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.
I love finding a fantasy series that has somehow escaped my notice.
This faerie retelling of Beauty and the Beast may have played into the original story a little too heavily in the first half (that Stockholm syndrome seems to set in for the protagonist of both stories awfully quickly), but Feyre won me over regardless. Her strength and determination from the first pages of A Court of Thorns and Roses rang true, and the more we learn about her, the more I admired her.
Feyre is not the Belle I was expecting. While she sacrifices and works hard for her family with little or no appreciation, she doesn’t bear the burden gracefully. She’s unhappy with her life and her role, but she does what she needs to survive. Finding joy in small moments when she can, her life is difficult and depressing, as is the world she is living in. There seems to be little hope for success or happiness, especially with the ever-looming threat of the faeries on the other side of the wall. Feyre doesn’t fit the mould of a damsel in distress, kidnapped by the evil faerie, nor is she a fierce huntress with no fear; she is her own, unique character. Most evident when …
… she is going through the trials, Feyre is beaten past her breaking point. She’s barely holding on to any semblance of sanity, and she pushes through, knowing that whatever the outcome is for her won’t be pretty. There’s too much riding on her success for Feyre to give up, even though all she wants is to give in to the darkness. These scenes were truly horrific, and they seem to be setting up a rivalry between Tam and Rhys in the next book. I’m going to go out on a limb here and come out real early for Team Rhys. There is a lot of effort here to make Tamlin seem self-sacrificing and Feyre’s true love. Instead, he comes off as controlling and weak, making the decisions for everyone around him without giving them all of the information. When Feyre needs help going through the trials, the only one who takes any risks to help her is Rhysand, and he’s the only reason she retains any semblance of sanity. Team Rhys!
I do have to give a little shout out to Lucien, a real solid side character. He was a much more interesting character than Tamlin, and I loved his banter with Feyre. It may just be my personal preference, but the snarky soldier is always more appealing than the stuffy lord.
Yes, there is some cringe-worthy erotica here, but it’s thankfully kept short. I doubt we’ll be as lucky moving forward in this series, though. The evocative language and storytelling, which is so beautiful throughout the rest of the story, doesn’t translate well to these scenes, which were instead reminiscent of Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey. Not ideal.
I know that I’m biased due to my predilection for fantasy, but I devoured every page of A Court of Thorns and Roses and enjoyed every moment so I’m very comfortable with my emphatic five star rating. This world of faeries with their hierarchy of species and different courts is fascinating, and I’m looking forward to exploring it more in A Court of Mist and Fury.