A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) by Sarah J. Maas Book Review

Monday, 4 January 2021

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 419
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: May 5th 2015
Genre: fiction

About the book
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.

This is one of those books (and series) that I've put off reading for so, so long because JESUS these books are loved by a lot of people. Whenever a book (or a series of books) are this hyped, I always put off reading them and usually wait for the hype to settle down. Well, the hype for these books seems to never be settling down, and to be completely honest, I'm a tad bored with reading Christmas romance novels (don't judge me) and I wanted something completely different and I was itching to pick up something from the fantasy genre, which I haven't done in a long, long time.

Going into ACOTAR, I knew that, besides having a massive fan base, it was based on Beauty & the Beast, which (if I'm honest) isn't my favourite story of all time. Having said that, I really, really enjoyed this book and was kinda taken aback by how much I instantly got sucked into the story. The world-building is imaginative and thoroughly well thought out; from the different Courts in Prythian, to the mortal/immortal divide, to the lesser faeries and High Fea - everything was so detailed and so vivid which, for me, is hugely important for creating a dramatic and memorable world to become completely immersed into.

Sarah J. Maas's writing truely is fascinating and expressive and I loved that about this book, however, one tiny little niggle that I have is that the pacing was a little off for me. The beginning and the ending were fast paced, dramatic and had me wanting to read chapter after chapter. The middle section of the book however, was much slower and didn't give me that omg-I-need-to-know-what-happens-next feeling. That's not to say it was bad - because it certainly wasn't - it was just that I wanted more. You could argue that the author took her time building the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin, which is never a bad thing, but there was just that little element of something missing that I didn't get from the middle section of the book.

Aside from that, I really can't fault this story. I loved all of the side characters and even the characters I didn't like (Amarantha, I'm looking at you) I still loved to hate. It's a true testament to an author's writing when you can hate a character so much but LOVE that you hate them. There actually weren't as many characters as I was expecting, which I personally prefer as my confused little brain struggles to keep up with a tonne of characters, but each character had their own solid storylines and they never felt like 'filler' characters. Each added something to the story and I think because the story wasn't overloaded with too many characters, the characters that were included were well formed and meaningful to the plot.

The story follows Feyre, and is told from her perspective. I really liked Feyre as a character; she was strong and knew her own mind and was willing to do anything to save the ones she loved, both before and during her time in Prythian. She was constantly mistreated by her father and sisters, yet still risked going into the woods each day to hunt for food. And then whilst in Prythian, events eventually lead up to her facing the trails of Amarantha. It's difficult to say more without giving spoilers, but Feyre proves time and time again just how much she is willing to sacrifice in order to save others and I loved that about her. I have to say though, that Tamlin was a bit of a disappointment. Again, I don't want to say too much and give the story away, but towards the end, he put very little effort into anything and kinda just watched from the sidelines (if you know, you know) and I didn't like that about him. It seemed as if the side characters had more will to fight than Tamlin did and whilst he wasn't a bad character, he was... frustrating towards the end.

As a first time Maas reader, I have to give credit where credit is due. I was completely sucked into this story and flew through it. Was is perfect? No. Do I care? Also no. I have fallen in love with this story and her writing and I'm desperate to continue with this series and see what comes of Feyre and where her journey will take her next.

Verdict: ★★★★★

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