This will likely come as a surprise to no one, but when I was little, I loved Beauty and the Beast. It wasn’t just because of the library (but let’s face it–– that was a significant part), but because it was a powerful story with a strong heroine, a wonderful transition for Beast, and most importantly, one of the greatest love stories ever told. A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first in the series by the same name by Sarah J. Maas doesn’t need my praise. Go to any book website to look at the reviews, and you can tell that it’s been enormously successful. But I want to review it because I completely fell in love with it. Not just because of the connections to Beauty and the Beast, but because it’s a powerful, emotional, passionate story with an amazing ending, and the start of a series that continued to take my breath away. As a side note: I’ve already read the sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury, which I loved even more than its predecessor. I nearly chose it for my review today, but decided against it because I would be forced to talk about some major spoilers. I don’t want to do that, so suffice it to say that if you haven’t read this book or this series yet, change that! There is nothing I didn’t love about this book or its sequel, and it’s all I can do not to pick up the gorgeously designed book and start all over again.
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it…or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
That last sentence is unequivocally true. In fact, it sums up almost all of what you can expect from this novel. The book opens with our hero Feyre, a young woman helping her starving family by hunting for them. On this particular hunt, she encounters and kills a wolf, which sets off a chain of events that leads her to Tamlin, a dangerous, extremely powerful Fae lord who demands she serve out her punishment by living with him.
You can already tell where this story is going and I promise you, it’s exactly the Beauty and the Beast plot you’re thinking it is. But the delivery is so much more than a re-telling of a classic romance. Maas’s world is rich with detail and majesty. The author has clearly done her research on the Fae, and it pays off. The world-building and backstories are just wonderful, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about both of them.
I can’t say much about the story since my love of Beauty and the Beast is well known, but I will say that the way Maas told is was spectacular. After I was done reading I was able to pick out the similarities, but while I was reading, I was living and breathing the story with Feyre and Tamlin. Maas is a master story teller and more than once I was forgetting to do certain things in Real Life. It was that enthralling. I can also say that it was wonderfully romantic, and at a couple points, sexy as hell. Honestly, I’m always surprised when I see this in the Young Adult section of a book store, because there were a few times where I actually had to fan myself a little bit. Definitely a story for mature Young Adult readers.
The characters are amazing. Feyre is a huge success and feels completely human. When I was introduced to her, I had a moment where I was thinking, “Wow, in another world, I could be her.” She’s easy to relate to and a smashing success as far as I’m concerned. She’s strong-willed, bold, passionate, and willing to do anything for those she cares for and loves. Tamlin is a terrific brooding, protective prince, and it was great to watch him open up to Feyre and protect her as best as he could. Lucien is an amazing side character with a tragic backstory and a remarkable physical design, and Rhysand… Oh, Rhysand. I won’t say much about him, but let me leave off with this: Once you finish A Court of Thorns and Roses, move onto A Court of Mist and Fury. He plays a major role in the sequel and you won’t believe me if I tell you what it is.
Finally, the action scenes. Maas definitely knows what she’s doing there. Her writing style makes descriptions vivid and realistic, which is what makes the scene at the end so wildly intense. I feel a little guilty saying that I over-sped-read some points, but that was only because I was so wrapped up in what was happening that I literally couldn’t wait to get to the next page. I was hooked!
A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of those books where my only regret is that I hadn’t read it sooner. It’s beyond stellar, and its sequel is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend them more highly enough. Sarah J. Maas created a truly epic story and made me an instant fan (next week I’ll be reviewing Throne of Glass, and I only delayed because I’m binge-reading the whole series now). This is a story for readers who love magic, romance, fantasy, Beauty and the Beast, and an expertly written story. Believe the hype. It’s there for a very, very good reason. Do not miss out on it!