At the start of the year, I had read A Court of Thorns and Roses and waited and waited (impatiently, really) to speak with everyone about this title. Then FINALLY my co-bloggers read it and we figured we’d do our review with a discussion! We love doing group reviews so be prepared for a lot of those–besides just Forgotten Fridays–and be prepared for the insanity below… 😀
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on May 5th 2015
Genres: fantasy, new adult, retellings, romance, young adult
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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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever. Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
Kara: So this was my first experience with a Sarah J. Maas book. I know that will probably shock some people but I have not read her Throne of Glass series and I’m not sure that I will anytime soon. I just don’t think it’s for me, maybe? I get a bad feeling in my gut when I think about reading it.
But this book, I really wanted to try it because I love fantasy books with faeries and faery lore. And for the most part, I really liked it. It wasn’t a perfect read for me though. What did you guys think?
Pixie: Well… I LOVED it. It was one of my first reads of the year because I couldn’t wait and now I’m regretting for having read it so soon because now I have to wait sooo long for the next book, but oh goodness. I think I really liked it more than the other series already and that’s saying something because I adore the Throne of Glass series.
Lyn: This is an interesting position we have. I read the first two Throne of Glass series, and I was not a fan, at all. However, I LOVED this book, and I see a lot of improvements from ToG. The characters were better, and the storyline was compelling, and a lot less recycled than the first series. I think it is interesting that we have three different relationships with the author’s work.
Kara: Pixie, I thought you recently read it? I didn’t know you read it so early in the year! How the heck are you remembering details? Man, can I have your brain? *runs away with Pixie’s brain*
Pixie: When I love a book, I become a little obsessive. LOL. Yeah, I read it really early. But I remember everything. Especially Rhys. *swoons*
Kara: I WASN’T DONE TALKING. LOLOL. Just teasing you. 😉 But yeah, I think the biggest strengths for me in this book were the characters by far. I was RIDICULOUSLY attached to Lucien. And I know we were supposed to hate (were we?) Rhysand, but I want to have his babies. Like now. And I don’t even want kids.
Lyn: That means I get Lucien all to myself! Yeah, Rhysand, now that was a dark horse right there. I didn’t really even mean to really get all crushy on him, but WOW.
Kara: NO, YOU CANNOT HAVE LUCIEN. I SAID I ADORED HIM.
Lyn: *licks Lucien* Tough titties.
Kara: NO. *fights to the death* I WIN.
Lyn: AHAHAHAHAHA. I’m haunting you every damn night now.
Pixie: I’ll let you both fight to death. Then I can have them..
Lyn: Here I thought Pixie was the nice one…
Kara: It’s always been my dream to be haunted by a ghost. I am fine with this. Pixie’s nice exterior hides like the most demented demon of all time, I bet. I mean, she even farms GOATS. YOU can’t get more demonic than GOATS. CLOVEN HOOVES.
Kara: I knew it. Back to the book? So, what else did we love?
Lyn: The world building. I loved how Maas takes her own ideas of a fae land and runs with it. She doesn’t hold back, and she keeps away from getting too overboard with the fantasy element. The starlight pool? I loved it! The creatures and the politics? Such an awesome, enjoyable blend.
Pixie: I agree with Lyn on all that. I liked the mythology especially. I was talking to her about it after we’d both read it at one point about how there’s a resemblance to the Persephone myth as well, and I really loved that so much when I noticed it!
Lyn: I love that she combined a variety of fairy tales and myths into this book. And as Pixie said, she did use the Persephone myth, but then turned it around and reversed the legend. It was so clever and fresh!
Kara: Yep, there was Persephone and also quite a bit of the Beauty and the Beast myth. Honestly, I loved most of the world-building too, but I do have a question (and I wrote it down in my notes to remind myself to ask). How is it that Tamlin’s heart started beating? I thought it was made of stone? I think I must have missed something.
Kara: Does anyone know what I am talking about? There was a line towards the end. I wish I had bookmarked the damn thing. Pixie?
Pixie: Wow. One of the few things I really can’t remember. :/
Kara: Okay, so we will it open it up to the readers. Do YOU guys know what I am talking about? Maybe I imagined it. I have been known to dream up weird crap. 😉
The romance though? I know I am supposed to ship Tamlin, but I’m just not sure that I do. At first I shipped Lucien, and then when I met Rhysand, I started shipping him too. It’s not like I dislike Tamlin, but next to the other two, he’s kind of DULL. I want either of the other two with the protagonist. Thoughts?
Lyn: EXACTLY! I didn’t dislike Tamlin at all. But the other two guys were just so much more interesting. The chemistry was stronger, and I just have a hard time believing Feyre fell for him when she seems to have a better relationship with Rhysand and Lucien. I mean, the curtain scene with Lucien? OMFG I think I actually screamed.
