Sunday, April 5, 2015

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


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Book One of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down! 

What I Liked:

I like this book much more than I like the Throne of Glass books. That series and I have a weird relationship. I thought Throne of Glass was pretty good, I didn't like Crown of Midnight as much as I'd hope, but then I LOVED Heir of Fire... I have much more faith in this series. Perhaps because it's only a trilogy (thank goodness. If I'd known the Throne of Glass series was a six-book series, I might not have started it in 2012). Or perhaps because Maas didn't pull that love triangle shizz in this book.

This book begins with Feyre and her pitiful, poor life with her crippled father and her ungrateful sisters. Feyre is hunting a doe in the forest when a wolf appears. Feyre shoots the wolf and takes the doe. But the wolf was Fae, and Feyre is taken from her home soon after. But the Fae are nothing like legends tell. Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, treats her like a guest, not a prisoner. She isn't a prisoner, but he wants her to stay in his manor. His emissary, Lucien, is callous and rude, but Tamlin is calm and observant. But Feyre finds that the Fae are not as perfect and polished as they should be (according to her human knowledge). A dark evil is threatening Tamlin's power, and Feyre will not be safe. She will have to sacrifice anything - and everything - to stay alive, and save Tamlin and his world before it is too late.

I like Feyre a lot. I'm going to be making a lot of comparisons to the Throne of Glass series, so bear with me. I like Feyre a lot more than I like Celaena. Feyre is a cold nineteen-year-old, who had to start hunting and fending for her family at a young age. For eight years, she's been finding food and ways to make money to keep her family alive. Feyre has no fond childhood memories. She has no reason to laugh, to smile, to trust. When she is taken to the manor, she assesses every way that she can escape, or attack. She's very intelligent, and proves this in many ways, especially towards the end of the book. I like how she thinks.

Tamlin is my favorite character of the book. He has little control over what is happening in the Fae world, despite being a powerful High Lord. He is more than distraught, worried, broken over what is happening, with the evil approaching. He has reasons for keeping Feyre at the manor, but he makes sure she is not prisoner. Tamlin is noble and fierce, and one of the last rebellious High Lords against the evil that is taking over, but don't take him for the golden boy. He is a dangerous, lethal faerie who shows no mercy and has a tightly reined temper.

This book is based on Beauty and the Beast! There are so many great parallels. It starts with Feyre being taken to the manor, but in my opinion, this book gives off less of a Stockholm Syndrome vibe (even as a child, as I was convinced that Beauty and the Beast was a just a story with a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome). Tamlin is referred to as a "beast" every now and then. Feyre does leave the manor and goes home, about three-fifths of the way through the story. There are plenty more. Maas does an excellent job of weaving the timeless tale into this story. Or vice versa.

I LOVE the story. This book is well over four hundred pages (in classic Maas fashion), but it never really feels that long. The Throne of Glass series definitely wears out readers, in my opinion - there are times when you can totally tell that the books of that series are over four hundred pages. This story is enticing and intriguing, and it's difficult to stop reading.

Upper YA audience (or older) is definitely the age range for this book. This one gets steamy, and there is not fade-to-black in some scenes. It's not explicit like adult historical romance novels or something, but Maas does not hold back details that many YA authors do. More power to her, because I like seeing YA get steamy. Young adults are pretty adventurous these days (or so I hear. *side eyes*). Being one, I can say that the mature content is definitely for mature readers... perhaps not your thirteen year-old child. You do you though.

The supporting characters are so well-developed and likable. I worried that Lucien would be a leg in a possible love triangle, but he is a faithful emissary to Tamlin, and a good friend to Feyre. Even Rhysand, who I liked at first, then hated, then hated some more (the paint and dancing, I can't forgive that, no matter what), then came to a truce... he is a very well-rounded character. I can't say I like him. Not yet.

I loooooove the romance. The romance is my favorite part of this book. Forget everything else. Forget the hardship and sacrifice and Psyche-like tasks and the evil tyrant. The romance is stunning and sensual and breathtaking. Tamlin and Feyre fit together so well. It's not love at first sight, or lust at first. Tamlin and Feyre get to know each other slowly, as they run into each other in the manor. It's not long before they desire each other, and then love each other. Love is what will save them.

I hated and loved all of the sacrifices that Feyre had to make for Tamlin. There is so much of it, and I'm not okay with some things that she did for him. But it shows how much she loves him. And how much he loves her - terrible things happened and were done to him, because he refused to give up Feyre. The last 20% of this book is heartbreaking.

