Tuesday, May 5, 2015

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

A Court of Thorns and Roses by S. J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5
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. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

I am a huge SJ Maas fan. Since Throne of Glass she has continued to improve as a writer, and then Heir of Fire was just INCREDIBLE.

I went into this book with incredibly high hopes, and I was so excited that I was getting to read it pre-release. If anything, I was certain it would give me some great positive fodder for this blog because have you met Aelin??

Unpopular opinion time - this book was a huge disappointment.

Don't get me wrong, there are some lovely passages and it's still fairly addictive reading (although it took me half the book to get into it at all). Plus, there are definitely some hot scenes in there. I feel as though future books might be better, a bit like how Throne of Glass wasn't great and then...WOW BEST SERIES EVER. Overall though - this book felt like Maas' guilty pleasure. Fair play to her, but...

...where were the awesome ladies?

We have Elain who is pretty two dimensional.

We have Nesta who actually ended up being my second favourite character - but she's hardly featured.

We have the big bad guy who is pretty two dimensional.

There's a few random characters that pop up. There's Alis...who's okay, but not really important.

And then...we have our heroine, Feyre.

First, I have an irrational hatred for her name and I'm not really sure why. Does anybody else feel this way?

Beyond that though...wow. Wow.

So, I felt pretty optimistic when we first meet Feyre. The opening chapter is atmospheric, suitably moody, and Feyre proves herself to be capable. She's looking after her family single-handedly essentially. Which is pretty badass!

But we barely get any of that before Tamlin whisks her away from her home and to his court in Prythia. This is where the book takes a trip into boredom...and also into...how did the author of HoF write this?

I'll be fair - intially, Feyre is adamant that the weird kindness she is offered at court cannot be real, and she's constantly looking for ways to escape./ But Maas clearly needed Feyre and Tamlin to fall in love ASAP so that distrust fades fairly fast. Ultimately, the whole point of this section is to have them end up loving each other and I just don't get it. It's too fast and the reason this bugs me from a feminisht perspective (spoilers ahead so highlight what's between the quotes!)...

"...is it's all orchestrated by Tamlin! He, and his court, NEED Feyre to fall in love with him. It doesn't matter that his love for her ends up being genuine...that's just weird. So while some of their scenes are hot, and while Feyre has the odd talk back moment - the whole concept of this book is essentially Stockholm Syndrome? I mean what? I know it's a B&B retelling...but, come on!"

The final chunk of the book was much more readable because things were actually happening, but it was still all built upon the love between Feyre and Tamlin. Feyre ends up being abused mentally, and physically - to save her love - and because their love was so WHAT to me, I just couldn't get behind it.

I did get excited by the three tasks towards the end, because I figured that I'd at least get to see Feyre be a badass. And I was correct in the first task...but only the first task. From then onwards Feyre is just sort of carried through...and that would be okay, I suppose, if the rest wasn't so bad around it.

And then the ending kind of sent me into a fit of rage. Like...this book loves its faeries, even though they are mostly douches. and while Feyre doesn't have much of a choice regarding what happens to her...the fact that she never really thinks about how awful the majority of faeries are annoyed me. I mean, she does it early in the book...but as soon as she loves Tamlin, she doesn't go there anymore.


I don't know. I'm sure many people will love this book, and hopefully the series will improve. But I really can't see much to sing about from a feminist perspective (and nothing with regards to other forms of representation either). If you do see that stuff, please let me know because I would honestly love to stand corrected.

The best thing about this book was Rhysand, who's a bad guy. But he's infinitely more interesting than Tamlin. I'm pretty sure we'll be working up a love triangle in the second book which...YAY. It's going to be Sturmhond all over again - isn't it?

I'm writing this book off as a guilt pleasure work for Maas, and will continue to die over needing Queen of Shadows SO badly. Take me back to THAT heroine, please.

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