A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas marks the beginning of one of my favourite stories ever and, seeing as I never got the chance to review it all those years ago, this is my re-read review exploring the characters, writing, and plot knowing everything that I know about them now.
This book was released on 5th May 2015.
This review contains spoilers for this book and A Court of Mist and Fury. READERS YE BE WARNED!
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.
Before I begin I would just like to reiterate that THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS BOOK AND PROBABLY THE REST OF THE ACOTAR SERIES so none of you can be mad at me because I think I’ve given you fair warning.
Strange as it may sound, I think, despite having read ACOMAF at least a dozen times since its release and ACOWAR probably half that, I have only read A Court of Thorns and Roses 3 times (with this re-read being the third). This is mainly because Rhysand isn’t present for the majority of the book and reading about Tamlin and Feyre being together makes me want to punch something (probably Tamlin). Despite cringing every time The Tool is mentioned, I cannot give this book less than 5 stars as it is the beginning of an absolutely fantastic fantasy series that really got me reading again.
From memory A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast (Feyre and Tamlin) retelling as well as a retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone (Feyre and Rhysand). Both are stories that I ADORE so naturally I was always going to like this series. The plot is definitely something you would expect to see from a Beauty and the Beast retelling but the Hades and Persephone elements that come through closer to the end make it one of the best I’ve read. Some people have said that they found the beginning of the plot a bit slow and while I can definitely understand where they are coming from, I am not of the same opinion. What surprised me the most about this re-read was that, since I hadn’t read it in so long, there were scenes that I forgot had happened which was great and kind of like I was reading them for the first time (Example: when Feyre set a trap in her room and Alis got smacked in the face and later when she set a trap for Tamlin which caused him to be hung upside-down in the middle of the forest).
I’m going to sum up my feelings about the majority of the characters in a few sentences otherwise we may just be here for the rest of the year:
- Feyre is, understandably, constantly worried about her family after she is gone and is, at times rather idiotic in her decisions (HELLO! FEYRE YOU ARE A HUMAN IN A LAND FULL OF THINGS THAT CAN AND WILL KILL YOU! PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP TAKING STUPID RISKS!). On that note, I must say that it was a weird experience reading this book where Feyre was still human and not the almost indestructible High Fae that she is in ACOMAF and ACOWAR.
- Tamlin is SUCH A WANKER! How I ever shipped Feylin is beyond me. After reading ACOMAF and seeing the differences between Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin and her relationship with Rhys I wonder how I never picked up on the toxic elements of Feylin (I’m going to talk more about this in a second).
- Lucien is sassy and sarcastic and loyal and just BRILLIANT! Only one problem: he can sometimes be TOO loyal, especially where Tamlin is concerned (This can be seen more in the beginning of ACOMAF).
- Rhysand is such a lad! I remember on my very first reading of the book meeting him and saying “Yes. This is the one she’ll end up with. SHE HAS TO!”. Even as a quasi-enemy of the main characters in the first book I still adored him. Unlike many of the other characters he actually recognises that Feyre’s humanness has consequences and tries to help her without drawing any suspicion upon himself.
- Amarantha. I forgot how much I HATED THIS BITCH! Most of my hatred for female villains in this series is taken up Ianthe but re-reading ACOTAR reminded me how much I truely despised the cow.
I’m not going to touch much on how amazing I find Sarah’s writing to be except to say that when comparing ACOTAR to some of her more recent releases you can definitely see some improvement in her style. The main thing I want to talk about is Sarah’s ability to make her readers feel exactly a certain way at any given time. This is especially seen through Tamlin, which I touched on earlier in this review but wanted to speak more about. After reading ACOMAF my view of him changed dramatically, and I know that I’m far from the only one this happened to. In ACOTAR we were reading every event in Feyre’s POV and, just as she did, we all fell in love with him. She dismissed many of his flaws and so we in turn payed little attention to his extreme overprotectiveness and borderline domestic abuse (Example: Tamlin blames Feyre for the events that occurred on Fire Night/Calanmai even though none of it was her fault). Reading ACOMAF, and seeing the differences between Rhy’s Court and Tamlin’s, really brought quite a bit of attention to the toxic elements of Tamlin and Feyre’s relationship and made me hate Tamlin in a significant way. Naturally this came through when I was reading ACOTAR again and tempted me to lower my original rating down to 4.5 stars but I just couldn’t do it.
Despite my intense dislike of Tamlin (I really do just hate him as a person), I still love this book to the moon and back. Why? Because as I said at the beginning of this review A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is the beginning of an absolutely amazing series that will sit on my list of favourite books until the day I die… and it’s the only series thus far that contains one Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court.