Despite my criticisms of the story, I REALLY loved it and can’t wait to read the next one. I hope this one’s faults improve in the next two books. The plot was entertaining, the world building was spectacular, the characters were mostly well developed and interesting, and I loved the writing! With the descriptive sex scenes, etc. I highly recommend this for much more mature young adults. This is also my first Sarah J. Maas book so I know nothing about her other works.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is essentially a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Feyre is the breadwinner for her family and while hunting in the woods she comes across a giant wolf or “beast”, which she assumes to be one of the hated Fae. She ends up killing it but one of the other Fae eventually comes to take her away as recompense for her crime. Now she is stuck in the home of this beast and we assume she must learn to love him and break the curse that threatens to destroy the Spring Court and more. That is basically the plot though the curse is much more interesting and you learn more about it as you read.
I really enjoyed the plot even though it was fairly simple. It is a re-telling so predictability and simplicity are to be expected though there could have been a bit more to it.
“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”
Most of you will want to know that the beginning of this book is SLOW but that is a huge positive for me. I love stories that are slow moving at first in order to develop characters and world building while still being interested. This one does! I was so engaged in this story that it only took me a day and a half to read it without even realizing it. It was just so suspenseful and I had to know how it was going to end (though I had a good idea).
There are some problems I had with the plot. It looks like there is going to be a love triangle. UGH! WHY?????? Does there always have to be one? Seriously. Work more on the plot of the story and it’s world building because in my opinion love triangles are an escape route to create interest without doing work. Anyway, the other problem I have is the info dumping that happens at least twice in large spills. Why couldn’t it be revealed more slowly or why couldn’t Feyre discover more of it herself? Not too big of a deal but info dumping is lazy. Also, which I will discuss more in the character section, the so called “beast” wasn’t actually a beast. Seriously?! WTF. In no way was he a horrible person or ugly. Sigh… 😦
The ending at least was fantastic and action packed. I enjoyed it a lot and loved how everything wraps up enough that you aren’t dying to get the next book. Though I want to read it anyway. However, I almost wish that one thing that didn’t happen or almost did but didn’t, would have happened. *Spoiler* I’m sorry to say but I think it would have made an awesomely unexpected ending had Feyre actually died instead of being resurrected. Sure there wouldn’t have been any other books with her in it, but still it would have been an awesome ending! *Spoiler*
The world is fantastic! So descriptive and mesmerizing! I love what history we do learn about the Fae and can’t wait to learn more about the seven courts. We know quite a bit about the Spring Court, but there is still the Day, Dawn, Night, Autumn, Winter, and Summer Courts as well!
The Fae rituals were interesting as well and a nice addition to the story, even if they were a bit peculiar.
All the different types of creatures in the story were just incredible and I can’t wait to discover more! There is the Naga and the Suriel to name a couple.
“A face that looked like it had been crafted from dried, weatherworn bone, its skin either forgotten or discarded, a lipless mouth and too-long teeth held by blackened gums, slitted holes for nostrils, and eyes…eyes that were nothing more than swirling pits of milky white–the white of death, the white of sickness, the white of clean-picked corpses.”
The main character, Feyre, is strong-willed, stubborn, and overall pretty smart. Though she can’t read, she has enough street smarts and survival skills to get by. I love how passionate she was about painting but with all the time it took to take care of her family she didn’t have much time or money for it. Once she was taken by Tamlin, I thought she became a bit annoying. She was always trying to find ways to escape to get back to her family even though she was told several times that they were well taken care of and better off without her. Her “captors” were even nice and polite so she had little reason right away to even think about running away. She was told several times that she shouldn’t venture out into the forest or beyond the manor because it is dangerous but she stupidly does so anyway and puts herself in danger multiple times. Though she can hold her own and is good with a bow she has no idea what these creatures are like and how to deal with them. I thought this was where her character fell apart. She is smart but this was not. She was also told by the Suriel that she should stay with Tamlin and all will be well, but when told she has to go home she does it with little resistance despite how she feels about Tamlin at this point. Overall, I liked Feyre but she wasn’t my favorite character and she was a bit too much like Katniss Everdeen.
Tamlin was a decent character as well but he wasn’t portrayed right. He was supposed to be the “beast” in this retelling but he was able to change back into his more human-like form but is cursed to wear a mask over his face. He is described to be beautiful and muscular despite the mask which is meant to hide his features so Feyre has to fall in love with him for what he is and not what he looks like but the mask does little to hide his looks. It would have been so much better had he been cursed to stay in his beast form. Also, he was way too nice, polite, and loyal. There was no chance at all the Feyre wouldn’t have fallen in love with him. He was just too perfect and their match was just set up. They also fall for each other within months, which shouldn’t have happened had Tamlin been the beast he was supposed to be.
“There are those who seek me a lifetime but never we meet,
And those I kiss but who trample me beneath ungrateful feet.
At times I seem to favor the clever and the fair,
But I bless all those who are brave enough to dare.
By large, my ministrations are soft-handed and sweet,
But scorned, I become a difficult beast to defeat.
For though each of my strikes lands a powerful blow,
When I kill, I do it slow..”
Lucien is portrayed as a much more interesting character and not as handsome as Tamlin. He is missing an eye which was replaced by another one and he is scarred across his face. His history was more intriguing and how he came to be in Tamlin’s court was just a sad story. He is also hilarious and witty. I just loved his personality. So much more interesting than Tamlin.
Rhysand was introduced part way into the novel. He is the high lord of the Night Court and appears to be a villain in the story. He is dark and selfish but his motives aren’t entirely clear. He even helps Feyre during her trials. Definitely more mysterious and interesting than either Tamlin or Lucien. At first, I hated him but I’m not sure what to think of him now. The look he gives Feyre before departing was strange and I’m not sure what that was about.
Overall, I thought all the characters had their own personality and were intriguing enough to keep me reading and wanting to know how they ended up. I cared about all of them enough that I almost cried towards the end…almost.
I actually thought the writing was amazing! There wasn’t anything I disliked about it. Everything flowed well, made sense and was concise yet descriptive. However, I really wish this would have been POV novel with each of the characters having their own chapter. I feel like it would have been much more personal this way. Nothing against the writing though, this is just a personal opinion.
I really love the overall design of the cover. The way the title is written is pretty neat and the thorns all over the cover are a nice touch. It is very eye-catching as well and there aren’t even any blurbs on the front! However, there isn’t any indication that this book is part of a series either on the front or the spine. I also don’t like when authors name the first book in a series the same as the series name. Oh, and I tend not to be a fan of using the main character on your cover. Sometimes it works, but here it didn’t. I’m sure that something else could have been used, like the masks that everyone has to wear maybe with the riddle Feyre has to solve in the background with the rose thorns all around it.