Friday, June 10, 2016

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

First in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series

5 stars

“I’d be a little more than a lamb in a kingdom of wolves.”
Feyre lives outside the Fae walls in the human portion of this fantasy world. Fae are usually regarded as omnipotent entities- there are religious groups or cults that worship the Fae- but there is also extreme animosity towards these powerful, untouchable beings. Feyre’s family is very poor and she is the sole provider when it comes to game. She hunts with her trusty bow and arrow *cue Katniss Everdeen* and trades with some of this game for extra provisions to support her family on meager living. Feyre has a strong hatred towards the Fae (although she seems to hate humans just as much) and one day when she is hunting she encounters a wolf- a wolf she knows for certain is a Fae. Instead of letting this Fae go, she viciously murders it and is confronted by a High Fae named Tamlin who demands payment in Feyre coming living with him in the Spring Court. Feyre has to adjust to living surrounded by creatures she abhors as well as uncovering the mysteries that lurk within the Spring Court’s walls. I read this novel almost exactly one year ago in June and like most of my reviews this one is long overdue. I purposely am writing my review before starting A Court of Mist and Fury because I don’t want the sequel to sway my original opinion of the novel. After encountering spoilers for the sequel, I don’t want to go into the sequel with anything in my mind except my absolute adoration towards ACOTAR.

“Once I dreamed and breathed and thought in color and light and shape.”

Yes, I am one of those people who love ACOTAR. Right now you are probably either shaking your head with excitement because another fan is found, but others are scoffing and remembering their intense dislike for ACOTAR. I know ACOTAR has its fair share of problems and I fully understand and acknowledge the problems that have arisen throughout this 400 page novel, but I still found myself absolutely enamored and obsessed with this storyline. All novels have a few issues here and there, some being more blatantly obvious than others, but I still feel that ACOTAR is a strong novel and deserves a 5 star rating even after having finished this novel a whole year ago. When I started this novel, I had the intense feeling that this novel would be one of those books that I would highly enjoy, possibly even becoming an all-time favorite.

“A promise was law; a promise was currency; a promise was your bond.”

One of the problems that I saw in ACOTAR was the pacing. It started out fast-paced and full of this wondrous magic that seemed to put me under a spell. I’m aware that a lot of people think the introduction and assimilation into the Spring Court is very slow and unnecessary, but I found this section to mesmerizing. I enjoyed the slow build up, but even I can only take so much exposition and slowly began to lose interest. Then the really awesome plot that develops that I don’t want to talk about until later happens and it totally made me fall head over heels with this novel. I absolutely loved the plot and the direction it took.

“We were all half-wild beasts to the High Fae. Even if they were the ones who could don fur and claws.”

The writing for this novel is beautiful. Upon reading the first page I felt like I was instantly transported into a fairytale-esque world. The visuals were striking and it was like I was walking in the forest as a bystander to the story instead of reading it. I watched the world unfold and reveal its secrets whenever Feyre discovered them herself and that was one of my favorite aspects of Maas’ writing.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

“But this was the forest, and it was winter.”

The main female character is Feyre. I have always admired Feyre’s strength; she’s a truly remarkable woman and her resilience to adverse situations that leave her the outcast (both in the human and Fae realm) are incredibly astonishing. Feryre is a very frustrating character. As easy as it is to like her it’s also not hard to want to smack and say, “GET IT TOGETHER, SISTER.”

