Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's (5.5.2015)
ARC, 432 pages
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.
With all of the GLOWING reviews of this book, everyone raving about how amazing it was, how amazing Tamlin was, I was DYING to get my hands on a copy. I would have almost bargained my first born to get my hands on it. I begged Twitter if anyone would let me borrow it. (Thank you Kelly for letting me borrow yours!) And the fact that I didn’t love it like everyone else is kind of soul-crushing. (It has a 4.34 average rating on Goodreads. It makes me want to cry.)
There were two things that really killed it for me: 1) the romance, and 2) the Beauty and the Beast comparison. The fact that it’s pitched as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast really, really ruined this book for me. I mean, I could definitely see it – there were SO many similarities that I actually craved watching the movie (which I did). (Yes, I know, the movie isn’t the original version, but it’s the only one I think of because I love it.) But, the major difference was in the way Tamlin acted. Part of what makes me adore Beauty and the Beast so much is that their relationship starts out forced, strained, borderline hatred. Until they warm to each other. I love that kind of romance. This book did not have that. Tamlin is aloof at first, sure, but even from the beginning he’s calm and gentle. He was not monstrous in any way besides his literal appearance. (Which, by the way, sounded ridiculous. A wolf face with ram horns and a bear body? And claws that came out at the knuckles like freaking Wolverine or something? I wanted to laugh every time his claws came out.) The only hatred came from Feyre. I expected more conflict between them at the beginning; from both of them and not only from her side. I was disappointed that Tamlin was so passive.
In fact, I didn’t swoon over Tamlin like everyone else did. I found him to be too perfect. He’s nothing but a gentleman from the very beginning. I craved that Stockholm Syndrome kind of relationship where the captor seems horrible at first and slowly softens as the story progresses. View Spoiler »Especially considering he had been cursed without magic for 49 years. You’d think he’d be a little resentful and bitter. « Hide Spoiler Actually, he was kind of a pushover. Yeah, yeah, he’s powerful and can kill even the baddest of fae. But he was just so…vanilla. He lacked personality. In fact, I found all of the characters to be very bland and cardboard. The only one who had any real personality was the devious Lucien. I actually liked him.
Feyre was tough, I’ll give her that. But that’s all she had going for her. Her POV was so unfeeling and detached that I felt nothing for her or the story. Or the romance. Yeah, she loved Tamlin, but I just never got the feeling from it. She was simply telling the story, not feeling it. If that makes sense. Also, she felt too much like a regurgitated Celaena. Truth be told, the whole story felt like a weak regurgitation of Throne of Glass. If you want to read Sarah Maas, read that instead. It’s way better.
The romance was WAY too rushed. View Spoiler »I realize that she had to love him for Amarantha’s trials, blah blah blah. « Hide Spoiler But this is going to be a series anyway. I feel as if the first book should have been used to flesh out that relationship. The rest could have been in another book of the series. As action-packed as the end was, even that was rushed.
Honestly, I probably would have been more interested in the ending if I hadn’t already been so annoyed by the romance. When Feyre and Tamlin were all over each other, I wanted to puke. Everyone was talking about how swoony it was, but the steamy scenes – yes, there’s sex in this book – were awkward. For YA, I guess it could be considered racy, but it shouldn’t really be YA because it’s almost too racy for the age group. And honestly, in every one of those scenes, I cringed. It just didn’t work for me.
And then, to top things off, the end sets up a love triangle. UGH. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST DID NOT HAVE A LOVE TRIANGLE. No, there’s technically not a love triangle in this book. BUT, with the way it ended I see no way to avoid one as the series progresses. View Spoiler »When Feyre and Rhys kiss, it’s more of necessity than want, and Feyre doesn’t feel that way about him. Yet. BUT – the fact that she has to spend a week every month with him now makes me think that there’s an unavoidable triangle coming up in this series. Because how many books have you read where a male and female spend a lot of time together and don’t end up developing feelings? I can count them on one hand. « Hide Spoiler Sarah has already proven her track record for love shapes. It’s definitely going to happen, I can tell you that.View Spoiler »Oh, and Feyre was magically healed because they turned her into High Fae. OF COURSE THEY DID. I knew something like that would happen. I fucking knew it. Either she would be a long lost fae princess, or she would unwittingly have fae in her blood, or she would somehow be turned immortal. That was so predictable it’s disgusting. Can we please stop beating the “ordinary human becomes a super special snowflake” horse, please? « Hide Spoiler
Don’t get me wrong,
I didn’t hate it or anything. (Actually, yes. I kind of did a little bit. And the more time that passes, the less I like it.) Overall, I my feelings of this book can be summed up in one word: Meh. But there were things I liked. The world was interesting – I’ve always enjoyed stories about the deadly fae. And Sarah did a good job bringing most of the monstrous fae to life. I loved the magical feel to it. But that’s it.
Writing style: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5