A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I was super busy transitioning to a different job within my school when I started this book, so I don’t think I truly gave it a fair start. Because I would pick it up and put it down, and I never had the opportunity for sustained reading time at the beginning of the novel, I had a hard time getting through the first 50 pages. But, again, I’m not sure if that was my fault or the book, so take my first impressions with a grain of salt. The school year ended on Thursday this week, so I was able to focus on reading, and I finished the book this morning. The fact that I finished the rest of the book in about a day and a half tells me that the initial impressions of the book were definitely due to the book being bad.
Feyre is a peasant girl in the human world who is simply trying to take care of her family after their father has lost their fortune. After hunting and killing a wolf in the woods near her home, she is threatened and almost killed by Tamlin, a faerie. Instead of killing Feyre, however, Tamlin kidnaps her from her home and takes her to his home in Prythian, the land of the fae.
For Feyre, this fate is almost worse than death for her her hate of the faeries is deep. Years ago, the faeries attacked the human world and killed thousands of humans. It was only after a treaty was agreed upon and signed that the war came to an end and a wall was built that would separate Prythian from the human world. In Prythian, Feyre learns of a blight that has spread throughout the Spring Court, the land in which Tamlin lives within the land of the fae. She learns how it effects Tamlin as well as the other fae that live in his manor. She learns of their culture, their practices, and their history, and slowly, her hatred for the faeries diminishes.
It is only after Feyre develops a relationship with Tamlin that she must be sent away in order to stay safe from a High Fae who still holds onto her hatred for humans. A High Fae who not even Tamlin cannot protect Feyre from. It is at this point that Feyre must decide who is most important to her, the faeries that she has learned to love since being brought to Prythian or her human family.
Feyre, as the main character, clearly develops over time. She goes from hating faeries to loving them. She goes from being the sole caretaker of her human family to not being with them at all. Feyre is a strong female character, but as with any imperfect human, she constantly doubts herself, which, in a sense, I appreciate because she wouldn’t be realistic if she didn’t feel that way about herself.
Tamlin, as the supporting character to Feyre, has very little character arc, which I found a little annoying. He chooses not to kill Feyre when he attacks her and her family at their home. He loves her from the very beginning, and that never changes. As the reader, you only see his feelings grow stronger and more apparent, and the reason for his lack of character development is only explained toward the very end of the book.
I think Lucien, Tamlin’s best friend and most trusted soldier, was my favorite character. He is snarky and delightfully sarcastic toward everyone, but especially toward Feyre when she first comes to Prythian. He puts on the front that he hates humans, when, in fact, he grows to really enjoy and care for Feyre by the end. I think another reason I liked him so much is that he seems to be the most damaged out of all the characters. I think we can all relate to a deeply damaged character on some level.
I really enjoyed the story. It makes me want to read the Throne of Glass series, also written by Sarah J. Maas. There were definitely some steamy make out/sex scenes for it being a YA novel, and I always appreciate a YA author for taking that kind of risk. However, while I read most of the book in about a day and a half, there were definitely some times that the story dragged. I think everything that was there was necessary for the plot to develop and to get a look into the internal world and feelings of the characters and their development, but looking at the novel as a whole there was a lot to it and there were times, for example, the amount of time that Feyre spent with Tamlin before being sent away, that the story almost seemed overdeveloped. But, like I said, overall I really liked it, hence, the reading it in a day and a half.