Friday, January 6, 2017

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES: A REVIEW

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
Written by: Sarah J Maas
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Language: English
May 2015
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Series

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.


+++++++++++++

“I came to claim the one I love.“

I love fairytales. They are the stories my mom told me when I was a child. She also told me stories about the Tuatha, of selkies, and Tamlin. My childhood was filled with faeries, elves, and bogies. It was also filled with Grimm fairytales and others like it. We went old school. Imagine my disappointment at Disney’s Little Mermaid when she didn’t turn into sea foam at the end. Happy endings? Pft.

I also love retellings of classic fairytales and myths. After reading Throne of Glass and enjoying it, I heard that Maas was doing a Beauty and the Beast/Tamlin retelling with the fey. While the retelling of Cinderella slightly disappointed me (I wanted more bad ass assassin and less ‘oh look dresses’) I still think that Maas has the potential to be a new favorite author. Did I mention I love fairytales? I did, did I? They make me happy, especially Beauty and the Beast (Robin McKinley’s Beauty was and still is one of my favorite books).

Once upon a time Feyre lived a fairytale, but then her mother died, and her father lost their fortune. Now 19 year old Feyre does what she has to do in order to survive. Even though her family vastly underappreciates her, Feyre will still try to move the stars for them. It was a promise she made to her mother and one she intends to keep. But prey is getting scarce, so she hunts closer and closer to the border between the human lands and the Prythian lands of the powerful and immortal fey.

When she kills a wolf, her life is forever changed. The wolf was no ordinary wolf and now Feyre has a very large debt she must pay, thus the Beast like creature demands of her one night soon after. She can Forfeit her life and thus her family (as they cannot fend for themselves). Or she can spend her life in the fey lands of Prythian with the mysterious Tamlin, never to return. There is only one option for her to choose.

Feyre leaves her family behind and becomes part of the household to Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, and a shapeshifter. But there are secrets within the walls of the manor. Feyre, unknowingly becomes part of a game and there are far more players on this chess board then she is aware of.


Things I liked: Feyre is a great character. She is strong, independent, and will do anything to save those she loves. She is also incredibly flawed. She makes mistakes and makes decisions that leave you shaking your head. She also takes risks, even though consequences may be dire. She knows she has to do it because no one else will. It all makes her a well-rounded character. She feels real. I like her. I empathize with her.

Tamlin is great as well. He is not the perfect man. He, too, is flawed. But is also sweet, complex, loyal, strong, and let’s face it…hot. He is very much the Beast in the fairytale, but in the ways that I wanted. I loved watching him soften, watching him fall in love. Of course, I loved watching his relationship with Feyre blossom. And whoa the heat. Was not expecting that and I liked it.

My favorite character, however, is Lucien. I love him to itty bitty pieces. Lucien is cheeky and snarky. Of course I find him adorable. His verbal sparring with Feyre just makes me smile.

There are some recognizable Beauty and the Beast themes. We have a curse (masks instead of being turned into furniture, or beasts, or willow the wisps), she has to save her family, she needs to choose what is important to her (her old life or her new one). So , yes at the core, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. It is also much, much more. It is different, not as predictable as I thought it was going to be, and I really enjoyed it. I will say the mask curse is a bit silly because masks are sexy. Having them be stuck in beast form seems more fitting, but I will let it slide.

Ooh and I loved the challenges, Tasks to prove her love and worth. She is Princess Charming in this case and I love that reversal in roles. Makes me happy and these are some great scenes.

Of course I loved Prythian and the various Courts. I look forward to getting to know each of them as the series continues. Overall, this was a nice mix of fairytale, adventure, and romance.

Things I didn’t like so much: I don’t like Rhysand which may be an unpopular opinion. Here is why. Rhysand does horrible things, things that made me cringe. And yet he is painted as the handsome rogue, the tarnished knight, and the bad boy with the heart of gold. Of course there is a love triangle. Sigh. What he did to Feyre was a violation. She did not want any of it. It wasn’t right. I don’t care how it is painted. Please don’t make her choose him. I feel like Feyre and Tamlin are too good to be true, that she went through too much under the Mountain and she has come out not just fey, but different. Please let her choose no one. Let her discover who she is first, this new person, this new thing. Do not let her story be dictated by the men in her life. Pretty please.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. Or at least pick it up from the library. I went and bought the second one after I finished reading this if that is any indication.

Part of: Ongoing series.

Also Recommended: For more Sarah J Maas try her Throne of Glass series. For more fairytales try Beauty by Robin McKinley, Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier, and Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

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