Updated: Dec 17, 2019
I have only recently started really getting into the fantasy genre, but it has quickly become a favorite of mine.
I’ve heard a lot about A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and decided to give it a shot. I know I’m really late to the party here, but it makes me think that this is what would happen if Beauty and the Beast took place in a Faerie realm.
TRIGGER WARNING: *takes deep breath* This book involves some cursing, descriptions of gore, torture, murder, and creatures that may give you nightmares. There are relationships involving power imbalances, and scenes involving confinement and slavery, along with sexual content and use of alcohol.
Feyre is 19 and the sole provider for her poverty-stricken family. While hunting in the woods, she kills a wolf that threatens to take down her prey. A beast-like creature comes to her home, demanding retribution from her. She is brought to a dangerous, magical land that she has only heard about in legends, and learns that the beast is not an animal, but a Faerie High Lord named Tamlin, one of the elites who once ruled her world. As she gets used to living in his home, she learns that much of what she’s heard isn’t true, and her hatred turns to passion. But danger is threatening the faerie lands, and Feyre must learn how to stop it before Tamlin and his world is lost forever.
While this book builds on much of the established faerie lore, Sarah J. Maas has taken some of it and turned it upside down. She has found a way to make this story her own in innovative ways, which makes it interesting. Her descriptions of the world itself are lush and beautiful, and Feyre herself is not just a hunter, but also an artist. She views the world as an artist, describing her surroundings in terms of colors and the interplay of light and shadows.
Feyre herself is a complicated character. She is the youngest of the family, but carries a lot of responsibilities and is the provider of the family. She isn’t well educated, although she is very smart and self-taught in skills that ensure not only her own survival, but her family's as well. Her father appears to be neglectful and emotionally absent. Her sisters are emotionally and verbally abusive. When Tamlin whisks her away from her home, she has no idea what a healthy relationship is. While her relationship with Tamlin can be viewed as controversial, he is the first person who treats her with a modicum of respect, even as he withholds information from her throughout the story. I can understand why it isn’t necessarily viewed as a healthy relationship, but I can also see how this is quite possibly the healthiest relationship that she has had in her life. Progress, not perfection. I admire Feyre for her bravery. She doesn’t back down, and has more bravery in her little finger than I do in my whole body. I was terrified just reading the book! I felt that she matures throughout the book.
I loved so much about this book that I sped through it, yet the closer I got to the end, the slower I wanted to read. The enemies to lovers trope is done to perfection in this book. There was a slow-burning sexual tension that was readily apparent early on in the book, but it took so long to finally happen (don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away here). I knew it was coming because of the summary on the cover, but it built throughout the book with such mastery that I was so relieved when it finally happened. It was done tastefully, and it didn’t feel forced. Feyre is portrayed not just as a pretty face. She is a talented hunter, a painter with an eye for beauty, a brilliant mind, a sense of loyalty and duty, and a huge pair of balls. The writing is simple yet evocative, and the story had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I’d definitely recommend this one, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn't an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 11
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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