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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"A Court of Thorns and Roses: A Court of Thorns and Roses 1" by Sarah J. Maas (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Sarah J. Maas' Official Website Here

OVERVIEW: 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!

FORMAT: A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first novel in a new young adult/new adult series. It is a slight retelling of Beauty and the Beast mixed with Faerie lore. The novel is heavy on the romance with fantasy and faerie lore slightly mixed in.

A Court of Thorns and Roses was published May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's. It stands at 416 pages.

ANALYSIS: My love for Beauty and the Beast got the better of me again. When I saw that A Court of Thorns and Roses was marketed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with a faerie lore twist, I knew I had to give it a try.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is very much a romance novel. Sure, there is action and faerie court politics, but the main bulk of the novel centers around the budding romance between Feyre and Tamlin. The heavy focus on romance is enough to turn a lot of readers away, but if you are in the mood for a well-written YA/NA novel, this is definitely for you.

Think of this more of a supernatural romance with slight fantasy elements mixed in. Keeping this in mind, you won't be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a fantasy novel with slight romance, this won't be for you.

The comparison to Beauty and the Beast is a bit over exaggerated. Tamlin (the beast) is anything but a beast. He's an eye-catching pretty faerie. Sure, he kidnaps a young girl and keeps her prisoner, but he spoils her till no end and they fall in love. The times when Tamlin was 'mean' weren't overly beastly. His meanness was more because our main character, Feyre felt he was doing her an injustice and not because he was truly mean. Take it as a very loose retelling of the story and you'll be fine.

Sarah J. Maas has crafted a faerie world that is dark, and interesting. While it is not super original, she gives it enough of a twist that it will keep readers interested. Even though I found some of the creatures and elements throughout the novel to be familiar to me, I wasn't bored. Between the fast paced nature of the writing (the beginning is a bit slow, but at about the 50% mark things pick up) and Maas' ability to add a bit of flair to the story, I was drawn in.

Now, when it comes to the characters in the story, I had a harder time with this aspect. I found that while I enjoyed the world building and setting in A Court of Thorns and Roses, I struggled to really form a connection with the characters. All of the characters seemed one-sided or just dull.

There is one character who was interesting – Lucien – but he is more of a background figure and side character. I found myself disappointed when he wasn't involved with scenes in the book, but frustrated when Tamlin would be the main focus. I just found Tamlin so plain and flat. Yes, he was good looking, but he came across as very robotic and stiff.

While I enjoyed reading the novel, there is one aspect that kept nagging me - the 'instalove' between Feyre and Tamlin. I couldn't push away the feeling that Feyre felt that since Tamlin was a High Lord, she had to love him and had to fall in love with him. There just seemed to be no chemistry or real connection between them. This is just my opinion, but it felt very forced.

There was a certain point in the book where Feyre starts referring to Tamlin as 'my lord' and 'my High Lord'. When I read this, I was curious as to when Feyre became so passionate about Tamlin because she could have cared less just a few chapters before. I understand that romance can subtly blossom, but this just seemed random and forced. In fact, there was more chemistry and interaction between Feyre and Lucien than there was with the romance we were given.

There is a teaser for a possible new romance, which seems more interesting than what was going on with Tamlin. I am pretty excited to see where this leads, as I wasn't really feeling the whole Feyre and Tamlin romance.

Another aspect that was slightly annoying, and this was stylistic, was the way Maas wrote the narrative for the main character Feyre. The character would be narrating the story and there would be parts where the character would pause to think, but it was written into the writing. For example: "Does he want me...... me a lowly human" or "There is ..... a sickness in this land ". See the ..... represent pauses and thinking. This is usually found in Internet conversations, so seeing it in a novel was a bit unsettling. If it had been used once or twice, it would have been okay, but it was used frequently to the point it got a bit distracting.

Overall, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a thrilling, well-written book for the right reader. It is by far not a perfect book, there are things that could have been better and once you get past the sluggish start and instalove between the characters, there are parts that are really, really well written. Maas is talented and there are times in this novel where she really shines (fight scenes for example), but unfortunately the heavy focus on romance overshadows the good parts. This is the first novel in a series, so it will be interesting to see where Maas takes the series.


Anonymous said...

Great review and my thoughts exactly!


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