Review: A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court Of Thorns and Roses Sarah J. Maas
A Court Of Thorns and Roses Sarah J. Maas cover

Title: A Court Of Thorns And Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas 
Series: A Court Of Thorns And Roses #1 
Genre: Fantasy, YA/NA 
Publication date: May 5, 2015 
Rating: ★★★★ 

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.

Be glad of your human heart, Feyre.
Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.
How to rate this book? Four stars? Three and a half? I can’t decide. I liked it a lot. Loved the ending. My expectations were high. Very high. It’s safe to say I adore the Throne Of Glass series and with still a couple of months to go before the release of Queen of Shadows, I needed something to distract me from the wait. This was the opportunity to see if Sarah J. Maas could live up to her success. I didn’t exactly doubt her, but I was still a bit anxious to start it. What if this book wasn’t any good? I could have saved myself the worries of course. A Court Of Thorns And Roses did not disappoint.

I loved the fantasy setting, the world of faeries and High Fae. It’s not a world I’ve explored before. Not really. So everything was new and exciting. Prythian is a Faerie kingdom, divided into seven courts. Each of these courts ruled by High Fae and a High Lord and inhabited by all kinds of faeries. The diversity was remarkable. No two faeries were the same and this is where Sarah J. Maas shows once again that she’s an exceptional author. Although I think she could have shown us more of the faerie world.

When Feyre, the main character, goes hunting and ‘accidentally’ kills a faerie, she is forced to go to Prythian and spend the rest of her days with Tamlin, who is High Fae nobility of the Spring Court. At first she hates him, but it doesn’t take long for her to start seeing his good sides.

Basically this story is a modern version of Beauty and the Beast. It has more action, depth, complexity and it’s a bit more “steamy”, but there’s no denying where Sarah J. Maas’ inspiration came from. That’s not a bad thing. I for one love fairy tales, but even if you don’t - this was different enough that it kept being interesting. The story centres on romance, obviously, but there’s a lot more than that. I promise.

I should probably say that the first half is a bit slow. Maas takes the time to properly build the relationships between the different characters and maybe it lacks action at some point, but the building up is essential, I suppose. Slowly, we get pieces of information on who Tamlin exactly is, but also on what is wrong with Prythian, why magic is disappearing and why the Spring Court has been punished so severely. And all that leads to an epic, action-packed conclusion and feels, so many feels. I love authors who are not afraid to do what needs to be done, but I die a little bit inside every time they actually do it.

The main character, Feyre, is a nineteen-year-old girl with a single life goal: to provide for her family and to make sure they survive. When Tamlin takes her to his court, she doesn’t only lose her family but her purpose as well. Feyre is witty, sharp, loyal, loving and overall a very relatable and likable character. I liked her, but I have some reservations as well. For an intelligent character she sometimes made very foolish and impulsive decisions. There were points were I was literally screaming WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? WHAT ON EARTH MADE YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA? She was terrible at following rules and mostly I admired her for it, but sometimes I wish she had been a tad less rebellious and had thought her actions over. She was also a bit whiny at times, I’m afraid.

Which automatically brings me to Tamlin. High Lord of the Spring Court. He’s the kind of character that is at first considered ‘bad’ by the MC, but is obviously not that bad at all. To be honest, I didn’t like him too much. I liked Lucien (Tamlin’s grumpy friend) a lot more, because he felt a lot more realistic and honest. He has a surprisingly big heart and he was delightfully sarcastic. I certainly hope we’ll get to see a lot more of him.

“I heard you scream,” he said as he examined the blade in my hands. I’d never held one so finely crafted, so perfectly balanced. “And I hesitated. Not long, but I hesitated before I came running. Even though Tam got there in time, I still broke my word in those seconds I waited.” He jerked his chin at the knife. “It’s yours. Don’t bury it in my back, please.”

Tamlin on the other hand gave me a bit of an Edward Cullen-vibe. He gave me the creeps. I couldn’t help it. He was too perfect and was just trying way too hard. (Note: The starlight lake almost made me vomit.) He’s supposed to be a beast but I never really felt that. BUT, apparently there was a good reason for his awkward flattering and other ridiculously cheap behaviour in the beginning so I think I should be forgiving him for it – as should you if you’re planning on reading this. I needed time to get to know him, but I guess he grew on me a bit in the end. He definitely has his good sides.

I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.

There’s also Rhysand – High Lord of the Night Court, who I really can’t tell anything about without giving away spoilers, but I’m still mentioning him, because GOD, it is so TYPICALLY me to fall for him. Dark, cruel but strangely vulnerable, powerful… and somehow a bit broken. If there’s one thing I want from ACOTAR2 it’s for there to be lots and lots of Rhysand.

“When you healed my arm...You didn't need to bargain with me. You could have demanded every single week of the year." My brows knit together as he turned, already half-consumed by the dark. "Every single week, and I would have said yes." It wasn't entirely a question, but I needed the answer.
A half smile appeared on his sensuous lips. "I know," he said, and vanished.”

I’ve found myself wondering what distinguishes Sarah J. Maas from other authors. For one, she’s a great writer, in the literal sense. Her writing is clever, rich, detailed. She finds the right words for vivid descriptions and lively dialogues. But there’s something else as well. She creates a perfect balance between dark and bright characters, heroes and anti-heroes. And that makes them so fascinating, so compelling.

I’m really excited for the sequel. It won’t need so much time to introduce the characters so there will be more room for action and world building. If this series follows in the footsteps of Maas’ other series, the next parts will be even better than the first!

Note: I really don’t like the cover. I’m sorry I’m just not feeling it at all.

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