Book- A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1 of the trilogy)
Author- Sarah J. Maas
Publisher- Bloomsbury Children’s
Date of Publication- May 5th, 2015
After reading the brilliant and brutal series Throne of Glass, I picked up A Court of Thorns and Roses, confident that Maas’s writing will blow me away once again. I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. Though not as much as Throne of Glass, I really loved this book. Sensual and cruel, this book left me tangled in the Fae world, and itching to read the next book. It isn’t my favourite book, not by a long shot, but it was an impressive read. This is a hard review to write, because almost EVERYTHING in this book is a spoiler. I can barely say a word without giving away the plot twist, but still, I’ll try my best.
Feyre is a huntress. Surviving in the cold and ruthless forest, hunting to keep her two ungrateful sisters and pathetic father alive, Feyre is a stone cold killer. Separated from the lethal and deadly land of faeries only by a wall, Feyre, like all the other villagers, hates those twisted creatures and has no qualms about killing them, provoked or not. So when Feyre sees a doe in the forest, a doe which could fill her families stomach for weeks, she thinks nothing of shooting the wolf which was about to attack the doe. But the wolf was no ordinary wolf, it was a faerie. Feyre soon realizes that everything comes at a price, and the consequences for killing the faerie are severe. Dragged to the magical land of faeries as retribution for her crime, Feyre discovers that her mysterious and deadly captor is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. But to her surprise, her captor Tamlin, instead of ill-treating her, gives her everything she could have ever wanted- food, shelter, and safety. Slowly, Feyre’s hostility for Tamlin turns into passion, and she finds herself entangled in the deadly game of faeries and an ancient, nearly unbreakable curse. With the fate of the entire faerie realm in her hands, Feyre must break the curse- or be broken herself.
What I liked:
I absolutely loved the name of the book. It’s very fitting for the faerie realm- breath taking and alluring just like roses, right until you prick yourself on the ugly thorns that remain hidden until they tear you apart. It’s not very often that the title of a book fits the story so well, but it really does here.
I loved the story of this book. Based on Beauty and the Beast, Maas effortlessly weaves the timeless tale into this story. There are many parallels which can be drawn between the two books, making the story a fairytale, but at the same time, anything but a fairytale. The book is a perfect balance of love and hate, caution and recklessness, beauty and monstrosity, and cruelty and mercy. Feyres hatred for faeries is justified, but I think I fell in love every time I read about a faerie. I love how the faeries are described- twisted, dark and cunning, but with an ethereal sort of beauty. Maas writes very descriptively and vividly, her descriptions were enough to visualize everything very clearly, showing what a great writer she is. The plot twist was shocking and unexpected- I couldn’t have turned the pages faster than I was doing at that moment.
I really really liked Feyre. Cold and wary, she has been fending for her family since the age of fourteen, and has never been given anything in return. She has no reason to smile or to trust, and is very assessing and calculating when she is taken to the faerie realm. Even though she is illiterate, she is very intelligent, and proves it in many ways throughout the book. She is ready to do anything for those who she loves, and is brave, almost to the point of stupidity. She can be very sarcastic as well, and I love her occasional outbursts of humour.
Tamlin is a very interesting character. He has little control over the horrors happening in the Fae world, even though he is extremely powerful. He is distraught over the approaching evil, and has his reasons for holding Feyre captive. But he constantly protects her from harm and is noble and fierce, ready to do anything for his land and people. He is smoulderingly hot around Feyre, and gives her everything she wants- he genuinely cares for her well-being. He at the same time does have a volatile temper, though he usually holds it at a tight leash. Though I don’t agree with all his decisions, I do really like what he stands for.
Now coming to the character I both love and hate- Rhysand. I’m so conflicted on my feelings for him. I want to hate him, I really do, scheming, arrogant, evil, and twistedly charming, I want to despise him for how he treats Tamlin and others. But somehow, I feel like all that swagger is a façade, and everything he did to Feyre has a bigger purpose. And he helped Feyre when no one else did, and saved her from breaking, even though the ways in which he did it were UGH. Plus, his violet eyes and charming smile make it REALLY difficult for me to hate him. I do however, hate the bargain he makes with Feyre, but as I said, I think there is a bigger purpose to what he does, even though that doesn’t excuse his actions. I think he has a major role in the next book, and I’m keen to see whether it’ll be good or bad.
Coming to the romance, well, it was INTENSE. Steamy, passionate and sensual, Maas infused such a strong bond between Tamlin and Feyre. It wasn’t love at first sight- it was slow developing and cautious, but it was electrifying. But even with this, I felt something was lacking. No matter how much the romance developed, somehow I could never ship Tamlin and Feyre as much as I wanted to. My opinion on this is probably in the minority, but something just felt off to me between the two of them- I’m not sure if that’s what Maas intended or whether that’s just me but I don’t think those two are good for each other. I hated the sacrifices Feyre had to make for Tamlin, and I hated the horrors she went through for him near the end of the book. I think she sacrificed too much of herself for him, and he didn’t do nearly enough for her. Though I love both of them as individual characters, I don’t ship them as much as I want to.
The ending was very well thought out. There was no cliffhanger, but it left enough unanswered questions to make me eager to read the next book. I for one am very excited to see what the next book has in store for us.
What I didn’t like:
Well for starters, I think the book was quite slow paced. It took a while for the story to get going, so readers might feel a bit bored before the actual plot comes into play. The beginning may seem a bit dragged, so I wish that there had been more happening even at the start.
I also wanted more action in the book. I think the romance was a bit more than the action, and I would have preferred the opposite, because in this book, the actual action stuff only happens in the last 150 or so pages. Some more thrill and danger would have made the initial part of the book more gripping as well.
But even then, this book was a great read, and I’m glad I picked it up and stuck through it till the end!
I would give this book 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 out of 5, I would have liked more action and a faster pace, but even without this, the book was hooking enough to make me love it and was well written and planned. Definitely something I would recommend to fantasy lovers!