ARC from Publisher. There is no bias in this review.
I haven’t enjoyed a book this much since I read Shadowfever over a year ago. This may be due to the fact that I haven’t read anything other than sappy HEA romances, but I enjoy deluding myself into believing that it was the beautiful writing, characters I became emotionally invested in, and a stunning plot.
I read Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass and skimmed over the rest of the series. It was decently written, but didn’t have much to stand out from the rest of the Young Adult world. A Court of Thorns and Roses is not like that. ACoTaR is set in a world so complex and different from ours, but Maas succeeds in flawlessly weaving this fascinating realm. Her writing is marvelous, instantaneously transporting a reader into a world of beauty and terror so acute it’ll haunt your dreams for weeks to come.
ACoTaR begins with Feyre hunting in the woods. She sees a wolf. She kills it. The wolf isn’t a normal wolf and its owner/boss/random shady dude comes and kidnaps her because… reasons. This owner/boss/random shady guy’s name is Tamlin, and he’s a fairy, and he brings her to this magical world and introduces her to his best friend, named Lucien, and doesn’t kill her because… reasons.
I hate this beginning. It’s full of unnecessary obscurity, and even though they’re explained later on, Sarah J. Maas, brilliant author that she is, could have designed the first two chapters of this so much better. The only reason ACoTaR doesn’t crash and burn in the first twenty pages is because Feyre decides to hunt. I don’t like books like this. I don’t like books that rely on one single barely unnecessary plot detail to based an entire story on. It’s way too incidental, and if novels like these were the least bit realistic, there would be no novel. However, the rest of A Court more than makes up for this amateurish beginning.
In most Beauty and the Beast retellings, romance is key for continuing the story. ACoTaR is one of the few books that isn’t like this. While romance is prevalent in ACoTaR, the plot is the main focal point, and though passion is professionally interwoven in Feyre and Tamlin’s tale, when there’s something else more interesting on the stage, ardent emotions are shoved into a back closet in the corner and the new development is allowed to shine. Both epic fantasy and romance readers will enjoy this novel.
ACoTaR’s characters are phenomenal. Though in the beginning I wanted to slap Feyre, she’s one of the characters in New Adult fiction I admire. She’s smart, strong, and isn’t a pristine virgin heroine found too often in romances. She’s easy to relate to, even though she lives in some far-off fantasy world, and funny and brilliant and I think I love her. Can I marry her? Is that a thing I can do?
Tamlin is awesome and wonderful and occasionally I want to pat him on the head and say, “Dude. ‘Sokay, man, ‘sokay. I feel ya, dude.” Except I’d probably laugh and ruin the moment because I can never keep a straight face. The point is Tamlin rocks, and if you read a book just because of the romance hero, something we’re all guilty of, you should read A Court of Thorns and Roses. Because Tamlin.
Lucien is Tamlin’s friend, and I just want to thank all the book gods out there that there’s no love triangle, and the only relationship between him and Feyre is that platonic one. He’s a wonderfully written character whom you can’t help but want to hug during some of the emotional, sad moments.
I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses. I loved the characters, the plot, the twists, the writing, the romance-all of it. But I am done with Tamlin and Feyre’s story. They got their happily ever after. I want to read about the other characters and other realms. and a different plot from a different point of view.
Phenomenal work, Sarah J. Maas. I look forward to reading more about this fae world.