Book: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
Author: Sarah J Maas
I was kind of nervous, both to read and to review this book for a number of reasons. Firstly because I love Sarah J Maas’ other series, the Throne of Glass books so much, that I was worried this new book would not live up to the high expectations that I now have of her work. Secondly because the book had received such great reviews from other bloggers, which also caused me to have high expectations because everyone seemed to think that the book was so amazing and when I have high expectations about a book, I usually end up being disappointed. Unfortunately, this proved to be the case with this book. I don’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it, I did, but I wouldn’t say that I loved it as much as many other bloggers have done, maybe the expectations I had of the book in the first place were too high, but for me, the story was very slow paced and hard to get into and I really didn’t click with the main character Feyre, although having said that, I had the same complaints about the Throne of Glass series when I first started it and I like that now, so it could just be Sarah J Maas’ style of writing and I do have to admit, she seems to write books which have very slow development.
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.
The start of this book was so slow! In fact most of this book was slow, the first 70% or so was world-building and character development. There’s nothing wrong with that, world building and character development are very important, but it just felt like nothing was happening and then all of the action was crammed into the last 30% of the book, it felt like the balance was all wrong. I would have preferred more action laced throughout the book rather than it all being crammed in at the end. The slow pace of most the book meant that it was really difficult for me to get into, whilst I enjoyed the book, I didn’t really get into it until the very end.
I liked that the novel was written in first person POV, I actually usually prefer first person POV to third person POV as it means you can get inside a character’s head more however in this case, I wasn’t such a big fan, mainly because I just couldn’t connect to Feyre. I found that she really frustrated me, sometimes I just wanted to scream at her because she kept making stupid mistakes over and over again and she was so naive. I liked that she was brave and a good hunter and her ability to see little details in things because of her artistic abilities, but that didn’t take away from my frustration with her for much of the book. I also did like her love for her family and her relationship with Nesta in particular and I hope that continues to be explored throughout the book. I also liked the added detail of her illiteracy, it felt very fitting of the family’s social status. I hope that maybe in the next book, I might be able to connect to her character more, after all I didn’t like Celaena all that much at first and I have grown to love her, so maybe the same will be true of Feyre.
I liked the little nods to Beauty and The Beast, which this book is a retelling of, you could definitely see the inspiration for the book, but I liked that there were just little hints here and there, Sarah J Maas has definitely created her own story here, it’s not just the same story you see in Beauty and The Beast retold with Fae.
I wasn’t that keen on the romance, which kind of coloured my view of the whole book really, because the romance is such an integral part of it. I didn’t really see any chemistry between Tamlin and Feyre, their relationship felt kind of awkward to me and I felt like the romance accelerated way too quickly, I know it was necessary for the plot of the book, but when she went Under The Mountain because she was willing to die to free Tamlin, it kind of felt like it was way too soon for that and to me, didn’t really feel at all believable to me. Plus I found Tamlin kind of boring, which made it hard for me to root for his relationship with Feyre. I did like some of their scenes but I wouldn’t say that I’m totally on board with their romance.
I loved, loved, loved Lucien! He was so awesome, out of all the characters in the book, he was my favourite. I loved his relationship with Feyre, the banter they had, in fact I preferred Feyre and Lucien’s relationship to her relationship with Tamlin, because it felt more easy and natural (not that I’m saying I want them to have a romantic relationship, I root for them as friends only) and I loved the development of their relationship, from Lucien being kind of suspicious of her, to them being true friends that have each other’s backs.
I enjoyed the tasks, those were among my favourite parts of the book, because I thought they were really creative and cruel and it was fun/terrifying to see how Feyre tackled each task. I actually didn’t work out the riddle, which kind of annoyed me when I found out the answer because it was so obvious. I wasn’t actually keen on the answer to the riddle because I thought it was so cliche.
I wasn’t keen on the sex aspects of the book, I know this book was meant to lean more towards the NA end of the spectrum rather than being completely YA, but those scenes just made me feel awkward. It’s not that they weren’t written well, it’s just that I don’t really like sex scenes that much, I prefer the cuter, fluffier, sweeter aspects of romance to all the sex stuff.
