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

Posted May 6, 2015 by Jessica in Fantasy, Jessica, New Adult, Reviews / 25 Comments

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Published on: May 5 2015
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

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.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

fantasy newadult BADBOY beast HEARTBREAKING

Where to begin . . .

A Court of Thorns and Roses was and wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

I knew it was going to be a sort of Beauty and the Beast meets Tamlin mashup . . . but I didn’t really think about what that might mean.

When I think of retellings, especially fairy tale retellings, I think of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. I think of folk stories and mythologies that have no author to speak of, b/c they’re part of an oral tradition that no single person can lay claim to.

What I do not think of is Disney.

Disney is the end product of a retelling. It’s not whence the retelling came. So . . . in my mind . . . a retelling of anything Disney . . . is a retelling of a retelling. And while the Beauty and the Beast portion of our story wasn’t entirely Disney, it was significantly Disney.

So here’s the deal: I liked this book. I really did, and cumulatively I have zero apprehensions about recommending to fellow lovers of fantasy and fairy tale retellings . . .

BUT. I also had a lot of tiny issues that combined to be less tiny, in addition to an issue that by itself wasn’t tiny at all . . .

So. Tiny things (the “she“s and “her“s are b/c we didn’t get a name for a long, long time):

1. The masks that Tamlin and all the members of his house have stuck to their faces . . .

I thought they were both unnecessary and . . . more than a little bit silly.

We’re told that they’re the result of her lashing out in anger . . . okaaaaay . . . hmm . . . Was there seriously no one else who thought, “Oh no! Not masks, anything but masks!”?

B/c I know I did.

That’s the silly part.

The unnecessary part is that Tamlin has a beast form. If she was really concerned about making it more difficult for him to do-the-thing, maybe it’s just me, but in a retelling of Beauty and the freaking Beast, wouldn’t it make more sense to, oh, I don’t know, trap him as a BEAST?


That’s the silly part.

2. As much as it pains me to say it, there was a some redundancy (and this is actually three separate tiny things):

In the beginning, if Feyre wasn’t trying to escape, b/c, yes, we know, she made a promise, she was blithely walking into traps that the teensiest bit of foresight could have prevented.

In the aftermath of her inevitable rescues, her reaction was always some variation of, “I’m a stupid, insignificant peasant, and I’m even more stupid and peasant-like for forgetting that I’m a stupid, insignificant peasant for even a moment.”

And I have a lot of sympathy for Feyre, I really do. Not being able to todothething would give me a similar complex, I’m sure. But that complex was made an issue a touch too frequently, and the resulting tantrums got tiresome.

When Tamlin feels compelled to premeditatedly say, “Before you start yelling . . . ,” it’s a problem. Just sayin’.

Not-so-tiny thing:

Just to be safe, I’m spoiler tagging this. It’s really not much of a spoiler, but it is a piece of information that isn’t revealed until you’re well into the book:

View Spoiler »

So not a perfect book. BUT I still liked it.

If you think beast-form is smelly with poor table manners and masks are an excellent alternative, or that my idea of redundancy is really determination, then you will more than like this book. I can’t imagine that many people are as hardcore about FAE as I am, so I’m not even going to pretend that might be an issue for you, and I have no one to blame but myself for going into it with preconceived notions about what it means to be a “retelling.”

And despite those notions, there was a lot of legitimate Fae lore.

Then there’s–what for me was–the book’s crowning glory: Feyre’s relationship with her family. You will be shocked with how everything eventually plays out, and I’m talking about the good kind of shock. The kind of shock that fills you so full of warmth that you’re half convinced you glow with it.

ALSO no cliffhanger.

So. Time to find out for yourself. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES is a fantastical retelling of a beloved classic and an older, lesser known folktale from the British Isles, combining both into something completely new. With a tortured hero trying to protect his people from an evil would-be queen, Evil Queen’s enforcer whose real intent is as easy to discern as a path back to civilization in a dark, unfamiliar forest, and the girl who shines like a beacon and may just save them all, this is a book that will appeal to a broad demographic. Recommended.

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.


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25 responses to “Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

  1. I have to admit, the cover caught my attention on this one a few weeks back when I saw it. That being said I love retellings, but didn’t know it was a Disney sort of retelling, which is good to know, thanks! Several of the things that bothered you will bother me also, so I’ll probably wait for this one to hit my library.

  2. Okay the stuck mask does sound a bit odd but I still really want to read this mostly because I just love Sarah’s writing and even if this wasn’t her best, I still know it will be a good story overall. 😉

    Lovely review Jessica!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…WoW Pick of the Week!

  3. I liked this one a bit more than you Jessica, but like you, I was slightly surprised to see how closely the Beauty and the Beast elements followed the Disney version. Not a complaint from me though, that’s one of my favorite movies 😉 Glad you enjoyed this one well enough, I’ll be interested to see what you think of the next book when it comes out!

  4. I honestly don’t know what to think about this one. Retellings just don’t work for me, and retellings of retellings simply stand no chance. I wasn’t overly fond of her first series, but I have to admit that there are some things about this that sound appealing. And yet, someone somewhere mentioned a love triangle, which is a huge minus in my book. At least there’s no cliffhanger, so thank Mass for small favors.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: Out of Control

  5. Interesting review, and the first one I read that describes the book as not perfect. It’s next on my reading list, so I can’t weigh in yet. But … faeries. Besides vamps, they’re my other weak spot, so I suspect I’ll enjoy this. Probably just as much as I do your reviews 😛
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  6. Jessica your review is definitely the most honest I’ve read in a while. While i’m still very excited to read this one I appreciate not reading a glowing five star review for this one. Lowers my expectations lol 🙂
    Lily recently posted…Black Iris: Review

  7. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is one of the few retellings they did that I actually liked. 🙂 I can deal with that. I didn’t know Tamlin was a part of this one. Yea, despite the problems in the book, I do think I would enjoy this one. Brilly review!
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…On My Wishlist

  8. I can’t decide whether I want to give this a try or not, I DNF Throne of Glass, but this series does sound better. On the other hand I didn’t really like the author her writing style which is porbably similiar across books and those tiny thigns you mentioned sound like could be pretty annoying when you add them all up. And I am not really a fan of fairytale retellings, so maybe I should just skip this series as well. Great review!

  9. I’ve been waiting for someone I trust to review this book. 🙂 I’m not that big on Faeries, but I loved loved loved the Throne of Glass series. I am even more confused though, as to whether I should read this book though. Great review Jessica! 🙂

  10. I am with you, I love Fae books and the lore surrounding them. I have issues with books that take that lore too liberally but I have always had a soft spot for any Beauty and the Beast retelling. A great review and now I am even more interested in checking this out.