Pixie: YES. At first, I shipped Lucien. But toward the end, I saw Rhys and now I’m totally on his side all the way. I have theories that after the way things ended… well, I’m not going to give spoilers. But yes, I’m definitely all about Rhys.
Kara: I mean, I want a TEAM RHYSAND t-shirt, to be honest. I do not do book boyfriends. DO NOT. But can you imagine? Black hair, violet eyes, tattoos, muscles, GROWLLLLL. Give IT TO ME.
Lyn: Super Secret Bad Boy with a creamy center?
Kara: LYN!!! That’s gross. LOLOL.
Lyn: Misspelled “awesome.”
Pixie: Maas has destroyed me after this book.
Kara: Okay, so it’s clear you all adored it, but this is where I pull out the nitpicks. Because there are some I had with the writing. “I breathed” is NOT a dialogue tag, and should never BE a dialogue tag. You can’t breathe out WORDS. Every time I saw this, (and it was a lot), I wanted to poke my eyes out.
As well as the feeling Feyre kept getting in her “CORE.” THAT IS FREAKING GROSS and when I am editing love scenes I make sure that phrasing is not a part of them. Do something else, but do not call the lady parts a “core.” *VOMITS INTO A NEARBY TOILET*
Pixie: LOL. I see your point, Kara. I’m still learning about these things, myself.
Lyn: I was confused by the muddled myth and Tamlin’s secret. I thought that it was the weakest element of the novel. It never really blended well. There were things I loved about it, like what happened with his wolf-friend, but the entire mystery plot was very subpar.
At least she didn’t say her inner fairy goddess.
Kara: I am hoping that stuff becomes more clear in future novels, which is why I didn’t pick at that too much. I know there’s a chance I’m not going to get all the answers at once, even though I want them. But I will have something to say if it stays confusing.
And this is true. It could have been a lot worse. I nitpick the shit out of writing, though. I can’t help it.
Lyn: Maas always tries to put in a bit too much into her stories. That is why I gave up Throne of Glass. There was too much happening and it all seemed so fuzzy and confusing that I just lost interest. Before I dive into one thing I really wanted to talk about, I’ll open the floor to Pixie before I swap the subject over to one of the biggest shocks of the novel.
Pixie: My only problem with ACoTaR was that every time Feyre was told to stay out of danger, she did the typical thing and went and put herself in danger. LOL. It made her a little annoying at times. But she grew on me a little more as the story grew. Otherwise I didn’t find any major issues for me personally. It was just an enjoyable read and I already find myself wanting to reread. I do agree with Lyn about how sometimes she does put a bit too much into her stories, too much happening at once that can easily confuse a reader.
Lyn: She did have a bit of the “I’m too tough to take your advice” attitude.
Kara: Yeah, IDK why that didn’t bother me when it usually does in other books. I liked Feyre. I just found that she was overshadowed by the hard-hitting male characters. They were so dynamic and in your face that if I hadn’t been in Feyre’s POV, I wouldn’t have remembered her.
Lyn, what did you want to talk about?
Lyn: That is odd, how the female MC takes a backseat, because in ToG, I felt that the male leads were weak as hell.
Okay, I know we can’t openly talk about what happened towards the ending, but can I say that it was a huge and welcome slap to the face when a female MC does something outrageous and quite heinous?
Kara: Yeah, it was shocking, most definitely. I love how Maas took a risk with that because I know it’s going to change some readers’ minds. But for me personally? I didn’t care. I found it exciting. I’m sadistic, what can I say?
Pixie: I guess I’m with Kara on this one, too. I liked that part. Lol.
Lyn: I’m glad we all agree. Maas really wrote something controversial and I had a lot of admiration for her courage! Female writers still have this stigma about keeping their girls in line to still make them likable, because it is still frowned upon for a woman to make a bad choice or a controversial move. Maas looked right back and said “I do what I want!” and engaged in a really risky move. I admire her for it.
Kara: Yeah, I get what you mean. I’m glad female protagonists are going through a subtle change over the years to where they can do brutal things too. But this has been happening for a while as well. Alina in Shadow and Bone did some pretty brutal crap in that series, as do the female characters in Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer series. But I am always impressed when an author takes risks with their story.
Lyn: Excellent point. The brutality was a shock to my system. There is a quiet riot happening, and I’m applauding you, ladies, who have some brass balls!
Okay, now that I am done with that topic, does anyone have anything they want to add?
Kara: I’m done. I rate this one a 4. Definitely interested in continuing the series. Pixie?
Pixie: I give it a 4.5! 😀
Lyn: It surprised me, but I gave it a 5. I started out at a 4, but the more I thought about this book, the more I liked it. So it gets all the stars!
Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? Did you love it as much as us?! Hey… Tam, Lucien, or Rhys? I promise we won’t disown you for your choice. Maybe. YOU CAN’T HAVE RHYS. Ahem. Sorry. I was thinking out loud.