27 April 2015

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

Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasSarah J. Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses (in bookstores next week), is the first in a new fantasy series featuring a world in which faeries and humans co-exist more or less peacefully under a shaky treaty.

The set up: After her father lost his money and social standing, nineteen-year-old Feyre does what she can to keep him and her older sisters fed and clothed. While out hunting deer one morning, she chances upon a gigantic wolf that is also stalking prey. Afraid for her life, Feyre kills the animal and then takes the pelt to sell at the market.

The consequences: Later that night, the door of Feyre's cottage is broken down and a horrible beast accuses her of killing a faery. Following the treaty between humans and fae, the beast gives her the choice of instant death or life among the faeries, never to return to human lands again. She picks life and finds herself a bird in a gilded cage: As long as she stays within the boundaries of the Court of Spring, she will come to no harm. Her abductor turns out to be Prince Tamlin, a shape-changing fae, who does indeed treat his human captive kindly.

The rest of the book: This first in series, introduces us to the deeper history and politics of the human and fae worlds. The high fae suffer from a condition that is draining their powers, the treaty that protects the humans from fae enslavement is getting weaker, and faeries from other lands are expanding their political ambitions. In the meantime, Feyre is beginning to bond with Prince Tamlin and the other members of his court, eventually seeing them as individuals instead of terrifying magical beings. As Feyre and Tamlin's relationship strengthens, they are each forced to make difficult decisions about their futures.

The characters: Feyre is a strong, well-rounded young woman who doesn't shy away from what must be done to protect those she loves. She is artistic, smart, and willing to learn. Tamlin, still a young man in fae terms, is struggling to help his people and to become his own person, separate and distinct from his violent father. I particularly liked the fact that Maas allows her characters to change and grow--even the minor characters learn from and adapt to changing circumstances. There are few cookie-cutter personalities.

More good: A Court of Thorns and Roses may be the first in a series, but it holds up well on its own. Maas gives us a lot of information about Feyre's world and hints at a deeper history and complex politics, yet the world building is interwoven among the action scenes or as part of Feyre's exploration of her new home in the fae lands. Thanks to the plot twists, many strong emotions, horrifying action scenes, and sweet romance, I read this novel all in one go.

The ending: My only real complaint has to do with the very end. An event takes place that I thought should have had much more impact. But this is a minor point, and I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series. Note that the novel doesn't end on a cliff-hanger, though it definitely points to several promising story arcs.

Recommendation: A Court of Thorns and Roses has more in common with epic fantasy than it does with the wizardy fantasies geared to younger readers. Although Maas doesn't exactly follow the line of reluctant hero, she draws on many elements of high fantasy, including a quest (of sorts), a long history, and an alternative world. I recommend the series to fans of adult fantasy. Note that Sarah J. Maas's work in this novel is more developed and stronger than her Throne of Glass books.

Published by Bloomsbury USA Children, 2015
ISBN-13: 9781619634442
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

4 comments:

Melissa Owens 4/27/15, 7:26 AM  

Excellent review! I've enjoyed Maas's Throne of Glass series and am looking forward to reading A Court of Thorns and Roses for something a little different. I'm pleased to see you liked it! :-)

bermudaonion 4/27/15, 9:05 AM  

My sister would probably love this series.

Irish 4/28/15, 8:42 AM  

I liked this one but I didn't love it. I do think that Maas's writing has grown since ToG and I do plan on reading the rest of the series (or at least the next book) though I do have a fairly good idea on where this series is going. I do like your bullet point style of review. I might have to try that sometime - i think it might help when I have one of those meh type reviews. lol

Daryl 4/28/15, 10:24 AM  

i think i started then discarded Throne of Glass but i honestly cant remember ... i am not sure i am interested enough, tho you do write an intriguing review .. thanks!

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