Saturday, 7 January 2017

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES (ACOTAR #1) - by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses - by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's - 2015
Pages: 416.
Genres: Young adult/fantasy/retelling/Fae/romance/magic
Source: Library.

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.

PLEASE NOTE: As this book contains some very strong sexual scenes, I will be mentioning and discussing them in this review to support my arguments.  If you're not comfortable with that, it's probably best not to read my review :) 


I have been wanting to read this Beauty (haha see what I did there?) for what feels like years. I finally started the Throne of Glass series, and while I have a love/hate relationship with that series, this book looked like it would be amazing and definitely improve upon Throne of Glass. Just because it's a fairy tale retelling, and I'm a sucker for those.
Was it better than Throne of Glass? I don't know.



The writing was far from beautiful and original. There's none of the gorgeous language that fills Throne of Glass, and while it was still very vivid, Maas's choice of language was disappointing.

The start was very rocky. In fact, I thought the first chapter was verging on terrible. It felt like Maas was copying The Hunger Games, what with the hunting and bow and arrow and the heroine supporting her family; and Feyre very much seemed like a damsel version of Katniss.
It was frequently slow and boring, until Feyre went Under the Mountain and then it really picked up. Until then, I was forced to read of Feyre and Tamlin's lusting romance and how gorgeous she thinks he is and how silly Feyre is acting and how he constantly has to save her.
I really struggled to buy into the world. The world-building was very weak, particularly at the start, and it frequently felt unrealistic; but not in the gorgeous "fantasy world" kinda way. It just felt shaky and unstable.

But I loved the Beauty and the Beast parallels. For those who don't know, ACOTAR is loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, and I thought Maas did beautiful things with that concept. I loved the twists and turns on the original tale, with Feyre's love of painting, the library, and her inability to read, and all the Fae nods to the original fairy tale.
I just adored how Maas put her stamp on Beauty and the Beast.    

The whole last quarter of the book that took place Under the Mountain was brilliant. I couldn't stop reading; I was breathless, shaken, and utterly spellbound. It was vivid, tragic, and felt so, so real. Excellent.  


The Characters: 
I did not like Feyre or Tamlin. Feyre did grow on me, I admit, but she was constantly looking for trouble and making really stupid choices. I did like how she was both vulnerable and badass, but honestly she was more of a damsel than a heroine.
I had no patience whatsoever for Tamlin and Feyre's romance. They frequently behaved like sex-crazed teenagers, and that part Under the Mountain where they finally get a moment alone, what do they do? They start ripping each other's clothes off and trying to have sex right where they are. Yes, this book has quite mature content and is more New Adult than Young Adult, but really; they get a moment alone where they could talk and maybe plan escape or comfort each other, and instead they start doing it! Right there! I mean seriously, grow up.
And don't get me started on their "loving relationship".  Anyone who knows me well will know that romance that borders on sexual assault does not and will never sit well with me.
So let's look at the relationship between Tamlin and Feyre: every sex scene between them is far from beautiful and healthy. Maas writes the scenes so they come across violent, sweaty, and just plain uncomfortable. Tamlin is out of control, lusting, and Feyre is swooning when she should be seriously disturbed.  Not to mention, he bites her neck on two occasions where they're in each other's arms, and she doesn't condone him for it. EXCUSE ME?  It's seriously sad to think that some people will dismiss (or even swoon over) this as a sexy, romantic incident. But he bites her neck. How is that okay?

I love Lucien. Absolutely love him. He's dashing, hot-headed, witty and just CAN I MARRY HIM PLEASE. I really liked how his friendship with Feyre developed, and I hope he finds love in the next book. (With me, preferably).  
And well hello. Rhys wasn't too bad himself. He was a breath of fresh air between Tamlin and Feyre, and while I did not condone the way he paraded her around Under the Mountain without giving her a choice and dressing her up as his plaything, I could easily see why he was doing it and that he would never have actually hurt her. Every kiss he forced on her, every word he spoke to her, was to keep her safe and make sure she didn't mess up in front of Amarantha; for her own sake. I trust him more than Tamlin, to be sure, and his dark behaviour pales in comparison to Tamlin's.
I particularly loved when Rhys was speaking to Feyre's mind after one of the tasks. It was so beautiful and powerful the way he was ordering her not to break, not to cry.
   


A Court of Thorns of Roses is a rich, heated novel of Fae love with brilliantly imaginative parallels to Beauty and the Beast. But it's secondary characters are the real heroes, the main romance is nauseating, and the book only really picks up the pace during the last quarter.  


I feel like the first 3 quarters of the book deserve 2 and a half flowers, and then the last quarter (Under the Mountain) deserves 4. 
*sighs* 



25 comments:

  1. Oh I'm so sorry to hear that..The cover looks freaking gorgeous though! And god i hate these dominating or sexually abusive relationships! They are NOT ROMANTIC! I wonder when everyone is gonna realize that!! Great review though :)

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    1. Me too :( Yeah I know, it's so cool!
      I KNOW RIGHT! Gosh, it makes me blood boil. How is that romance?! Ugh.
      Thanks!

