Review

Court of Thorns & Roses

Court of Thorns & Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses

by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Romance
Published: May 5th 2015
by Bloomsbury

three-half-stars

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Summary:

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 Tamlinβ€”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 Tamlinβ€”and his worldβ€”forever.

Review:

I don’t know what it is about Sarah J. Maas’ books, but for some reason, no matter how much I enjoy them, they always seem to be missing that extra something for me as a reader. Unfortunately, A Court of Thorns and Roses is the same way. It’s an entertaining and sexy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but, ultimitely, not much more than that.

I wished I had it in me to feel remorse for the dead thing. But this was the forest, and it was winter.

When 19-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, she soon finds herself being whisked off by a mysterious stranger to an enchanted world filled with magic and danger. Held captive in a castle, one thing becomes clear: if Feyre’s not able to escape, she may be stuck in this dangerous world forever.

Feyre is your typical fantasy protagonist, and is quite similar to Maas’ other main character Celaena Sardothien in terms of personality. She’s feisty, loyal, stubborn and brave; yet she is quite vulnerable underneath her tough exterior. While I found Feyre easy to like, I didn’t quite find her especially memorable compared to other protagonists in the genre.

At the core, A Court of Thorns and Roses is mostly a romance, just like the story its modeled after. The more time Feyre spends alongside her captor, Tamlin, the more she begins to feel oddly drawn to him. Soon their relationship as captor and captive begins to progress into something much more; something neither of them could have predicted.

Say what you want about Sarah’s books, but she sure knows how to write romance; and A Court of Thorns and Roses showcases that talent. The chemistry between Feyre and Tamlin is full of sparks and longing, and there are so many scenes between them that are just undeniably hot.

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However, as much as I loved it, I never really felt the build-up in their romance. It seemed to go from zero to one hundred too quickly – they met, and then they almost instantly fell in love. There really wasn’t a “middle stage” of their relationship, and I wish there was a bit more focus on that stage of the romance.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a bit slow and romance centered for the first 70%, but the last 30% is filled with nonstop action and danger, and for that I can’t complain. If you’re someone who enjoys Sarah’s Throne of Glass series, this won’t disappoint.

three-half-stars

85 thoughts on “Court of Thorns & Roses

  1. Yay for retellings! (And for this gorgeous commenting font, by the way!) Since I was a kid Beauty and the Beast always fascinated me, though I’ve never actually gotten the nerves to pick up a fictional retelling of the story that first brought me to adore books! Insta-love is definitely something I’d like to stay away from, though I’m certain that Maas will please me whether I spot that or not.

    I’m so glad to hear that Feyre is similar to Celaena, who is one of my favourite female protagonists of YA! This sounds so good that I’m begging myself to get up and finally read it off my Kindle, and since I’m a mega huge fan of ToG, your review has convinced me to get to it ASAP! Awesome review! ^_^

    1. If you’re a huge fan of Throne of Glass, this won’t disappoint you Michelle! πŸ™‚ Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

  2. Even though most people aren’t loving this as much as ToG, I still really want to read this. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale of all time. πŸ˜‰
    Glad you did enjoy this one.

  3. I really enjoyed this ACOTAR, but I do understand what you mean about the romance – while it was swoony, I didn’t really get why they fell in love so quickly. But I think this is going to be a fantastic series – there’s so much I want to know about the world and the characters!

    1. So glad I’m not the only one who felt that way Charlene. πŸ™‚ Thank you, and I’m so glad to hear you liked it so much!

  4. I don’t like it when the romance seems to come out of no where either, but hopefully it’s not the only element in a book, so the rest can make me still love the book.Thanks for visiting!

    1. No problem Elizabeth! Thanks for your lovely comment – I hope you like this one if you decide to read it!

  5. Awesome review!
    I’m super excited to read this one, and have been generally the same things about it. Supposedly 70% is romance, but then BOOM something happens and things get intense towards the end. I’m sure Sarah J. Maas did that just so that we suffer whilst waiting for the sequel.

