Summary courtesy of Goodreads:
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.
Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a book that I am constantly seeing highly praised. I wasn’t so sure if it appealed to me but the positive reviews enticed me to find out what the fuss (hype) was about. The thing is I really liked it and then I didn’t, if that makes any sense? Ugh, I don’t know. On with the review:
First of all, doesn’t the map look so much like the map of United Kingdom? Hybern is clearly Ireland. Night Court is Scotland and all the other courts is the United Kingdom. It kind of reminds me of Game of Thrones. The Faerie Realms and the mortal lands divided by a wall. That was quite interesting. You can see that the Faeries rule the majority of the land and that’s why humans hate faeries. I’m not fond of faeries myself.
This book is a fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a faerie twist. Our main character is nineteen-year-old Huntress called Feyre (pronounced fey-ruh but I was pronouncing it Faye in my head) and whilst she is hunting for food to feed her family, she spots a doe and a wolf, which she instantaneously kills with her ash arrow. Later on, a wolf creature turns up at the cottage demanding who killed Andras (the wolf). As a result of killing one of their own, Feyre has a choice of staying alive and living in Faerie land, beyond the wall or to be gutted. You can already guess what choice she went with.
It was quite interesting to see the fairy tale references in the book. For example, Feyre’s father is a merchant who lost his fortune and that she also has two older sisters called Nesta and Elain, who are pretty much prissy princesses who can’t lift a finger. I disliked her sisters. Elain is delicate, like a pretty flower and Nesta is resentful, like a spoiled brat. I wondered if they felt embarrassed that Feyre, their youngest sister had to take care of them. The other reference is the supposed ‘curse’ on all faeries, which is the reason why they wear masquerade masks that cannot be removed unless the curse is broken. The thing is I’m not sure whether to decide the masquerade mask idea is unique or lame… in the Disney version of the fairy tale, all the servants were turned into household items.
At the start of the book, Feyre reminded me of Katniss. Hunting in the woods for food using her arrow and bow and taking care of her family this sounded very Katniss-esque to me. I liked Feyre to being with, she sounded like a strong independent female character and I liked that. Well that was until I finished the book… like most main characters, it was like Feyre was asking for trouble. No matter how many TIMES she is told to not go there, don’t do this because it is dangerous and don’t drink faerie wine. She does it anyway! I don’t know whether this was out of stupidity or recklessness. I decided it was both.
The parallel between Belle and Feyre is that she can’t read. Tamlin offered to help her read but Feyre feeling rather insulted, refused the offer because it hurts her pride. I was thinking girl, you have to learn to read. You never only know it will come in handy… *coughs* the second trial!
The romance was a bit hmmmmm…I don’t know…very instalove and I don’t like instalove. I don’t feel entirely invested in the love story of Feyre and Tamlin; I need a more development. There is no chemistry between them, other than lust. I get the feeling they were really horny and were attracted to each other because they were both pretty much attractive. They’re in love. I don’t know why. I’m not feeling it.
Beauty and Beast is such an amazing love story is because “who could ever love a beast?” Belle (Beauty) was able to look past that and fell in love with a beast. Tamlin is not a beast. He’s an attractive faerie with a mask and that’s it. I mean the first thing we know about Tamlin when he shift shapes into a High Fae is that he’s attractive. THE IRONY.
This book is clearly not exactly YA per se. It’s leaning more onto NA because of the more intimate scenes, even though there weren’t that many of them. I think they were the best parts of the book if you like romance. I do like a good love story but I like a realistic and well-developed one. Is that too much to ask? No. The romance wasn’t well developed for me to find it believable.
I like my villains to be real nasty piece of work, a character that you really love to hate, like Game of Thrones! I don’t think Amarantha was evil enough. She was a bit MEH to me. The ending sounded a little bit similar to a certain book we all know… you can take a good wild guess on that.
The side characters more a bit more interesting than the Feyre and Tamlin put together. I liked Lucien because he’s quite sarcastic and he has interesting backstory. He would have been more of an interesting love interest. Rhysand is mysterious because we don’t know that much about him. He did something to Feyre at the end of the story, I don’t know exactly what… people have been saying he imprinted on her.
The world building is actually really interesting and that’s what the story was predominantly focused on and it was very well written. I enjoyed learning about the different courts in Faerie land and the revelation of the curse was very intriguing when Feyre figured it out for herself.
I re-watched Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast just to refresh my memory of it since I am reading a fairy tale retelling and I just wanted to ramble about how much I ADORED it. This actually wasn’t my favourite when I watched it as a young girl. My favourites were Snow White and Sleeping Beauty but I realise they were actually boring. Belle had more personality. Anyway, watching Beauty and the Beast now, I understand the story so much more. Disney definitely makes it more comical with the side characters such as Cogsworth and Lumiere! The ending was perfection.
Overall, a solid 3 stars. I would not rate it any higher. A lot of things did bother me. I did really like it to begin with because I enjoyed the writing style. It’s the first thing that caught my attention when I started reading. Sarah J. Maas is a fantastic and talented writer. That was the only thing that encouraged me to keep reading. The pacing is quite slowing and boring and a bit uninteresting. The pacing only picked up in the last quarter with the three trials, that’s when it got a bit more interesting. This book makes a good stand-alone novel because it ended quite well with no cliff hanger but it is the first of a three book series. I don’t think I care enough to read the next book. I do intend to pick up the Throne of Glass series at some point, as I hear nothing but great things about it.