Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: May 2015
Source: ARC from publisher
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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.
This book was everything I’ve been waiting for from Sarah J. Maas. I’m a fan of the Throne of Glass series, but this made me light-headed, blurt ‘you have to read this’ to everyone I know, and deliciously excited for the sequel. And that’s only a small glimpse of what A Court of Thorns and Roses has done to me. I loved it. Hands down, the BEST new adult book I’ve ever read and my favourite of Maas’ work (to date—I fully expect to be blown away by the next two books in this trilogy).
It’s pitched true as Beauty and the Beast meets East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The first part of the book is beautiful and dreamlike – the next half is gritty and soul-wrenching. Both are equally great. On top of it, the world Maas has created is rich and seeped in history – an island with 7 fae kingdoms, separated from human lands in the south—all part of a wider world I imagine will come into play in the sequels.
As much as I like to go on about world-building and plot, what really makes me fall in love with a book is its characters. I love when an author crafts a character so great that I yearn for them to be real.
Feyre was incredible right from the start. When her family lost its fortune, she promised on her mother’s deathbed to take care of her limping father and older sisters. One day, she kills a wolf who was threatening her hunt, not realising (or caring) that it was a shape-shifted faerie and she inadvertently breaks the Treaty between the human and faerie realms. As payment (or punishment), a faerie beast offers her a choice: she can either die on the spot, or live out the rest of her life in the faerie realm. She’s brave, stubborn, dutiful, with a strong survival instinct. She will beat you up in a fight, make no bones about it. What she goes through in this book is truly remarkable.
It also promised to light my loins aflame, and it indeed it did with not one, not two, but three steaming hot faerie men (yes, three is the new minimum for male leads, ladies and gentlemen. See also: the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo).
Tamlin, the ‘beast’, is initially icy and gruff mannered, but he ended up melting my heart. He’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders and rarely opens up, so it was such a delight to see him try to awkwardly date an unimpressed Feyre. He’s also pretty vicious in that beast form and I love his sense of protection and sacrifice. His court and his people always come first, no matter the cost to him personally.
His friend and close confidant Lucien is sharp and witty; a courtier at heart. I would’ve been happy with a whole book of him and Tamlin exchanging witty banter for the rest of their very long lives. However, once you get past the prickly jests, he’s beautifully broken. He’s been deformed, outcast from his court and hated by all his brothers. His loyalty to Tamlin, and later Feyre, is unwavering and I love him for it.
Then, step aside Darkling—if you’re looking for someone with ambiguous morals and a magnetic pull, you’re going to love Rhys. I loved never being sure whose side he was on – the only thing I knew for certain was that he acts out of his own best interest. He’s seductive, cruel to be kind and so, so interesting. The deal he makes with Feyre should be quite the story in the sequels.
I’ve rambled enough, but basically, this is my favourite read of the year so far. Nothing left to say except for, well done Sarah. Just when I thought I couldn’t be surprised or impressed, you’ve managed both. I’m stunned and grateful for it.
Why you should read this book:
- Feyre. I admire so much her strength of character.
- Have I mentioned the three hot faerie men?
- Loins. Flaming. So. Hot.
- I can’t seem to pick a favourite fae. Just when I think I have, I remember how awesome another one is.
- Feyre can’t read, which was really interesting and refreshing.
- I want to go to a masquerade ball please!