This book is absolutely amazing. A spellbinding, magical fairy tale that wraps you up in its lush detail, intricate world building and passionate romance. I was torn between reading it all in one go and making it last as long as possible so that it would never end. As soon as I finished the last page I was planning a re-read, that’s how good this book is! This book only cemented the fact that Sarah J. Maas is definitely one of my favourite authors. This book is perfection.
A Court of Thorns and Roses (AKA: ACOTAR) is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and, I believe, East o’ the sun, West o’ the moon (my two favourite fairy tales). The story follows both of these, but is a fairy tale in its own right too. I think it is best to go into this book expecting a fairy tale and not an epic fantasy, because while it is epic and fantasy, I think the creatures, world and characters’ interactions are much more suited to those fairy tale expectations. There were even a few references to the Disney film, and every time I read them I would just grin stupidly.
The story follows Feyre, whose once wealthy family have fallen into poverty. Feyre is the main breadwinner, hunting in woods which is home to the wall that divides the mortal human world in which she lives, with the magical, Fae world of Prythian, a place feared and nightmarish to the humans. After killing a wolf, the plot takes off when a beast bursts into her home and demands retribution, and she is taken away to his home in Prythian.
Faeries are my favourite magical creature (next to elves – but Sarah’s fae seem a bit like elves to me), so the fae world of Prythian was so interesting and fun to read. I seriously want to live there.
The romance in this story is done well. It is the main thing taken from the Beauty and the Beast tale and so it is expected, but it is developed and dragged out long enough for it to be believable and realistic. I must say though, that this is a New Adult book, and so does have some more mature content (disclaimer for younger readers).
The story starts out as very enchanting and magical, but the last third of the book takes a big turn and is so action-packed and intense that I literally stopped everything so that I could just sit down and read through. If you find it slow to begin with, keep going; you will be hooked once you reach that part in the plot.
Feyre was such a refreshing character to read. While I still love powerful and strong female protagonists, I especially love the characters with weaknesses, an ability to show emotion, and who don’t have that hard exterior that can make them completely unrelatable to quiet and emotional me. But this did not stop her strength from shining through, especially her care for her family. There were a few instances when she did something that made me want to cry out WHY WHY WHY FEYRE? But when I thought what I would do myself in those situations, I would have made most of the same decisions as her.
Tamlin is the ‘beast’ of the story, but you might want to picture him as much more attractive than the beast in the Disney movie. I loved the way that Tamlin treated Feyre in this book. It kind of took me by surprise, given the original fairy tale and Disney film I had to go on. I thought he was a well-developed love interest, who did not detract from Feyre’s own characteristics.
Lucien is Tamlin’s emissiary. At first I was very sceptical about his character, but now I think I am in love with him (because I did not have enough fictional boyfriends). He is crafted so well as a character and his snarky interactions with Feyre made me really laugh.
From the first time we meet Rhys, I just knew he would become my favourite character. His motives are unclear and he is certainly the anti-hero of the story, but there is definitely more to him that Sarah has kept hidden and I cannot wait to find out more. Sarah J. Maas has succeeded in creating more swoon-worthy male characters in this book, who are still so different from her characters in her Throne of Glass series. Rhysand is one I still need to know more about, and with the way this book ends, you will too!
The story wraps itself up nicely and could almost be a standalone. I don’t know exactly where book 2 is going to go, but if it means more time in Prythian, with these characters, I’m reading it!
I did not want to return to the real world after reading this book. I could not stop thinking about it, and not only is it my favourite book of 2015 so far, it is one of my ALL TIME favourite books EVER. I need book 2 now! If you love fantasy and fairy tales, pick this book up!