Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
The start of a sensational romantic fantasy trilogy by the bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series.
Four stars: A good Beauty and the Beast retelling with lots of action and twists, but the romance is weak.
Feyre plods through the cold, dark, desolate wintery woods. Her family's survival depends on her hunting down some type of game. Feyre knows she has gone farther than she should, especially at this time of day, but hunger urges her to go a bit further. Suddenly, Feyre spies a small deer. Carefully, she draws her bow and takes aim, but before her shot is let loose, another predator appears on scene. A large wolf. Feyre has never seen such a large beast, and she worries that it might be Fey. She knows she should walk away, but she cannot deny her hunger. Quickly, Feyre loads her ash arrow, especially designed to kill a Fey. She fells the wolf and the deer, and heads home. The next day, a large masked faerie appears at her door, roaring and demanding retribution for his slain friend. Feyre is given a choice, she can either die for her crime or be hauled off to live in the faerie world for the rest of her life. Will Feyre ever find her way home?
What I Liked:
- I am already a fan of Ms. Maas, and she indeed proves her talent with A Court of Thorns and Roses, where she manages to take the well worn Beauty and the Beast tale and refashion it into an exciting and unique story with faeries, curses and romance. If you love a good retelling, don't hesitate and try this one.
- The world building is excellent. I love how Maas always takes time to carefully construct her world, whether it be during the first part when we meet Feyre and see the dire circumstances in the human world after a great war with the Fey. Then the reader is taken across the wall into the world of the faerie, and it is full of what you would expect and not. There are frightening and disturbing creatures and dark and sinister places along with lovely gardens and a kingdom where it is spring time all the time. If you appreciate terrific world building, you must read something by this author. I especially loved that some of the well worn myths about faeries were debunked.
- Even though this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, it really doesn't feel like the old tale until you reach the final quarter. Then all is revealed and everything snaps into place and makes sense, but even then, there are some unique, creative and refreshing updates. I was impressed and intrigued when I learned all the big secrets, I can honestly say, I wasn't expecting that.
- I loved that this is a New Adult book and that it is so different from the normal we get in the genre. Yes, there is a nice, heated romance, and perhaps shades of love healing someone who is broken, but there is also so much more to it. If you are like me and looking for something unique in NA, this is the one to read.
- I enjoyed the characters. Feyre took awhile for me to completely warm up to, but she is certainly a strong, courageous and independent young lady. I appreciated her plucky spirit and her sheer determination. Tamlin, the faerie lord, is all kinds of interesting. He, and his kingdom, are locked into wearing masks always after being cursed. Even though he is a faerie, he is kind, considerate and compassionate. I liked how he overcame his heritage and his brutal past to be the faerie he is today. I think my favorite was Lucien. He is Tamlin's friend and advisor. An outcast from the Autumn court. Lucien always went toe to toe with Feyre, and I thought their banter was terrific. The wild card is Rhysand. He is a sexy enigma that captured my attention. I loved his role in the book, and I can only hope there will be more of him in the next book. I was even surprised at Nesta, Feyre's selfish and nasty sister, she actually won me over at the end. All in all, an interesting and terrific cast of characters.
- The story takes it's time building and building, and then it takes off the last quarter. There are so many big reveals that lead into a life and death battle, leaving the reader wondering if love will prevail? I thought the last part with the trials was outstanding, and it was at this point, I couldn't put it down. I loved that it all culminated to a terrific finale, no cliffhangers or annoying, nagging questions. I am curious to see where the next book will go from here.
- I listened to the audiobook version. I thought the narrator, Jennifer Ikeda did a good job. Her reading is smooth and slow. I thought her male voices were well done, and overall I thought the audiobook was solid. My only hesitation was that it is long on audio verses reading due to Ikeda's slow and measured reading pace.
And The Not So Much:
- Here is the part where I am odd reader out. I didn't feel the romance. Plenty of people are swooning over Tamlin, but he never did it for me. He was a nice guy and all, but I just didn't feel the chemistry. In all honesty, I thought a love triangle might be in the works because I thought that Feyre actually fit better with Lucian. Lucian and Feyre have an interesting dynamic, they are antagonistic at first, but they earn each other's respect and become friends. I loved their scenes together. Then when Rhysand makes his appearance at the end, there was just something about him that drew me in. I never felt that about Tamlin. Their romance felt forced and it just lacked emotion.
- I think the other thing that put me off about the romance is there is a scene where Tamlin forces himself on Feyre after a fairy party. I won't go into details, to spare spoilers. It isn't rape but it isn't exactly romance either. I didn't like the whole thing with the bruise either.
- Even though I appreciate a good story, the pacing in this one was at times so slow. Maas takes her time crafting her world and fleshing our her story and characters, but in all honesty, I was bored at times. As I mentioned, the final portion of the book moves the tale into rapid fire mode. The action and danger and all that notches up and it gets exciting. It is worth the read, but it did require some patience.
A Court of Thorns and Roses was an excellent retelling of the classic Beauty and Beast tale. I loved the new twists and the refreshers to this old story. The world building is excellent and the characters terrific. My hesitation was that I never felt the romance, and I thought it lacked a bit of something. Still, I am planning on reading the next book in the series as I am awe of Sarah J. Maas talent.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.