Friday, June 26, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date:  May 5, 2015
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Series:  A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Pages:  416
Genre:  High Fantasy

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 grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Review:  A Court of Thorns and Roses is Sarah J. Maas' new novel, set in a fantasy world full of faerie lords and monsters.  The reviews have been nothing but positive, and I'm afraid I am only adding to that pile, because ACOTAR is a truly excellent start to a new series.

The writing in this one is seriously gorgeous.  Sarah J. Maas has outdone herself.  She writes every detail in vivid imagination, from the faerie court to the treacherous forest.  However, that does no mean it is perfect.  The curse, since it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, is oddly specific.  It would be a spoiler to explain just how, but take my word on this.  Also, there is a certain riddle nearing the end that is supposedly impossible to figure out...yet I guessed the answer after a few moments of contemplation.

The plot, too, bothered me slightly.  It mimicked Throne of Glass just a little too closely for my tastes. The plot is also agonizingly slow just after Feyre arrived in the faerie realm.  For a good half of the book, nothing of significance happens, other than relationship building between Feyre and Tamlin.  I wanted more danger, less romance.  But, still, it is a roller coaster ride of a story that holds your attention and doesn't let go for a second.  The twists and turns will leave you dizzy, once the action starts in the second half.  

ACOTAR is often compared to Cruel Beauty, another Beauty and the Beast retelling.  Yet ACOTAR lacks the moral ambiguity, the bitterness, and uniqueness that I craved from Cruel Beauty.  Where is the depth? Don't get me wrong, there is depth to the book, just not as much as I wanted.  ACOTAR is a shallow grave compared to the deep dark hole of Cruel Beauty.

But the magic system!  I have never liked faerie stories, yet Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black may have converted me.  The seven courts of Prythian, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Day, Night, and Dawn, are a incredible element to this book and one my favorite aspects of the whole magical world.  In fact, the magic in general is imaginative and incredibly detailed. 

Sarah J. Maas has a gift for creating characters that not only are fully fleshed out, but stand apart from the characters in her other books.  

First of all, there is Feyre, whose name I really like.  Feyre is a hunter and a painter (imagine a Katniss/Peeta mash-up).  She can be frustrating at times, but she is undoubtedly loyal to those she loves. She is very strong, even for a "pathetic human" in a world of über-powerful faeries.  You have no choice but to respect this girl, even as maddening as she can be.

Now, Tamlin is the "beast" in this story (even if he isn't so beastly, if you ask me), the High Lord of the Spring Court of Prythian. Tamlin is kind, powerful, and protective. Everyone acts like he is a lovable, albeit deadly, puppy.  He is, but he never captures my interest like Rhys does.  Unlike Tamlin, Rhys is a total jerk and I hate that he is a potential love interest for Feyre, but he is mysterious and has hidden motives.  He is more complex than Tamlin.  Secrets are always more intriguing.  

Big Bad Amarantha is petty.  She is supposed to be lethal, to strike fear into my heart.  But she reminds me of a petulant child who is playing dress up.  No, Lucien, the friend of Tamlin, and eventually Feyre, is far more genuine.  I would like to see more of him in the sequel.

I had a lot of critiques of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but that does not mean I did not love every second of it.  It is a highly addictive, spellbinding tale.  I can't tell you how glad I am that this is going to be a whole series.

4 Keys



  1. I gave it the same rating!! I liked it, but not as much in retrospect. Which is weird of me! >_< But I tooootally agree that the world was too much like the ToG world (I mean, it's all still faerie law, and it didn't appear to be overly different **sigh**) and Rhys was WAY more interesting. I didn't like him. HECK NO. But I wanted to read more about him, whereas I couldn't give a flying leap about Tamlin. And Lucien was adorable. I reeeeally want to read the next book though!

    1. I know! While I read it, I was utterly devoted. Afterword, once the hype died down, I could see the flaws. I want to see MUCH more of Rhys in the sequel, although the romance brewing between him and Feyre is questionable... I LOVE Lucien. He needs more scenes! Gah, what is it about Sarah J. Maas' books that are so good?

  2. I haven't read this one yet because it's been so hyped and I don't want to be disappointed, but will do so maybe once school starts. I'm not too keen about faeries either, but am looking forward to Maas converting me. I'm glad you were entertained by this one; I'd want "more danger, less romance" too though :).

    1. I was afraid of being disappointed, too! And although I critiqued it a lot, most of those things are very minor. It's a great book with bad ass faeries (nothing Tinkerbell-ish here), though the romance IS a bit heavy, I'm sure you'll enjoy it! Thanks for commenting!