This entrancing story includes fae, a reference to beauty and the beast (but – and this is not a problem – it’s not beauty and the beast kids, so don’t expect an exact retelling as I’ve seen in some disappointed reviews), a kick-ass heroine who’s prepared to get her hands dirty, and some great writing. Oh, and did I mention a delicious hero with the usual secrets and handsomeness to boot? With shapeshifting abilities and magic? Yeah, it’s all here.
I came to A Court of Thorns and Roses after reading Sarah J. Maas’s other series, the Throne of Glass, which I enjoyed, but I feel like the author’s writing is even better in this book. The world building is original, and I like the set up for future books in the series.
I was interested to see how Maas didn’t shy away from having her heroine do some pretty dark deeds, which I won’t go into, but definitely put the concept of utilitarianism (the greater good) into perspective for me. The fact I was even thinking about whether I could or would do what the heroine, Feyre, does, just shows how good the writing was and how much I identified with the characters. The character also faces the challenge of not being able to read, and I think some of the shame that comes along with not being literate was well explored in the book.
One frustrating thing was that there was a ‘no, don’t do that!’ moment or two in the book where the heroine made some doubtful choices. Which can be annoying when you’ve got a strong, smart heroine who’s sassy in every other way.
I’m also not sure if I’d count this as a YA. There’re a good few sex scenes in here, and whilst they’re not explicit in terms of the language – the choice of the word ‘splinters’ rather than ‘orgasms’ for example, which I quite liked – the book certainly has a fair bit of heat. Maybe ‘New Adult’ which I still haven’t go my head around as a category. There’s also a fair amount of cruelty and nasty violence, which ups the stakes for the hero and heroine, but might be a bit much for some YA readers.
There are some interesting secondary characters among the fae, one in particular who may also be vying for the heroine’s affections, who has his own issues, and the hero’s best friend. I would have quite liked another more fleshed out female character (who wasn’t a servant) – perhaps in the next book.
I powered through the book in twenty four hours, so I’d say it’s a well-written, very enjoyable page turner, with a great romance, some lovely world-building and has the potential for a strong series.