Genre: Young Adult, New Adult?, Fantasy
Date Published: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children
Buy: Amazon // Book Depository // Bloomsbury
Australian: Angus & Robertson // Booktopia // Bloomsbury Australia
Follow Sarah J. Maas on Twitter
Feyre is a huntress.
She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price…
Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feeling for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been told about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.
Feyre must find a way to break a spell, or lose her heart forever.
Before we start I just wanna give a shout out to Fadwa @ Word Wonders and Fatima @ Noteable Pad. Two of their recent reviews, which I linked to, really helped inspire me to write this and also Fadwa’s post about Unpopular Opinions – make sure to check them out!
I’m about to express some unpopular opinions in this and I know that a lot of people love this book and I’m in no way intending to offend anyone. I just want to be honest about my thoughts and feelings. I’m quite nervous about posting this. I’m honestly not trying to say anyone who loves this book shouldn’t ect. we all have different thoughts and feelings. This is just how I feel. I know it’s always disheartening to see someone not love your favourite book, but that doesn’t take anything away from you and how you feel about it.
Parts of this review is going to contain spoilers for A Court of Thorn and Roses. I haven’t read A Court of Mist and Fury yet and I have somehow managed to avoid all spoilers so please no mention of what happens in that book, thank you! I’m going to split this review into two sections. The first part will be a Mini Review with NO SPOILERS and then I’ll get into a more in depth discussion and by “in depth discussion” I mean messy rant that will be filled with SPOILERS GALORE.
Mini Spoiler Free Review
A Court of Thorns and Roses is the closest I’ve come to a “cover buy”. Covers are always the first thing I notice, but I’ll always read the blurb and do some Goodreads research. I did this with A Court of Thorns and Roses, but I also went against most of my instincts and hesitation with high fantasy and bought it anyway. I saw all the positive reviews and some really nice edits on Tumblr and reading the blurb I was intrigued by the idea that Feyre was a huntress. I started reading this book last year, but then The Great Reading Slump happened and I put it on hold forever. I FINALLY finished it yesterday and I have A LOT of mixed thoughts and feelings.
Feyre is a “huntress” (I say this with quotation marks because the only time we see this is at the start and end of the book) who is trying to help keep her family alive. She is out hunting one day and kills what she thinks is a wolf, but actually turns out to be a fae. The punishment for when a human kills a fae is usually death, but in this case an exception is made and Feyre gets to travel across the wall that was built to separate mortals and fae and live with a fae high lord, Tamlin. Feyre eventually learns that a curse that has fallen over the courts that forces everyone to wear a mask. She then tries to seek out the truth on her own, because no one else will tell her. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a fairytale retelling loosely based around Beauty and the Beast. I can’t really comment on that aspect because I’m not familiar enough with Beauty and the Beast, but from what I do know it seemed like an interesting enough take on it.
This book has beautiful writing, I got so caught up in the world Sarah J. Maas had created. I loved the use of descriptive words. It was so easy to get immersed into the story. Everything was incredibly captivating. At certain times I almost felt like everything that was happening to Feyre was actually happening to me. I mostly enjoyed the world building even if I did get a little confused at times. I really loved the idea of all the different courts. The last 20% of the book was, for the most part, brilliant. This book also reads like a Young Adult for the majority, but there are a few sex scenes that are definitely New Adult. I found myself cringing at parts of them, but I have to admit they are some of the better ones that I’ve seen. Mostly because of how SJM writes so descriptively. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship I could at least feel the chemistry between them.
I really loved seeing Feyre’s relationship with her sisters, Nesta and Elaine. Nesta was a really interesting character and I wish we had the chance to learn more about her. I totally appreciated Amarantha as a villain too. As soon we were introduced to her I immediately wanted to know everything about her. She was brilliantly evil and I could easily read an entire book about her. I liked seeing Feyre’s scenes with Alis, who was a servant in the castle, too.
When I first started reading this book last year I was really enjoying the start of it, but then once I read on there was just too many inconsistencies with characters and pacing for me to love this book completely. I understand that High Fantasies are usually slower paced, but the start of this book had a really consistent pacing and then in the middle it just lacked and then the ending was borderline fast paced and we got an overload of information.
For the main part I did enjoy Feyre as a main character. It just frustrated me how Feyre is dangerously careless for a lot of the book in a way that totally goes against her role as a supposed hunter. I’m all for characters defying orders if it’s done in the right way, but some of Feyre’s decisions were completely reckless.
I felt like there was a lot of problematic issues that were romanticised which is one of the tropes I hate more than anything else in the world. I couldn’t really get invested in Tamlin or Rhysand because they both did things to Feyre that made me extremely uncomfortable (trigger warnings for victim blaming, manipulation, being drugged and non consensual physical contact). The only male character I loved in this book was Lucien.
The curse felt EXTREMELY convenient. Almost TOO convenient. The ending albeit predictable was refreshing in the way that I’m glad the thing that happened wasn’t dragged out over multiple books. It took me about four or five hours to decide on a rating and now it’s been a few days and I’m still not really sure. I was tossing up anywhere from 2-4 stars. I decided on 3 because even though I had issues I can’t take away how brilliant the writing was.
