A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult | Fantasy | 415 Pages | Published by Bloomsbury in 2015
| Rating |
Just the thought of a young adult romance is usually enough to have me running for the hills but I couldn’t seem to read two book blogs without coming across one name – Sarah J. Maas. Not willing to invest in a longer series just yet, I picked up a copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first in a new series which has generally received very good reviews. I couldn’t quite ignore my scepticism when I first opened this book… but by god! It was actually rather an enjoyable read! This is a tale of beauty and magic and of love in a strange and dangerous land. And damnit… it even made me cry! But shh. While this book certainly won’t be for everyone, there is a lot to enjoy – so sit back, set aside your misgivings and be swept along by this enchanting tale.
The world of humanity is cold and cruel but the world of fairies is much worse, or so we’re told. Feyre is a huntress; the youngest daughter of a now impoverished family, she lives her life hand to mouth, providing for her family in their hardship. But there are far more dangerous creatures than wolves in the dark hunting grounds of the land and after killing a monstrous wolf, she finds herself entangled in the dangerous world of the fairies. Taken from her home, Feyre is forced into exile in a new world, a world which is slowly succumbing to a dark and terrible power. As new friendships bloom and passions stir, she must decide whether to stand and fight or whether to hide with the rest of humanity as the tide of darkness washes over them.
This novel is written in a beautiful style which was very easy to get carried along with; no sooner had I opened it than I found myself a good chunk of the way through. The storyline, whilst somewhat predictable (and bordering on the cliché during the ‘destiny moment’), unfolds in a rather delicate and satisfying way and I soon forgot my reservations to become thoroughly entranced by the world of Prythian. And though the tale takes place in a relatively small portion of the map, the stage has been set for more works to come and I can only hope we get to explore it further.
During our sojourn in Prythian we meet a host of intriguing creatures and characters which inhabit the world of the fairies. Lucien and Rhysand are highly entertaining side characters with a wealth of interesting back story and humour who I hope will given greater precedence in the books to come. Our main man-candy, Tamlin – muscular, golden, beautiful – was actually a bit of a bore in comparison; a veritable Mary Sue. Though I didn’t dislike him, he didn’t capture my interest quite as much as the other characters did (and I still can’t figure out the point at which Feyre went from hating to loving him!).
And this is where it gets complicated. I found Feyre to be a somewhat two dimensional, predictable and ever so slightly annoying protagonist. She is also our narrator. However the world, from her point of view, is beautiful, dark and dangerous and whilst her own character may have been lacking, her perspective of the world around her certainly isn’t. And though this may have annoyed me at times, my overall enjoyment of the novel was unimpeded. This is, after all, a book full of beautiful description, fascinating characters with plenty of intrigue from the fae courts to boot.
Despite having a few issues with the storyline, this novel was actually very entertaining and I ploughed my way through it in no time at all. Fans of young adult fantasy (with a good dollop of romance) should find this a very enjoyable read. A Court of Thorns and Roses is absorbing, magical and left me with the disturbing notion that maybe I don’t dislike tales of romance so much after all…