✎Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
✎Author: Sarah J Maas
✎Publication date: 5th May 2015
Oh, Sarah J Maas, how can I compare thee to literally the most amazing thing ever? Oh—I just did. So, apparently, like that. Really, if things had been going as swimmingly as they should, there would be dazzling reviews already up here expressing my deep and fervent love for Maas and her Throne of Glass series. As it happens, the swimming and I are only just falling back into stroke—so!—that means here I am, reviewing A Court of Thorns and Roses as the first book by Maas I’ve blogged about.
Which, it isn’t. Not that this is really relevant—because it isn’t. I just really, really love Maas so any excuse to say “omg isn’t she fantabulously amazing!?” is just too much to pass up. So, I really, really love Maas. Still, I went into A Court of Thorns and Roses thinking, “yeah, but Feyre: you’re not Celaena, are you? Well—are you?!”
I wasn’t expecting to be sitting here with a thousand instances of sharing breakfast with my brother, basically saying one word about A Court Of Thorns And Roses and being met with an echo of “I know, right?!” under my belt. And yet, here I am.
The thing with Sarah J Maas is that she is my favourite writer. This used to be an accolade reserved for the Shadowhunter mistress of my heart, Cassandra Clare. And before her, the master of silences of three parts, Patrick Rothfuss. But nobody—read—nobody has ever made me feel like Maas does. So many things in life make sense when shared with Celaena Sardothien. And so, when Feyre came onto the scene and I found out that, no, it wasn’t set in the same world as Throne of Glass and no, it wasn’t about Celaena and co, I was a little disappointed. (Shame on me.)
Silly, silly, Leo.
When I attended an event with Maas in Salisbury this summer, I hadn’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses yet. I’d been reading Heir of Fire. But just seeing Maas, just hearing her talk about what A Court of Thorns and Roses held and I was already mesmerised. Maas is just… she’s a spectacular person. And her writing. Man, her writing.
Okay. Review the book, Leo. Quit it with the open love letter, already. Review. The. Book.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first of a new trilogy by Sarah J Maas, and tells the story of Feyre, a huntress who stalks the woods near her small, ramshackle home to feed her family. Though Feyre was born into some wealth, much of that turned out to be a façade, with debts creeping in from the past—and bad investments threatening the present. In the end, Feyre and her sisters were forced to leave their former lives behind when Feyre was young. Their father, having received a crippling beating for his unwise money-borrowing, merely haunts the house, mourning their dead mother. Much of the responsibility has been left to Feyre, with one sister spending whatever money does come into the household in what seems like either sheer stubborn vanity, or a desperate attempt to force their father to do something, and with the other far too sweet-natured to hunt or help much beyond tending a garden. She is on her own when she heads out into the forest to hunt.
And that’s where her life changes—forever.
There are stories of the fae, of the war between human and faeries and the dreadful, terrible things they do. How they torment and kill humans for sport and enslave them. Until the war and the division of the realms, humans were offered little protection from the immortal faeries and their magic. But the barrier between the realms keeps them safe, separate. The faeries, beyond in the north of Prythian, do not venture to the human lands.
Until they do.
Feyre is hunting, starving and on her guard. She is desperate. Desperate enough to become a murderer.
Before she realises what is happening, there is blood on Feyre’s hands and although she takes home meat to feed her family and the pelt of a wolf to sell for coin, nothing will ever be the same again. The terms of a treaty are invoked and she is taken away into the lands of the enemy—away from her family and into the heart of the enchanted lands of the fae. She finds herself free to wander the vast estate of Lord Tamlin; her life in exchange for the one she took. But Feyre soon questions everything—even begins to question what truly lies in the hearts of these faeries she’s been taught to fear so much.
Something hangs over the faeries she meets—a darkness that seems to draw closer every day. But with only her wits to trust and the constant worry about her family gnawing at her, Feyre finds it difficult to lower her guard enough to trust and explore the way she desperately needs to. Yet how can she trust a house of faeries all wearing masks they cannot remove? When there is talk of a blight?
But despite her best efforts to remain aloof and cold, slowly the ice in Feyre’s heart begins to melt and she sees the faeries around her not as the creatures she’s been told to fear—but as the people they truly are.
However, Feyre may just realise what is happening around her far too late to stop it and the darkness hanging over the people she is growing to care for might swallow them whole before she can make her move. And with those around her playing their own long games, knowing what to trust or who to see truth in might just lead to her downfall.
Before Feyre knows it she is swept into a world that is not her own and forced to play the deadliest game of her life: a game to save not only herself, but she one she has fallen in love with. And if Feyre cannot succeed, against all the odds, then she will truly pay for the life she took—with her own.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a deep and vast story of love and hope and fighting against darkness against until the last. It made me laugh; it made me cry. There is a sense of emotion woven into every single page Maas commits words to and this is no exception. Feyre is hard and closed, but when she melts, a vulnerable core is revealed, showing that even if a heart is housed in ice and hate and steel, all it takes to melt it free is the truth of another’s heart. Maas is a genius at weaving emotion, at giving you characters to care about; people to cling to and adore. From Lucien and his deeply troubled past, to Tamlin and his honour and courage, everyone is more than they first seem. No-one more so than Feyre herself.
There is a magic to A Court of Thorns and Roses; an enchanting otherness experienced through watching Feyre with these creatures both so alike and unlike herself. In this story, she is the other and it is she who finds her place. With the most thrilling of climaxes, this book will make you feel all the feels and then feel them all over again.
Written with faerie dust and edited by unicorns, A Court of Thorns and Roses was everything I didn’t expect it to be—and then some. Rich and terrifying in its portrayal of revenge and evil and the price of everything we do. Perfect, stellar, stunning. Are there are more positive adjectives I can string together? Probably.
But until then, you need this book in your lives. You just do.