Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: Book #1 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Genres: Young/New Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Format: Purchased Hardcover
“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J Maas is a story about a girl named Feyre (fay-ruh) who is a hunter for her family. It’s the dead of winter and her family is running out of food and she’s the only one brave enough to hunt in the woods that border the Wall that separates the mortal world from the Faerie Lands. One night when she kills a wolf, a Fae barges into her home and demands the treaty signed hundreds of years ago be fulfilled with a life for a life: Feyre took the life of a fae, so she is in turn to stay with this new fae at his home.
But there’s more lurking under the surface as Feyre, who hates Faeries, learns more and more about the world in which they live.
This book was so awesome. It had me wanting to keep reading and keep going from the first chapter. It was sexy, beautiful, dangerous, heartfelt. I loved it.
For those of you who didn’t know, this was a loose retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale and I could definitely see elements within the book that reminded me of the Disney movie version (particularly the dinner scene or anytime compliments were made).
Let me talk about the main characters:
Feyre was a strong heroine, I feel. She starts out starving and hungry with her father (who is a cripple and won’t even try to get a job and help them) and her two sisters, Elain and Nesta. She’s the only one willing to hunt – and she had to learn everything on her own from watching others, by trial and error, or asking for help. She would never beg, though, and I think that helped to make her strong even during those times. And then when Tamlin comes crashing into her house, literally, she admits that she’s the one who killed the faerie and that she’ll go live with him – if only to save her family, who doesn’t seem to care much about her to begin with. When she’s taken by Tamlin, who’s a High Fae, into the Spring Court she still doesn’t trust him or anyone in his court, really, because of the stories she heard as a child and growing up. Over time, though, she learns of how the faeries aren’t all bad, that there’s something happening to them to weaken them, and over the months that she’s there she even grows to love them, to feel for them. I think that she definitely had a few weaknesses throughout the book, because she’s a human in a faerie world, but I loved that she’d always find a light, a source to be able to take her out of the darkness and keep pushing forward.
Tamlin is a High Fae who is dealing with a lot of crap happening in the Spring Court. So when he lashes out verbally to Feyre or his emissary, Lucien, it’s not really his fault because he’s under a lot of stress. He definitely had moments of vulnerability, showing a gentler and softer side to his otherwise hard exterior. You learn that the Spring Court, all of the Spring Court, are wearing masquerade masks that are stuck to their faces due to a blight that is making its way through all the courts of Prythian. So obviously he’s under stress from that, but as he spends more time with Feyre (even though she was really unwilling at the beginning), he opens up more to her and becomes calmer and nicer to her. He’s strong, even though his magic is weakened from the blight, and when he shape-shifts into his beast form, get out of the way because he’s a BAMF. I love him so much because he’s just so… awesome. I don’t even know how to describe it.
Lucien is Tamlin’s emissary and he once belonged to the Autumn Court. He’s snarky and full of sass, and he barely tolerates Feyre at the beginning for killing one of his friends (the Spring Court was under orders to not harm Feyre in any way). In most of the moments we see Lucien we see him either making a snide comment or trying to reason and argue with Tamlin. As the story progresses, though, and he becomes more acquainted with Feyre, he cares for her enough to heal her when needed and to give her warnings where they were needed. I thought he was a great addition to the story, even though for some parts he wasn’t in it or didn’t hold much ground in terms of what was going on around him (for various reasons).
Rhysand (ree-sand) works for the Faerie Queen who lives Under the Mountain (kind of). Now, this queen is technically not supposed to be there (her name is Amarantha), and we don’t really see him much until the last third of the novel, but at first he’s a smooth talking guy who is out for his own means. I thought he was kind of a real jerk a few times, using Feyre to his advantage, but at the same time I understood the reasons why he did those things and everything. He wasn’t necessarily the villain in this novel, but I can see a potential for the future. Maybe.
Amarantha is like Rhys in that she didn’t really show up until the last third of the novel, but she’s cruel and cold and calculating and a master of manipulation. She’s the villain and I just really didn’t like her.
Now as for plot I loved this book. I’ve never read the original tale of Beauty and the Beast, but I love the story of a girl who can’t possibly fall in love with someone or something so vile, but in turn she discovers that he’s not so bad after all and that there’s a secret that can help free him if only she figures it out. I thought this book was great. The plot was driven forward with each chapter and it progressed into a climax that was worth it. Even though I hoped for a different ending, I still am happy with the way it ended. I was just expecting something different – hoped for something different.
Yes, there were some sexy bits in here and oh my gosh I was fanning myself. When you read about the Fire Night, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
And I solved the riddle half way through reading it, but I understood that there needed to be more plot in order for it to make more sense (the riddle’s not until we meet Amarantha in the last third of the book).
It’s full of redemption and learning to love for what isn’t seen or rumor, but for what really matters. Nothing went unexplained and I thought it was a great wrap-up to the first book. I can’t wait to see where the next two books takes us and which fairy tales they follow.
UPDATED JULY 1, 2015: After much consideration I am downgrading this book from a 5 star to a 4 star because I felt that it was lacking in some aspects and that some things could have been better explained in some parts of the book. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it; I just want to give it the rating I think that it deserves.
I give this book a 4/5 stars and highly recommend it.
Accompanying video: A Court of Thorns and Roses Book Review