August 25, 2015

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

August 25, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: ACOTAR #1
Publication: Bloomsbury on May 5, 2015
Genre: NA Fantasy Retellings
Page Length: 432 pages
Source: Purchased
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.

Okay, so I know I'm practically the last person in the ENTIRE book blogosphere to read ACOTAR, but I am thrilled to say I am no longer left in the dark.  Sarah J. Maas, the renown author of the Throne of Glass series, has once again set out to impress with this first installment in her new fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses.  This book is jam-packed with all the action, romance, and memorable characters you'll ever crave.

Whenever you start a highly anticipated read, there is always the question of whether or not it will live up to the hype.  Many books just . . . seem to fall flat, however, I believe ACOTAR definitely did not.  For me, the book started out on a high note, sort of plateaued during the middle, but then, totally ended with a bang.  Feyre, our heroine of the story and provider for her poor family, is instantly likable for her fierce, driving spirit and strong will.  We begin our story as Feyre wanders through the harsh winter woods in search of food for her otherwise destitute family.  After a few pages, Feyre comes across a deer being stalked by a wolf.  She kills both, bringing home the deer's carcass and the wolf's pelt to her family.  Little does Feyre know, the wolf is actually Fae.  The following evening, a seemingly ferocious beast, Tamlin, takes Feyre away to the Faerie Realms as retribution for his fallen friend . . .

What I particularly loved about ACOTAR was the setting.  I loved the whole idea behind the seven courts: the Day Court, the Night Court, the Dawn Court, the Winter Court, the Summer Court, the Autumn Court, and of course, the Spring Court.  Sarah truly brought a magical, exciting feel to all of the Fae Lands and its creatures.  The reader became particularly acclimated with Tamlin's Court, the Spring Court, in this first book, but I'm sure we'll delve further into the remaining six in the following books to come.  I cannot wait to see what Sarah has in store for readers.

As I said, I felt ACOTAR started off on an extremely high note, but then began to plateau likability-wise in the middle, (if not slightly decline).  I expected a lot more action and excitement as the "meat" of the story.  However, there was a lot of world-building, character-building, and relationship-building during this time, which I do understand the importance of.  However, the storyline still felt a bit dull.  A bit boring.

Many readers feel the romance that develops between Tamlin and Feyre is the highpoint of the story, but for me . . . not so much.  I don't know exactly what wasn't working for me, but their relationship definitely felt a bit strange and a bit problematic at times.  And not to mention, a bit insta-lovey?

Another aspect that didn't quite work for me was the whole "mask-wearing plague."  I get that the masks are supposed to "hide" Tamlin's looks so Feyre has to fall in love with a beast.  Well . . . Tamlin is not at all like a beast.  He can shape shift into a beast-like form, but for the other 99% of the time, he's in a normal, buff human form.  And, he's nice.  Polite.  How can a girl possibly fall in love with a toned and tan man, huh?  I don't know.  What a mystery.  I felt the whole point of the original Beauty and the Beast story was lost in this retelling.

However, that is not to say I didn't enjoy Sarah's take on the story.  In fact, (besides the whole mask fiasco), I loved how Sara diverged quite a bit from the original.  She took the foundation of the classic Beauty and the Beast, but was able to build upon it so much more to love.  Specifically: The ending.  Talk about a climax.  Once I hit a particular page, I was hooked and binge-read all the way until the final page.  Readers wanted action?  Readers got action.  Unlike some fairytale retellings, this one totally caught me off-guard, and I couldn't predict every twist and turn.

The absolute best part about ACOTAR?  The characters.  Each one was unique, interesting, and entertaining to read.  Sarah is a master at creating well-written, memorable characters.  In her TOG series, there are so many to love, and in ACOTAR, readers are introduced to an abundance of yet even more.

We already saw some awesome character development take place in this first installment, but I'm looking forward to the bigger character arcs that will run throughout.

And can we please talk about Rhysand?  He is one of the most well-written, intriguing characters I have ever come across in a book.  Right now readers don't know too much about him, so I'm more than excited to see how his character develops in book two and beyond.

All in all?  Sarah J. Maas has done it once again.

You need this book.

author image

Julia Anne

I'm a teen with a refined taste for good books and great writing, currently living in Honolulu, HI. I'm a reader. A dreamer. And an aspirant writer. One day I have hopes to travel the world, but for now, I'll settle with venturing through the written works I read.


  1. Great review, Julia Anne!!! I've been waiting patiently for you to review ACOTAR (ever since you mentioned reading it), and am glad you enjoyed it! :D I totally agree that Rhysand is such an intriguing character that I want to know more about. He's so mysterious. And I love it. (Although I do love the Tamlin and Feyre pairing...) I guess I'll just have to see. It's kind of hard to say right now :)

  2. Is it weird I've been stalking the blog for this review since you said u were reading it?? I just had to know your thoughts on my favorite author's book!!! I'm so glad you loved the characters because they are the one thing that really brings Maas' books to life! Her setting and world-building is crucial to the story since it's a fantasy but I think she overall does a great job at it and that's why I love her. I loved Tamlin, he was like the beasty bad boy that I love in some stories and he's just looking for someone to tame him. Ugh it's so sexy! I loved how this book leaned away from the YA world and was a bit NA, which I'm starting to love now as I wrote a whole post about how I love NA! Wow have you read the Throne of Glass series? I'm guessing you did because well, you're you! I definitely loved this one more than ToG although some people don't agree lmfao! Lovely review gurll!

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

  3. It sounds like there is quite a lot of world building in here, which I always like, but that it could also be more of an introductory book when it comes to the whole series as well. Seeing as it is lacking a bit in the plot as well. Actually you are not the last one in the blogsphere to read this one because I haven't read it yet either! But I very much into to with it being on my TBR, so hopefully I can try it soon. I hope you like it :)

  4. Haha don't worry, you're definitely not the last person to read this, I'm still here and haven't read it :D but I will! I'm actually glad you enjoyed it, I really want to read this but I didn't like the Throne of Glass series that much (well, I haven't read the whole thing and actually loved the first book!). I didn't know much about ACOTAR but your review definitely convinced me, I must read it :) thanks!!

    Lipstick and Mocha

  5. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the review.


    I haven't read Throne of Glass yet. YET. Which means I obviously haven't read this one. Which probably also means I might be the LAST teen blogger out there who will be reading this.

    No shame. :D (I think.)

  7. I definitely liked the first half more than the second. I preferred the romance because it was so problematic (surprisingly). When I first read it I was afraid that it was going to be hella instalove (with Tamlin growling at her about old lovers and clenching his fist) so I'm happy that Maas addressed that in the ending.

    Fabulous review Julia!

  8. I am so happy you enjoyed this! ACOTAR actually motivated me to continue the TOG series. I read Throne Of Glass last year, and it didn't blow me away, so I didn't continue on to Crown Of Midnight. However, once I read and finished ACOTAR, I felt that her writing improved TREMENDOUSLY, and if this was good, then the rest of the TOG would be good. Of course I wasn't wrong! I absolutely adored this book. The world, her beautiful writing, the characters, especially Rhysand. The story def ended with a bang, and now we shall wait. I'm just over here hoping she gives us a love-triangle or switch the love interests lol. I love Tamlin, but Rhysand stole the show for me.


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