I’m still licking the delicious remnants off my fingers after finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses. Sarah J. Maas is a freaking genius. I’m going to start off without spoilers, but it’s so hard keeping it all in to myself. Beware after the rose photo for the spoilers to be spewed.
Synopsis: This is the story about a teen, Feyre, who has to take on responsibility at a very young age. For years, she’s been the lifeline for her family and has endured neglect, disrespect, and starvation. She lives in a world split between the mortals down south and the Fae up north. She’s been haunted by legends of the cruel Fae, but this doesn’t deter her from doing everything she can to keep her family alive. And then, Feyre encounters a Fae being.
So, of course, the story takes a turn (not too soon and not too late) where Feyre gets mixed up in the Fae world. And everything that follows was written wonderfully and kept me hooked.
More on Feyre: I love her prickly nature. She’s very blunt and pretty uncensored. But even what she keeps to herself, since she’s the narrator, readers can see what she’s thinking. Like when she calls Rhysand a prick in her head. The story itself is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Feyre is Belle, except she’s more about action than reading what’s in books. In fact, she doesn’t even know how to read. As a reader, I feel like this is a major flaw in the character, which is great for the story, not so great for her though. At first she kind of dismisses it as a “shortcoming,” but then she needs it to save her life! Reading saves lives, people! You need to be literate to survive, didn’t you know that? Awesome message on the importance of words. But Feyre isn’t all brute. She has this artsy side that sees the beauty in shapes and colors around her, which makes for lovely descriptions. Even though she can’t read, she is still incredibly clever (most of the time).
Random, but since I’m on characters, a quick word about Nesta and Rhysand. In the beginning, I didn’t like her very much, and it seemed like I wasn’t supposed to. Then, when Feyre returns home from the Spring Court, Nesta reveals more of her character than Feyre has ever known. She’s accustomed to the cold sister that calls her a “half-wild beast” not the sister who said she used the money on silly things because she had faith Feyre would bring in more money and who hired a mercenary to take her to the Fae lands to retrieve her sister. As for Rhysand (whose name I keep saying wrong in my head despite the fact that I looked at the pronunciation key), he’s just selfish. Not necessarily a bad guy. He does what’s in his best interest first and foremost (like Rumplestiltskin from “Once Upon a Time”). He is the ultimate chess player, and every move he makes is all part of a larger plan.
Tamlin is the obvious beast. Seemingly awful at first, taking Feyre away from her family and telling her she can never go back home again. And just like Beast from the old tale, he lives in a massive manor because he’s royalty, not a prince but a High Lord, which is basically the equivalent in fairy terms. Even though we see his manly form, as opposed to the fur and claws, his whole form isn’t completely revealed with the curse of the mask stuck on his face. Like Belle, Feyre didn’t realize there was a curse that needed to be broken. But unlike the old story, she doesn’t break the curse in time. All she had to do was say “I love you” when she was leaving! Ugh. I wanted to rip my hair out. It could’ve been so much simpler for everyone involved. But no. Stupid, Feyre! It did make for a better story, I have to admit. Oh, and the Fire Night Rite. That’s bizarre. I liked when Tamlin came back and said he searched for Feyre… then he bites her neck. Yet, she wears the bruise proudly the next day. No shame! She didn’t do anything wrong anyway (except for leaving her room when she wasn’t supposed to I guess) but it was Tamlin who obviously really, really wanted her badly. His animal side is fun.
It just got so complicated for Feyre when she practically gave herself up to Amarantha. (I mean, come on, Feyre. Why didn’t you try and come up with a plan? Try to find ash?) She knew, we all knew, that when she completed the three trials, Amarantha wouldn’t let her go right away. She didn’t specify it in the terms of the agreement. Dumb move. That last trial was the worst (but best to read and be entertained by) and so jaw dropping. I thought the last Fae up for sacrifice would be Lucien, but when it turned out to be Tamlin…oh so not fair. I agreed wholeheartedly with Feyre. Sarah J. Maas, you’re so evil! I don’t even know how Feyre was able to think back and realize that Tamlin’s heart was stone. That was sheer luck on her part. She’s also super lucky she figured out the riddle before Amarantha killed her.
There are those who seek me a lifetime but never we meet,
And those I kiss but who trample me beneath ungrateful feet.
At times I seem to favor the clever and the fair,
But I bless all those who are brave enough to dare.
By large, my ministrations are soft-handed and sweet,
But scorned, I become a difficult beast to defeat.
For though each of my strikes lands a powerful blow,
When I kill, I do it slow…
Feyre, you’re annoying. The answer is obviously LOVE. I don’t understand why it took you so long to figure it out. I got it right away. I’m going to attribute it to the pressure of getting the answer right and the horror of being in Amarantha’s presence. Like when you take a test and you just blank. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.
I’m just glad she eventually figured it out.
That ending though. I did not see that coming. Did you know the High Lords could turn a human into Fae? How long have they known about that ability? So weird and unexpected. Just: How? Seriously, a what-the-heck? moment to the extreme.
The entire book was phenomenal. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one! You go, Sarah!
5 out 5 stars FOR SURE.