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

After killing a wolf in the woods, Feyre is taken from her home by the High Lord of the Spring Court and made to live in Prythian, home of the faeries, as retribution. As she begins to care for the High Lord Tamlin, she suspects that something is threatening her beloved’s court. Little does she know, the fate of Prythian lies in her hands.

Sarah J. Maas is entertaining, but I’ve never thought of her as the most nuanced writer. As I’ve said before, I enjoyed Throne of Glass but wasn’t crazy about it. A Court of Thorns and Roses, however, was much more up my alley.

Because nothing is perfect and I am critical, I’m going to get the things I didn’t like out of the way. I don’t really understand the whole fae/fairy thing. It reminds me too much of the vampire craze of the 2000’s. And as with vampires, I’ve never really been interested in fairies. Give me a good werewolf or a witch any day of the week. So while Maas may be big into fairies, it’s not a mythology creature I’m into. It seems like the fae just serve to create a powerful, beautiful super-species for the protag to fall in love with because they’re so much better than humans. Which brings us back to Twilight. I couldn’t help but think that this book got a little Twilight-y at times. Normal girl finds a gorgeous, strong, tragic mythological creature and falls in love with him. I’m not saying that Twilight and ACoTaR are the only books to do this. I am saying that after Twilight, I figured we would all be tired of it.

Now onto the things I did like, because this book was blessedly different from Twilight. Firstly, I really liked the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin. They’re both devoted and willing to sacrifice for one another, and they’re actually nice to each other (I’m pained by the fact that healthy, kind relationships are so rare that I’m happy to see them). Unlike in other book romances, Tamlin doesn’t willfully keep her misinformed and he doesn’t manipulate her. Though he knows that she can help save Prythian, he never pressures her into anything she doesn’t want to do.

I can’t help but compare Feyre and Celaena. In comparison to Maas’ previous protagonist, Feyre is more believably flawed. Celaena is too perfect, but Feyre is compassionate, protective, stubborn, and reserved. She is also in charge of her own sexuality, which is especially rare in YA. It was a nice change from the usual blushing and innocence. There’s nothing wrong with virginal YA heroines or with more sexually experienced YA protags, it’s just important to see all ends of the spectrum represented.

A Court of Thorns and Roses follows very much in Throne of Glass’ footsteps, featuring fae and a fierce teenaged heroine. However, this protagonist’s characterization and the strong central relationship puts this book a cut above its predecessor.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
My rating: ☆☆☆½ (3.5 stars)
Recommended for: anyone looking for a romance that doesn’t sacrifice the characterization of its heroine.

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