“She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.”
Feyre is a 19-year-old huntress whose entire life changes after she kills a wolf in the woods. A beast-like creature named Tamlin whisks her away into Prythian – the faeries’ realm – where she is supposed to live the remainder of her life as payment for the one she took away with hatred in her heart. Tamlin is a shapeshifter and is actually the High Lord of the Spring Court where Feyre is staying. During her time there, aside from learning how life in Prythian works, Feyre also learns to open up her heart until later on, she falls into a romantic relationship with Tamlin. However, there is also this blight that threatens their land… secrets that neither Tamlin nor any of his court can speak… dangerous tasks ahead of them – and Feyre must find a way in order to save them all.
I knew from the moment I first set my eyes upon this book that this was going to be wonderful. My intuition was right. A Court of Thorns and Roses, or simply called ACOTAR, is the first book in a series written by Sarah J. Maas, and the first book I’ll ever write a review about.
Way before ACOTAR, Maas had already garnered popularity because of her Thrones of Glass series. But I’ve never even heard of it until I finished ACOTAR and did my own research. In fact, ACOTAR was the first Maas book I’ve ever read. And being the first book in a series, I had a lot of expectations riding on it because this will determine whether I wanted to go through with the series or not. And I’m glad that it didn’t let me down.
Though far from perfect, ACOTAR is still a seriously great fantasy-romance novel that appeals to many readers and is impossible to put down.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT
- Writing style. Anyone who’s ever read ACOTAR will obviously notice the slow pacing from the very beginning. However, the story gradually builds up to the last 400 pages or so which is where the real action begins! Maas writes it all down from a single point of view (Feyre’s), dropping little hints here and there, never really giving readers the entire truth until the right moment.
- Worldbuilding. One of the most fascinating features of ACOTAR is its worldbuilding. ACOTAR is set in a world where humans and faeries dwell and faeries no longer ruled over mortals. However, the fear and hatred towards faeries remains there, which is a key element to the story.
- Variety of creatures. I liked the way Maas gave variation to the faeries. There are the High Lords who each dominated a different court, followed by the High Fae, the lesser faeries, and the really evil ones that inspired the legends claimed by humans. Most of the bunch of creatures Maas created are ones I never heard of but still sounded familiar. The naga, the puca, the Bogge, the Suriel, the martax and the Attor… One of my favorite scenes in this story actually involved the Suriel, when Feyre tries to get some answers out of her.
- The map. I especially admire the map that Maas had provided. Its simplicity and clarity appealed to me, which are both important when it comes to cartography. The divisions of the realm are so clearly portrayed here that I haven’t had any trouble navigating as I kept track of the story.
- Characterization. Another thing which I found most fascinating about ACOTAR is its characters. They are all intriguing and did not lack for personality. I like the depth with which Maas had created them, giving them their own personalities and history that we readers could also relate with.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
- Limited places. In this book, we learned of the beauty and life in the Spring Court and their customs and festivities. We were also introduced to the horrors of Under the Mountain, where the faerie tyrant Amarantha lives. On the other hand, we didn’t get to venture out to the other courts or visited any other exciting places.
- The romance. It wasn’t the instalove that bothered me really, not at all. It’s that the relationship revolved more around the curse. It seemed as if Tamlin only allowed himself to love and care for Feyre so the conditions of the curse could be met. And all those times during Under the Mountain, it had to be Rhysand who had to save Feyre time and time again when it was Tamlin’s responsibility as her lover. And it was Feyre herself who had to save his butt time and time again to the very end. They just felt disconnected is all – save for the physical attraction they felt towards each other
Overall, ACOTAR is a super-fantastic read. It was definitely not perfect, but it still ranks high on my list of favorite fantasy novels ever. I think I’ve fallen in love with Maas’ way of writing. I love her ideas, her creativity and her ability to make each chapter better than the last. I love the inspiration behind her book – how she mixed it with Beauty and the Beast and other fairytales and then added them with a faerie lore twist. Scenes in the story were also described in vivid detail, giving us enough of an idea in our heads what kind of world Maas had imagined for ACOTAR. On the other hand, ACOTAR is lacking spice in the romance department but I’m hoping Maas will take it to a whole new level in the second book. This book is just perfect for anyone who loves reading fantasy novels; just beware of the mature content.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars