*Contains some spoilers*
“If you’re wise, you’ll keep your mouth shut and your ears open. It’ll do you more good here than a loose tongue. And keep your wits about you – even your senses will try to betray you here.”
Can we talk for a second about Sarah J. Maas? Ok. Let’s.
She is a master of her craft. Her characters jump off the pages and I always find myself lost in the stories she weaves. She is a goddess of world building. I love the books in the Throne of Glass series that have been released so far and I can easily see myself rereading those books…multiple times…forever…and ever.
Synopsis: Inspired by the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is about Feyre, a 19-year-old girl who kills a seemingly normal wolf while out hunting for meat to feed her family. What she doesn’t expect is that Tamlin, a beast of mythical proportions, will come beating down her door demanding to know who killed the wolf. To pay her debt, Tamlin takes Feyre to the forbidden land where faeries still live. Tamlin is a High Fae, living in a world that’s on the brink of destruction. Feyre has to find a way to save Tamlin and the other faeries of his world, or risk losing them all forever.
Feelings: I have mixed emotions about this book. Other readers have raved about this story, throwing out 5 stars left and right. I had a couple of tiny issues with this book, though. For one, there were a few phrases that were super repetitive, such as characters “clicking their tongues” and Feyre’s “bowels turning watery.” These are phrases that stick out…and stick out…and stick out, the more they’re used. Again, tiny issue. Other people probably wouldn’t notice it.
Issues: Another issue I had was the romance. (Maybe “issue” isn’t the right word.) Feyre and Tamlin went from 0 to 60 in a matter of paragraphs. It’s like their romance put the pedal to the metal, then it was gone. Then a hundred pages later, they’re at it again. (I get the circumstances of the second romantic fling…I get it.) I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting their romance to be so crazy sexy, either. Maybe that’s just me.
Another tiny issue: Those from the Spring Court were cursed to wear masks for almost 50 years and I understand that being a remnant of the curse, but it just didn’t seem necessary. It happened because humans are so obsessed with beauty and it’d be harder for someone to love Tamlin, but he ended up looking just like Feyre imagined he would…so what was the point?
Keeping up with the various faerie courts and their powers forced me to tap into my Game of Thrones character organizing skills. I had a lot of questions about the faerie courts and their powers, but I feel like that information is coming in the next book. We’ll see.
Characters: I don’t always love books about fairies/faeries. For some reason, though, I really enjoy reading Maas’ version of faerie worlds. I imagine them like elves in Middle Earth – very Legolas-y. Her characters are very strong – Feyre, Tamlin, and Lucien, are the three main characters and I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t morph into a love triangle. Thank you, Sarah J. Maas. Thank you for sparing my emotions. I don’t know who I would have rooted for.
Speaking of character confusion – I loved Rhysand. There. I said it. He’s somewhat evil and terribly confusing, but I loved him. What did he see when he looked at her in the end?? What did you see, Rhys?? Did he just have a faerie love connection? It’s all going to hit the fan in the next book, if he did. I smell a new love triangle coming on.
Comparisons: This book is inspired by Beauty and the Beast…and I enjoyed comparing it to the original story. The beast is feared by all, but shows a softer side while courting her. He’s awkward and stumbles over his words, just like the Beast in the Disney movie. There’s a magic curse and a running line of reading/books through the story. One major difference (other than the whole faerie realm thing) is that Tamlin can control his beastly shifting. I think this was a great interpretation, keeping some similarities with the original while being totally unique at the same time.
Final thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t just fawn over it like others have, but I thought it was a good read. I couldn’t help compare it to Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, which is also a Beauty and the Beast interpretation. I think I liked ACOTAR more, though. It’s also worth mentioning that this book has some more explicit content than your average YA novel…so heads up.
Pick this up if you liked:
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (magical realms, similar writing styles, and strong female leads)
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (another interesting interpretation of Beauty and the Beast)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (same author and same glorious world building)
Goodreads rating: 4.36/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5
My rating: 4.5/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn