Friday, May 29, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
Cover: 8/10
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.
When nineteen-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 grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Oh, boy.
Where to even start. First of all, I love Beauty & the Beast, it's my favourite fairytale, and I generally quite enjoy the retellings of it; in fact, fairytale retellings are my crack. I love reading them, I love analysing them, and I love comparing how different they are to the tales I grew up with. So, I was pretty excited for ACOTAR.
I mean, a Beauty & the Beast retelling by one of my favourite authors, and the book had been getting rave reviews? It was like a dream come true. But somewhere along the way, something went horribly, terribly wrong.
Don't get me wrong, the last ¼ of the book was actually pretty amazing. But until I got there, the story dragged by, filled stuff that could be seen as necessary filler background if it had actually been used to develop the romance. Instead, one day Feyre wakes up, essentially trapped in this house, and decides that the guy who can turn into a lion and who had scared her witless, to the point where she flinched away from him, no longer scared her, and actually, he's really quite handsome.
Now, okay, I know the nature of the fairytale involves some rather questionable romance aspects, but it really says something when a Disney movie, that cannot be longer than an hour and a half manages to make romance more believable than a 400 pages book. But I'm going to keep that rant for the feminist review, so suffice it to say, I didn't buy what Maas was selling.

And maybe it was just that, even though the book was in first person, it felt like it would have benefitted from being in third. I lost count of the amount of times I was jarred out of the narrative by Feyre thinking 'I', when I'd been pretty sure it would be a 'he/she'. It's possible that's just me being used to Maas' books being in third person, but I felt like that was maybe not the best decision in the world.
And then there were the characters. I loved Lucien so much, and, like I mentioned before, did not buy the Tamlin-is-an-awesome-guy routine. Feyre was a good, solid narrator at most times, although she did have her annoying moments.
But, the characters that most intrigued me was also the one we saw less of?! I wanted to get to know Rhys. I wanted to sink my teeth into his character, find out of what made him tic; we sort of almost got there in Feyre's cell, but there are still so many questions left. What was that look he gave Feyre at the end? Why did he protect her? What's his angle? I NEED TO KNOW! And Nesta, she was awesome, and I'd love to have seen so much more of her.

The most amusing thing for me was solving Amarantha's riddle in seconds. I'm thinking either my Ravenclaw-ness is rearing its' head, or that riddle was way too easy!

All in all, a fun book that kept me entertained. Despite my misgivings with it, it had a solid plot and interesting characters, plus awesome world building.

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