Sometimes a book has been out for years and it has received rave reviews, yet you don’t read it until much later. I’m guilty of that. Especially when it comes to the book I am reviewing today, which is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. The story is loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. It tells the story of Feyre, a mortal, who find herself dragged into the world of the Fae. The book was released in 2015 and the first part in a trilogy. In time I will review them all (already reading the second one!).
What is A Court of Thorns and Roses about?
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
I am going to be honest with you, the first half of A Court of Thorns and Roses didn’t impress me. It felt like the main character was a mixture between Katniss Everdeen and Bella Swan. Your standard “I don’t think I’m pretty but everybody else does but I am also a badass!” character. Basically most YA-heroines. It didn’t help that it took light-years for the story to actually start. When reading this, you will spend a lot of time with a main character who loves to paint. A lot.
In the meantime, we witness how she slowly falls in love with the person who kidnapped her. That is the first element that is very much alike Beauty and the Beast. The ‘Beast’ in this case is Tamlin, a High Lord forced to wear a mask, who is not exactly beast-like. Oh yes, he can shape shift, but we all know he is super handsome underneath the mask. It is a far stretch to assume she would not be able to fall in love with him.
Most of the book, Feyre is learning about the new world she’s in and all its secrets. While I appreciate the fact that we’re actually told this information, it takes too long. The awkward built-up of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship takes too long. I understand it takes time to make it come off convincing, but I just wanted some action. That said, the characters were well-rounded and interesting. Also, when the action finally picked up, it was done really well. I read the last 100 pages in a few hours, while I had struggled with the rest of the book. That said, I have to say that overall, the book is well-written. It was a pleasure to read, although at times slightly repetitive.
Not really YA
Before I read this, I assumed this was a Young Adult book. It was in the YA section. It felt very much like a YA novel until things became slightly racy. And by slightly I mean quite a lot. Which did make me feel all warm inside. Yet, this is not the kind of book you accidentally want to give to your 12-year-old cousin. Apparently A Court of Thorns and Roses is a better fit in the New Adult category, although that is not as well-known as YA yet. Anyway, it is very enjoyable, but not exactly bedtime reading material.
This is a hard one. There are plenty of positive aspects to A Court of Thorns and Roses, so I would recommend it. That said, the fact that it was so very slow kind of takes away the reading pleasure. All in all, it was a decent book. Not the best retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, but enjoyable. I’ve read that the sequels are much better, so let’s hope that that’s true.