The ending itself is good. It's satisfying, and does not end with a cliffhanger. Thank goodness. I bet you a bajillion dollars that Maas will save that cliffhanger for the end of book two, and it will result in Tamlin and Feyre being separated. Typical YA. Please prove me wrong, Maas!

What I Did Not Like:

I mentioned above that I didn't like some things that Rhysand did. Rhysand is kind of an enemy of Tamlin's. He is the lover of a powerful queen, and he has no long-lost love for Tamlin. He does unspeakable things in this book, and I hate him for it. I hate what he does to Feyre. It's so... I can't even put to words. I'm not okay with it, no matter why he did it, to protect people or otherwise. When choices are taken from you... it doesn't matter the reason. It's not okay.

I'm not okay with the oath, either. Read the book and you'll see what I mean. It's handy at times, but I'm not okay with it. 

One thing I hate about fae-related books is the deceit. The tricks. The twisting of words. I hate it all. And all of those things mar this story. This story becomes a swimming pot of messy gloop in seconds, it seems. I personally hate it when there is so much deceit and lies and misguided promises.

Small thing - but the riddle is SO OBVIOUS. And so cliche. I knew the answer to it as soon as I read it. You don't need to know Beauty and the Beast, or be a genius. I was hoping for a more difficult riddle! How did Feyre not know it immediately! I'm so serious, I knew it as soon as I read it.

Would I Recommend It:

Despite some dislikes (which are still bothering me, honestly), I'd recommend this book. Maas is a master storyteller, and this new series is better than the Throne of Glass series (in my opinion, so far). Definitely give this book to mature readers though - it's upper YA for sure.

Rating:

3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I'm still shaking my head at certain things... but overall I'm pleased with this book. I'm excited to see where Maas will take the story, though if I'm honest with myself, I should be terrified. Maas seems to be the type of writer that hates a happy ending. So we shall see!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

28 comments:

  1. glad to see you enjoyed this book, I can't wait to get my copy of this book :) Lovely Review

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    1. Excellent! I hope you love it! Thanks <3

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  2. Since I know you weren't overly keen on the ToG books and I love them, to see that you give this one 4 stars makes me sure that I will adoooore it!!
    Dammit, the wait is gonna be longer since I've ordered a signed copy from BoW!!
    Brilliant review as always, Alyssa!

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    1. YAY signed copy! I hope you love it when you read it, Pili!

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  3. Awesome review Alyssa :D I'm so glad you liked this book. <3 Despite some issues with it ;p I loooove steamy scenes. Sigh. SO HAPPY that there are some awesome ones in this one, lol :D But omg, I am now worried about the romance. You love it. I'm so pleased about that. But.. I have seen so many love Rhys o.O Please tell me there is no kissing between him and the girl :( I hope there isn't.. THANK YOU for letting me know that the romance is between Tamlin and Feyre :D Now I'm less worried, lol. But also hoping for no kissing with other people :( Please don't let there be any. Sigh. That is what bothers me the most in books, lol. But aw, I'm sorry you had issues with some things sweetie :\ fingers crossed book two will be more awesome :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it. <3

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    1. I think most people like Rhys as a character, and not necessarily a love interest. He doesn't have a romantic interest in Feyre. He certainly is an intriguing character, I'll give him that.

      I hope you enjoy this book when you read it!

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  4. Since i still have to read Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire I don't know what you are taking about here but I loved reading your view of A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I particularly loved the part of YA that goes Steamy ..... that was a nice inference you made ....

    Great review :) Counting down to the release of the book. :D

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

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    1. LOL! I'm glad you did! I like this one much more than her other series, so it's a good thing. I hope you love this book when you read it, Aparajita! And thank you ^_^

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  5. What a lovely review! I am especially excited to hear that there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE! Best news I've heard all day, especially since I'm currently reading Throne of Glass. Have this one pre-ordered, and I sooo can't wait. Hopefully I'll still remember what you said about not liking the oath.

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    1. YAYAYAY! I hope you love this book! And the Throne of Glass series. Heir of Fire is my favorite of the three full-length novels in the series.

      And trust me, you'll know what I was talking about, when you get to that part of the story O_O

      Thank you so much, Zoey!

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  6. I have promised several blogging buddies that I would read the ToG books. Infact I have the novella compilation and the first two books ready to go n ky Kindle, but after reading several ACOTAR reviews I have been wondering if I would like this series better. They have all told me no, but hmm... I don't know.

