Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
Published on May 5th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Source: Bloomsbury Publishing
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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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.
I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a lush, highly imaginative and somewhat original fairie story inspired by East of the Sun and West of the Moon (which is one of my favourites) and Tam-Lin. Some say it’s also inspired by Beauty and the Beast but since East of the Sun and West of the Moon is basically Beauty and the Beast but more intricate and complex, I’d forego that.
When I first looked at the map offered at the beginning of the book, I was disappointed. It was so minimalistic I thought it was only half done. But after reading the book, I can see why it was left that way. The worldbuilding in A Court of Thorns and Roses was immense, with a rich, detailed back history of human slavery and oppression at the hands of the fairies, a civil war, human independence, and then more details about what happened to the fairies that directly relate to the story. Much less was devoted to the human world, which seemed to be set in something similar to twelfth or thirteenth century Europe. I really enjoyed seeing Maas’ imagination at work unravelling the fairie world and although some of the rules needed to constantly be rewritten, by nature of the book being about tricksie fairies, I’m pretty sure I have a firm grip on it.
My biggest issue with Maas’ debut series, Throne of Glass, was that the main character was fetishized and essentially useless; despite all of her and the author’s bravado, really should have ended up dead; despite being an assassin, never killed anyone; and we were reminded on every single damn page how tragically beautiful and beautifully tragic she was. This doesn’t happen in A Court of Thorns and Roses, mostly because Maas used the much, much better idea of telling the story from first person point of view.
I had assumed that even if Maas wrote Feyre the same way as Celaena from the other series that I would enjoy the book. I am slightly ashamed to say that I underestimated Maas (but I kind of hate Throne of Glass so can you blame me?). Feyre is a wonderful character, cold and prickly, and independent and stubborn but with a loyalty and a will of iron and a passion just waiting to be unleashed. I absolutely love ‘beauty and the beast’ retellings but I do have huge problems when the beast is really just a gorgeous guy being nice to the girl waiting for her to fall in love, but Maas once again upended this by writing a slow-burning romance that evolved from a friendship and didn’t even kick in until over the halfway mark, despite some sexual tension before that.
I really liked all of the relationships in this book, even the complicated one between Feyre and her sisters and father. Of course Tamlin wins because he’s a big broody beast of a man and that’s how I like my men, but I have to mention the wonderful banter and eventual friendship between Lucien (I like foxes, so perhaps I’m a little biased) and even the sick bond with Rhysand. Everything was constantly in flux as truths were exposed so affections towards certain characters changed over time, and that’s the mark of a good writer.
Also, other reviewers have said this book is steamy for a YA and how Tamlin sets their loins aflame, but it didn’t work for me. Yes, there was sex, but I’m afraid I’m just not into pretty boys, and I think I’m jaded from the few eroticas I’ve read in the past.
Basically I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this when I had such huge problems with Throne of Glass. I’m really glad I gave Maas another (fourth) chance to wow me, because it (finally) worked. Of all the first books in a series I read and then don’t continue, I probably will continue with this series. In fact, I might even buy the hardcover, because it’s got a pretty jacket, too.