In the first book of Sarah J. Maas’ new fantasy series we follow Feyre, a nineteen year old huntress who kills a wolf in the forest in order to feed her starving family. Far from an ordinary wolf, the creature was in fact Fae and after committing the crime of killing him, Feyre must be punished. She faces the choice of either death or living out the remainder of her days in the Fae land, the dangers of which her and all humans have been endlessly warned about for decades. Choosing life, she dwells on the extravagant estate of powerful high Fae Tamlin, but is forbidden to attempt escape. As time goes on her feelings towards Tamlin change from icy and hostile to fiery passion, but the wicked shadow which haunts Prythian grows ever darker, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or lose her beloved Tamlin forever.
A cleverly written retelling of Beauty and the Beast, A Court of Thorns and Roses has quite possibly made it as my favourite release of 2015 (so far). Sarah J. Maas had me completely invested in every single one of her characters; I found each of them to be so complex and detailed, and completely unique from each other, that they felt as real and close to my heart as old friends. To begin with, our protagonist, Feyre, is utterly devoted to her insufferably ungrateful family, and it is clear that she hasn’t been allowed to be selfish in a very long while. As her attention turns to Tamlin, her captor-come-lover, she is assured of her sisters’ wellbeing and we see her begin to indulge in her own personal interests and pleasures, something she has seldom been able to do in recent years. She and Tamlin aren’t what you might call a ‘perfect match’ at first, but as their icy exteriors melt away they gain each other’s trust and things definitely heat up between them, leading to a few steamy scenes which are undoubtedly the reason this book is leaning towards the ‘new adult’ end of the spectrum.
As much as I adored the two lovebirds, Tamlin and Feyre, my absolute favourite character has got to be Lucien, Tamlin’s best friend and emissary. With his witty comebacks and remarks, he is such an essential part of the book for me. When we first meet him he seems cold-hearted and bitter, displaying a definite distaste for Feyre, but as time goes by and he warms up to her it is impossible not to fall absolutely in love with him. The story didn’t have much leeway for humour so I feel Lucien’s presence was the perfect way to sneak some into it and make the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it aspects much less heavy.
Throughout the entire book we know as much as Feyre does about the blight destroying the Spring Court of Prythian, which is next to nothing. While this was incredibly maddening at times, it kept me guessing and I was completely hooked trying to figure out the answers (I failed miserably at this). I feel we were fed the perfect amount of information in every chapter: enough that the plot understandable, but not so much that there was an information overload. When everything was eventually pieced together I was left with an immense feeling of satisfaction, and in spite of being the first book in a series, A Court of Thorns and Roses was rounded off nicely without a massively frustrating cliff-hanger, which I’ll be eternally thankful for. Despite the lack of cliff-hanger ending, I’ve been left with an abundance of unanswered questions and I’m highly anticipating the release of the next book, which I’ll most definitely be in possession of the day it’s released.
Louise De St Aubin