A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
by Sarah J. Maas
Published on May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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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 grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
When I began reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, I wasn’t a fan. I’m obsessed with the Throne of Glass series and expected something of that caliber diving into this book, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, I fell in love with a beast and shipped him and his beauty something fierce.
This book takes the Beauty and the Beast fairytale and breathes new life into it. I noticed a sort-of resemblance from the beginning. Feyre is taken from her father and two sisters by a beast of a faerie to live with him as payment for killing another of the fae. Considering her life sucks – barely enough food, greedy siblings, a spineless father who doesn’t care – I thought this was quite the improvement. She finds herself on the estate of Tamlin, a High Fae.
His attempts to interact with her were sweet. He had to fight through years of fae hatred instilled in her and most other humans, which was an uphill battle to begin with. But between him and his friend Lucien (love him!) they bring Feyre around. Their romance was soft at first, but quickly became something much more hot and heavy. I actually really loved this romance. As I continued to read, I found myself coming around to the story just as Feyre was with the fae until I found myself cheering Tamlin and Feyre on through to the end.
Feyre was strong and independent. She cared more than a person should at times and it left her with a lot of guilt. She was a hunter, but she loved to paint! So much about her made her flawed but I loved it. Tamlin was distant but unnecessarily kind throughout and only more endearing as time went on. His friend Lucien had to be one of the most loyal people in this world and I really hope he gets a happy ending in the next book because he deserves it more than most.
Then there’s Rhysand.
I ship Feylin hardcore… right now. Rhysand poses an interesting conundrum, however. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to be both good and evil. He played his game and, for that, we’ll be seeing him quite a bit more in the next book. If anyone can change my mind about the romance in this series, it’s going to be him.
Though character-driven, this book had a decent amount of action. Not, perhaps, in the “epic battle” sense but through secret conversations and festivals and dangerous tasks. The pacing is slowed significantly for that reason and it took me a while to get into it, but by the end I craved more.
My issue with this book (and yes, I did have one) was that throughout all of this, while I enjoyed the story and all, I didn’t really understand the why of a lot of the plot points. Feyre killed a good friend of Tamlin’s and he just let her live in luxury in his home, being overly kind to her (he may have looked like a beast at times but he’s really just a sweetheart). She was told precious secrets – dangerous secrets. He took her on rides and little adventures to his childhood haunts. For a murder, she was wooed and spoiled like no other. And I couldn’t understand why, why would he do all this?
I forgot this was a Beauty and the Beast re-telling.
Somewhere around a quarter of the way through, that little detail slipped from my head or I would’ve put two and two together. Because what BB re-telling is complete without a cursed Beast? And then it clicked. The one issue I had with this book magically disappeared and I was left swooning over Tamlin.
A Court of Thorns and Roses makes you fall in love as its characters do. So when you pick this book up, don’t expect the action and court intrigue we’ve come to anticipate from Maas’s other novels. Instead, take it as it is: a dangerously romantic fairytale with a twist.