A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only 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 Feyre dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility to 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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin– and his world– forever.
— From the book jacket of A Court of Thorns and Roses
In the harsh winter, it’s up to Feyre to provide for her family. When she comes across a deer in the woods, she realizes she’s not the only hunter looking for a kill. A wolf stands across from her, leaving her with 2 choices– allow the wolf to take her only food source and let her family go hungry, or kill the beast as well. With one shot, her fate is sealed. The wolf she has killed is no wolf at all–he’s a faery– and Feyre has broken a centuries old peace treaty between the human and faerie realms. A treaty that calls for a human life in exchange for the faery life she has taken. Feyre has to choose between being killed or taken captive by the beast that breaks down her door. To save her family she chooses captivity in the magical realm she thought was just a myth.
Upon arriving at the Spring Court, Feyre learns that there are more frightening things within the faery world than the beast named Tamlin. Terrifying creatures stalk the forest surrounding the estate, and a magical disease has stricken the faery realm, draining its magic and threatening to spill over into the mortal world. As Tamlin and his court fight against the rising threats, he also begins to get closer to Feyre. As open hostility between the two turns to romance, they realize there is much more to fight for. When the source of the magical disease is revealed, it seems that only Feyre can save Tamlin and the entire faery realm.
*Note- Sorry for such a lapse in my posting! It’s been a busy/weird couple weeks. And sorry if this post is a little off from how I normally post. As I was writing this, I was hopped up on very strong Ibuprofen because of an ongoing tooth issue that felt like someone was jamming a large needle into my jawbone. So forgive me if this starts to go off the rails a bit. I was not in the clearest of minds at the time of writing.
I started this blog and joined the whole #bookstagram community on Instagram right around the time the sequel to this book came out. A Court of Mist and Fury was EVERYWHERE. It still is. Everyone was raving about the series– saying it was the best book they’d read all year. Hailing Sarah J. Maas and her writing. Talking about their book hangover after finishing it. Even coworkers that I didn’t expect to read it were raving. It was hard to escape. So I gave in. I grabbed A Court of Thorns and Roses from the shelf at the library the next time I was there, and put it in my TBR pile.
When it finally made it’s way to the top, I was so excited. It’s here! The book I’ve been waiting for! The book that will blow my mind and rock my world!
Except it didn’t.
As a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I knew what to expect from the general idea of the story. There’s no real spoilers here. It’s a “tale as old as time”. Boy demands girl come with him as an exchange for a crime. Girl goes with boy to protect dad/family. Girl doesn’t really want to be with boy, because he’s a beast, literally, but lives in his pretty amazing castle anyway. Boy and girl hate each other at first. But then boy and girl start to get along. Eventually they get along pretty well. Then girl is allowed to go back home, where she quickly realizes she loves boy and wants to return to the castle to be with him after all. Beastly curse broken, boy turns into handsome prince, and boy and girl live happily ever after and all that other stuff.
That’s the main gist of A Court of Thorns and Roses too, with a few twists thrown in to make it a bit more original. It’s not a bad story. I liked the deviance from the original to give it a bit more action. I thought the twist on it was pretty good. But… It just wasn’t the OMG moment that everyone else seems to have had.
Maybe I expected too much. Maybe I gave into the hype, always waiting for that moment that would knock me off my feet. Maybe there’s just something wrong with me. Why don’t I feel the same excitement that everyone else does? It was good. No doubt. I liked it. It kept me interested and I wanted to keep reading. But I don’t have the book hangover that everyone else mentions. I barely have a book buzz.
Actually, no. That’s not totally true. I’d have a book hangover if I played a drinking game with it. Take a drink every time the word “blight” is used. Whoops. Suddenly I’m passed out on the bathroom floor. But anyway…
There are parts of the story that seemed to drag. Quite a bit of the story is centered around the castle and the lands around the Spring Court, and honestly, outside of a few run-ins with some scary fae, not much happens there. It’s a lot of horseback riding and exploring the lands and the castle. It kind of felt like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–“Oh look, we’re in the woods again.” There’s a few scenes that have some action (in one way or another…), but I didn’t feel like the book really picked up until about chapter 30ish. And then it practically sped through the actual exciting parts.
Every one of the reviews I read about this book since finishing it all mentioned the exact same thing. The romance. Everyone’s all OMG Tamlin. OMG Rhysand. So romantic! So sexy! So hot and steamy! Yeah. There were some moments, but I wasn’t exactly swooning. I’m pretty sure I actually rolled my eyes at one of the more intimate scenes. I think this is why I don’t typically go for romance books. I find the “romantic” parts a bit too cliche and almost laughable. It just.. didn’t do anything for me.
But there was one thing that bothered me more than anything else in the story. Of all the reviews I’ve read and everyone gushing over the book, I’ve barely seen anyone say anything about it… Does no one else have a problem with the fact that Feyre is essentially roofied every night by Rhysand for nearly a month and a half straight? CAUSE I FIND THAT QUITE DISTURBING.
After I drank the wine, though, I was mercifully unaware of what was happening.
Night after night, I was dressed in the same way and made to accompany Rhysand to the throne room. Thus I became Rhysand’s plaything… I woke with vague shards of memories– of dancing between Rhysand’s legs as he sat in a chair and laughed; of his hands, stained blue from the places they touched.
He forces her (with mind control) into drinking this wine that causes her to black out. He makes her dance until she throws up, and then makes her keep going. He gropes at her to make Tamlin jealous. And she has no clue that any of it’s happening. Night after night. AND THIS DOESN’T SEEM LIKE A PROBLEM TO ANYONE ELSE?? This is the dude we’re all supposed to be swooning over? NO. I don’t think so. Not cool with the glorifying of date rape.
All in all, I had my issues with it, some a lot bigger than others, but I liked the story. I thought it followed the original tale well, and brought enough of it’s own story to the table to make it stand as a unique retelling. And from what every one else says, the sequel is a step up, so I’ll reserve my absolute judgement until I finish A Court of Mist and Fury, which I just picked up from the library.
Because of some very mature content, I would recommend this for a much higher age range than normal– upper high school and beyond.
Learn more about Sarah J. Maas