    1. Supposedly 70% is romance, but then BOOM something happens and things get intense towards the end.

      Yep, that’s pretty much a perfect summary – LOL. And haha, I wonder if that’s what she had in mind. πŸ˜‰ Thanks Olivia!

  6. Ha! Actually, I was disappointed by the book, even when I really like the Throne of Glass series. I have my expectations for the sequel ridiculously high, though. I should lower them.

  7. I was a bit disappointed, gah, I had mega-high hopes but I just didn’t really ship Tamlin and Feyre. I felt they were both kind of…typical?! I totally thought Feyre was like every other kickbutt heroine these days. LE SIGH. But the world building was quite gorgeous and I love faeries, I totally do. xD I’m still reading on with the series, but Throne of Glass is by far my faaavourite.

    1. Haha…I had a feeling you’d like this Cait. πŸ˜‰ Even if you were a bit disappointed, it seems you still loved it. xx

  8. Awww, I’m sad to know that this didn’t meet your expectations, Zoe! I really loved this one and wanted everyone else to love it, too, but I understand if it was missing something during your reading experience. I do agree that Maas knows how to write a romance… although there is something stirring inside me hoping she gets it on with Rhysand πŸ˜›

  9. Yeah, my reaction to this one was pretty similar to yours – entertaining, good romance, but lacks *something* to convince me. I had the same problem with Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight – but then I read Heir of Fire and fell in love. It wasn’t Celaena’s story I liked the most, however, but Manon’s and Rowan’s – so I’m hoping the side characters from A Court of Thorns and Roses will have more important roles in the sequel (which I’ll probably be reading!).

    1. Oh wow: I’m completely the opposite Kaja. Heir of Fire was probably my least favorite in the series. Really interesting to see how everyone really has such different opinions.

  10. Yes, I completely agree with the 70% romance thing! I’ve never been a romance person, so it was difficult for me to feel anything even towards the end, which is why I actually felt uninterested halfway through the book. Luckily I managed to get through to the more exciting parts.

    I really liked the first chapter, to be honest, but it just flopped from there for me — the only really amazingly-written characters are Lucien and Nesta. And ACOTAR was my first SJM read, so I’m just that much less inclined to read her other books :/

    1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who felt that way Alyssa. I’m not a romance person by any stretch of the imagination either, so I think that’s what lacked for me here.

  11. Actually, I’m scared to read it. I wasn’t blown away by Heir of Fire and most books I read nowadays felt a little lackluster. And it looks like it’ll have bit of Stockholm syndrome there. I’ll read it with caution.

  12. I’m a fan of romance but only when it’s done right and while I do have to admit the romance did move on quite quickly in this one i was still able to connect with it and root for it. I do think the romance is going to get further looked at in the next few books. I can see a lot having to be explored and i’m interested in how that’s going to work out. Lovely review Zoe!

  13. I’ll admit that I’m still a little mad that this was supposed to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling when it wasn’t really like that at all. He’s gorgeous with the mask, he’s gorgeous without it, la-di-dah. I am honestly so surprised that I actually enjoyed this one, but what can you do? And I totally agree about the first 70 being romance and then the danger finally kicks in! That honestly feels like the norm for fantasy these days, no matter how much I wish different.

    1. YES. I am so glad to feel I’m not the only one who felt this way about it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Zoey!

  14. YAY! Finally someone I can relate to it. I wasn’t sure how to rate this book at first, I wanted to give it five stars but it’s so flawed. It wasn’t even a Beauty & the Beast retelling. It reminded me more of the retelling Cinderlla, I agree with you about the romance as well – thank you for the awesome honest review Zoe πŸ™‚

    1. I didn’t think of the Cinderella comparison at first, but now that you mention it I definitely think you’re on to something Benish. πŸ˜‰

  15. My copy of this has finally arrived, but I’m putting off reading it for the moment. I mean, I love Sarah J Maas, and I LOVE Beauty and the Beast, so it should be an amazing combination, right? But… I’ve read quite a few reviews that have mentioned that something is lacking, so I’m a bit nervous if I’m honest. I want to love ACOTAR, but I’m scared I won’t! (Also, I’ve just finished Heir of Midnight, and I’m slightly worried I’ll get Feyre and Celeana muddled up.) Thank you for preparing me!
    Beth x

    1. If you’re a huge fan of Sarah J Maas and Beauty and the Beast, it seems like this one was almost made for you Beth! Hope you like it as much as you hope to!

