My Thoughts On A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Teen Action Adventure/Romance Length: 420 Pages
Publish Date: 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Personal Completion Time: 3 Days
Platform I read it on: Kindle App
Installment Type: Book 1 of an ongoing series with multiple installments currently available
Let me start out by saying that I am NOT the target demographic for this book. I picked it up at the behest of a friend and yes I did pick up the second one. While I will be reviewing it book by book, I feel that, as a series, it deserves an overarching review. This review is being written directly off the heels of the first book and I have very little information about future installments.
Since I suck at summaries, here's what's on the Amazon listing: "When 19-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."
Before writing this I did go through some Amazon reviews and wondered between the one-star and 5-star reviews if we read the same book. The one-stars basically said it was nothing but erotica. I'm not a connoisseur of erotica, so I cannot say for sure, but I feel like Maas developed an interesting world based on real-world Fae mythology. The five-star reviews praise it as flawless. It is not, in fact, flawless. I had a lot of gripes with how the story was written and I'll get into that later
So what did I like about this book? I honestly liked the world the author set up. I liked how it tied back into real Fae mythology. Maas creates a world of dangerous beauty and I really did enjoy the imagery she conjured. I also liked the male characters a lot. They seemed well-enough developed and considering there are more books, I'm sure some lingering questions, comments, and concerns may yet be answered about them.
I generally liked the stakes and how most of the characters and the world played into them.
So in general, I liked the IDEA of the plot, I liked the world the author made, and I liked some of the characters.
I wasn't fond of the writer's style. Or perhaps it was Feyre's point of view. I really didn't like the constant reminder of plot points. Feyre has a bad habit of repeating things like a broken record. It was like the author expected readers to drop the book for days before returning to read the next chapter and therefore required constant recaps and reminders. I swear this book could have been 100 pages shorter if she didn't repeat herself so much.
Feyre doesn't come across as all that smart once she gets into the Faerie lands... I expected her to be far wittier and cunning, but she became a rather generic cowering prisoner. She lays a trap in her room and that's like... the extent of her wit. She manages to trap an elusive fae at one point, but again... she's a skilled hunter so that should be expected of her.
She's told many times not to do certain things and while the stakes are not laid bare, I would consider listening to these people who are so much stronger than myself when they very seriously tell me not to attend some Fae-exclusive event.
Feyre's character traits are: She's a hunter, she likes to paint, she's illiterate, she likes Tamlin.
In fact, her affinity for painting almost feels like an afterthought with how it's written about. It serves as a strong cap between her and her family between the beginning and the end (I really liked that) but how she felt the need to remind us that she liked to paint was... annoying. All kinds of interactions would be punctuated with her reflecting on how she might capture the moment on canvas usually coming to the point of "This event/person is so intense/grand/horrifying that I could never do it any justice through my painting." I think this just falls into the weird repetition category of my gripes... It felt forced and unnecessary.
I guess what it comes down to, for me, is the biggest detractor of the book is the main character herself.
There was a point toward the end where a lot of gaps in information were filled via a long dialog with a supporting character. Like, why the bad was bad... I wished that had been seeded in some way. I know Feyre can't read, but she had access to a library/study... Maybe she could have found a picture book detailing the events. No names, just depictions of figures and their conflicts. That would have at LEAST set the groundwork for the "big motive reveal". As it stood, I was underwhelmed and had the distinct reaction of "Of course it is."
Yes, it does have some erotic scenes. They're fine. One full-on moment, a couple of make-out moments, and some lusty stuff in between, but I wouldn't say it's the core of the book. Feyre's love for Tamlin is the core and that does come with some erotic thoughts from our heroine. I didn't find it overly distracting, though.
How was it written? I'd say tastefully, but as I mentioned above, I'm not a connoisseur of the erotica genre or erotic scenes in general.
I know I went harder on cons than pros, but let me say this: I DID consume this book very quickly. I really liked MOST of what this story had to offer. I got hung up a few times and the broken-record parts just threw me out of the story for a moment, but putting Feyre aside, I liked what I read. But that's the biggest problem. I didn't like Feyre. I expected more of her.
I'm hoping Feyre gets better treatment in future books. I want to like her, but I really couldn't in this installment. If she was meant to be more of a blank-slate self-insert type of MC then even there it didn't work well.
Because I actually enjoyed this book overall, but have some gripes, I'm leaving it with a score of 3/5 tentacles. Somehow I was able to look past the awkward MC and sometimes questionable writing in order to overall enjoy myself. Not amazing, but not bad. I'm also giving it some leniency since it's the first book in a series and firsts can be rough.
If I didn't completely discourage you, here's an Amazon link to read A Court of Thorns and Roses for yourself!