Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

At the time I’m writing this, it’s been about 3 days since I finished this book and I’m still feeling the feels. I told my husband when I finished that I needed a cigarette after that one (I’m not even a regular smoker). It was so good! It’s a Beauty and the Beast tale, but it’s different from the recent contemporary ones I’ve read, as the characters are fae instead of billionaires. Still counts.

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One-Sentence Synopsis
After killing a fae, a young girl is forced to give her life to them to meet the requirements of a treaty signed after the war between fae and humans, but she’s allowed instead to live out the rest of her days with one of them in his castle. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page

Reluctant Tribute
Feyre feels very Katniss Everdeen, right down to her skill with a bow and arrow. In fact, the whole book has characeristics of other stories, like The Hunger Games, Twilight, and random other fairy tales. But to compare this book to those ones isn’t fair. For me, this one blew them out of the water with regards to both quality and entertainment value.

Feyre is a strong but flawed character. She dreams of a better life for her and her family. She’s self sacrificing, but she’s also exasperated with them (rightly so). She’s young, but at the start of the book it’s known that she engages in an affair with a local boy. Also, she doesn’t know how to read, which I thought was an interesting trait to give to a main character.

Enter the Beast
After she kills the wolf, her family is “visited” by a wolflike creature who demands that Feyre either give her life in exchange for the fae one she took or come spend the rest of her days living in the fae world, a place dangerous to humans. The wolf is a shapeshifting fae of importance named Tamlin who offers her safety at his home where he and everyone under his rule have been cursed to wear masks they can’t remove.

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Setting the Scene
I loved the world building. Some of the creatures were familiar, but others were new to me. There is range of good fae to evil fae, and there are some who don’t seem to fall into either category. The descriptions were rich and added to the emotion and feel of the story.

Supporting Cast
Besides Feyre and Tamlin, there is a great cast of characters, some featured more than others, and almost all of them, even the minor ones, are multi-dimensional with history and back story. As for the villain of the piece, she is probably one of the most heinous villains I’ve ever read. Her story even gives you reason to empathize with her, but that reason gets lost to the fact that she’s completely sadistic.

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Dark & Darker
Many of the scenes were really gruesome. It doesn’t contain a lot of standard horror gore, but descriptions were powerful and disturbing. The author, Sarah J. Maas, has a knack for not going overboard with descriptions, and yet giving me everything I need to watch this whole thing play out like a movie in my mind.

The Romance Factor
I’m already biased because of the whole BatB thing, but the romance was amazing. Tamlin and Feyre get off to a rocky start, but Tamlin treats her well and as Feyre develops and comes to terms with no longer being with her family, she starts to see the good in Tamlin and finds herself falling in love with him. There are subtle but powerful hints to how Tamlin feels from the start, like his slight jealousy when Feyre accompanies his emissary on hunts and how he worries when she puts herself into danger. 5/5

The Steam Factor
While not overly descriptive, the sensual buildup of the romance makes the steam that much stronger, and when Tamlin and Feyre do become intimate, it’s highly erotic. However, not to give too much away, but there is another source of sensuality and sexiness that becomes a major source of conflict. Two words love triangle. Hot. 5/5

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Final Thoughts
I laughed and I cried…basically my feels were all over the place and I loved it. If you like romantic fantasy and don’t mind a few reminders of other less than stellar books, I highly recommend this one. My only complaint is that I have to wait until May for the second in the series to come out. Sadness.

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