This book came into my life because I was so desperate for something even VAGUELY similar to Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood from earlier this year, which I have come to accept has effectively broken me regarding reading for the rest of 2020. Having never read anything by Sarah J. Maas before, I was in the minority when I picked up that book I think, or I certainly was judging by Twitter and the comparisons to her previous works. After a mixture of curiosity about her writing and about my enjoyment of fantasy, I ordered A Court of Thorns and Roses.
I did enjoy this book, but I think the fact I had read Crescent City first certainly had an impact on how much I enjoyed it. ACOTAR was a Good Book, whereas Crescent City was a Great Book, and I did feel the difference in how much I enjoyed it. That said, I totally understand that often authors improve the more they write, just like any other skill, and having read the most recent book first, it’s understandable there was a difference. Also, Crescent City was an epic 800+ pages, a winding mystery in itself, even if it is part of a series, whereas ACOTAR very much read like the first in a series. And seeing as I’ll be reading the rest of said series, maybe I’ll feel more attached to the characters when I reach the end of the books.
Feyre is not the most likeable character when we first meet her, but situations like that often engage me more, and it did exactly that. She is obviously working herself to the bone to take care of her family who are largely both ungrateful and unaware of how much of a risk she is taking to put them first. When she breaks a sacred law, the vengeance is almost immediate, and the choice a painful one to make; death, or travel to live with the terrifying fae that live on the other side of The Wall. She chooses the latter.
Hesitantly at first, and then with increasing power, she develops a relationship with Tamlin, the High Fae who brought her to his home. There is sexual tension that, while predictable, is written well, and their equally predictable budding love is smashed when Tamlin tells Fayre she must return home to stay safe. Because there is an evil hovering over his lands, and although he should be one of the most powerful fae, his magic has been reduced to the point it causes him intense fatigue to even use it.
As soon as she returns – not the the dilapidated cottage, but to a beautiful country home, something she hadn’t anticipated when Tamlin assured her the family were being taken care of – she knows she has made a mistake. She tries to stay focused on the new life that Tamlin’s magic has provided, but one of her sisters has not been fooled. Something is gravely wrong, and Fayre knows she must go back. But it turns out to not be the journey she expected….
This book was a great start to an easy to read but highly engaging series. The moment I finished the first book I ordered the second, and I’m counting down the pages until I can start it. It’s one of those books that sucks you in immediately for a short, sharp shock. Being just over 100,000 words, I could easily have read double that with the same storyline and not have become bored. Twists of magic and spirals of fairy tales mix together into this captivating read.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts this year, reading fantasy is a new thing for me (aside from Harry Potter), and this was a must as part of my new adventures into it, learning some more about what I enjoy, but also feeling more comfortable with the genre. There are some brilliantly crafted dynamics between characters that will be interesting to see play out over the following books. Essentially, this was a foundation stone for the series to grow on, and it does read like that in places, but that doesn’t retract from how enjoyable it is.
I’m a bit behind the times reading this series for the first time, but it’s good to get up to speed and see what all the fuss is about!
I’m sure I’ll be reviewing the second book very soon – keep an eye out.