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    1. THIS SERIES, THIS SERIES! I vote this series... especially if you're not a fan of love triangles. I don't even know what Maas is doing with the romance in Heir of Fire. It's really weird and screwed up, in my opinion. Anyway. Another point in this series' favor is that it's only a trilogy...

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    2. Two more points in its favor then; I prefer trilogies and loathe love triangles, especially screwed up ones!

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    3. Right?! Great minds think alike!

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  7. So, like most other Beauty and the Beast retellings....it's another example of the rule from "When Harry Met Sally"? ;)

    I have mixed feelings about some of the "mature content" in YA books these days--not for me now (though I don't necessarily enjoy it), but for my 13-year-old self (who had the reading skills for "older" books but probably wasn't ready for all the content). The old lady in me wants to say, "Save the adult stuff for the adult books." :P

    Not sure whether I'll pick this one up...especially if some of those dislikes are still bothering you. But I'm glad I have another option for trying out Maas' writing besides Throne of Glass. Great review!

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    1. Not familiar with "When Harry Met Sally"? lol

      LOL I like your opinion on mature content. I feel like theoretically I feel the same way... when I have kids it will probably feel like that lol

      I definitely prefer this book to her Throne of Glass series! Though I did really enjoy Heir of Fire.

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    2. I've never watched the whole movie, but the famous line is: "Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way." (Wanting it and/or doing it.) Which pretty much defines/explains all romance books. ;)

      I can definitely see mature content being a bigger concern if you have kids. If a friend asks for reading recs for his/her kids, I have to stop and think about whether that book I loved was a little "old." And then I wonder why that MG/YA book had mature stuff in the first place... I know it's relevant to many teens, but I also sometimes feel like we're making kids and teens grow up too fast. Hold on to those Saturday morning cartoons with your last breath! :D

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    3. RIGHT!?!??! Re your last statements. I know for me personally, I was reading at a very young age, and reading romance novels at a fairly young age too. I turned out fine and I looooove romance novels, but if it were my kid - or my little cousins, nephews/nieces, etc., I'd have to stop and think O_O

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  8. I've read the first two in the Throne of Glass series and I fully expect to love this one. I've heard that it has a pretty slow beginning but it's worth it by the end. Fae are deceitful and tricky in all books, so no surprise for the there. Great review Alyssa :)

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    1. Yay! I hope you enjoy this book when you read it Liza.

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  9. I'm so torn about this book! I know there's not really a love triangle, but I also know questionable things happen that would definitely make me squirm. *siiigh* I really want to read a Maas book, tho, and I love B & the B.

    I am glad that you say there's definitely not a triangle tho! I hope that stays the same going forward.

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    1. LOL! This is probably the better Maas series of the two, honestly. You'd probably rage with the Throne of Glass series (so far, anyway). I'm annoyed with things that Rhysand did in this book, but hopefully it's resolved in one of the two upcoming novels. Anyway.

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  10. Hi! I just read the book and yeah it was great. I know that the answer to the riddle would be love, but can anyone help me why the reason is love and how is it love? Cause when I read the riddle again after knowing the answer, I was dumb lol

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    1. I'd need to see the exact riddle again lol but I remember thinking, as soon as I saw the riddle, that the answer was love!

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    2. going over the riddle line by line:
      There are those that seek me a lifetime before we meet, (lonely people) and those i kiss but who trample me beneath ungrateful feet (adulterers).
      At times I seem to favor the clever and the fair, (clever and attractive people seem to get love easier) but i bless all those who are brave enough to dare. (a play on the phrase "dare to love")
      by large, my minstrations are soft-handed and sweet, (love is generally a good emotion) but scorned, i become a difficult beast to defeat. (Those who lose love carry the weight of the lost love for a long time)
      For though each of my strikes lands a powerful blow, (love is a very powerful emotion that can alter peoples thoughts and actions unilaterally) When i kill, i do it slow.... (those who die because of love do not die quickly but drag out their death until they cannot bare the pain of the loss any longer).
      Its a year late and most likely not 100% correct but this is how i interpreted the riddle.

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    3. Dude! That's how I interpreted the riddle! It seems like you got it spot-on!

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  11. I loved this book, and I totally agree with some of your issues with it. I also saw that you never reviewed the following book, a court of mist and fury, and to be honest that one of my all time favorite books now. The sequel blew the first book out of the water. It one of those books you just want to crawl inside of and never leave.

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    1. I've not read the sequel, and if I'm going to be honest, I probably won't! I hope you love ACOWAR. =)

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