  16. I started this one last year, but I haven’t finished it yet. I think I just wasn’t in a fantasy mood. I am looking forward to finishing it soon though. Sorry to hear the world building was lacking for you. Great review!! πŸ™‚

  17. Aw, it’s disappointing that ACOTAR fell a little flat for you. πŸ™ Then again, the hype and reviews going around for this book really does build up your expectations, huh? I have crazy high expectations as well, now slightly lowered after your review, though, so hopefully that’ll help me enjoy it more.

    Ehh, that’s always the issue with all these strong-girl heroines — they’re so hard to differentiate! Still, I like reading about them even if they aren’t as memorable. Also, I’ve heard that Feyre’s loyalty to her family is remarkable even though they treat her really badly (or something like that, anyway), so I’m looking forward to that!

    I have to admit that I haven’t experienced Sarah J. Maas’s fantastic romance writing skills yet. πŸ˜› I’ve read Throne of Glass, but that was ages ago and I can’t even remember much about the romance other than that there was a love triangle between Chaol and Dorian. (And I didn’t feel strongly for either of them. :/ ) But for ACOTAR, though, it’s like the romance is simply unforgettable! Every review just RAVES about Tamlin’s and Rhysand’s hotness and… I AM CURIOUS. It’s been a while since I’ve read good romance novels, so I have a big craving for it right now! xD

    Great review, Zoe!

  18. I still haven’t read Mass. I’m more of an action sort of girl, so I should probably start with Throne of Glass. I expected this to be a really slow burn romance, dang. Thanks for the good review, I shall lower my expectations.

  19. Oh, I didn’t know this was a new series! I thought it was another installment of Throne of Glass. To be honest, that book is still on my Pause list because I had a problem with Calaene’s character. It might just be my mood at the time though which is why I feel like I need to read it again. I’ve been hearing awesome things about this book it was also great that I got to read your review to. It gave me a different perspective and I’ll definitely keep your review in mind when I’m reading this. I don’t mind romance-centered books so maybe I’ll give this a shot first before trying Throne of Glass again.Plus, I enjoy re-tellings. Awesome review! πŸ™‚

    1. If you’re a fan of retellings, definitely give this a try Amir. Looking forward to your thoughts if you decide to give this a try. xx

  20. I’ve actually never read any of Sarah J. Maas’s books (unfortunately) but I’ve been hearing a lot about this one. Which book of hers would you say is your favorite?
    I’m all for a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I know what you mean about the romance–so many books seem to skip the build-up, so the romance just doesn’t feel all that believable.
    Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  21. Aww, sorry to hear that ACOTAR didn’t wow you completely Zoe. I love Sarah’s work so she can do no wrong in my books, but I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. The romance was quite sudden, but I kind of expected it. The last 30% though pwoarrr all that action. I cannot deal! πŸ˜› Lovely review!

  22. I agree with your thoughts on Sarah J. Maas in general. The highest rating I’ve given her is 3.5 (for ACOTAR and CoM), despite really enjoying her books.

    Fayre definitely had A LOT of similarities to Calaena, but I liked her a lot more. I do agree that she doesn’t really stand out too much though.

    I’m not fond of any of the romances in Throne of Glass, but Fayre and Tamlin are really good together!

    Awesome review, Zoe! πŸ™‚

  23. This one does sound really good. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite stories, so I am looking forward to reading this one. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it more!

