A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1 of 3) by Sarah J Maas
Published Year: 2015
Genre: NA Fantasy
"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."
(Warning: there is sexual content, so if you're not up for that, beware).
ACOTAR (because that title is way too friggin' long to type again) is a beautiful/wonderful/twisted/emotional retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a refreshing new adult fantasy novel. With faeries. And secrets. And intrigue. (So I'm a little melodramatic, sue me). I already love the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (sign me up for one of those libraries, am I right?), and was just so excited when I heard SJM was writing her own version. Bonus: it's a series, what could go wrong? (I'm kidding, SJM, please don't actually destroy my emotional state.)
SJM ripped my heart right out of my chest, played with it and shoved it back in. I mean, this was an emotional roller coaster where I devoured the story because I physically couldn't wait to know what happened, but also dreaded reading every page because what new pain would it bring??
Feyre (aka Belle) was a really interesting character, and I loved seeing her character arc throughout this book. It took me awhile (too long) to realize how much of her personality was truly a front, and before I realized that, she was a little annoying. I want to go back and reread the earlier chapters with this realization and experience her sacrifices for her family again. She had a lot of hang ups and insecurities, but she didn't let them break her (weaken her? sure). She played to her strengths and she learned what she had to in order to survive. Go Feyre!
Tamlin, Lucien, Alis, Rhys -- all the Fae were just fascinating. I can't get into too much detail, but SJM chose some interesting pieces of fairy legend for this series. What I really, really wanted was more Fae background. Feyre wasn't allowed to know very much, and was given information piecemeal and I just was not okay with that. I got hints of a Fae War, and a Treaty (all capitalized, super important), but I did not get any details. SJM I want more Fae history in the next books, kthx.
One of my concerns going into this book, just like with other retellings, is knowing too much of the story beforehand and being unsurprised/unimpressed when certain events happen because of that foreknowledge. SJM does an excellent job of balancing the known events (Belle is imprisoned by Beast, Beast/Belle fall in love, Belle goes home, very Disney movie-esque) with completely new and unknown events. Even when I thought I knew what was coming, I was holding my breath because SJM held my heart in her hands and played with it!
I will say though that I was a little torn on my feelings re: Tamlin... Not so sold on him. There's another Fae boy I've got my eye on...
4 out of 5 stars.