Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Release Date: 5th May 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Add it: Goodreads
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.
I’m just going to get this out of the way: I did not like this book. I did not like it at all. And while it does on some level makes me sad that I was so put off by a book written by an author that has produced otherwise fantastic stuff, A Court of Thorns and Roses is probably one of the worst books I’ve read this year (so far, lawd help me).
So I am not actually a fan of faerie related literature in any way; most of the stuff I’ve read about the fae, and sadly I have read way too much, is either full of cliches, is badly written, involves a romance so ridiculous my eyes have been in danger of rolling right out of my head or worse, all of these put together in one appalling story. ACOTAR falls into the latter category. The deeply tragic part of this is that because of Throne of Glass, I had high hopes for Sarah J. Maas to write a book about fae that I’d actually enjoy reading (me @ past me: lol).
ACOTAR is like supposed to be a fairytale retelling or something, but what it actually is Twilight with Faeries. Feyre, the main character, hunts and provides for her family instead of having a personality – idk, I think she’s like Cinderella? Her family is very ungrateful about everything she does for them and she finds release in having tragic sex with some random guy from the local village while feeling sad about her life a lot. She has two sisters who are described as being irresponsible with money and petty; their father is a terrible parental figure who doesn’t actually do anything, ever. Also I read like thirty percent of the book without even knowing her name, which just goes to show how interesting she is as a character. BUT then, because of reasons, Feyre is taken to the Fae Court to stay. It’s a punishment or something but anyway, we meet Tamlin, who I thought was a) gay and b) called Tamriel for half the book, and Lucien who is a) ambiguously gay with Tamlin and b) definitely not as interesting as Lucien from the Lumatere Chronicles. Tamlin is very brooding and angry about many things, but he has a soft spot for Feyre and is very loyal to Lucien (platonic bros 4 life). Also he is a Prince, powerful beyond reckoning and extremely, supernaturally handsome. Other characters: Amarantha, the ~evil~ Fae Queen (ALL OLDER WOMEN IN FAIRYTALES ARE EVIL IT IS KNOWN), Rhysand, the Damon Salvatore third point of the love triangle that I will complain about in a bit, and literally no one else important enough to mention.
Okay, so, the main story is…well, it’s nothing. There is no story. Feyre literally hunts things, makes a questionable decision and pays for it with her freedom, goes to the Fae Court and then spends the majority of the book thinking about Tamlin. It’s beyond dull. Their love story takes up most of the book, dear god, and towards the end there is an attempt to cram in some plot via the fae version of the Hunger Triwizard Tournament Games. It’s through this that Rhysand and the third point of the triangle that he brings with him becomes a thing. FTR: Rhysand and Feyre are marginally more interesting than Tamlin and Feyre. The bar has rarely been so low.
The romance, which is probably going to be this book’s biggest selling point, is dreadful. At best it is stereotypical drivel a la Edward Cullen/Bella Swan and at worst it crosses over into abusive and controlling, also like Edward and Bella. There are scenes in which Feyre’s misgivings and hesitation are ignored; she has things done to her against her will by a man who supposedly loves her and there is no discussion of it whatsoever. This is one of those stories which perpetuate the very naive idea that anger is a turn on and it confuses real violence with passion. Feyre is tattooed as a sign of ownership, painted so that the man responsible will know if she’s been ‘touched’ by someone other than him, and is kissed and touched against her will. Like, okay. This is all written off as Fae being ~different to humans, and in Tamlin’s case, his actions are romanticized with Feyre swooning over him despite his refusal to take No as an answer.
Also, the ending? I just…no. It was equally hilarious and terrible, and undermined the message of the story; it is Feyre’s humanness that saves them all but what happens to her, without her knowledge (lawd give me strength), effectively strips her of her humanity. I was unimpressed, to say the least.
In summary, ACOTAR was Not Good. Will fae stuff and Twilight-esque romance ever not bore me into a coma? Computer says no.