  24. Great review! I actually really enjoyed this but I can see why you didn’t. I also had some issues with the romance but I think that its a hint towards what is to come later in the series πŸ˜‰ I am just speculating though! I think Maas didn’t want us to get too attached to Feyre/Tamlin πŸ˜›

  25. Fabulous review! I do agree with a lot of your points, especially that the romance went from nothing to inseparable in a span of a few pages. But, I did like Feyre. I felt like she was a little more relatable than Celaena, so I guess that’s why I liked her a bit more. But she was fairly “typical”, I do agree! Still a very fun book πŸ˜€

  26. It’s funny because of the two reviews I’ve read today, this is the second for this book! I don’t think this book is necessarily my style, but I do think it’s interesting that both reviewers found the romance a little lacking. Entertaining, of course, but not perfect. Very interesting for me, as an outsider!

    1. Haha…what a coincidence! πŸ™‚ And even if it isn’t your style, thank you for still taking the time to leave such a sweet comment.

  27. Awesome review, Zoe! I can’t wait to read this one too, although I’m a little doubtful because I heard there were steamy scenes, which is something I am bothered with if it gets too steamy :/ And also, I’m sorry that Feyre didn’t impress you too well! At least Tamlin was okay. (Or so I’ve heard so far, haha!)

    Great review Zoe <3 I'm still going to read this only because I'm curious! πŸ™‚

  28. I’ve just started this book myself, and though it is so far a little slow, I’m looking forward to things picking up. I can definitely see the Beauty and the Beast parallels, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it despite the flaws. Lovely review Zoe πŸ™‚

    1. The beginning is definitely a bit slow Eguenia, so hang in there! πŸ˜‰ Looking forward to seeing what you think.

  29. Uh-oh, I mean, I’m glad she’s similar to Celaena, because awesome, but hate that the romance just changed from cold to hot with no development. >.< Nope. πŸ™

  30. For entertainment purposes, I absolutely loved this one. But if I were to get technical, I couldn’t agree more that it needed a little more oomph. She really sexed it up with this one and I really enjoyed the romance, but I think it was missing the same intensity and heart that Throne of Glass had. The prose was lovely though, I love the lyrical aspect and really enjoyed the retelling, even with not having read any other Beauty and The Best retellings before. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this one more Zoe, but hopefully book two is more action packed <3

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this needed a little more umph Kelly. Yet I’m glad to hear you liked the romance & prose so much!

  31. I actually didn’t like this as much as I hoped I would, and I think my love for the Throne of Glass series is to blame- expectations were too high and my feelings over this suffered as a result. I still rather enjoyed it, though, and I’m pretty excited for the next books in the series. I have a strong feeling I’ll be falling more and more in love with it as it progresses.
    I agree that the romance was pretty wonderful, but it could definitely have been built up over a longer time, you’re right. It was a bit too quick to go from hate to love.
    I’m sorry you didn’t like this more, Zoe! Still, I am glad there were elements that you could enjoy! Nice review. xx

  32. I have yet to read anything by Maas. She comes so highly recommended, but I’m not sure she is for me. ACoTR sounds a bit too romance heavy for my taste, maybe Throne of Glass is a better place to start ^_^

  33. I had the same sort of feelings for Throne of Glass. I really enjoyed it, but felt that there was just something missing. Still looking forward to ACOTAR, though.

  34. I feel ya. Although I did really enjoy this one I also thought it missed that extra spark and was kind of disappointed about how much was just dedicated to the romance when there was so much other potential (that we saw towards that last 30% like you said) Will you be checking out the sequel?

    1. Glad I wasn’t the only one who felt that way Alise! And I think I will be, but my expectations will definitely be adjusted. πŸ˜‰

  35. I am reading this right now and am almost finished with it! I love it so much so far, it is such a great book! Then again, what do I expect from Sarah J. Maas? I love all the descriptions of Prythian, they’re so vivid.

  36. So happy to be back to blogging (well, trying!) and reading other blogs. I have really missed it and I have missed your wonderful reviews.

    I’m sad this didn’t completely work for you, but also glad it wasn’t a complete disappointment either. I actually loved this one and it just completely worked for me. But I am a huge Maas fan and I love her writing. I am very excited for book two but also a little nervous.

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