Thursday, July 9, 2015
Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses
As the first book in Sarah J. Maas' new series, I expected to immediately be drawn in and sympathize with a stereotypical female heroine. In reality, I didn't. It took me a while to really invest in this book, about 130 pages actually, and at first I did not like Feyre that much. Her pessimistic view on life grated on me, and the first 50 pages seemed very Hunger Games-ish as we follow a hard headed and stubborn girl who hunts for her family due to their incompetence. However, the story soon takes a turn and embraces a completely different plot line than any dystopian novel I have read. Though I haven't read that much of high fantasy, I can truly say I have never read a book like this one before. True, it has the familiar tropes of a girl being receptive to a great love after resisting for quite a while, and of a character trusting and loving someone that she should truly hate. Needless to say, the story is one of a kind. A loose Beauty and the Beast retelling, the similarities are found easily in the beginning of the book, with only underlying themes apparent in the whole story.
The plot itself follows our protagonist. Feyre, as she "unknowingly" kills a fae when out hunting for her starving family. When word gets back to the dead fae's master, he spares her life on only one condition, she must live at his estate for the rest of her life. The reader will soon realize that the story is not simple as it seems and the line between evil and good is hazy to say the least. The humans know next to nothing about what has occurred in the fae world for the past century, and the stories they tell about the creatures are almost always inaccurate. Further on, the plot becomes intricate, and I was truly sucked in. I started caring and rooting for the characters to get their happy endings. About halfway through the novel, I got hooked and could not put it down for the life of me.
The characters in A Court of Thorns and Roses are lifelike to say the least. They all have distinct personalities and no one in the story is bland. The character that I loved to hate was, of course, our villain of the story. Though I'm not going to reveal her name, she's a total badass and she gets what she deserves. Feyre's family members at first were so annoying. When I was reading the first third of the book, I just wanted to shout at them to help Feyre out. It's unfair for one person to feed and take care of four people and they never lifted a finger. When we see them again later in the novel, I liked them much more as we saw different sides to them and they seem much more fleshed out and relatable, especially Nesta, Feyre's eldest sister. Feyre and Tamlin were characters I rooted for all story long, and I'm excited to see how what happened at the end of the novel is going to affect them. Lucien was my second favorite character. Even when he wasn't supposed to be likable, I still liked him. There's just a charming quality about his character that I can't help but like. Of all the characters, my favorite is definitely Rhysand. He's very complex, and I can't wait to see what's going to happen with his character in the next novel.
A Court of Thorns and Roses took me by surprise on how dark it is. The story itself is just so good. Truthfully, that's the reason I enjoyed the book so much. The romance plot was solid, but it didn't draw me in as much as the fae world itself with all of its complexities. The relationship between Feyre and her love interest was very well developed, and I'm glad it wasn't a insta-love relationship. I do see a bit of a love triangle developing, but I think it's really clear so far who the end game couple is. Out of all the things I loved about this book, the element I enjoyed the most was the character development of Feyre. She grew so much in this book. At first, she's a pessimistic fae-hating girl who is living day by day and has no real point in her life. Near the end of the book, Feyre has learned not to hate based on a character's species, but their personality as a whole. She's able to love and be accepted into a community she desperately hated in the exposition, and I found her growth to be stunning. Feyre's character became so much more enjoyable as the story progressed.
I only have three complaints about this novel. First, it became pretty predictable near the end of the book. I knew what was going to happen right before I read it, and though it was a great adventure to follow, I wanted a bit more. For instance, Feyre is given a riddle to solve within three months that will help a whole bunch of people out if she just solved it. She can't make sense of it though. I knew the solution to the riddle right as I read it. I even joked about it on a goodreads update and thought, "It couldn't be that simple." Another thing I didn't like that much is that one of the villains in the book is defeated so quickly. One battle, and then bam! It seemed like it was too good to be true. Last but not least, the romance got really cheesy at the end. I understand that they're in love and all that, but the two characters were so dramatic.
The ending was, overall, really solid. Things were set up for the next couple of books, which I am extremely looking forward to. There's this weird scene between Feyre and Rhysand at the very end, and now I have all of these crackpot theories of what Rhysand saw when he looked Feyre dead in the eyes. Mysterious, indeed. The guilt that Feyre holds is going to be interesting to see through the next book, and possibly those after it. My only hope is that she doesn't become too mopey. Overall, this was a really great book with amazing characters and a strong story. Even if you don't like a big romance plot, don't be hesitant to pick it up. I am absolutely going to be picking up the next one when it comes to my library in the future, and I 100% recommend this to anyone who wants to pick up a good fantasy novel.
With that, I give this book
4.3 out of 5 Stars!