I can be extremely shallow when it comes to choosing books to read. Over the past year I’ve been seeing a number of Sarah J. Mass book covers all over my social media timelines, and what really caught my attention is how beautiful and attention grabbing the covers are. After seeing them repeatedly, I made the decision that I was going to read both of her popular series’ – Throne of Glass being the other series – starting with A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Making the decision to read a series based on the cover alone can always be a risk. However, I was determined to enjoy this book as I love a story with a strong female protagonist. A Court of Thorns and Roses gave me just enough of what I was looking for so that I can feel comfortable in saying that it’s a solid book.
A Court of Thorns and Roses, is based in a world where both Faeries and mortals exist. After a war took place, a treaty was formed that separated the Faerie land of Prythian from the mortal lands with a wall. A young 19 year old lady named Feyre must hunt to feed her two sisters and her crippled father. While hunting for prey, she discovers a strange looking wolf and decides to slay it. Little does Feyre know, the wolf was a Faerie in disguise, and she must now pay the price for the slaughter. Feyre is confronted by a High Fae who must make her pay for her crime with her life. After bargaining with the High Fae who is in beast form, it is agreed that Feyre will pay the price by crossing over to Prythian and spending the rest of her life there. A fate more generous than her immediate death.
The High Fae who confronts Feyre is known as Tamlin, the ruler of the Spring Court. Once in Prythian, Feyre stays within the confines of Tamlin’s court as she slowly begins to unravel the mysteries behind High Fae politics. This leads to a developing romance that ends with Feyre confronting a powerful Fae being to help free Tamlin and the other Fae of Prythian.
The book is best compared to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and that was exactly the author’s inspiration for the story. Regardless of the homage to Beauty and the Beast, a unique and original world is formed throughout the story. It does however suffer from pacing issues and sometimes it’s slightly clichéd in its approach.
Tamlin, who is a key character in the story, comes across bland. The supporting cast is much more interesting than Tamlin himself, which is a slight pitfall considering the part he plays in the story.
Feyre, despite her ignorance at times, is a likeable character who I genuinely would like to read more about. Her ability to overcome complications can sometimes be questionable but by the end of the book you’ll feel as though she’s been through a great journey and has developed as a character because of it.
Sarah J. Mass has a writing style that captures you and allows you to visualize her world without much effort. I’ve heard criticisms regarding her love scenes but I had no problems with them. On the contrary, I found her way of describing the actions of the characters to be tactful as it never feels too smutty or cheesy. It’s written in a way that’s acceptable for young adults and will also resonate with the more mature audiences.
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As a single book, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a decent read at best. It’s the forward development that adds to the books worth. You’re left wondering what will come of certain plot points that are left open, so this will naturally have you seeking out the next book. I’ve heard that book two – A Court of Mist and Fire – is something phenomenal, so if that’s the case then I can say that A Court of Thorns and Roses is definitely worth the read if you want to make a commitment to the series. Furthermore, I can say that Feyre is a strong lead character that is able to carry this story.
If you like your fantasy with a bit of romance then A Court of Thorns and Roses is worth a read. I do have the feeling that this may be the weaker book in the trilogy, but all that means is that there are great pages ahead of us.