In the end, she always did something that redeemed her previous actions and made me a definite fan of her character. She has a tough exterior, but her cold attitude is understandable in the world she has been forced to endure. It’s not hard to compare Feyre to Katniss. They share a lot of the same traits- both strong women, providers, protectors, fierce in their beliefs, and adapters in tough situations, but they are very different. The biggest difference is my personal preference in voice. I actually enjoy reading from Feyre’s perspective, whereas when it came to Katniss I sometimes struggled. Feyre is also depicted like a real person, she has actual hobbies. She loves to paint. Hunting is what she does to survive, but painting is one of the things that brings her joy and keeps her going. This is where I find her more human than Katniss, I believe that all humans need something to make life more beautiful, especially through tough times and Katniss never had anything that brought her true happiness (she had her sister, but that’s not something personal for herself) and without a place to exert all the negativity and see the world as something worth striving in when characters don’t have hobbies and personal loves I find them to be more cardboard. Feyre thankfully distinguishes herself and as a painter and this is one aspect that isn’t mentioned once and forgotten, but an intricate part of her personality. Also, we have a female lead not ashamed of her sexuality and she embraces having sex without strings because it’s for her satisfaction. A+ to Maas for actually writing a woman that has urges and doesn’t go through life with no thought of her body or desire. My absolute favorite thing about Feyre is her dedication to her family. No matter how awful and cruel they are to her she still fights for them. Even in moments of despair, she still puts her family’s safety first. Another thing that sets Feyre apart from characters in literature is her illiteracy. She has never learned how to read and struggles to learn; it’s a very defining character trait. Also her sass levels are mountainous.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale:5

“He hadn’t been the only one to spill blood just now. Perhaps that made me as much of a beast as him.”

The main male character is Tamlin. I immediately fell for Tamlin in this novel. The minute he was introduced I was a strong shipper of Tamlin and Feyre and wanted nothing more for them to kiss.

Tamlin instantly seemed perfect to me even with his faults, I still loved him and had a huge soft spot for him. Tamlin is very sweet and kind in simple actions that drive Feyre’s beliefs into a whirlwind. He gives Feyre paint… PAINT. My heart sang with feels at this scene. I just ship them so hard and I love them lots. When things get hot, they get hot and I’m totally down for it.

“I love you. Thorns and all.”

Then there’s Rhysand and everyone just seemed to absolutely worship the ground he walked on and I just don’t get it. I can’t stand him. There’s something about him that constantly grated me the wrong way and he would just drive me insane. I usually love the more villainous side of a love triangle, but Rhysand makes me feel icky. By the end of the novel, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt because I don’t know what his intentions are.

"Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

Swoon Worthy Scale: TAMLIN- 5 RHYSAND- 3

The Villain- Amarantha is horrifying. She curdles my blood and makes me bones feel cold. She was truly unsettling. This whole final section of storyline was my favorite part of the story and I just loved how different it felt.

Villain Scale: 5

The characters are all very complex and fleshed out, which is a definite advantage to this novel. At the beginning, Feyre’s sisters are the absolute worst and it’s so easy to hate them, but by the end of the novel, there is growth and these characters who would usually be forgotten are given the opportunity to show that they are humans who continue to have roles in a story even if it’s not the one I’m currently reading. Nesta in particular completely surprised me. She was so cruel to her sister, but she does something completely surprising that I really commended her for. Alis is an interesting character that seemed to have a blurred line of ally and enemy (I’m not trusting of maids after the Grisha trilogy), but in the end she’s a cool character that faded way too quickly into the background. I’m a big fan of Lucien. He’s such a complex character and instead of having two sides of a coin, he’s more of multiple surfaces to a cube. I also kind of ship Nesta and Lucien together.

Character Scale: 5

One of my favorite aspects to this novel is the depth to the Fae world. There are multiple races that have special powers that differentiate them from each other. Some are horrifying, such as the Bogge and pucas, and… well, let’s be real most of them are all horrifying, but also enchanting and beautiful. The Faes may seem horrible, but humans can be just as cruel. It’s a very grey world and not one portion of this world is black or white because not everything is what it seems to be. I absolutely adore this story and it became one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read the sequel and see where this story goes.

Plotastic Scale: 5

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover so freaking much. It’s one of my favorite covers. The front, the back, the map, the chapter headings… I just loved the layout and love that went into putting this story into physical form.

Are you a fan of ACOTAR? Have you read the sequel yet? What are your thoughts on the book? Let me know down below in the comments!

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