Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
No. of Pages: 432
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 5 May 2015
“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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.”
My Thoughts: Any story that accelerates my heart rate and keeps my eyes glued to the page is a story that is worthy of a place on my bookcase devoted to beloved favorites. A Court of Thorns and Roses definitely makes the cut. With its luscious descriptive passages and a heroine that not only kicks ass but has a strong moral compass, it is a story that I would gladly read and re-read multiple times. Add to that a sexy-as-hell hero and stunning courtship and you have a story for the ages.
Feyre is by far one of the main attractions of the story. She is not perfect. She is not only quick to anger, to judge, and to act rashly, she is surprisingly compliant for someone so independent. Her capacity to accept the blows – figurative and literal – dished out by her family members is one of her biggest strengths and yet one of her biggest weaknesses as well. On the one hand, her capacity for selflessness is enormous given how little her family helps her; on the other hand, she is too strong-willed to watch her so quickly humble herself in front of them. No one ever wants to see a star’s shine diminish, and her penchant for putting her family first does just that. The bullying done by her sisters create within her an unfathomable lack of confidence in her abilities, which is upsetting to behold. However, once Feyre pushes aside the self-doubt that plagues her, she is a formidable opponent for anyone, whether it is beast, man, or Fae.
Tamlin is an excellent foil for Feyre. Seriously sexy, compassionate, and yet entirely feral, he compliments her in so many ways. Their eventual romantic connection is a foregone conclusion, but watching them dance around the issue is endearing. Yet the danger he exudes never dissipates completely, making those tender scenes that much more beautiful. The secrets he hides are at once terrible and not totally surprising given the hints thrown out the minute Feyre crosses the border into Fae lands and set the stage for the ultimate in confrontations.
The best thing about A Court of Thorns and Roses is the fact that in addition to being one hell of a good story, it tells a lot about love and selflessness. Both Feyre and Tamlin put others before their own self-interest. This causes more problems for them , but it is their strong sense of responsibility for those they consider under their care that causes them to do this. Reading this at a time when it appears to be every man for himself, it is a refreshing and much-needed reminder that this is how people should be. The selfless love parents feel for the children is not limited to just that relationship and should be part of every relationship. Taking responsibility is another hallmark of their characters that also soothes the soul and reminds you of the way things should be.
The only issue I have with A Court of Thorns and Roses is the fact that it is considered YA. There is enough rather explicit sex in it that has me questioning that categorization. It is not a book I will be recommending to my daughter any time soon even though she loves fantasy and would adore Feyre. The nebulous category of New Adult seems more fitting given Feyre’s age and the sex. So, buyer beware if you are thinking of getting this for a teenager.
However, I am not a teenager and have no problems with explicit sex scenes. They are tastefully done, generate more than enough heat, and further the relationships in question. They add to the friction and the power struggles at play throughout the novel and establish a heightened sense of urgency to the proceedings.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of those novels that makes me glad to be a reader. It hits on all of the best parts of reading. I was emotionally connected to the characters; their fates infiltrated my dreams. My heart was racing with adrenaline as the action began to heat up, and I could not stop reading it. I was so invested in the characters and the story that I grew upset at interruptions while I tried to finish the last few chapters. The magic and other fantasy elements exist but take a backseat to the relationships and battles for power that are the hallmark of the story. Feyre is the type of character who makes me proud to be a female and fills me with confidence and a belief that I too can be as strong and selfless as she is. Plus, the romance is swoonworthy enough to fill your stomach with butterflies. My only regret was waiting so long to discover this amazing series.