Reviews

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

addybug1125's review against another edition

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adventurous dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25


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bookswithapril's review against another edition

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4.75

Ā šŸ“– Reread July 2021: I decided to pick this up as a comfort read and it delivered. I started this last night and finished it today. Still as fun as I remember. Iā€™m even going to bump the rating up from 4 stars to 4.75.

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Iā€™m only one book into this series and I feel like this has become one of my favorites already. I had a feeling I would love this and I did. From the very first page, I was intrigued and the story was so much more than a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The world-building, the characters, the romance, THE ACTION ā€” yes to everything. Iā€™m so happy I jumped on the bandwagon.

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bonecarvdweaver's review against another edition

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4.0

No one come after me... this was a surprise to me as well.



TW/CW: (DETAILED) Unsafe sex, murder, death, decapitation, subtle mention of sexual, mental, physical, etc. abuse, slavery, body horror and much much more kids.



A Court of Thorns and Roses is about the youngest of three sisters, Feyre, who hunts and provides for her sisters and father after their fall of riches due to a bad gamble. In a village last left to a war over human land taken over courts of fae, Fayre is entrapped into the fae world after hunting a fae wolf shifter in the woods. There, she realizes she's whisked away further into magic, intrigue and politics. And not only, does she not know yet, a curse pre-determined and tied to her fate, due to a deadly choice.

EDIT: @CHARLOTTE said in her review below:

It's pretty fucking pernicious to me that an author of Young Adult novels is writing a story where an abuser's actions are justified by the narrative. This is what real life abusers do, and what our society does for abusers. Our societal narrative around abuse is all-too-often that his intentions matter more than whatever pain he caused her, and as soon as we start caring more about his intentions than her pain we have a major, major problem. I frankly don't care what Rhys's excuse is - I care about the motivation behind his excuse's creation by the author . Maas decided to create a narrative where a women is drugged and sexually assaulted "for her own good."

What's incredible is that the second book features Tamlin descending into abusiveness and Feyre fleeing into Rhysand's arms for the love and safety she craves. Turns out that he's actually a cinnamon roll and a good dicking down fixes her PTSD. (The PTSD that he was partially responsible for creating in the first place?? Shhhhhh. Don't worry about it.)


I noticed this also in the novel, and take responsibility for not making this more obvious and important in my review, over my other criticisms and praise. This is by far the most important thing to note and learn here, and it shouldn't go unnoticed. It's crucial that we see this and make a change in the fiction and nonfiction we write for kids, teens, adults, and especially, a world dominated and controlled by men and the mistreatment, torture and abuse of women.

While I don't retract my rating, solely based on some enjoyment of it and not critical of writing skill and content alone, I won't continue to go without speaking up on things that might appear in the continuation of the series. I will judge seriously on them, with knowledge of these issues, to hopefully see improvement for myself.

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ACOTAR really surprised me, considering my first DNF of this series left me baffled by any other attempt to take this book seriously. At best, this is a Beauty and Beast retelling, filled with fae who can shift into animals or beasts. At the expense, I imagine, of letting the characters purr and growl at each other.

Don't get me wrong, the writing isn't bad! I actually find Maas's writing to have a ease to it, a flow that keeps the plot and characters moving. I think if not for the other gripes I have with it, I would say Maas is a promising novelist who has the ability to create wonderful tales, unimaginable twists and ability to write fantasy.

I had a few gripes though, and despite them, I still gave it ā˜…ā˜…ā˜…ā˜… stars!

I had a few struggles with characterization, mostly on behalf of Feyre. I found at times a downfall, more often than an advantage, was her decision-making. I'm sure in many ways a strong female character defying anything in her way would be seen as empowering, bold, fearless and strong. However, at times, tedious. I mean, in the name of feminism, how many times can she ignore someone's plea to head their warnings and stay away from dangers and get away with it, and the consequences, because feminism. It was very, very annoying. Like Feyre, should we have replaced Tamlin with a female fae and made you a lesbian so you would stay in your room? The idea that women HAVE to disobey everything in order to be powerful and cunning, rather than intelligent is just... unsightly. In reading, I felt as angry as I am when watching a horror movie in which the main character continuously makes the worst decisions, and I'm chucking the book out of my hands at my boyfriend as if he would know what to do.

Second, this is a YOUNG ADULT!??!? This should be at the very least NEW ADULT. The very detailed sex scene, although a treat to others, wasn't to my taste. I'm not horrified by the idea of sex for ( not too ) young readers. However, unsafe sex with a fae who doesn't even do foreplay? This should be, very clearly, made in clear warning to younger readers, not to mention the gruesome details of murder, decapitation, blood, broken bones and death, as well as anything else that left me with goosebumps. Although these things surprised me in a good way and made me engrossed in the story, I was baffled by the marketing for this novel. The amount of dead bodies, murder and death and everything in this, well written, but incredibly shocking for someone who might not know. I also absolutely hate the amount of times the word wh*** was used. Trigger warnings, people, please.

Now, things I did like! For one, Nesta and Elain. Maas had me in the first half, but soon after I quickly fell for the girls and how well written their relationships were, with Feyre, her father and the fae. Nesta has quickly become more favorable than Feyre and I look forward to reading more about her.

Not to cause an uproar, but I really would like to mention, as I've said to my boyfriend, Maas does a spectacular job at writing fae in a way that I would like to praise. Though I despise the idea of fae that can turn into wolves who can't control themselves, possibly due to the nature of the Beast in the original princess tale, this was written in an intelligent way that creeps up on you. At first, you think it's a slow princess tale, it would be obvious right? She hates everyone and everything at first, wants to go home and won't do anything to please anyone. Good for you, girl. She paints, she kisses a beast and ultimately runs into some shenanigans and balls. And then, the second half. I was surprised.

I would even say Maas does a better job at world building, character blocking and story telling with fae fantasy than Holly Black did for me in The Cruel Prince. Just as an example.

All in all I had issues with some misogynistic behavior, poor decision making skills and arrogance with Feyre, and no warnings for the young adult viewers this series is marketed towards. This was all around a not horrible book, I was endeared by a couple parts and surprised by twists and Maas's story telling. And since I have already caved in and bought the entire series due to it's gorgeous, bright pastel book covers, I will continue on to the next one, a very scary looking tome. Feyre, don't let me down.

lexisbookreview98's review against another edition

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5.0

First of all I want to thank everyone who told me this was a must read series. You guys are the best! ā¤ļø ACOTAR took me by surprise and had me nervous to read what was going to happen.
Feyre is so powerful. She was poor and hungry and was doing everything in her power to make sure her family had something to eat. I absolutely love Feyre. ā¤ļø
Tamlin is such a swoon worthy character.

anl2633's review against another edition

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4.0

Sitting at a 3.75/4 right now.

I actually really enjoyed myself. I don't know why it took me so long to actually read ACOTAR. Back in 2015, I bought it the day it released, but then I just...couldn't finish it. In fact, I barely made it past chapter 1. It didn't start out interesting like Throne of Glass, and Feyre seemed too Katniss Everdeen. So I never got into the series. Until now, when I saw the pretty new covers on the shelves in the Adult Fantasy section of the bookstore and my interest was piqued again.

I guess I'm at a place now in life where I can be more open to this series. Once I got past the first 50 pages, I was hooked actually. And delving into this world reminded me of my experience reading (and enjoying) the Throne of Glass books. I know a lot of people in the book community trash Sarah J. Maas's writing style, but I kind of enjoy the long-winded, purple prose-y style she has. And to be honest, I don't hate em dashes all that much. Her writing pulls you in, and for now, that's enough for me.

What I liked:
1. The worldbuilding and the fae characters. To be honest, I'm not really a fan of faeries. It's difficult for me to set aside my own personal morality and get into the right headspace with characters that spend their lives being cruel and clever and awful. But Maas's fae are way different than Holly Black's and I think I like her characterization more. The fae in this book can be cruel, yes, but they seem to react that way rather than just stir up trouble for the hell of it. Prythian is interesting too, and I'd like to learn more about the other courts, but I like the small bits and pieces I've been given. I loved reading about the festivals and the different faeries Feyre ran across.

2. Feyre. She was a surprisingly fun character to read from. I mean, she was an idiot, but I liked laughing at all the conclusions she'd jump to that were just so preposterous. She's obviously making bad choices to move the plot along, but I didn't really go into this book expecting it to be a deep piece of critical literature. It was nice to sit back and let her steer us along through a story that's actually really comedic. And if I'm being honest, I'd be just as clueless and stupid if I were in her shoes.

3. Tamlin. I know from reading spoilers over the years that he's supposed to be an asshole, but as far as this book goes, I don't see it yet. I'm guessing that changes down the road, so I did read this book with that in mind and tried not to get attached to the relationship. I really liked the mask aspect of the curse as well. It seemed like a nice way to recall the original Beauty and the Beast legend without being too obvious, and it made for some nice images in my head. Masquerades are awesome.

4. Rhys. He probably takes the cake as far as most interesting character in ACOTAR. He's obviously the smartest one in the book, and nothing good would've ended up happening if he didn't exist. Feyre would definitely be dead and Prythian destroyed.

What I didn't like:
1. As much as I liked Rhys as the character 3 steps ahead of everyone else, he's pretty problematic. Getting Feyre drunk on faerie wine, dressing her up in a scantily clad outfit, and then treating her like a prostitute by forcing her to dance at parties and sit in his lap...? That doesn't sit well with me. Maybe he ends up being a good character later in the series, and maybe he did what he did to make Tamlin angry so he could destroy Amarantha, but that doesn't change how problematic he seems treating Feyre like that. I don't vibe with that kind of stuff.

2. Amarantha is probably the dumbest character in this book, and that's saying a lot, because Feyre doesn't necessarily have a common sense thought process either. But...who in their right mind makes a curse like that? There were so many specifications, it was comedic reading about it. It was so hilarious that I had to close the book and just laugh. "You will not be released from your curse until you can find a girl who hates faeries so much so that she kills one, and then you must make her fall in love with a faerie and explicitly say she loves you, and you have 49 years to accomplish this." And that's not even the worst of it. Then she makes Feyre complete a bunch of stupid tasks but gives her a chance to solve the most obvious riddle in the world and instantly be set free. And the answer to that riddle is just so plain and clear, I just...she's asking to be defeated.

Despite all that, I liked ACOTAR for what it is so far. It's not the best thing I've read all year, and it's actually quite tame for a New Adult book? I'm pretty sure that changes later down the road, but this book was not at all explicit like everyone makes it out to be. But I am looking forward to the rest of the series

sarahk_42's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional hopeful tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

pamgrace18's review against another edition

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4.0

A solid start to a series but it is ultimately shadowed by the spectacular nature of the rest of the series.
The ending makes this book.

Fuck Tamlin.

emmaheath16's review against another edition

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5.0

fuck sarah iā€™m hooked!!!

emhall's review against another edition

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medium-paced

3.5

desirae_dallas's review against another edition

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5.0

I LOVE this book, would re read again and again