Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Published:  May 5, 2015
Format: Purchased Hardcover
Synopsis from Goodreads: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

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!
My Rating:

I'm trying out a new reviewing style here. It might change a bit over the course of my next few reviews but I'm pretty sure I like it this way. However, let me know if any of the stickers are hard to read for you. I haven't done my own picture editing in a while now. Gotta dust off the skills. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses starts off with, the main character Feyre (Fay-ruh) out on a hunt. Her family was prosperous in the past but after their father gambled all of their money into an investment that went bad, they have fallen into poverty. Feyre's hunts are their main source of food and income. During this particular hunt, Feyre finds a small doe and a larger than normal wolf. When the wolf lunges for the doe, Feyre shoots it with an ash arrow - the only known weapon that could kill a fae. Days later, Feyre's suspicions about the wolf were proved true when a beast comes barging into their small cottage looking for the person who murdered his friend. It is then that Feyre is taken from her family and over the wall into the lands of the fae. 

ACOTAR is a re-imagining of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast (the original version, not the Disney version though there are some nods to both). SJM does such a fabulous job of weaving her story around the original story but at the same time, she makes so definitely her own that I forgot that this was a retelling at all.

The whole book is written in first person in Feyre's POV. This worked especially well because as readers, we are able to see how Feyre's mind works. In the beginning, we are able to feel and understand the prejudices Feyre has against the Fae but as the story moves on, we see her opinions changing little by little as she learns more about them first hand. 

Really, the only reason why I didn't give this book five stars (like I'm prone to do with all SJM books) is because the pacing was a bit strange. It started off rather slow with not much happening except Feyre being taken by Tamlin to the Spring Court. But then about three-fourths of the way through, there's just so much action all of a sudden that it's almost like you're reading a different book entirely. For most of the book, Amarantha didn't even feel like a reasonable threat not when things like the Naga or the Bogge where roaming about. Reading this sort of felt like watching one of those movies where halfway in you think it's going to end but then something else happens and it keeps going then an hour later, you think the end is coming again but something happens again. Not that I'm complaining really about it not ending whenever I thought it would because I'd live in Sarah J. Maas' writing if I could. It's just the pacing felt a little strange to me.

SLM created an amazingly intricate world for this story. Just like with Throne of Glass, her world is filled with political intrigue, different lands, mortals and immortals, and so many kinds of magic and magical creatures that - ugh, it's just amazing. This first book takes place in the country (can it really be called a country?) of Prythian. Centuries ago, after a huge war between the humans and the Fae, a wall (very much like in Stardust by Neil Gaiman) was built to separate the different realms. The humans and Fae agreed long ago on a detailed treaty that outlined the reasons and outcomes that a human would crossover into the Faerie Realm or vice versa. Once over the wall, Prythian is divided into several courts, each ruled over by a High Fae. Each court has it's own unique kind of magic and then the magic varies in strength depending on if the character is a High Fae or a lesser Fae. Plus, there are magical creatures running amok creating havoc between the courts like the Naga or the Attor. SJM definitely covered all her bases when it came to writing this world. Everything it so detailed and vivid that it almost feels like the way Feyre feels when she sees colors and art that she wants to paint. 

During the panel at BookCon that SJM was a part of, she mentioned that one of the most common critiques she gets of Feyre is that she's a push over. I can see why some might think that but I wholeheartedly disagree. Feyre isn't as obviously kickass as Celaena but she's definitely strong in her own way. She took on basically the entire burden of supporting her family just because her dying mother asked her to. None of her sisters tried to help and their father blamed his bad leg for not being able to. After that, she is thrown into the Faery Realm where she is literally the weakest being there and almost everything can kill her with one look. But, she still uses whatever skills she has to survive much to the surprise of Tamlin and Lucien and later Amarantha and the rest of the faeries Under the Mountain. I also love that she loves to paint and that colors and art basically come alive for her. I also love that she can't read. That's just not a common trait you see in protagonists but it's interesting how it comes into play at varying times. Like when Tamlin found her list of words and made limericks out of them or later during her tasks.

