Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on May 1, 2015 | 7 Comments

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's (5.5.2015)
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Format: ARC, 432 pages
Source: Borrowed

2 Stars

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.

My thoughts

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 » 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 » 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 » Sarah has already proven her track record for love shapes. It’s definitely going to happen, I can tell you that.

View 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.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3/5
Premise: 4.5/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 3/5
Characters: 1/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 3.5/5
Feels: 0.5/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Jessi (Geo)

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7 responses to “Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

  1. I didn’t even know that this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I’m kind of disappointed that they don’t hate each other at first. That’s the whole point, ugh! Tamlin is a literal monster? Hmmm…okay. Reminds me a bit of Of Beauty in that aspect.

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you had hoped, I keep telling myself to approach this one cautiously because I tend to get overhyped and hate books that everyone else loves. Haha.

  2. This review makes me happy, because I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t LOVEEEEE this – and feels confused about what happened! I didn’t feel a lot for Feyre either – she seemed like a type to me more than a real girl, and I struggled with her comparison with Beauty. You’re right, Tamlin wasn’t’ a lot like Beast, though that didn’t bug me quite as much. However, neither of them gave me a rush of feelings, and I struggled to connect to them through the first half. A slower building hate to love romance would have worked better for me too. I personally had a huge issue with the Great Rite scene. They were all over each other right after and it was way too icky for me – plus the comments that he would have taken her against her will. I didn’t get why she was turned on by all of that?! I think I would have felt just as uncomfortable if I’d gotten to the real sex scenes.

    I read 50% and then the end and I agree that a LT seems inevitable, which for me just negates anything between F and T. I actually don’t mind the turning her into a Fae thing b/c I dislike romances between mortals and immortals, though it is rather convenient. But a “happy” ending like this in the first book in a series is always a bad sign for a couple.

    I just finished reading UPROOTED by Naomi Novik and it has the best hate to love romance. The love story is way less of a focus than the romance in ACOTAR, but it worked so much better for me. I was planning on reading through the TOG series this year, but now thinking this author might not be for me. I think Celeana will be a struggle…

    • I’m glad I found someone else, too! My feelings for this book have begun to turn from dislike to resentment and it makes me cringe every time I see another 5 star review. I honestly think the only reason this is getting such glowing reviews is mostly due to who wrote the book. I doubt people would have liked it half as much if it had been a debut author and not SJM.

      Oh dear lord, you are seriously lucky you missed the awkward, awful “sexy” scenes.

      I’ve heard of Naomi Novik (I have His Majesty’s Dragon but haven’t read it yet) but haven’t heard of Uprooted. I’m going to check it out! As for ToG, I think you should give it a try it anyway. This book was awful and seemed like she crapped a book out just to have something be published. Throne of Glass is way, way better! It sucks that this was your first Sarah Maas experience!

  3. I think this is actually classified as NA, not YA, which is why it’s steamier. Still though, yikes for the awkward scenes. After reading all the glowing reviews it’s actually strangely refreshing to see another opinion, especially when I really wasn’t sold on it anyways.

  4. After reading so many 5-star reviews of this book, I’m glad someone feels the same way I do. I didn’t absolutely love this book, and I expected more from Sarah J Maas! The lack of emotion I felt for the characters, paired with the anticlimatic and predictable ending, left me unsatisfied. I also felt that Feyre is a bit phony… I like Celaena much more!
    I also felt that Tamlin kind of orchestrated their love… Meh. I liked Rhys better. I agree with what you said about Tamlin; he’s TOO PERFECT. And a pushover :)
    Great review!! :)

  5. Dale

    I’m still reading the book (about halfway through), and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I loved everything up until the Great Rite scene. And now… I just can’t get over it. Something about having a holiday based on necessary/forced sex REALLY bothers me, especially when it was kind of like an infidelity. No, I’m not a prude, and no, they weren’t even a couple at that point, but…. It still REALLY bothered me. Entirely too much. Like, what about Tam’s parents?! His dad obviously had to do that, but didn’t they have the special mating bond thing? What happens then? Does he just pick his wife? Couldn’t he have just done that? So why couldn’t Tam do that? Though no, I’m not in support of rape. The rapey scene after the Great Rite scene really bothered me as well. Oh, so you just had sex with someone who wasn’t Feyre, and then you’re going to talk about it and rub it in her face, and THEN you’re going to bite her to show her who’s boss. NOT OKAY.

    Okay, rant done. But what are all of your thoughts on all of that? I’m not even past the Summer Solstice scene, so please no spoilers.

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