and yet traditional fantasy realm she created. I now understand why her Throne of Glass series is so popular (and yes, eventually I will pick it up and read it!). I’m also a huge fairy/mythology fan, and learning about the courts, the architecture, creatures and magic was exciting and probably why I managed to read this in a few short days. Although her pacing of information left something to be desired (monologues, man were they a bit of an overkill at times), the world was so vivid I could clearly see each and every detail of Prythian, the Spring Court and Under the Mountain.

I think the only thing I really, truly didn’t enjoy about this book was Tamlin, and therefore the Tamlin/Feyre relationship. Tamlin was predictable and therefore he was very, very boring. Everything about him was just very bland – the whole “beast” and “forbidden love” and “honor” and “duty” just fell so flat. He also came across as possessive and couldn’t be bothered to actually care about anything outside of himself. You could argue that he had a lot on his plate with the “blight” hanging over the Spring Court and the deadline rapidly approaching. But I honestly believe Tamlin is someone who only appears on a surface level to care about others outside of his realm, and that his first priority is himself. At first I thought he might have the potential to be more, and possibly less cliche but every page I became more and more disenchanted with him.

Feyre was a good heroine for this story. With that said, I didn’t really begin to appreciate her until the second book. Feyre has lived a tough life. She is the only one who can provide for her family. As the youngest she makes a lot of decisions and does a lot of “growing up” that has hardened her. From the first page it is apparent that love is not something she’s experienced in abundance. When she starts to fall in “love” with Tamlin, its more of a “protective love” than true, deep love. All attempts my Maas to convince me that Tamlin and Feyre were meant for each other fell very, very flat.

I loved, loved, loved Lucien, Rhysand, and Amarantha. Really stand out characters and every moment spent with Tamlin was pure agony once I got more than halfway through. I wanted more Lucien and more Rhysand! Amarantha was everything I wanted and needed in a villain. I only wish we could have spent more time with her, I hope more of her backstory and personality are revealed in future installments. And for hopefully an even more exciting villain for books two and three.

The pace of this book is very slow, until about the last eighth. Maas takes the time to build her world, characters, and intricate backstory, but those unfamiliar with the fantasy genre might find all this reading and work exhausting. However, the last 100 pages are well worth all that “work”. The fantasy tropes became more present in the latter half of the book and the plot was ramped up with action. The stakes were suddenly almost too high. That is until the riddle.

The riddle is almost so easy to answer its ridiculous. Until you realize the one thing Feyre has never experienced, never witnessed, is the answer. The riddle is meant to be a revelation for Feyre about herself and her relationships. If anything looking back on the riddle I see what it was meant to do for Feyre as a character in future books. So Maas gets a point for that one.

Overall, I enjoyed this slow burning fantasy/fairy-tale/romance “new adult” novel and within hours of finishing the first book, I began the second installment, A Court of Mist and Fury. Look for that review in the next few days. And now I will “patiently” wait for the third book.

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