Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review | A Court of Thorns and Roses

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre.
Pity those who don't feel anything at all.”

A Court of Thornes and Roses (ACOTAR #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Published by Bloomsbury
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Pages: 416
My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

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.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Teisha's Review

Now that I am officially an unemployed college grad (PLEASE HIRE ME), I finally have time to sit down and tackle my never ending TBR.  At the top of that list was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.  I pre-ordered this one, and it arrived on my doorstep on release day.  However, with the chaos of graduation and moving back home, I'd only been able to stare at it longingly for 11 days.  I knew that this was a book that would engross me, that I needed to take the time to read thoroughly with no interruptions.  And, that is exactly what I did.

Though I have read Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series, I have yet to take the time to sit down and review any of her books.  While I have enjoyed each of Maas's books, I can't stop thinking about A Court of Thorns and Roses.  And, I can't say that I am particularly ready to come down from that world of faeries and enchantment just yet.

This book, with its magic, fairytale roots, and steamy hot romance, deserves ALL of the stars.  I loved it!

Here are the five reasons why I gave A Court of Thorns and Roses 5 out of 5 stars (and then some):



★ Fairytale Retelling

I was a little wary of this story when I discovered that it was a fairytale retelling.  I love the story of Beauty and the Beast.  Growing up, I watched the Disney version all of the time (but not as much as I watched Pocahontas).  However, in the past I have struggled to find enjoyment in Beauty and the Beast retellings.  Particularly Beastly by Alex Flinn -- I did not enjoy the book or the movie.

I think I was worried that A Court of Thorns and Roses wouldn't feel original, but it was the complete opposite.  Maas has written an incredibly unique story that is grounded in the fairytale we all know and love, but is also independent and utter creative genius (Maas is definitely honing and owning her writing skills!).  Yes, there is a curse, and magic, and a love story.  But there is also dark magic, and steamy romance (and I do mean steamy!), and blood and gore, and court drama -- basically, all of my favorite things wrapped up in one neat, rose-colored bow.

There were some twists on the original story of Beauty and the Beast that I really enjoyed.  For example, in the original story, the residents/servants of the Beast's home are cursed and transformed into household items.  However in ACOTAR, rather than being transformed into household items, Maas' cursed characters must wear masquerade masks, and have done so for 50 years since the curse was placed on the night of a masquerade party.  I also appreciated that, though Tamlin was a beast, that quality did not factor into the curse that was placed on him.  Rather, as a Fae, he has the power of shape-shifting, and takes the form of a beast (usually when fighting).  So, throughout most of the book, Tamlin is portrayed as a glorious, chiseled, man of steel.  Some readers believe that the fact that Tamlin is gorgeous retracts from the Beauty and the "Beast" story line.  However, no one writes hot male love interests like Sarah J. Maas, so I am not complaining about Tamlin at all.

Overall, I found that I loved the fairytale background of this story more than anything.  I enjoyed drawing comparisons between Maas' story and characters, and the story I grew up with.  Maas' world is so intriguing, engrossing you from the very beginning and never letting you go.




★ Genre

While we know that ACOTAR is a fairytale retelling, that is not to say that it is a children's book.  I went into this book thinking that it was Young Adult.  However, there is a particular scene that takes place after the Great Rite on Fire Night (such a good scene, by the way -- just wait for it) that made me take a step back and think "Whoa!  This is way too sexy and erotic for Young Adult literature."

Looking back at Goodreads, I found that the book was listed as Young Adult and New Adult.  But, I would personally classify this book as New Adult.   Having read many New Adult novels, I found that the sex rating for ACOTAR resonates with that of a New Adult novel.  I think that there is a lot of confusion about the genre of this book because we all know Sarah J. Maas as a Young Adult author.  I personally have no problem with this genre.  However, for parents who are giving this book to their young children, or for those readers who don't enjoy sex scenes in their books -- you have been warned.

love the New Adult genre, and discovering that ACOTAR fell into that genre made me love it even more.  I appreciate the more mature content, and that the characters are closer to my age (Feyre is 19).  And, hey, I appreciate the sexy times, too.  (There is no shame in my game...  Because, who am I kidding?  I have no game.)  I had also never read a New Adult Fantasy before, so I was glad to be exploring new territory.  

I'm absolutely impressed with Maas as a writer.  She is not afraid to be different, to venture out to new places.  I love that she is entering this new genre, and look forward to seeing what else she has up her sleeve for the future.




★ Feyre, the Protagonist

When I started reading ACOTAR, I was sure Maas was going to give us another Celaena Sardothien:  a badass girl who is nearly invincible, yet lovable and cool.  However, Feye (pronounced Fay-ruh) is so different from other fantasy protagonists I have read, because she is so unapologetically human.  She is normal, and she is flawed, and I found that I could easily relate to her character.  Feyre is unlike the female protagonists we are accustomed to.  She is no fighter, not outstandingly gorgeous, and she is also illiterate (a shortcoming that embarrasses her to not end).

