Beauty and the Beast, it’s a classic Disney story anyone who didn’t grow up under a rock like Patrick Star would know. But what if this time the Beast was a faerie… no not the Tinker Bell kind, although that would make for an interesting book. No, this faerie is a strong and handsome man with plenty of powers, including the power to make most readers swoon. And the Beauty is a girl who’s the right balance of tough and delicate. She cares deeply for her family, taught herself how to hunt and kill, oh and she’s got an appreciation for art. This is anything but a classic retelling of the same old story, no Stockholm syndrome here!
The Summary: spoiler free I promise 🙂
Humans and faeries don’t get along nowadays. Long ago they both signed a treaty of peace to end the fighting between their people. This agreement erected a towering wall between the faerie world, Prythian, and the human world. Feyre is a girl who lives on the human side of the wall. Her family went from riches to rags and now she’s the only thing keeping them alive. Dealing with two ungrateful sisters and a father who’s bound to a wheelchair, Feyre must hunt and kill in order for them to survive the winter. When she spots a gorgeous wolf out in the woods she decides to make it her prey. She soon realizes this wolf is actually a faerie in their animal form, and with her strong hatred towards anything of the fae kind, she readily kills it with an arrow made of ash.
After a long and arduous day of preserving the meat, selling the hide, and a filling dinner Feyre wants to do nothing more than shut her eyes and rest. That is until a giant wolf comes barreling through her families front door. This giant wolf is another faerie, who was sort of besties with the faerie-wolf that Feyre murdered in cold blood. His name is Tamlin, and he is anything but thrilled about his friend’s death. Tamlin forces Feyre to choose between being murdered in front of her whole family or living out the rest of her human life in the faerie world of Prythian. Luckily for us, our main female lead decides on the latter and that’s where this story begins.
I’m going to be very vague from this point onwards because I actually want you all to enjoy the book without ruining the best parts for you. I’ll be omitting most characters and scenes to save the mystery 🙂
To say the least, Feyre is astounded and also a little scared by the fae lands of Prythian. Here the forests feel more alive, the food is divine, and even the sunsets seem brighter by comparison. But also in these forests the deadly and mysterious lesser faeries lurk, and they want nothing more than to make a human their lunch. Here Feyre spends her days, getting to know more about the fae people and about her gracious host. As they spend time together and Feyre starts to lessen her hatred of these “monsters”, and Tamlin and Feyre end up falling for each other. But a darkness has been brewing in Prythian and it threatens everything these two lovebirds hold dear. In a turn of events, it’s actually Feyre who ends up having to save the faeries from a dire fate. These challenges push her to her very limits; testing her strength, her ingenuity, and how much love she has for these people. I won’t say much about the ending except this: It’s gut-wrenching, it’s thrilling, and I totally cried.
I’ll get the bad news out of the way first, I didn’t like the guys in the book. I just didn’t see Tamlin as this hunky guy worth swooning over. To me he seemed a little violent and possessive, especially on the night of Calanmai… you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve read that far. To me, Lucien seemed in need of a backbone and Rhysand was just a decent guy at this point. None of them made a stand out appearance to me, and that was a little disappointing. But on the plus side, at least I’m in the minority here.
Another bit of bad news but then after this, I promise it’s nothing but praise from me. The middle can get a bit slow… like watching a race between a turtle and a sloth in a pile of molasses slow. In this book, the reader goes from this super action-filled opening to a lack-luster middle section full of dialogue and questions from Feyre. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of character development and I found it easy enough to read through. It’s just at certain points I did walk away from the book and I didn’t feel the immediate need to pick it back up again.
To counter this though I will say Mrs. Sarah J. Maas is absolutely brilliant at painting pictures with words and creating the atmospheres she does. This book has plot after plot after plot woven into one another that makes this book so impressive. There is nothing that feels like it’s out of place or a little odd, it all works together beautifully.
Which is why I also love the way she writes Feyre in this book. Mrs. Maas does a splendid job of having Feyre convey her feelings and ideas to the reader. I loved every single word of Feyre’s artistic view of the world, the paintings she creates and sees in front of her. That is something new to me and I can’t believe how much I liked it. It was like I was seeing the book two different ways. Once from my own interpretation of the text, and then again through Feyre’s eyes as she goes on to describe the brush-strokes and colours she uses. I felt like I could finally understand why people find beauty and solace in art. This is truly one of my favourite aspects of this book.
Finally, this book is the opener to the other two book in the series, A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin. This book led me onwards to the series that has made me fall in love with lands and characters I will cherish forever . A Court of Thorns and Roses is wonderful start to the story’s development in the succeeding books.
This is why A Court of Thorns and Roses get an 8/10 from me. The leading lady and her view of the world is entrancing, the whole faerie take on the Beauty and the Beast story was something I never expected, and even though the middle was slow going, the ending well made up for it! This is a must-read in my opinion, just with a little patience is all.
I plan to review the next two in the series in the upcoming Thursdays so keep your eyes out!