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    2. She dose use this to make a point in later books keep in mind

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  2. Definitely agree with everything you said!! This is why I realized after reading ACOMAF that I hated this series and had to put it down asap. The relationships were unhealthy, Tamlin was a creep, ugh I don't understand how people ship these romances.

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    1. I'm so glad!
      Sorry you hated the series :( Yeah, so far the relationships are really turning me off. And I KNOW, EXACTLY!! It makes me so mad, I mean COME ON! *sighs*

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  3. I love this series, so your review pains me! And yet I can totally see where you are coming from. This is why reading is so amazing - there's something for everyone! And you have absolutely made all your points so well and I can see exactly where your turn off's were.

    I'm so interested to see what you think of book 2!

    Great review!

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    1. Ah sorry Di! Thanks for much for the lovely comment, though - and you're so right: reading is a wonderful thing because we all take something different away from every book we read.
      Aww thank you, that means a lot; especially since we differ :)

      Me too!

      Thank you!

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  4. I love the Throne of Glass series, but the last book had some major turn-offs for me. I don't think I'll read this series. I've debated it for a while, but after reading your review and a few others that said similar things, I don't think it's for me.

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    1. Yay glad you enjoyed ToG! That's interesting to hear about the last book, though, I haven't read that one yet.
      I see, yeah it's not for everyone.
      Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

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  5. I'm sorry to see that the romance wasn't all that great. I've been hearing that quite a lot from different reviewers, though I think I'm still going to give this one a shot because it's Sarah J. Maas and I love her Throne of Glass series. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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    1. Thanks :)
      Yeah I was still keen to try it for myself even after hearing the mixed reviews, so go you! I hope you enjoy it :) Even if it's just because you have a biased love for Maas! Lol.
      My pleasure :)

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  6. This is on my TBR list. I was excited about the Beauty and the Beast twist, but I'm disappointed to hear that you didn't connect with the characters or the romance. Poorly developed/unhealthy romance is a deal breaker for me. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Personally, I loved the Beauty and the Beast parallels - I really thought those were good.
      Thanks, me too :(
      Yeah definitely. It's so disappointing and infuriating.
      Sure :) Have a lovely Sunday!

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  7. When I first read this book I absolutely adored it, but a week later and I began to feel exactly the way you do. I really dislike Tamlin, and the beginning was much too reminiscent of The Hunger Games. I still haven't read ACOMAF just because of Tamlin. But, I do very much like Rhys so I know that I will probably enjoy the sequel more. Great review Amy! It was so thought out!

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    1. That's so interesting to know. And yes, I totally feel the same about Tamlin, and The Hunger Games similarities.
      Hope you get to read the sequel soon! I'm really hoping it'll better and that there'll be more of Rhys :)
      Thank you, Gennifer! That means a lot <3

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  8. I feel like this means you're going to like the sequel :)

    Emma @ Reading Through the Night

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    1. I hope so!
      Thanks for stopping by, and have a lovely week ahead :)

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  9. I feel like you should really read the sequel. I absolutely love anything Sarah J. Maas and felt like this series is much better than Throne of Glass. However, I read the sequel only a week after reading the first book, which means I don't really know how I felt about the characters before the sequel anymore.

    I see a lot of bad feelings/reactions towards the rough sex scenes in this comment section. And though I do not approve of anything abusive whatsoever... it suits this particular situation/couple. I fear that by saying more I might spoil what will happen in the next novel. I will say this: It often takes a while for people (readers as well as characters) to realise what love looks like.

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    1. I will definitely read the sequel. That's so interesting to know, and I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
      Ah ok, I see.

      Okay :) I disagree, but that's me. I don't think that sort of behaviour - biting her, etc - should suit anyone in any particular situation, but everyone has different opinions. And Tamlin came across very possessive and touchy, while Feyre spent most of her time lusting after his body, etc. It just seemed like a very unhealthy relationship.
      Thanks for the comment :)

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  10. I'm surprised to see how high you rated the book, given the fact that you didn't really like either of the main leads :D I *do* want to read this book, but I've heard many times that Feyre and Tamlin have a really unhealthy and disturbing relationship, and that's pretty off-putting. Great review! :)

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. Rhys and Lucien and that final quarter of the book were the reason I gave it a higher rating :)
      But yeah, I really didn't like Tamlin and Feyre. And I'd also heard that about them before I read the book, although I came to it unbiased and prepared to like them :)
      Thank you Brittany! Have a lovely week :)

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  11. We love Sarah J. Maas, but you're 100% right when you say that Tamlin and Feyre have a disturbing relationship. We like ACOMAF much more. The Under the Mountain part is stunning. Lovely review as always. :)
    ~ Pendragons 

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    1. I'm glad you both felt the same way :)
      Oooh yay, glad to hear it! I can't wait to read it!
      Thank you :)

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  12. I absolutely love Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series but I had the same feelings as you about ACOTAR. I just could not get into the first book-it was so boring! The second book was a bit better for me but nowhere near as good as ToG in my opinion :)

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    1. Glad you like ToG! I've kinda got a love/hate relationship with it, lol ;)
      *high five* It definitely was boring! And that's interesting to know; I look forward to seeing what the second book's like now that you and others have said that :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

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