Monday, November 30, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's
Hardcover, 416 pages
Borrowed from library

(from Goodreads)

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

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!

the premise

Feyre, a human girl living in Prythian, has been taught from childhood to fear and detest the faeries who live up north. They're monsters who have had a long history of terrorizing humans. Feyre has also been told to stay away from the woods as often as possible as faeries can sometimes pop up there and no human in the presence of a faerie ever survives. But one day in the woods, Feyre kills a wolf which unknowingly sets off a string of events that place her right in the grasps of the monsters she's been told to hate and fear all her life: faeries.


Three words: what a disappointment. Yes, you read that right: I am disappointed and let down by A Court of Thorns and Roses. I don't even know where to start to begin to explain why I feel this way; there were so many things that just absolutely did not work for me at all. And I try to refrain from comparing two different works by the same author to each other and yet I can't help myself from wondering just how it's possible for me to love Throne of Glass SO MUCH - it's one of my favourite series - and also despise A Court of Thorns and Roses at the same time? SORRY EXCUSE ME JUST GOING THROUGH A BOOKISH EXISTENTIAL CRISIS HERE. Can I still consider Sarah J. Maas a favourite author? Is Throne of Glass really THAT good if I didn't like this book? (Ok the answer to this question is still yes.) Are faeries just not for me? Do I not like sexy romances? I DON'T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE.

The one thing I do know though - the ONE positive thing that's come out from reading this book - is that I should trust my own preferences over hype. I mean, the amount of hype a book gets is usually a decent indication of the quality of a book but that doesn't mean that every single book that gets a lot of praise is going to work for you. I don't like books about faeries (although I do like retellings) but I read this book anyway, got my hopes up for something great and ended up being sorely disappointed. Being honest here, I think I would've read this book even if it wasn't widely lauded by basically everyone because Sarah J. Maas, yo, but my point still stands: trust yourself over everyone else. I think if I had gone into this book with the fact that I don't like books about faeries taken into consideration, I wouldn't have gotten my hopes so high and thus, been let down so badly. In reading all those reviews, I feel like I convinced MYSELF that I loved books about faeries because everyone else loved them and this book AND I REALLY REALLY DIDN'T LIKE THIS BOOK AND IT'S MAKING ME REALLY SAD.

I think the first thing I had issue with in this book was the writing and the pacing. We all know by now Sarah J. Maas is a good writer and her writing in A Court of Thorns and Roses certainly couldn't be called bad but boring? I'd consider it. Unlike Throne of Glass, I never felt drawn in by the writing. Maybe it was the first person narration and the fact that Feyre annoyed me to no end and maybe it was the fact that the story just wasn't every strong but I just never felt interested. Up until maybe the last quarter of the book, I was bored out of my skull. Nothing happened except the detailing of every single thing Feyre did while living under Tamlin and NONE OF IT WAS EXCITING. Thorough and descriptive writing of literally every single detail is kinda Sarah J. Maas' M.O. but the difference between Throne of Glass and this book is that Throne of Glass had characters I cared about and a straightforward and clear plot that was INTERESTING and UNIQUE and EXCITING. Without any of that in A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah's writing ended up being really really bland and the pacing of the story didn't help AT ALL. 

I think this is where A Court of Thorns and Roses runs into its next problem. So much happens in this book and often it was a jumbled mess. I failed to see the direction of the story while reading the book and even now having finished it, I still don't know where exactly this story is heading. Like, what is the point of this story? What is Feyre's purpose? I DON'T KNOW. I just felt like thing after thing after thing was happening and none of it really made any sense? None of it connected to m 

And also I just think the story was very weak in general. Feyre kills a faerie so Tamlin comes to tell her that her payment is a life for a life. Okay, so far so good. But then he takes her to his mansion where she basically lives in luxury and has a better life than she did in human-land? And there's a curse that forces Tamlin to wear a masquerade mask 24/7? Like okay? Sure? I'm not convinced though? 

And then the romance... OH MAN did I ever hate the romance. I just wasn't keen on Tamlin (or Feyre for that matter) as a character, as a love interest and though I knew right off the bat it was inevitable they'd end up together I still hated it. Talk about something else that didn't have me convinced... SO NOT BUYING IT. And then there were also scenes that kinda made me feel a little uncomfortable (the bonfire night for those who've read this book. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT). But I have to be honest that some of the kissing scenes were kinda exciting to read because EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE BOOK WAS SO DULL. So even though I hated Tamlin and Feyre and the romance, whenever there was progression on that front, it was like AT LEAST SOMETHING IN THIS BOOK IS GOING SOMEWHERE. Although the fact he permanently has a mask on just totally killed the mood for me during their kissing / sex scenes like in one scene he just starts going to town on her and like yay that should be exciting and sexy right but then you remember he has a mask on 24/7 and I don't think that would feel very comfortable? So ha ha but no thanks.

The one thing this book DID have going for it though was Rhysand (even though UGH I had problems with his character as well but he seemed to have the most depth of all the characters and I feel like he could be really interesting) and Lucien. Both very very interesting characters who I desperately want to see more of. Apart from that? This book was a total bust for me.

Unfortunately, A Court of Thorns and Roses wasn't for me AT ALL. The plot and the writing were dull and made it difficult for me to stay engaged with the story. I felt like the story was also sorta jumping all over the place and lagged on for quite a bit. Wasn't a fan of any of the characters really except for Lucien and Rhysand and wasn't a fan of the romance either. In my opinion, this book could have worked very well as a standalone (but I could also just be saying that because I don't want to continue the series) and I really hope it was. But no such luck. Just an all around disappointment

Having such strong opinions on this book, I don't think I can really recommend it? But if this sounds like something you think you'd like, go for it. Everyone has different dislikes and likes and I always want to say this whenever I write my reviews, especially my negative reviews: TAKE THEM WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. Something I love may be something you hate while something you hate may be something you love so I like to say to give everything an equal chance. (I also feel super guilty whenever I write a negative review and get comments like "I don't think I'm going to read this any more" so hopefully by writing this I'll feel less RESPONSIBLE)


Nikki @ There Were Books Involved gives it 5 stars: "I think I could literally talk about this book all day. Just writing this review has made me want to re-read it — to re-live the story and be with these characters again, ugh, they are so good."

Celine @ YA Midnight Reads gives it 1.5 stars: "The beginning was strong. I enjoyed Feyre and her stubbornness and I was ready for this. The writing was lush and imaginative, and I was immediately sucked into the story. But after that, things went downhill quickly."

Kelly @ Effortlessly Reading gives it 3.5 stars: "For people who were looking forward to reading A Court of Thorns and Roses because it’s a Beauty and the Beastretelling, I can tell you that on that aspect, it definitely doesn’t disappoint."