Despite not absolutely loving this book I am still going to read A Court of Mist and Fury because I’m intrigued enough to see what happens next and lots of people have said it’s better than the first book! I’m just hoping there isn’t any love triangles. If you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses then I’d still suggest checking it out because you might love it! I just can’t say “oh my god I love this book” because at the end of the day: I didn’t.
MY RATING: ★★★☆☆
Here are some BookTubers that explain my thoughts and feelings a lot better than I can:
These videos contain spoilers.
** THE REST OF THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK **
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first, shall we?
The Most Convenient Curse & Easiest Riddle Ever Award goes to….
It was like the curse was an afterthought to everything else and then SJM just decided to try and find something that would fit with what she already wrote. I honestly almost put the book down at this point. I also didn’t like how the blame was all shifted to Feyre, like she was the cause of this centuries old curse because she didn’t break it when she had the chance (despite not knowing ANYTHING about it?) The message I was getting was that she had no right to be unsure of her feelings. The riddle was SO EASY. I’m not even close to being good at solving logic puzzles and I figured it out within five minutes. I totally understand that Feyre can’t read (and I really love that SJM included that as part of her character) so putting certain phrases and words together may not come as easy to her, but like honestly? She managed to figure out how Tamlin’s heart was made of stone in minutes under extreme pressure, but she couldn’t figure out the riddle?
Team No One, tbh
[I can already see the pitchforks that are coming after me for what I’m about to say here 😂😂😂]
I’m not part of the ‘fandom’ but all over BookTube and Goodreads I see people expressing their loyalty for Tamlin or Rhysand and I just don’t feel that passionately about either of them. Tamlin was extremely inconsistent and bland and Rhysand was a creep.
Until the last few chapters I was SO confused about why everyone loved Rhysand so much and then I guess I could see why, but it doesn’t excuse his behaviour. I appreciate and love that he is a complex character because they’re one of my favourite types and admittedly he’s definitely one of the strongest parts of the book, but his actions shouldn’t be romanticised. It feels like he’s going to become a romantic interest for Feyre and I really don’t know how I feel about that. He drugged Feyre repeatedly, but we’re supposed to be totally chill with it because hey he didn’t touch her below the waist! He literally took advantage of a DYING GIRL to get her to make a bargain with him and for what? To piss off Tamlin? But hey, he’s SUCH A GREAT GUY BECAUSE HE COULD HAVE DONE X, Y AND Z INSTEAD? I don’t think so, buddy. I’m not talking about the kiss. Even though that made me uncomfortable, I definitely understand his motives for that. I’m talking about the emotional abuse and the non-consensual touching, making her dance for him and invading her mind. I know in a roundabout way some of these actions can be justified and like I said above I’m okay with morally ambiguous characters, but it really irked me that it was all seemingly being romanticised, that we weren’t supposed to care and are actually supposed to want Feyre to be with him.
Just like Tamlin biting Feyre on Fire Night. There was major victim blaming going on “Stay in your room because I have no control and it’ll be your fault if I attack you”. He was really controlling and possessive at times too.
Basically, I’d much prefer Feyre to be on her own and ruling a Court than with either of them.
Now, onto the things I did enjoy!
Under the Mountain
Whilst I had a few issues with this part of the book (mainly Rhysand’s treatment of Feyre) for the most part I really enjoyed it. I felt like the pacing was a lot more on point and I found myself wanting to keep reading to see what happened. I liked the challenges Feyre had to complete. I found the idea of a giant worm a bit amusing, but I felt like for the FIRST TIME since the start of the book that we got to see Feyre be an actual huntress and it was brilliant. The challenge with Lucien was the first time I felt actual distress in this book. The third challenge was incredibly intense and I was on the edge of my seat seeing what Feyre decided to do. I like that Sarah J. Maas specified that Feyre killed the fae because of the entire court and the curse and not just because of Tamlin.
Like I said in my Mini Spoiler Free Review I really, really enjoyed Amarantha as a villain. She was so layered and complex and brilliantly evil. Whilst the riddle was ridiculously easy, I can actually excuse her doing that because she’s obviously over confident so the levels of difficulty probably wouldn’t have even occurred to her. She truly believed that there was NO WAY Feyre could defeat her. I can definitely appreciate evil characters – they’re normally always a favourite of mine – which is why I did enjoy Rhysand at first (and appreciate how conflicting he was), but I just couldn’t get on board with his actions and behaviour.
I honestly think Nesta may have been my favourite character. She felt so layered and I loved how headstrong she was. The fact that she could see through the Glamour was so interesting and I would have loved to learnt more about that. I absolutely adored the conversation Feyre had with Nesta once she’d come back. I really hope we get more of Nesta (and Elaine) in ACOMAF.
Lucien OR My Shining Light in the Darkness
I love Lucien. I love him so much. He was such a great character. Even though he was a side character I felt like he had so much more substance and depth than Tamlin did. He definitely made me enjoy the book a lot more and when I was almost considering putting it down and not picking it back up he was a huge part of the reason to why I kept going. He was the ONLY character I cared enough to be worried about. If anything happens to him in ACOMAF I will riot.