A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fiction, new adult, fantasy, magic, faeries, retelling, fractured fairy tale, this is how babies happen
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
Summary: After killing a faerie disguised as a wolf, 19-year-old Feyre must satisfy a centuries old treaty and forfeit her life in a way she never imagined, by moving into the castle of a shape-shifting High Fae named Tamlin for the remainder of her mortal life. Now Feyre is forced to live in Prythian with the very species she despises, a race that once enslaved all of humanity.
With my completion of A Court of Thorns and Roses, I am officially caught up on all the currently published Sarah J. Maas books! On the one hand, it’s great because I’m up to date, but on the other: need more books now.
The first of a proposed three book series, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast combined with the Scottish ballad Tam Lin and a little bit of Cupid and Psyche thrown in for good measure. Stockholm Syndrome much?
Perhaps because of its multiple influences, ACOTAR reads like two books mashed into one, although I think we can all agree that the latter half is superior because Rhysand. More on him never because I don’t want to spoil his amazing-ness if you have yet to read the book.
My first foray into the new adult genre (I think?), this novel is not shy about the sexy times, and there are a lot of them. Maybe because of the more adult audience, or maybe because of the needs of the plot (read up on Tam Lin and Cupid and Psyche), Maas doesn’t feel the need to have her characters use protection of any kind, which is ridiculous because that’s how human/High Fae babies are made. Psh, at least Celaena Sardothien had a special abortion tea.
Anyway, our story takes place in a world where humans are fearful of their former overlords: the faeries and High Fae who once enslaved humanity. Following a successful rebellion however, the races were literally divided by a wall, with the humans being given a small area in the South and the faeries splitting the North into several courts (Spring, Autumn, Summer, Winter, Dawn, Day and Night) presided over by seven High Lords.
Katniss Feyre — who has been brought up with a hatred of all thing faerie — is the only member of her now destitute family determined to keep them alive, honing her hunting skills to keep her semi-useless sisters and her definitely useless father fed. It is during one of these hunting trips that Feyre kills a faerie in the form of a wolf, setting the events of the book in motion when a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution, bringing Feyre back to the faerie lands as “punishment.”
Not so very spoiler-y spoilers: aside from the evil monsters, I would move to the Spring Court in a heart beat. Who would pass up the opportunity to swim in starlight?
While the first half of the novel focuses heavily on the Beauty and the Beast elements (think amazing food and romance!), things really get kicked into high gear when more of the Tam Lin and Cupid and Psyche story lines come into play (think death and despair!), introducing us to some amazing elements which will be explored in later books and giving readers one hell of a villain. The pain! The angst! The eyeball ring!
Overall, despite some inner turmoil about my enjoyment of the captive falling in love with their captor trope — a gilded cage is still a cage after all — I greatly enjoyed the first book in this brand new series and cannot wait to continue. All the Night Court in book two please!
- Fabulous world-building (not to mention writing)
- Intriguing and fully realized characters, especially MVP Lucien
- Exciting plot full of my YA favorites: dresses, food and romance
- Rhysand, Rhysand, RHYSAND!
- Use protection, you will get pregnant and die
- That riddle though, I mean you got that immediately too, right?
The second book in the series — A Court of Mist and Fury — comes out May 3, 2016 and I’m super excited to see what Maas does with her retelling of Hades and Persephone! You can check out the book’s just released cover over on Sarah J. Maas’ official website.