Okay, so I’ll admit something right off the bat. I’m almost a little nervous to post a review about this book. It’s so beloved by YA/NA readers that part of me doesn’t want to put down my thoughts. But, you know, each to their own – and I like writing reviews. So, I’m going to write down my thoughts and if you agree, great. If not, oh well. It’s not the end of the world. Here we go!
Spoiler Free Review
Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1)
Authors: Sarah J Maas
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 2015
(from GR) 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.
Is this the most hyped YA series in the world at the moment? Probably. Should I have definitely read it before now? Probably. I don’t know. I wasn’t in the mood for something like this for a really long time. Then I saw both ACOTAR and ACOMAF in Tesco for a really good price and thought ‘Why not?’. Even still, it’s taken me a good few months since buying to pick this series up. I get weirded out my really hyped series, because more often than not, I’m not as excited about them as other readers. But I get pulled in anyway. So yes, I can now say I’ve read the first book in this series and you know what… it was good. Not my favourite – don’t throw rocks at me! – but it was a good read.
I think I maybe went about reading this the wrong way, if I’m honest. I probably should have waited for a time when I could gobble up the book in two days straight, but instead I chose to read it through two really busy weeks, where there were days when I didn’t even pick it up, and I don’t think that helped my reading experience. For a book/series like this, I need to be submerged. I didn’t get that this time, which maybe accounts for my feelings about this book.
First off, the characters. I liked Feyre. At first she reminded me a little too much of many YA female protagonists in this genre – strong-willed, not needing any help from anyone etc – but she slowly came into her own. I admired her strength of will and how she refused to be kept down by her circumstance. I also admired the way she stood by her family, regardless of the way they felt and treated her. I slowly grew to like her and didn’t find her too moany, which is always nice in a YA series.
The faeries were good too. It was very obvious who Feyre was supposed to fall for – and I’m not always into that insta-love (but because I knew it was a retelling, I expected it) – and because of this it took me a little while to warm up to Tamlin.* Lucien was great, and I liked learning more about his background. At some points I felt like the relationships growing between these characters were a bit two-dimensional – pulled together a little too tightly solely for the plot – but I got past that eventually. Also, knowing from spoilers what will eventually happen in the second book, and seeing how strong some of Feyre’s feelings were towards certain characters, I’ll be interested to see how these change.
*There were obvious parts to this relationship that I didn’t enjoy – it’s very problematic in parts, and this is not an ideal, healthy relationship set up. But I think you can acknowledge this was truth and still enjoy other parts of this story/series.
I enjoyed the story and found the added dimension of supernatural characters to be exciting. It always takes me a minute to immerse myself in a world like that, but once I did I was along for the ride. I especially liked how Maas incorporated the ‘curse’ in a way that suited the original Beauty and the Beast tale.
I also found that the plot picked up more in the second half of the novel, and that made the reading experience more exciting for me. This could be, or course, because I finally had proper time to sit down and read when I finished this book. I wanted to know how the story would end, and it was a lot more action packed towards the end, tying up little pieces of the story nicely whilst still making you wonder about the next book.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars!
Overall, it was nice bit of escapism and an exciting story. I don’t think I’m as caught up in the story and the relationships as some other readers may be, but that’s okay. Personally, I felt that my reading experience dragged a bit too much and I didn’t properly enjoy the story until closer to the end, hence the rating. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series as I’m curious to see where the story goes and how the feelings of the characters evolve.
How did you find this book? Was it everything you’d hoped for? And what can I expect in the next book – without spoiling too much for me?
Thanks for reading!