Warning: If you have not read “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas, do not read this review if you do not want spoilers. If you don’t mind spoilers or already read the book, feel free to read this!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Mass! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“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.”
I didn’t realize this was a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ retelling until it was revealed that all the faeries are stuck having masks on their faces 24/7 because Amarantha cursed them all. The only way to get the masks off is to have someone who hates the fae (Feyre, our main protagonist) fall in love with Tamlin, the guy who insulted Amarantha and thus led to Amarantha cursing everyone in the first place. Though I feel awkward that I didn’t figure this out any sooner while reading the book, at least I know I have something to compare it to.
Like the original tale, Feyre’s sisters are completely ungrateful for Feyre being the only one keeping the household in line, and the father is generally useless. However, one of the sisters does turn out to be a bit better than I thought, when Feyre gets to visit her father and sisters briefly later on in the book a while after separating from them, and I kind of hope said sister survives the events of the next two books (yes, this book is the first in a trilogy!). It makes her less of a mean caricature and slightly more of a rounded person, which is nice.
Going onto the actual protagonist, Feyre, and her love interest Tamlin, I didn’t think their romance was all-too convincing. Despite enjoying the actual non-PG scenes involved with the both of them, I never felt any real chemistry between Feyre and Tamlin or any realistic challenge to their relationship other than Amarantha imprisoning them and using them for her nefarious ends (and failing, obviously).
Rhysand was a far more interesting character compared to Tamlin. He was wicked, but not stupid, and if there’s anything I like in a villainy-type character, it’s if he can be wicked and smart about it. Even when it’s revealed that he doesn’t enjoy serving Amarantha and turned to the side of good to help Feyre defeat her, I have a feeling that’s not the last of him I’m going to see later on in the trilogy.
I also loved the action scenes in the book, but I wish there was more. There was so much physical description of the beautiful Fae and their lands that it overshadowed the dark grittiness of the worldbuilding. I hope that grittiness comes out more in later books.
Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.