*I received a free ARC of this book with thanks to the author, NetGalley and Bloomsbury. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: The tantalising start to a seductive fantasy series from global #1 bestselling author Sarah J. Maas.
Feyre is a huntress. And when she sees a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she kills the predator and takes its prey to feed herself and her family. But the wolf was not what it seemed, and Feyre cannot predict the high price she will have to pay for its death …
Dragged away from her family for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding even more than his piercing green eyes suggest. As Feyre’s feelings for Tamlin turn from hostility to passion, she learns that the faerie lands are a far more dangerous place than she realized. And Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
Despite clearly starting out life as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, A Court of Thorns and Roses takes on a distinct life of its own, branching away from classic fairytale territory and towards softcore paranormal erotica.
I will admit up front that I enjoyed reading this, but I was surprised to find I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I had expected to. The cover, the blurb, the effusive accolades… everything led me to believe that this would be the kind of lush fae fantasy-realm adventure that I adore.
And I did adore many things about it! I was fascinated by the fae realm: the different ‘kinds’ of faeries and their different powers and skills are intriguing and I enjoyed the worldbuilding here; I found the immovable masks were a compelling hook and was eager to find out more about what happened and how it could be resolved; Rhysand and Lucien have the potential to be complex and interesting characters.
I found myself less fond of Feyre and Tamlin, which was unfortunate as they are the main characters, and I couldn’t buy into their great love story, which seemed to be based mainly on lack of communication and physical chemistry rather than on any sort of intimacy or understanding.
I couldn’t grasp Feyre’s relationship with her family at all, or why the fae treated her with such respect as a human, cold-blooded fae-murderer, and Amarantha didn’t feel anywhere near as powerful or scary as I had initially thought… especially with her weirdly limp ‘loophole’ riddle, that anyone could have solved with just five minutes thought!
Still, despite such flaws, this book is well-written and the worldbuilding is beautiful. There is plenty of love, sacrifice, sex and drama – enough to satiate the most avid soap-opera fanatic – and the fantasy elements are more a kind of bonus side-feature to the romance/erotica main feature.
On finishing, I was quite tempted to pick up the next in the series (I do love a good matching-cover series!), but ultimately decided that I was happy to leave Feyre and Tamlin where I left them and wish them all the best for a happy future together (hollow laughter – I’m not sure either of them know how to be happy!).
If you’re looking for an easy, steamy, enjoyable fantasy read then this is just the ticket, as long as you don’t go into it expecting too much.
The faerie huffed a vicious laugh. “Willing to accept your fate so easily?” When I just stared at him, he said, “For having the nerve to request where I slaughter you, I’ll let you in on a secret, human: Prythian must claim your life in some way, for the life you took from it. So as a representative of the immortal realm, I can either gut you like a swine, or … you can cross the wall and live out the remainder of your days in Prythian.”– Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses
I blinked. “What?”
He said slowly, as if I were indeed as stupid as a swine, “You can either die tonight or offer your life to Prythian by living in it forever, forsaking the human realm.”
A Court of Thorns and Roses is available on Amazon right now!