A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Synopsis: 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.
My thoughts: Sometimes I do this thing where I avoid really popular books that I see everywhere. I’m not entirely sure why I do this, and why I only do it to certain books and not others, but thus was the case with ACOTAR. Then I found out it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Needless to say, my curiosity immediately spiked, and I joined the crowd to read the book everyone seemed to be reading.
Holy crap, I’m so glad I did.
I don’t remember the point when I finally admitted to myself that it was dang good and I did actually really like it, but I’m so so so glad I let go of my stubborness and went with it, because the ride was so enjoyable.
I was skeptical of Feyre because I was afraid she’d turn out to be just a standard YA heroine. I was wrong in assuming that. Feyre was awesome. She felt so real and authentic to me, and I just loved reading about her and through her voice. Yes, she kind of annoyed me at times but not in the ‘I hate you because you’re annoying’ way as much as the ‘that’s a bad decision but you are a flawed human being and I love you for that’ kind of way. She was a decently realistic human girl: yes, she kicked major butt and could take care of herself but she couldn’t handle everything and sometimes needed help. Like a normal person. Thank goodness! Her story was great too–I loved the dynamic of her family and the specific relationship she had with each of her family members. It added so much to her as a person. I also really loved the deep and layered characterization of her sisters. Of everyone, really. Everyone had such great characterization, and I’m always a sucker for that.
The second person I was afraid would be terrible was Tamlin. I’m getting really sick of the hot brooding monster that has no personality, but somehow manages a–rather creepy, honestly–relationship with the main character. I braced myself to meet this stereotype, and thankfully I didn’t quite find it. He was okay, I didn’t like him or hate him, until that moment (which I won’t say) when you realized how much he cared about his people. Then I slowly started to love him more and more with each page. That was the near opposite of his buddy Lucien who was my absolute favorite from his introduction to the end. Yay for great backstories and wonderful characterization!
The plot kept me intrigued from beginning to end, and while there was a nice pace that allowed for breathing room, I feel like nothing ever let up and I was hooked. There were several little twists I wasn’t expecting, which was cool, and I absolutely LOVED the climax and the ‘last battle’ so to speak, and the build up was super intense. Rhysand stood out for me–I’m not even sure why I like him so much–and Amarantha was a terrifying villain. I loved the dynamic between her and Tamlin and Feyre, and the whole confrontation between all of them (lasting over several chapters, thank goodness) left me breathless. However, the very very end, how they resolve it, left me a tad bit confused because I felt the resolution was pulled a little out of nowhere. I won’t say anything for the sake of spoilers, but they should’ve planted the seeds earlier so it didn’t come out of nowhere so much.
While Sarah J. Maas’ writing style wasn’t always my favorite in certain spots (though still really good!), I have to give her major points for world-building because it was incredible. I loved the Fae. There were a couple parts I found a little unnecessarily physical (be warned this is more of a New Adult than Young Adult) especially on their holiday night or whatever–I thought that was kinda dumb to throw in there just for the passionate tension–but ultimately I loved the Fae and Fae culture, and found Tamlin and Feyre’s relationship to be beautiful and fun to read about, especially when Fae and human cultures collided.
It was such a solid read, and I really feel like it could’ve been left as a stellar stand-alone with just a bit of tweaking, so I’m nervous for the sequel. However, I’ve heard it’s flipping amazing and I wouldn’t even be surprised to find that to be true. Let’s just say I have totally been converted to Sarah J. Maas.
Rated 5/5 for an amazing retelling, a beautiful world, and characters I truly fell in love with