Considering Tamlin is Feyre's main love interest, he was sort of the least interesting character to me. He's definitely got the powerful and handsome part going for him and he's definitely passionate and cares deeply about the welfare of his court regardless of the fact that he wasn't supposed to rule it. But I felt like he was almost too perfect. I definitely don't fault Feyre for falling in love with him though - good lord, it couldn't have been all that hard to. He kind of reminded me of Wolverine whenever he got angry and his claws came out.

Lucien and Rhysand were easily my favorite characters. Lucien is wonderfully sarcastic and sassy sometimes but he's also extremely loyal to Tamlin. Rhysand is possibly the most intriguing character in this whole book. The more you learn about him, the more questions you have. Not to mention the fact that he might have the coolest powers ever. he can blend into the darkness and travel through it. (Hah, a lot like Nico from the Percy Jackson series.) And he has awesome wings - which I definitely pictured like Castiel's.

Guess what? There is no love triangle in this book!! Refreshing for a YA novel, isn't it? I have a feeling though that it might not stay that way. For all of about two seconds, I thought maybe Lucien might make a triangle but I think he's way too loyal to Tamlin to even contemplate that. Plus, he knows all the details of Tamlin's curse. Feyre definitely falls pretty hard for Tamlin though it's a bit Stockholm-y. I know Tamlin doesn't actually imprison her nor does he treat her in any way that's remotely similar to being imprisoned but he knew she was his last hope of breaking his oh-so-specific curse. It kind of felt a bit like he did everything just so in order to make her fall in love with him. Alis even said that the girl had to meet all the prior criteria of the curse before she could be brought back to be "courted." But putting all of that aside, theirs was still a very steamy romance. I wasn't expecting it to get nearly as steamy as it did. Not that I'm complaining at all. All of it fit perfectly with the tone of the book. I'm pretty sure this is as close as you can get to bordering the YA vs New Adult line.

All in all, if you haven't yet, you definitely need to get yourself a copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses. It's an amazing fantasy read with a wonderfully detailed world and of course, it's Sarah J. Maas so the writing and descriptions are beyond gorgeous. It's a great start to her new series and I definitely can't wait for book two to come out next year.

For those of you who have read this already, I need to know:
Who do you ship? And what do you think happened to Rhys in the end??


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book Jazzie! I've been looking out on this one so far. :) I love the plot and the fact that it's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And also, Feyre sounds like a very intriguing character. I have a feeling she'll be badass and plain awesome in this one. I heard there were steamy scenes here, though. Is that true? :/ I'm contemplating whether I should still borrow a copy, but anyway great review! Thanks for sharing :D

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

    1. Oh my goodness thus book was really good! I mean it's Sarah J Maas so of course it would be ;D If you get a chance to pick up a copy, I definitely recommend it. Haha yes some scenes, at least twice, get considerably steamier than what's normally found in a YA novel but it's done tactfully and in ways that don't take from the story.

      Thanks for stopping by! =D

  2. I just finished reading this book and I'm looking all over for others who have read it, too! I just need people to talk to about it haha. I love the story and plot. I liked this retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I liked that she made Feyre illiterate. I loved Tamlin, Lucien, and Rhys -- all for the same reasons as you said. I do agree than Tamlin can be too perfect (except maybe minor anger issues) but I loved that about him. Lucien made me laugh the most and Rhys is definitely intriguing. I loved him, too. I have no idea what happened to him in the end. I had to reread it. I'm wondering if it has something to do with Feyre because he looked at her, shocked. I can't wait to find out in the second book. The last few chapters were crazy intense! I was freaking out. Great review!!

    Anjie @ Love thy Shelf

    1. Yess!! I did the same thing! I needed to find everyone else who read it!! SLM does such as amazing job at creating characters and I definitely agree Lucien made me laugh a lot. I also loved how close Tamlin and Lucien are. I feel like it's not too often that we get two guys who are really close friends that doesn't somehow become an awkward love triangle. Finding out what happened to Rhys in the end is probably what I'm looking forward to discovering most in the second book.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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