I also had some problems with the way Feyre was treated, by both Tamlin and Rhysand. Tamlin physically hurts her in one scene, where he grabs her and bites her, that came off as abusive to me and in the scene where they have sex for the first time, he says that if they go any further, he won’t be able to stop, which kind of made it sound as if he was going to rape her if she decided she didn’t want to go any further, which I take extreme issue with. It also didn’t really seem to make sense with Tamlin’s character, like I know he has a beastly side, but most of the time, he’s such a gentleman, so his being so forceful seemed out of character. Rhysand makes this deal with her which means she is effectively his slave (which does not make sense with the canon of the book, because humans being slaves to faeries had been outlawed decades earlier) so it’s technically illegal. Then he makes her go to these faerie parties and forces her to drink this wine which drugs her and I’m sorry but that’s the equivalent of roofie-ing someone and he makes her dance with him and sit in his lap, it’s totally wrong and unacceptable. Sure, he may not have touched her inappropriately, but that was only to save his own skin and does in no way forgive the awful things he did to her. Feyre gets treated as property a lot by the faeries, which I hated.
Having said that, I did find Rhysand intriguing, he can be seen as both a villain and a victim and he is such a complex character, so in that respect I liked him, but I haven’t completely decided where I stand on him yet. There were some things I really didn’t like about his character and yet he did help Feyre, even if it was for his own ends and there were some bits where I felt sorry for him, so I haven’t exactly decided where I stand on his character yet.
I loved the setting of the Spring Court, it sounded so beautiful and I feel like Sarah J Maas did a really great job of describing all the beautiful places there. I would love to maybe see some of the other courts in the other two books, we got to meet faeries from all of the courts, but we didn’t get to see any of the court settings, so I hope we get to see more of them in the rest of the trilogy. I have a feeling we’ll see more of the Night Court in the next book because of Feyre’s bargain with Rhysand, which I am looking forward to. I seriously hope there is not a love triangle between Tamlin, Feyre and Rhysand in the next book though because I am so tired of them and they are so cliche by now! I found as with all of Sarah J Maas books that her writing was beautiful, that seems to be something that I can always count on with her.
I felt like everything was too easily resolved in this book, I was expecting the story with Amarantha (the main villain of this book), to take a little longer to be resolved, but it wasn’t and whilst I can definitely see why there is a sequel, I would have liked it if everything wasn’t wrapped up in a neat bow at the end of this book (although maybe that’s just me being surprised at not being frustrated at a cliffhanger for a year!), but still I felt like the conclusion was too easy.
I loved (well loved to hate) Amarantha, I found her suitably creepy and cruel, although I feel like I should have been more scared of her? Sure, she was evil, but I didn’t feel like she scared me enough and I felt like it was a foregone conclusion that Feyre was going to beat her (because I knew there was a sequel), so the trials didn’t feel as high stakes for me as the otherwise might have done.
I would have loved to get more of a sense of the faeries’ powers, I feel like we only got to see the bare bones of what they can do, which I understand was necessary because of the curse, but I hope that in the next book, we’ll get to see more of what the Fae can do.
I wasn’t keen on the ending, I felt like the ending kind of went against the whole point of the book and whilst I can’t say exactly what happened, because it would be a huge spoiler, it’s a big game changer. I understand why Sarah J Maas did it, but I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I guess we’ll see in the next book.
Overall this was an okay book, but I wouldn’t say it was anything particularly special and it’s not going to go into my all time favourites list any time soon. I will read the sequel because I have many hanging questions after this book, especially regarding The King of Hybern and his motivations, but I would expect it to be much better than this one was if I am going to continue with this series, not that I didn’t enjoy this book, but it just wasn’t as good as I was expecting and the next one needs to be a big step up. I’m hoping it will follow Throne of Glass in that way, as I wasn’t keen on the first book, but I loved the second. I would recommend this book if you like slow burn reads and romance, but not so much if you like really fast paced, action packed books.
My Rating: 3.5/5 (the first 70% was a 3, the last 30% was a 4, so I averaged it out)
The next book I will be reviewing is Sophie McKenzie’s Trust In Me and I should have that review pretty soon for you as I was over halfway through reading it when I started this!