2.5 / 5 stars
Read in February 2020
Book #1 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series
Hopefully I won’t ramble too much in this review, but just like the story arc of ACOTAR I think it’s fair for my thoughts to go all over the place. I definitely better understand now why Sarah J. Maas is so polarizing, as there were elements of this book I really enjoyed and others that just didn’t work for me.
After her family’s fall from grace, Feyre became their primary caretaker when she laid down her paintbrushes and picked up her bow to teach herself to hunt. One evening, she tracks a doe through the forest and makes the fateful choice to kill a wolf before it claims the deer for itself. Her decision sees her whisked away to the Spring Court in the faerie lands of Prythian to live in the enchanting and mysterious world of the High Fae.
This book is told in 1st person PoV from Feyre’s perspective. Personally, I wouldn’t say her voice was especially unique, and after finishing the first book I don’t feel particularly attached to her (yet). However, I’m hoping that changes in the next book, and I did appreciate her devotion to her family as well as her love of painting. I understood her awe of the paintings in Tamlin’s gallery too well from my own experiences in some amazing museums.
Similarly, I wouldn’t say I felt particularly attached to Tamlin. I loved his shape-shifting abilities and appreciated his kindness to Feyre after she became his prisoner. The scenes where the pair explored the magic of the forest provided some of the most beautiful imagery of the book and made for some exceptional world building. Maybe my lack of interest in Tamlin has to do with the fact that *spoiler* I already know Feyre ends up with Rhys (also not sure how I feel about this yet… ), but I’m interested to see how everything plays out *end spoiler*.
Sarcastic, loyal, and surprisingly lovable Lucien was my favorite character. I’m interested to see how he will evolve and hope his and Feyre’s friendship remains strong. I also know from spoilers/fanart that *spoiler* Nesta plays a bigger role later in the story, and I’m pretty excited about that as I did enjoy her small role in this book *end spoiler*.
Lastly, on Amarantha… although she was positively wicked, her tragic backstory didn’t do enough to convince me of a character arc that led to her sadistic ways. It was almost as if Maas asked, “How can I make this character as evil as possible?”. In these cases I think villains tend to fall into what I like to call the SuperEvil™ category – they are excessively evil in an attempt to make them an interesting villain and to heighten the stakes of the story in an easy way. Also – did anyone else think the answer to her riddle was SO obvious. Come on, Feyre.
The sex and violence in this book make it clearly NA rather than YA, and the violent/gory content is definitely where I feel the most conflicted. These scenes are pretty heavy, so much so that I’m a bit nervous to see what Maas has in store for the subsequent books (I don’t do well with excessive violence/terror, which is why I tend to stay away from the horror genre). I found some of Maas’ detailed, drawn out descriptions of violence and injuries to be a little over-the-top, but I have a feeling this is an element many people enjoy about Maas’ writing.
All of this being said, I’ve already ordered ACOMAF and ACOWAR, so clearly I’m invested and looking forward to seeing what’s in store for Feyre now that she’s *spoiler* one of the High Fae and bound to Rhysand *end spoiler*.