Review: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses

court thorns and rosesTitle: A Court of Thorns of Roses
Series: A Court of Thorns of Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: 
New Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 
416
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Rating: 

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Meet Feyre. At nineteen, she is the youngest in her family and the person solely responsible for their survival. She hunts in the woods around their village, barely finding enough meat for them to eat and pelts to sell for a few coins. Then one day in the forest, Feyre comes across a deer and a wolf; and kills them both. But it turns out the wolf was more than a wolf, it was a Fae. A beast comes and drags her into the mythical and magical Fae world for retribution.

But that beast is actually Tamlin,  one of the immortal high Faes. She is to live on his estate, free in the confines of his world. A world—which Feyre soon learns—that has a dark shadow creeping across it.

So just some history to go along with that general jacket-ish description. Feyre lives on a continent that a long long time ago used to be wholly ruled by Fae. Humans lived only as slaves. Then a war broke out in which humans fought for their freedom against the Fae—and even had some Fae on their side. This all led to a treaty being signed that build a wall that at least from my view of the map in the book gave like two-thirds of the continent to the Fae, forming the country Prythian, and the last third two the humans. Pythian is then split into seven different courts ruled by High Lords: Night, Day, Dawn, Winter, Summer, Autumn, and Spring.

I feel like I just info dumped a lot on you and I apologize. But that being said, this book has such great world building. There’s so many different things to understand about the magic and the land and really just everything and Maas puts it out there so clearly. I was never really confused about the world I was in, which was something I was worried about going in as I had never read a book with Fae.

Then just her general visual description of everything I found strong as well. Most of the book takes place in the Spring Court and there are a lot of nice images to go along with that obviously: meadows, clearings, ponds, etcetera. I think it worked especially well because Feyre is really interested in art and colors and with her being the narrator it made sense and only strengthened that character trait. I am getting ahead of myself here a bit though. 

Back to the actual writing of the book. I know Maas gets a lot of praise, I’ve actually only read one of her other books. But I did enjoy her writing style a lot. I think it’s very tight, and she is really great at crafting those sentences, passages, or interactions that are just darlings. That being said, the pacing at the beginning of the book was eh for me. Reading the description I knew she was going to kill the wolf and then be dragged into the other world, but I just felt like I was waiting for it for too long. She killed the wolf and she wasn’t sure it was a Fae, then the bounty hunter woman told her it didn’t look like a Fae, and then nothing happened so I was like “welp she must go kill another wold cause NOTHING is happening.”

So yeah, the pace at the beginning was a little off for me. Then there’s also the fact that the middle of the novel doesn’t have a whole lot of plot. In the middle it turns just more into a romance book and that’s all that’s going on. It didn’t bother me too much, but after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses I noticed it a little bit more. Just touching on that romance aspect, this book is actually a retelling or loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, among a couple other stories I believe. I’ll touch more on that later though.

Also, A Court of Thorns and Roses is more in the New Adult genre. I want to say especially the second book in the series (having already read it). There are some pretty steamy scenes and sex, and not like the sex that happens in young adult books where it’s just kind of glossed over.

Now onto Feyre. First, I just want to say I had such trouble with all the names in this book. There is a guide on how to pronounce them in the back, but it was just not the way my brain was reading them. For example, Feyre is actually said “Fay-ruh.” Anyway, I really enjoyed Feyre as a character.

At the beginning of the story she’s this very hardened and cold huntress, despite being the youngest she’s taken care of her sisters and father after her mother died and they lost their fortune. And basically like no one appreciates her, but she does it. She’s not naive and makes due with what life has given her. And then the more time she spends in the Fae land and with Tamlin the more that responsibility is lifted from her and she for once gets to do what she wants. And what she wants is to paint.

I loved seeing the color of the world through her artists’ eye. It was truly beautiful. I also loved that how once she didn’t have to she didn’t want to hunt, it was a survival thing for her and not something she loved and you see that. And you also see her beliefs and thoughts about Fae change the more time she spends among them, which is great. She thaws a bit.

Just quickly going back to her family, I really hated how they didn’t appreciate her at all. And I think their actions and attitudes could have very easily come off as overdone or too much, but Maas creates a really strong backstory and character traits for each member of the family that made it work and made me believe them.

Now moving to Tamlin. He’s very distanced and awkward at the beginning of the book, but like Feyre I think he really opens up a bit as it goes on and I liked seeing him interact with her. I want to tread carefully with him though, because I know some people who have read the book have issues with him. And yes I wanted him to end up with Feyre in this book, but not necessarily because I thought he was amazing but  just because where the story was moving to. He’s very obviously the “beast” if you will in this retelling. First, there’s the fact that part of his magic is that he can transform into an actual physical beast, but then there’s the curse.

You’re probably like “wait, what, on top of everything else there’s a curse?” Yeah, so in line with the Beauty and the Beast inspiration there is a curse put over the land of the Spring Court. It’s pretty hush hush most of the book, but I’m sure you can guess some of it from the aspect of the retelling. Honestly though, besides Feyre being taken and the curse there’s not really too many more Beauty and the Beast traits to the story. The whole I want to say a hundred pages of the book actually divert from it completely.

There is some weird mask aspect to the curse, basically the whole Spring Court was a masquerade ball when the curse was enacted and now they have the masks all stuck to their faces (instead of you know being turned into clocks and things), but it didn’t really do much for me. For Tamlin especially it didn’t seem necessary to try to give him some “beastly” like trait because he can literally turn into a beast, not needed to have more.

Okay, so this is getting long but I’m going to quickly add that there are also some really great side characters that pop up. I just loved them.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses. If you’re currently reading it and not loving it, I’d say at least try to make it to that last hundred pages or so because it really does pick up at the end. And if you have any different types of issues with it definitely try the second book, I know this is not a review for that, but having already read it I can say I found it like just amazing and better and a lot of those issues are addressed, or at least I thought so.

An amazing fantasy romance, that treads new ground venturing into the genre of new adult, A Court of Thorns and Roses is truly like nothing else I’ve read. You can find it on Amazon and the author at sarahjmaas.com.

Let me know your thoughts on a court of thorns and roses in the comments and give me recs for the next book i should read!
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5 thoughts on “Review: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses

  1. michelejennifer says:

    My biggest issue with ACOTAR was the “impossible” riddle at the end that was actually the most obvious thing ever.
    I feel like most of my issues with how this story felt off were resolved with ACOMAF, because of all the character development and reveals. Definitely a case where the series truly works better as a whole than as individual books.

    Liked by 1 person

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