If I were to write a checklist of my three favourite things to see in a YA novel I would say:
- Of a fantasy/dystopian genre
- A romance (that isn’t the only focus of the novel)
- A twisted fairytale / a fairytale retelling
and A Court of Thorns and Roses ticks off all three.
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.
The first thing that made me want to read ACOTAR was the fact that I am a big Sarah J. Maas fan. Her Throne of Glass series is absolutely wonderful and I thoroughly urge you to pick them up if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of them already. I love so many things about Sarah’s books, the kick-ass characters, the beautiful writing and the unpredictable plot twists, however my favourite thing about Maas’ books is her perfect sense of pace and timing.
Her books never drag, never start too slowly and are timed beautifully I saw several reviews prior to reading the book that said that it took people a while to get into, but I wholeheartedly disagree as it jumps right into the action and immerses you in Feyre’s life. A slight problem I had with this book was the pacing of the romance, as it was very slow at first (which I loved because it made it so realistic) but all of a sudden it escalated unrealistically quickly.
The next thing that made me determined to get my hands on this book was the fact that it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Beauty and the Beast is not only my favourite Disney film, but also one of my favourite fairytales and I love the original story. The book mirrors the original fairytale a lot (especially at the beginning as Feyre and her sisters mirror the attitude of Beauty’s sisters) but it doesn’t feel like a carbon copy. Despite the fact that the reader knows the direction of the plot, Sarah still managed to weave in her sneaky plot twists and changes making ACOTAR a thrilling and engaging read.
I love the world Maas created in the Throne of Glass series and was excited to see how she would build a new world in this novel. Her writing is beautifully descriptive and painted a very stunning and vivid picture in my mind of all of the locations in the novel, particularly Tamlin’s palace.
I recently watched (and absolutely loved) Outlander and some of the scenes towards the end of the novel reminded me of the show. The Feyre/Tamlin/Amarantha relationship eerily echoed the Clare/Jamie/Blackjack dynamic (though I promise the book is much less graphic and mentally scarring)
9/10 for A Court of Thorns and Roses
It was a wonderful read and the only reason it gets nine stars is that is isn’t quite as good as Maas’ Throne of Glass series as I think the characters from TOG are a lot more developed and interesting than those in ACOTAR. But then again this is only the beginning of the series and I feel in true Sarah J.Maas style, the series can only get better.