In the beginning, Feyre is not very likable.  She is cold, harsh, stubborn, and hard-headed.  But, readers begin to see how her situation of poverty has shaped her to be that way.  Once at the Spring Court, where she is no longer burdened with the responsibility of taking care of her father and two sisters (all of whom are ungrateful of her efforts to keep them alive), the ice in her heart begins to melt as she lives in comfort and takes up her passion for painting.  Readers witness her character develop as she begins to rediscover happiness and life's simple pleasures.  Feyre easily becomes a character you can't help but root for and love.



★ Tamlin & An Impending Love Triangle

Since we have discussed Feyre, I believe that it is only appropriate to take a glance at her love interest: Tamlin.

Tamlin is a bae Fae warrior, with magical abilities.  He is also gorgeous, kind-hearted, and strong.  And, he places Feyre's happiness and well-being above all else.  But, he is not perfect.  He is flawed, haunted by his family's past, by his own mistakes, and the lives he has taken.  But, through all of that, he still strives to do and be good.

However, I admit that while I love Tamlin, I am worried that Maas has a love triangle in the works for Book 2 of ACOTAR.  

Because Rhysand.

Rhys, a sexy, dangerous Fae, is a force of nature who seeks to dig his claws (or rather, talons) into Feyre.  And, I can't say that I hate him.  I actually like his character, although we witness him do some terrible things (even to Feyre).  He seems edgy, fun, and is incredibly witty.  (Maas does this thing where she makes you fall in love with all of her characters, even the morally ambiguous ones.)  While Tamlin is all gorgeous and good, Rhys has that hot-but-tragic thing going for him.

I am already struggling with the love square Maas has going on in the Throne of Glass series (between Celaena and her three love interests -- Chaol, Dorian, and Rowan).  I don't think that I will be able to handle the emotional roller coaster of another of her love triangles.  But, I think that as long as no one else is introduced, as long as this does not move into the quadrilateral stage, everything will be fine.




★ Supporting Characters

While Maas' main characters are at the center of attention, her supporting characters keep this book afloat.  With less focus and fewer appearances, Maas' supporting characters still manage to steal our hearts and the show.

First, there is Lucien, the red-haired, one-eyed Fae who is Tamlin's best friend.  He is initially rude to Feyre, but eventually warms up to her.  They easily develop a sort of big-brother-little-sister relationship.  I would consider Lucien to be the story's comic relief.  He is humorous and sarcastic and I adore his character.

There is also Amarantha, the story's evil villainess.  She is a Fae ruler who has a particular hatred for humans, which is not good for Feyre.  She is cold, calculating, and cruel.  But she has a backstory (all the best villains have backstories).  And, I don't want to spoil you all, so I will just say that, when you learn her backstory, you realize why Amarantha is so harsh and unforgiving.  Although, while I can sympathize with her on some level,  I find her evil ways to be too much at times.  However, I still find her to be an interesting, well-written character.

And of course, there is Rhysand, whom I mentioned earlier.  He is incredibly important to the story of Book 1, and will have an even larger presence in Book 2.  I cannot wait to learn more about his character, because he is so enigmatic and intriguing and I just know that I am going to love him.





Honorable Mentions

Maas' Writing 

I believe that ACOTAR is Maas' at her best.  As I stated earlier, we are definitely seeing Maas hone and perfect her skill -- each book she releases is always better than the last.  What I liked most about Maas' writing in ACOTAR was her use of first person.   Throne of Glass is written in third person, and with changing character perspectives.  I find that I can tend to get bored with certain characters.  But, with ACOTAR, told from Feyre's perspective, I felt engaged throughout the entire book.

Faerie World

I literally want to live in Prythian, in the world of the Fae that exists beyond The Wall (just without all of the drama).  Maas depicts the Spring Court so beautifully and vividly.  It seems like a literal heaven on earth.

Other than the beauty of the Fae world, there are the parties and festivities.  I mentioned Fire Night and the Great Rite earlier, two very interesting festivities held in the Fae world.  And then there are parties and gatherings celebrating the seasons, such as Summer Solstice and Midsummer.  It is all so fantastical and fun, readers are just dying to step into the pages.


***

There is not much else I can say about A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I LOVED this book!  I have no idea how I am going to wait an entire year for the sequel.  It's going to be excruciating, but I am sure that it is going to worth it.  Because Sarah J. Maas is a fabulous queen of writing, and every word she writes turns to gold.  


Make a Deal With a Fae...

  1. Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses?  Tell me your thoughts!  
  2. The ships have set sail.  Which boat are you on? Tamlin's or Rhysand's ?  


Talk to you soon!



1 comment:

  1. I haven't reviewed the Throne of Glass series yet either, I waited too long and know I feel like it's not fresh enough to do it justice.
    Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas were my two top watched Disney movies too!
    I really hope New Adult Fantasy becomes a trend, because I want to read my awesome fantasies and have a bit more mature situations. I really just can't wait to see where Maas takes the story next!

    Mandy's Books and Beauty

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