Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Trigger Warning - Drug Use, Execution, Hostage Situation, Mutilation, Nudeness, Torture, Trauma
This fantastic fantasy book drops you right into a world full of beasts, Fae, magic, and a beautiful world. Oh, and there's the human world too. It may not be the best course of events, but Feyre paints a clear picture of her life in Prythian. Anyone would choose life with the Fae over the humans, but only if they have a protector. Her life with Tamlin is almost like a dream come true, until it isn't. And then she is faced with more difficult choices than she could have ever prepared for. It is easy to fall in love with Feyre but it doesn't take long until you are rooting for so many others too. You may never want to leave once you have experienced the grandness of this world and the Fae in it.
In-Depth Review (contains spoilers)
I want to return to this world over and over again. I would love nothing more than to delve into the depths of the magic that enchants these lands. That's why I believe Feyre when she gets sucked up in it all. It was disappointing at first, seeing how easily she falls for the charms. By Calanmai, First Night, she wants nothing more than to be a part of their world rather than an observer. But I understand her feelings. After seeing without the glamour and witnessing just how lowly humans are to Fae, I can't blame her feelings. I wanted to be a part of them too.
The trials were glorious and perhaps my favorite part. The first was intense just because of the fact that the Fae would have easily overcame it. The only reason Feyre lived was because, compared to most humans, she was more cunning and physically honed. This caught Amarantha by surprise when she probably anticipated Feyre not making it past the first challenge.
The second was also incredible considering the focus of it. It wasn't so much her ability to succeed but her ability to fail. Clearly there's the fact that she had to be forced to rely on Rhysand and this presented the perfect opportunity. But it also goes to show that your shortcomings can be played to any advantage by your enemy. If only Feyre had taken up Tamlin's assistance and learned to read, she may not have had to depend on Rhysand for help. Or she could have just taken the risk and guessed which was the answer, even though we know she would have picked wrong. It was the perfect situation to show that you cannot always overcome you struggles just by being strong or intelligent. Sometimes there's no overcoming them at all. And that was more punishment for Feyre than seeing Lucien at risk of death.
The final was about the age-old debate of "better to sacrifice one for the many" or "the many for the one". And of course the horrible twist that I should have expected from a monster like Amarantha. But again, I was not surprised. Earlier on when Tamlin's stone heart was mentioned, it kept playing in my head because I noticed it as such a strange detail. I knew that it was going to come back at some point. So when Tamlin was revealed to be the final hooded Fae, I knew that he couldn't just die. Especially since, as it's addressed, Amarantha wouldn't just give him up like that in the very end after spending so long pursuing him.
I did find the riddle a little too on-the-nose. Feyre was doing the challenges in the first place all for love and she couldn't just guess that to be the answer. It makes me suspect that she isn't as head-over-heels in love with Tamlin as she believes. So when it got to the point where the dramatics were at their peek, it all felt lackluster. There wasn't some big reveal but instead some cliché answer that she should've guessed long again. Especially since, according to Alis, all of the problems would have been solved if she had simply told Tamlin that she loved him so much earlier.
And of course Amarantha wasn't going to release them right away. The second Feyre contemplated the outcome of her waiting, I knew that going to be it. If Amarantha really was that terrible of a person, she would never let that loophole slip through her fingers.
Overall, I did wish was had seen more of Amarantha. So much time was spent in the Spring Court and not Under the Mountain that I feel like we didn't witness enough of her evil. To me, her death was overkill because we mainly experienced her cruelness through stories and not actually witnessing it. If we had seen her terrifying reign, as I wished we had, we would probably hate her has much as Tamlin did when he killed her.
All-in-all, I was thrilled by this fantasy. I want so much more from these characters and this world and I'm so excited to read the rest of the series. I just hope all my favorite characters survive the problems to come. (Unlikely)
Full Series Reflection (contains spoilers to following books)
Something that completely impressed me was something that I never picked up on when I read this book for the first time. This was my second time reading the story and I was almost more fascinated by it upon the reread. Maas' foreshadowing skills are incredible.
Reading through the first time, Tamlin's protective instincts seemed like a dream. It seemed like the perfect thing Feyre needed after taking care of herself was someone who doted on her. And she loved it. But throughout the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury, we discover that Tamlin's behavior is actually suffocating her. This sneak peek into this behavior shocked me so much that I had to put the book down. I felt so stupid that I had not realized that his personality was bad and not a good thing. But then I realized, that is exactly what Feyre experienced as well.
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