So, shame on me, I’ve not reviewed any part of The Throne of Glass series, but in my defence I did read these books when I was going through a really rough patch and I do ramble on about them to anyone and everyone who will listen. Why? Because it’s my favourite series (sorry Shadowhunters although you guys still have Magnus who is the best character EVER) and Sarah J Maas is quite simply my favourite author—and she’s a pretty amazing person too!
But I’m going to be reviewing her other series first, mainly because I just finished A Court of Mist and Fury and I have FEELS from here to the next solar system. Problem is I haven’t reviewed book one in the series and reviewing them out of order makes me feel iffy (already had to do that with one series because I had to get the anger at book 2 being crappy out of my system). But these books aren’t crappy so I thought I could hold the fanboying at bay long enough to review book one first!
A Court of Thorns and Roses tells the story of Feyre. Born to wealth and luxuries, her family lost everything when she was young and all she has really known in her life is the miserable existence in the rundown cottage she shares with her crippled father and her two older sisters. Of all of them, Feyre is the only one who tries to find a way for them to survive and gather together what money they need to at least not starve or freeze to death: she taught herself to hunt, skin animals and prepare meat. She is the only reason her family hasn’t died already but all she never even gets a thank you from them. But whenever Feyre wanders into the woods, she isn’t just at risk from wild animals: there is always the chance a fae will have crossed the wall that keeps their realm separate from that of the humans.
One night Feyre encounters such a fae in the shape of a beautiful wolf. His pelt, she knows, would make her enough money for her family to survive the winter. And so, fuelled by all her hatred for the cruel fae she has heard so many stories about, Feyre kills the wolf with an ash arrow (ash being the only thing that can truly hurt a fae, despite humans thinking iron would too).
Killing one of the fae is to have consequences however, as the lord of the one she has killed comes claiming her life as his. A life for a life, but not her death, instead she is to spend the reminder of her days in his Court, in Pythian, a loophole in the law saving her life. So she’s whisked off to the Spring Court, entirely against her will, and there she needs to learn to make a new life for herself. But of course the story isn’t as simple as that, and for all ACOTAR could be a simple retelling of Beauty and the Beast, there is so much more to it than Feyre’s life at the estate and her relationship with Tamlin. There is a greater evil that has ruled over Pythian for fifty years and it will up to Feyre to find a way to break the curse.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a love story, but it’s also a novel by Sarah J. Maas and therefore anyone who sells this to you as a fantasy romance if sort of missing the point. Feyre is a thousand shades of kick-ass whislt never becoming a Caelena clone. She is hard, stubborn, willfull, and more than anything desperate to find where she fits into the new world she had been thrust upon. She should, wants to, hate Tamlin, but when he shows her (mostly) only kindness, that becomes more difficult for her. I loved their relationship and how it developed in this book, loved how her friendship with Lucien grew and grew throughout the book.
And then of course came Rhysand, the antagonist (or is he?) for the book. The second we met Rhysand I sat there thinking ‘please be more than just a villain, please be more than just a villain’. I was not disappointed although I shall say no more for the sake of not spoiling the rest of the story for anyone. Enough said that there is so much more to Rhysand than meets the eye and that when book one ended I couldn’t wait for book two just so I could, hopefully, get more of him.
I went into this book thinking it would be a romance (thanks marketing >_>) and therefore with the expectation that I would not love it nearly as much as The Throne of Glass series. I eat my words. And although Maas’ first series remains my favourite, A Court of Thorns and Roses was quite simply a fantastic book.
Maas’ style is beautifully poetic and colourful in this, echoing Feyre’s painter eye. Everything is vividly described and so easy to imagine. It was a fairy tale in every sense of the word and it whisked me away effortlessly into its pages, making stopping reading difficult at the best of time, let alone later on in the book when the stakes are getting higher and higher and higher.
If you are a fan of Maas’ writing, or simply love epic fantasy with a good, strong love story at the centre (and if you don’t like love stories, why not?!), A Court of Thorns and Roses will not disappear. And although the ending is more than satisfactory, you will turn the last page knowing in your bones that book two will be the only cure for the emptiness that will be left once you have put this book down.