Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our Teens Review Books: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published: May 5, 2015

416 pages, hardcover

Read the full synopsis on Goodreads!

Want to check out A Court of Thorns and Roses? Find it on the CMRLS catalog and put it on hold!

A magical story of the classic Beauty and the Beast, retold by the beloved Sarah J. Maas. With her unique spin on other majestic stories, I'm interested in what Sarah's main character, Feyre, has to offer to the novel. 

The beginning of the chapter introduces us to Feyre's world and daily life. She's an excellent hunter who kills for the survival of her family, and prefers to keep to herself a majority of the time. Witty, analytical and crafty, Feyre can bargain any product for a few measly coins. Swallowed in poverty, Feyre must carry the burden of taking take of her eldest sisters and crippled father, promised by her mother. In the midst of the winter hunting becomes increasingly difficult, but that won't stop Feyre from trying. A casual cold night of hunting, Feyre spots a healthy deer and prepares for an attack, until she witnesses a wolf lurking within the distance.

A possible faerie.

Faeries, particularly High Fae, are powerful beings that once ruled humanity with an iron fist. They viewed humans as pitiful insects and treated many in inhumane ways. For centuries humans have been captive to the faeries' powerful grip, but eventually humans rebelled against the faeries and war was declared. A war so deadly it wiped out thousands in masses, six high ruling queens created a peace treaty between humans and faeries.

Taking her chance, Feyre manages to kill the wolf, and that's when everything changed...

At the beginning of the chapter I was interested in Feyre, her sisters and the world surrounding their lives. It's told in a common way: average humans living in poverty conditions and everyone just lives. Nothing special, and then Feyre's whole life is changed when she killed a wolf lurking from the wall of Prythian, High Fae territory. The High Fae Lord, Tamlin, came to avenge his dead subject, and basically demands Feyre to live with him or else face death. Of course, Feyre leaves with Tamlin but in hopes to escape the castle to return to her family again. Personally, I enjoyed the story without the romantic elements. Not saying I have major issues with romance, but I felt after Feyre left her family with Tamlin to Prythian, it became more about romance than anything else. Honestly, I wanted to know more about Prythian, the High Fae and the brewing terror that lurks in Prythian and I only received a quarter of the High Fae citizens and homeland. I understand Feyre being bound to the High Fae's (Tamlin) castle, but considering Feyre's curious nature and adventurous streak, the story should've been revolving around the mystery of High Fae's weakening power and the ultimate ruler that holds Prythian.

Not only that, but I wanted Feyre's family to develop and form without the help of Feyre. The consequences of being co-dependent for so long, and then suddenly have to fend for one's self is something I wanted to see in ACOTAR, but that didn't happen like I hoped. I wanted Cause-and-Effect themes in the story, the actions of Feyre's to Tamlin's actions, and what would be the effect of it.

Even though romance between Feyre and Tamlin was predominant in the story, it didn't stop Feyre from bonding with other individuals. She did form a friendship with Lucien, Tamlin's High Fae wingman. Having Lucien in the novel was incredibly refreshing, and I enjoyed every witty remark and quip that came out of Lucien's mouth. There was development in Lucien's character, but I wished Lucien and Feyre bonded a bit more in the story, I think it'll be a better dynamic and possible love interest. There's also Tamlin's servant, Alise, a cold yet calculating individual. There were bits of Alise's backstory, but it didn't last long and then she only appeared whenever it was convenient. Such a waste of potential, and she could've been Feyre's female support in the midst of masculinity.

Other characters are basically nonexistent, and new characters arrive near the end of the book. The plot starts to pick up, but it's near the end of the book as well. I tried to remain captivated, but I think the romance between Feyre and Tamlin was too much for me. Oh, uh, there's some scenes in the novel that's 16+ rated, so... Take note. There's violence, bits of gore, and lots of physical connection so I'd advise teenagers to adjust to the adult themes or skip them.

I'd recommend this story for romance lovers and Beauty and the Beast fanatics. To me, it's not top notch like I've anticipated and not enough action. Too much romantic angst, and Feyre could've interacted with other beings besides the two main love interests.

The story isn't bad, but it could've been better in my opinion. Also, some of the exact plot elements are very similar to Sarah J. Maas's other novels. Anyway, I'll rate it 3.0 out of 5. I'm not a romantic person, so reading this book had been somewhat of a chore for me. This isn't the best book I've read, but when I'm bored and have nothing better to do, this book would fill my boredom and romantic mood.

-- Amber