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

Since I read and mostly enjoyed the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, I decided to check out her A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy.

I made the mistake of reading the whole trilogy before writing these reviews. I didn't care too much for the first one, A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR), but the events of the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF), gave me so many emotions. I'm going to do my best to review this without my complete love for ACOMAF overriding the "meh" feeling toward ACOTAR. 

Warning: Spoilers are below! TONS of them!

Summary:

When Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, she doesn’t realize that this one act will change her life forever. A beast comes demanding payment for the life she took and forces her to live in a world she could never have imagined. The magical faeries aren’t all they seem to be, and slowly Feyre learns about the curse holding the land captive. If she can break the curse her loved one will be free - but is her human strength enough against dark magic?

My Thoughts:

As with the Throne of Glass series, I was entertained by ACOTAR overall but it had some issues. And even though this book was just okay, there were enough of the emotional, captivating moments that I wanted to read the next one. Maas is great at that - writing books that I know are shiny, mindless fun but I can't say no to what comes next.

I’m manipulated and I know it, and I love it. Moving on!

This book too often reminded me of another series. I got the obvious Beauty and the Beast vibes, I had Hunger Games flashbacks because of the challenges Feyre had to face and her skill as a hunter, and I saw some Twilight similarities, mainly from the age difference between Feyre and all the perfect, magical male Fae. Thankfully, there was enough unique about the story that I didn’t spend the whole time comparing it in my head.

I enjoyed Feyre as a main character much more than I did TOG’s Celaena/Aelin. Feyre allowed herself to feel fear even as she fought for the survival of her family. I also appreciated that I knew Feyre’s motivations as opposed to how Celaena/Aelin hid her past then was suddenly The Best At Everything Ever. Feyre could be uncertain of what to do next but she always lived by her moral compass - and changed her mind when she knew she was wrong.

Lucien was my favorite character in ACOTAR. I enjoyed his relationship with Feyre enough that I wish I had a sly fox Lucien in my life.

I liked Tamlin (in the first book…) for the most part, except I was put off by how he acted with Feyre when he was trapped by Amarantha. The whole time I thought he was under some spell and couldn’t speak to her, but no, he was just ignoring her in order to seem like he didn’t care…? That’s more obvious than saying “I love this girl!” And the one alone moment they got, he wasn’t trying to see if she was okay - he just wanted have sex. It was the first large sign of him being a douchebag.

It’s not YA fantasy without a villain, so enter Amarantha. I couldn't really take Amarantha seriously. She was over the top and I found it hard to believe this woman took down seven High Lords. And her curse was oddly specific. Why would a conqueror make a curse that could be her undoing, all for Tamlin? Why care about one guy that much?

Now, for the main attraction...Rhysand. It was pretty obvious there was something about Rhys that wasn’t being explained. He was the only person to bet on Feyre in the first challenge, he saved her skin in the second challenge when no one else could help her, and was distraught when she died. He was an asshole (especially with that arm twisting thing he did to Feyre, ugghh) but he was the most developed character and the only one without a clear motive. His actions were the main reason I was intrigued enough to read the second book. 

One final note: I know it’s pronounced Ree-sand but I pronounce it Rye-sand because I didn’t check pronunciation at the beginning. Whoops.  

Rating:

A Court of Thorns and Roses only gets 2.5 out of 5 from me, but I recommend YA and fantasy fans read this one because of the second book. A Court of Mist and Fury gives my fangirl prone heart LIFE.