A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I should have listened, guys. I should’ve listened.
Sarah J. Maas is one of my absolute favourite authors, Throne of Glass one of my absolute favourite books. But for some god-knows-what stupid reason I got preoccupied with other books and put this one on the back burner.
Biggest. Mistake. Ever.
I don’t even know where to start with this, it was just so GOOD. Maas, you’ve done it again. Wow.
Okay, okay. Down to business. ACOTAR follows nineteen-year-old human girl/reluctant huntress Feyre (“Fay-ruh”) and her experiences in the Faerie world when she kills a faerie wolf and is taken by shapeshifter beast Tamlin to spend the rest of her days in the Spring Court as punishment. Naturally, given the strange popularity of Beauty and the Beast-style Stockholm Syndrome, they start to fall in love. What’s different here is that it shows what would happen in the beast’s case if Belle didn’t make it back in time before the last petal fell. Amarantha, grade-A bitch queen who doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘I’d rather shrivel up in hell than associate with you,’ gives Feyre three tasks and a riddle to complete in exchange for reversing the effects of the curse. Y voilá! ACOTAR.
It is no secret to the reading world by now that Sarah J. Maas is the QUEEN of badass heroines. I mean, have you read Throne of Glass?! CELAENA! HELLO! But more than that, she excels at writing badass heroines with flaws and reservations. Celaena, for instance, is arrogant and narcissistic. And here we have Feyre who’s strong and brave and devoted but who is also insecure and feels in need of protection. I didn’t instantly fall in love with her but I instantly got her–she’s been made her entire life to feel secondary to her sisters even though she’s her family’s sole provider so of course she’s not going to come out of the gate all “F*** YEAH, BRING IT ON BITCH.” But her brave determination comes through even when she looks like she’s just taking it and her thoughts betray the way she feels about even her own actions. She’s fierce as hell, it just takes some time for her to realize it.
In ACOTAR you really get to see Feyre grow. She’s never been afraid to stand up for herself or stand against someone else but her time in the human world was spent often resigning herself mostly to silence. When she joins Tamlin in the Spring Court, she immediately starts pushing her boundaries and pushing back against her captors. Then when completing Amarantha’s tasks she turns into a serious warrior. Hol-yyy.
But even other than that, Feyre is sharp and quick-witted so on top of her undeniable badassery, she’s also pretty fun!
Then we have Tamlin. Dear, sweet, protective Tamiln who captures Feyre and then falls for her. Part of me kept feeling like he was a little too protective; like, bordering on controlling. But then he turns out to be ridiculously sweet and compassionate and romantic and…oh, swoon. He’s also beyond hot, even with his whole mask thing going on, so that always helps.
The romance is somehow simultaneously drawn out and rushed. I think that part comes from all the time jumps. One minute he’s taking her to a secret place in the forest, the next minute its three months later and they’re in love. What? Progression please! What’s more is that there isn’t even much sexual tension between the two to pass the time. I mean, come on, people–a little sexy back and forth never hurt anybody! But when the real stuff hits it hits hard. And holy hell is it HOT HOT HOT. *Fans self* Seriously guys, this book is not for the squeamish–Maas holds nothing back. But if you, like me, are cool with all the descriptive sexy bits?
Well, all I can say is enjoy 😉
There aren’t very many supporting characters in ACOTAR which, I must admit, is kind of disappointing but the greatness that is those that we do get almost makes up for it. There’s Alis, a lady-in-waiting of sorts who’s both sweet and steely and seems to understand Feyre in ways the rest don’t. There’s Lucien, Tamlin’s flirtatious best friend and right-hand man who, honestly, is just pure gold–even when he’s being a complete dick I love him. And then we have Rhysand.
You do not want to get me started on Rhysand.
He starts out so good and then he turns out so bad but then he’s suddenly not bad just doing bad things and then he’s good again and bad again and just so damn sexy the entire time. He’s impossible to figure out…AND I LOVED EVERY SINGLE MILLISECOND THAT HE SPENT ON THE PAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I swear guys, I know Tamlin is the love interest in this one and I’m supposed to be rooting for him, yadda yadda yadda but I just couldn’t shake Rhysand’s inexplicable appeal. He does horrible, atrocious things and I lapped. it. up. Like, I simultaneously recoiled in disgust and wanted him with Feyre (or me. That’s always a viable option). I think my brain is broken.
I have a couple minor issues with the book’s progression and some of the romance (or long-time lack thereof) but overall, ACOTAR was truly great. The world-building was phenomenal, the characters are all strong and all easy to become attached to, and the plot was for the most part engaging. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s better than Maas’ Throne of Glass books (my babies–I’m biased, sue me) as I’ve heard a lot of people say but it’s undoubtedly amazing on it’s own!
Click here for the synopsis on goodreads!
Update: so I wasn’t going to put this here, instead choosing to let it disappear in the endless mass of YouTube videos but I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone. While trying to collect my thoughts for this review and riding on the high that is A Court of Wings and Ruin, I semi-spontaneously made and uploaded a very excited book talk/summary of the ACOTAR series. If you’ve read the book or are cool with spoilers, you can find the first video here.