Review time – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J Maas
The hardest thing about writing about this book is that so much happens and there is too much to write about in a summary. I don’t even think it is possible to make this brief.
A court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Feyra is a young woman with the whole world on her shoulders. Her family lost their fortune, and since her mother’s death she has taken it upon herself to look after her two sisters (Nesta and Elaine) and her father. As the bread winner of the family she provides them with meals as often as she can and after one extraordinarily lucky hunt Feyra returns home with a deer and a wolf. Not only will this feed them all for a while but it will also provide them with fur for clothing and extra money at market.
Unbeknown to Feyra the wolf she killed was a Fae. Now, the relationship between humans and fae is pretty much non existent. They hate each other! Humans had once been slaves for the faerie race and for centuries they had both abided rules to ensure they lived in peace. Feyra killing the wolf broke the treaty between them and a beast like faerie soon went after Feyra demanding payment. She was given a choice; she could either pay with her life or she was to return to Prythian with the beast to live out the rest of her days over the wall in the faerie realm.
Feyra chose the latter and the Beast, also know as Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court takes her away. She is surprised by the amount of freedom she is awarded by Tamlin when she arrives at the Spring Court, He provides her with anything she needs or wants and even ensures that her family are taken care of. As time passes Feyra begins to trust Tamlin more and more along with his friend Lucien.
One night, during the Fae’s solstice celebration Feyra is asked to stay locked in the estate. Well she’s not really asked it’s more of a demand but Feyra’s own curiosity gets the better of her and she wanders off to explore the activities. Whilst she is there she walks into trouble, literally. It’s like she is a magnet for it. She is saved by a stranger named Rhysand. Rhysand like Tamlin is a high fae however, he has an alliance with the Queen which is deeply frowned upon. Escaping Rhysand’s clutches Lucien finds Feyra and before she gets into anymore trouble she is returned to the estate.
Tamiln and Feyra’s relationship grows following the solstice celebrations and it isn’t long after that Feyra’s life is once again put in jeopardy. Rhysand arrives at the Spring Court and whilst intimidating Tamlin and Lucien he finds Feyra. There is drama, a lot of testosterone and things spiral out of control once again. For her own protection she gives Rhysand a fake name thinking all will be well. Tamlin thinks otherwise and he sends Feyra back to the human realm.
Unhappy with Tamlin’s orders Feyra can’t just go back to living her life. She can’t settle and doesn’t fit in with her family anymore. She believes Tamlin is in trouble and after realising she loves him she needs nothing more but to find her way back to him. She makes her way back to the Spring Court to find it abandoned and wrecked. One servant remains (Alis) and she explains that a curse has been placed on Tamlin. This was done by the Queen. Now Queen Amarantha has a strong hatred for humans and has had Tamlin cursed for 49 years after he refused to become her lover. The only way this curse could be broken was if he made a human fall in love with him and the human that falls in love with him must have killed a Fae out of hatred (the wolf remember). After failing to get Feyra to proclaim her feelings Tamlin has become a slave / prisoner of the Queen’s. (I use the terms loosely but it becomes clear something epic is going to have to happen to free him). The staff at the Spring Court were not allowed to explain this to Feyra while she was at the Spring Court and after this revelation a new wave of determination instills into Feyra as she sets out to save Tamlin from the Queen’s clutches.
(This is getting so long, if you’re still with it I applaud you!)
Feyra is soon captured by the Queen and to save Tamlin, Feyra has to complete three ridiculously impossible tasks or answer a riddle. Unable to work out the answer of the riddle Feyra battles through each of the tasks. After the first task she is badly wounded and it soon turns infected. Rhysand (remember the High Fae with the alliance with the Queen, will turns out he’s her whore? (Is there even a word for a male whore?)) forces Feyra to make a deal with him, he will heal her and save her from dying from a fever but she is to spend a week of every month with him for the rest of her life. He tattoos her to mark their deal and has pleasure flaunting it in front of Tamlin while Feyra is held captive.
Feyra completes all three tasks to the Queens dismay and just when you think everything will all be well, the Queen turns even more psycho. She goes back on her word and murders Feyra in the most brutal way. On the brink of death Feyra solves the riddle and the Queen’s curse is broken. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to save Feyra. Amazingly there is one more twist in the tale as the High Fae’s come together and share their powers with her. This raises her from the dead but also turns her into a High Fae in the process.
The tale ends with Feyra dwelling on the choices she made in the Queen’s dungeons, in the arms of her true love and an eternity with him ahead of her.
Now there is so much missing from this summary, probably some vital parts but when it gets to over a thousand words on the word count it’s like I have written one of my first year university assignments minus the conclusion. Too long!
Finally, my thoughts…
I went into this book knowing it had mixed reviews but after an awful reading slump it was great to find something new to read that had gained my attention. The amount of books I had picked up and put straight back down again after the first ten pages was increasing at a frustrating pace and it could not have arrived at a more perfect time. I had totally forgot this series existed and when looking into upcoming releases for 2017 I saw that the third instalment was due for release in May. I looked into the series and went ahead and bought the first two books. I’m kinda glad I did! Three cheers for this book that finally broke the reading slump!
I absolutely adored how this book was not a carbon copy of Beauty and the Beast. Sarah J Maas’ imagination is just incredible and this story proves just how much this genre and style of writing suits her. The connection between this tale and Beauty and the Beast was so loose it was great to experience it in a brand new way. It’s important to state that all the vital parts of the original tale were included and it was all incorporated into more mature and adult friendly story that held my attention from beginning to end. In a number of retellings I have read it’s been the exact same as the original tale, it has been just as childlike as the Disney version and I’ve been left unimpressed. This was great!
There was a perfect amount of romance in this book and it did not overshadow the adventure and fantasy elements. The pace of the book was great and there were very few dull moments if any at all. Yes, I know people will disagree but psssh I don’t care. It was an addictive and emotional read all the way through and I really did love it!
I like Feyra as a protagonist, there were some instances throughout the book where she annoyed me but I soon got over them. She was strong, determined and fierce from the beginning. The life she was living pre Prythian was admirable, in particular her determination to survive and care for her family. Feyra was a lot more emotional than I expected her to be. I though this was a nice trait to include especially with a lot of the heroines we are getting in other books within this genre at the moment.
Now, Tamlin. Oh Tamlin. He is a perfect blend of mystery, confidence and manliness. Well that is until the end when he is in the Queen’s clutches and then everything just changed and I was left disappointed and pissed at him. I just don’t get how he could sit there and watch the ‘love of his life’ go through so much shit without doing something about it. He could have at least tried. Yes, I know he’s stuck in an awful position with a psycho queen controlling him but it’s the love of his life. Brownie points were lost! It felt as though Rhysand was more concerned about Feyra. I feel like we’re heading towards a love triangle.
I’ve heard that A Court of Mist and Fury is so much better than this instalment and if that is true I am definitely in for a treat. I’m so glad I gave into this series, I’m thankful it brought me out of the reading slump in and I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book!
“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”