Thursday, June 9, 2016

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

A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this on this blog before, but I really love faeries as a Concept. Like, in literature, in fairytales, in folklore. So I knew I was late to the ACOTAR train because I read it a month after the sequel came out, but when I saw there were faeries involved I knew I was hella late to the party.

ALSO, on Goodreads, the book description says the book "blend[s] Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore" so you know it's a retelling but the summary on my physical book did not tell me that so I went in blind and halfway through I was like "haha this is like Beauty and the Beast" and I thought I was so smart but no it's literally marketed that way, I'm just a moron.

Basically the book is about this girl, Feyre, who kills a wolf who turns out to be a faerie and her "life for a life" punishment is to live out the rest of her life at the estate of the High Fae, Tamlin.

Anyway, this was the first Sarah J. Maas book I've read and it was so good, I'm ashamed her other work got buried in my to-read pile. She does such a fantastic job not only world-building but character developing. I'm hoping all of you are familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast (and if you're not please go watch the movie and come back or I'm not tryna associate with you thx) and you know that one of the key aspects of the story is the character development and the relationship between the characters (For the sake of simplicity, when I refer to Beauty and the Beast, I'm just gonna be referring to the Disney movie because that's probably the most widely known version and I don't remember the full details of the original). Similarly, in ACOTAR, we spend a lot of the book developing and establishing the relationships between the characters we've met thus far.

This makes the pacing a little slow -- the real ~action~ isn't until the very end -- but Sarah J. Maas gets away with it for a few reasons:
  1. It's a retelling and it stays within its form. Beauty and the Beast the movie spent the entire movie solidifying their love in the castle and then in the last ten minutes there was a village riot. This was a lot more intricate than that but because it had that foundation, readers are already expecting to spend time in a certain place. 
  2. We're in a new setting and there's a lot to explore, so it's not like we're reading the same every day scene over and over again, we're getting something new with every page. 
  3. The point where all the action culminates is led up to and hinted at so there are still ~things~ going on besides characters talking to each other. 
I know I've said a few things about character development but haven't said anything about actual characters. The first characters we encounter are Feyre's family and I was really impressed with how that story arc unfolded but I was really angrily dumbstruck in the beginning with their dynamic and that's all I'll say now. Feyre herself honestly made me a little angry at times, mostly because she just refused to do things out of spite (same though), or she just made blatantly unsafe decisions. I admired her gut and her strength for the most part though. I think my favorite character would have to be Lucien. Tamlin owns the estate Feyre is now staying at and Lucien is the emissary but they're like bffs (Tamlin and Lucien) and also Lucien is highkey mean to Feyre and puts up with zero percent of her nonsense. He's so sarcastic and hilarious and bitter and I lowkey ship him and Feyre which is a boat no one else is on. Meanwhile Tamlin is sweet, kind, and collected. A true gentleman. I love him as well and I think the understanding he has with Feyre is lovely. Of course, later on we meet Rhysand because you can never have too many faerie boys in black leather clothing, and he's got the whole ~mysterious terrifying mind control~ air to him which I think will probably be explored in the next book. 

There were more people, obviously, and also a lot more to say about even those few people, but this is a short, spoiler-free review, so I'm moving on. I really liked seeing the world through Feyre's eyes. As an artist, she saw the world in an interesting way. Sometimes it could get a little old seeing her suppress it because it would be like ~~I would look at the purple in the sky right now but it's not useful to me so I'm not going to~~ a few times in succession but it never got too much that I didn't enjoy the book. And there were always gems of prose that balanced it out. For example, way in the beginning, she describes: 
"The world was awash in hues of dark blue, interrupted only by shafts of buttery light escaping from the shuttered windows of our dilapidated cottage. It was like sliding through a living painting -- a fleeting moment of stillness, the blue swiftly shifting to solid darkness."
This was like nine pages in but it told me I made the right choice picking this book. 

Anyway, there isn't a whole lot more I can say without spoiling the book. Basically, the characters were amazing, and the stuff that happened was amazing. Basically, go read the book. One final point, that may sound silly, but is 100% serious: I think pronunciation guides should be at the front of books because I read through that entire book pronouncing Rhysand as (Rice-and) and now I flip to the last page and it's REECE???? It's already embedded into my brain for eternity. I'm not gonna stop calling him Rice!!!! I'd probably be calling Feyre "Fair" if there wasn't a dialogue scene where her sister says "fay-ruh." This has been a PSA. Bring pronunciation guides up front. 

Peace out. 

- Noor

Additional thoughts from Kiersten
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ok, so I read A Court of Thorns and Roses a while back. I meant to write a review, but I didn't, and now it feels like there is too much time between us for me to write a full review. However, I did just want to say how much I absolutely loved A Court of Thorns and Roses! The entire book was such a quick, exciting read for me. I love all of Sarah J. Maas's work, and even though I thought for sure this could not live up to the Throne of Glass series, it totally did and was so amazing. I am forever shamed for doubting the great Sarah J. Maas.

Anyway, if you haven't read A Court of Thorns and Roses or Throne of Glass yet, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. Strong female characters, incredible worlds, action, romance, magic, etc. Just pick one up and see for yourself.

- Kiersten

What's your favorite creature of lore?
Let us know in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment