It’s time, my friends. After taking some MUCH NEEDED time to gather my thoughts about ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ and ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ by Sarah J. Maas, I’m finally ready to dump those thoughts out of the basket that is my head. That was a weird analogy, and I apologize.
Okay, first thing’s first, ACOTAR. Before I discuss my likes and dislikes, I will say that overall I enjoyed ACOTAR. On a 1 to 5 star scale I would rate it as a 4. The story pulled me in and it was easy for me to follow along, save for a few issues I had with name and location pronunciations. I know when I like a story when I begin to become emotionally invested in the characters and the relationships that develop between them. I’m gonna call it the ‘Shatter Me’ effect. If you haven’t read the ‘Shatter Me’ series by the wonderfully talented and beautiful Tahereh Mafi. First of all, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL YOUR LIFE?
(Just kidding, kinda)
Second, what I mean by the ‘Shatter Me’ effect is that in the ‘Shatter Me’ series, there is a love triangle between three of the main characters. Kind of trope-y, yes, BUT LEMME TELL YOU, actually I won’t really tell you, because you need to read it, but I WILL SAY there is a love triangle wherein you may find yourself rooting for one ship but then abandoning and commandeering the one you told yourself TO NEVER GET EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED/INVESTED IN and yet, here you are.
Like I said above, in terms of the ‘Shatter Me’ effect, that’s what happened to me, and may happen to you, if you so choose to read the ACOTAR series and if you’ve even made it this far into this review to even care to consider yourself doing so.
Okay, I really need to stop rambling and just get to it. I don’t want this to be spoiler-y, but some things may slip out unintentionally because FEELINGS, and also, I may just lose control of my thoughts and vomit spoilers everywhere. So this is your warning that that may happen.
In a short summary, ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ is about a nineteen year old girl named Feyre. Feyre’s mother died years before, leaving her father and two sisters, Nesta and Elaine, behind. Feyre recounts her years growing up saying her mother never gave her much affection as a mother should. Her mother was society obsessed. After her mother died, her father lost interest in anything, even providing for his family. With this Feyre resents him and in result teaches herself to hunt and be the breadwinner for the family.
Her country is surrounded by a wall, built up by the rulers of the High Fae, who Feyre and the other mortal humans are born to fear and hate. One day when Feyre is out hunting, she spots a doe. Once she is shoots her arrow she realizes she shot a wolf. Except there’s something about the wolf that seems off to her. She realizes the immortal, albeit humanity beneath the perished wolf’s gaze and rushes home.
Later that night a loud knock on the door unveils a dog/bear-like furry beast. The beast offers Feyre a bargain, since she murdered his friend, she must either come back to live in his manor to make it even, or her and her family will die. Feyre begruggingly obliges and accompanies the beast to a manor in the nearby country of Prythian, which is outside of the wall Feyre is so used to. The manor, as it turns out, is the home of the High Fae Lord of the Spring Court. Feyre is terrified that she is being brought here to die. Instead the beast and High Lord, who is a shapeshifter, named Tamlin, reveals to Feyre that he has zero intention of hurting her. Feyre is hesitant, and stays on her guard. We also meet Tamlin’s right hand man, Lucien. Lucien is nice, and quickly becomes Feyre’s confidant.
One thing that puzzles Feyre is that Tamlin and Lucien are always wearing masks, as if they’re going to a masquerade. When she questions about them, Tamlin and Lucien reveal that Queen and ruler of Prythian, Amarantha, put a spell on the fae to never be able to remove them. Once Feyre draws closer to Tamlin, the mask is a puzzle she deems to uncover. Tamlin confides in Feyre of the evils of Amarantha and his plans to stop her. Feyre decides she wants to help. Not only because Tamlin is becoming someone she may love, but also because she realizes that the strained and feared relationship between the Fae and those in the human realm can be healed.
When Temlin senses danger coming closer than he assumed, he sends Feyre back home to her cottage. Feyre doesn’t quite understand why, but senses that Rhysand, the cocky, immortal enemy of Tamlin and bastard to Amarantha, has something to do with it, so she obliges to Tamlin’s wishes.
Upon her return home, Feyre is met with not a cottage, but a small monor, complete with servants. She knows Tamlin was the one behind the generousness and misses him greatly. Feyre confides in her sister, Elaine that home is not quite the same. Nesta, whose relationship with Feyre has always been rocky, knows that something about Feyre is different. Feyre’s heart isn’t as cold as it once was, especially when it comes to the discussion of where she’s been, in which Elaine and Nesta are still in the dark.
Nesta confronts Feyre in an attempt to finally hear the truth. To her surprise, Feyre tells her everything, even about her love for Tamlin. Nesta encourages Feyre to return to the Spring Court.
When Feyre does return to the Spring Court, it’s as if a war came through it. Tamlin and Lucien are no longer there. With this, Feyre sets out to uncover their whereabouts to save Tamlin, Lucien, and the other Fae people, even at the highest of costs.
Firstly, I will list what I did like, followed by what I did not.
- The romance between Tamlin and Feyre.
What I mean by that is, before the sh** hit the fan and before Tamlin sent Feyre out of the Spring Court for her safety (*rolls eyes*) before Amarantha’s gang came and ransacked the Spring Court Manor. They had chemistry. Except now that I think about it, why did Tamlin give her the ultimatum of dying or basically serving as his pretty prisoner in exchange for his friends murder, which she unknowingly committed?
When Tamlin and Feyre decided to go all in together, it was sweet, I’ll give it that. I’m not going to sit here and say that it didn’t give me life for a hot minute (literally), because it did. Tamlin was sweet to give her a room to paint in. He never once harmed or locked her up. He did offer to teach her to read, but she was reluctant to do so, because she was raised to hate faeries. Which doesn’t excuse that behavior and those actions on Tamlin’s part.
My feelings on this are so complicated and interwoven, because from a feminist standpoint, Feyre was fine alone, I don’t mean to say she shouldn’t fall in love, but she was FINE.
I understand this sounds like I’m contradicting myself on liking the Famlin romance. (If you read ACOMAF you would understand why these feelings are so complicated)
I thought Feyre was a very strong-willed character. She took care of herself. She took care of her family, even though her father and sisters would not, she did, and for that I admire her. Feyre is also not afraid to speak her mind. She doesn’t cower and she doesn’t hide her feelings. When anyone would give her attitude she gave it right back.
3. When Feyre decided to take on Amarantha’s challenges in exchange for Tamlin and the other Fae people’s survival, that was one of my favorite moments. She knew she may not have stood a chance, but she tried anyway.
4. The world building. Aside from a the roadblocks that were the pronunciation of various names/places, the world building was creative and uncomplicated. I liked the concept of the wall separating the immortal fae and the mortal human realms. There was reasoning and history behind it that made it easily believable and practical.
Now onto what I did not like:
- I know I said I liked the Tamlin/Feyre romance, I did, at first, but I also couldn’t help feeling like it wasn’t realistic in the sense that they didn’t really have a lot of time to get to know each other. It went from awkward skirting around to close talks to passionate romance. There was a lot that Tamlin kept hidden and wouldn’t share, even when Feyre would spill her heart out.
- The Fire Night Scene. No. Tamlin having to choose a “prospect” for a drunken night is NO EXCUSE for him from basically assaulting Feyre. None at all. I don’t care if he was “drawn to her”. She did leave her room, but that doesn’t mean she was fair game. He sought her out of his own clouded judgement, which is no reason for what I he did, either.
- I didn’t like the way Feyre was treated as a pawn between Tamlin and Rhysand. She’s her own woman. She’s not bound to either of them. SHE DECIDES.
4. How Tamlin literally just sat there under the mountain, next to Amarantha like a stone statue not caring or showing THE LEAST BIT OF EMOTIONAL CONCERN that Feyre was there trying to rescue his ass. Except for the moment when he wanted to make out with her in the hallway.
Now onto ACOMAF
Between ACOTAR and ACOMAF, I thoroughly enjoyed ACOMAF so much more. SO MUCH SO THAT I’M STILL REELING FROM THE BOOK HANGOVER. I love books that give you one side of a story but also show you the other side of that same story, but shown from a different perspective. It honestly makes a world of difference in terms of my likeness for the book. I was apprehensive when Feyre left the Spring Court for good, because I still hated Rhysand, but I was so glad that she was able to explore what else was out there. She made friends and she wasn’t kept to herself and forced to stay inside her mind. Out of 5 stars I gave it a 5.
The moment I fell in love with Rhysand. (Aside from chapter 55, am I right?) was this:
Chapter 7, page 73:
“Tamlin isn’t your keeper, and you know it.”
“I’m his subject, and he is my High Lord _”
“You are no one’s subject.”
I went rigid at the flash of teeth, the smoke-like wings that flared out.
“I will say this once-and only once,” Rhysand purred, stalking to the map on the wall.
“You can’t be a pawn, be someone’s reward, and spend the rest of your immortal life bowing and scraping and pretending you’re less than him, than Ianthe, than any of us. If you want to pick that road, then fine. a shame, but it’s your choice.”
The shadow of wings rippled again.
“But I know you-more than you realize. I think-and I don;t believe for one damn minute that you’re remotely fine with being a pretty trophy for someone who sat on his ass for nearly fifty years, then sat on his ass while you were shredded apart.”
Re-reading this I’m still reeling.
This is why I fell in love with Rhysand. He treats Feyre like an equal. Not as an accessory to his power. He knows she has her own abilities and he doesn’t want to see her let them go to waste, trapped in Tamlin’s court. If she had stayed, they would have. Rhysand always made sure Feyre understood that she was in control of her life, her destiny. He didn’t even “let her” choose, he wasn’t the master in her decision to train and use her abilities. He gave her the option to find out who she is. And in that, she saw what she could be.
What I did like:
- RHYSAND. I honestly loathed him in ACOTAR. I first thought of him as an arrogant asshole, and yes, he did have his moments, but he basically went from Warner in ‘Shatter Me’ to Warner in ‘Ignite Me’ REAL QUICK. In ACOTAR I thought Rhysand simply as a cunning bastard, literally. BUT THERE ARE REASONS and nothing is as it seems is all I will say.
- When Feyre was training with Cassian, honing her abilities, no one just treated her as a weapon. She was their friend and ally first.
- I LOVED the friend group dynamic between Azriel, Cassian, Mor, Rhysand, and Amren.
- The moment were Feyre realized/discovered that her and Rhysand were mates aka destined to be together.
- Can I just say how the last few chapters i had to re-read because I was crying and confused at first because I literally thought the bond was broken…
- FINALLY KNOWING WHY RHYSAND STUMBLED AND WENT WIDE EYED IN FRONT OF FEYRE AT THE END OF ACOTAR
- How Rhysand was willing to teach Feyre how to read and not be a dick about it. He was cheeky, but he wasn’t a dick.
- Am I the only one that was relieved to see that Feyre’s bowls didn’t turn watery in this one?
What I didn’t like:
- Sometimes the constant utterance of Feyre saying that Rhysand was her mate was like, okay, WE HEARD YOU THE FIRST THREE TIMES AND AS ELATED AS WE ARE SHUDDUP.
- The disappearing letters was cute, but mostly reminded me of middle school note passing
- This wasn’t YA material. The story was, but the passionate moments were very new adult. I’ll never be one to say “Teens shouldn’t read this because sex happens!” No, all the more reason for teens to read it, but in terms of the depth regarding those passages, it’s definitely more than I’ve read in some new adult contemporaries.
In conclusion, this series is becoming one of my beloved favorites. I’m so excited, but also extremely nervous for the next installment. I’ll probably read ACOMAF again. I also know when I’m going to love a book and that it’s good when it literally makes me not want to watch TV. And that rarely happens, ever. It also made me feel like I had a boyfriend for a hot minute (sad, I know) but it was nice.
Now, for who I pictured as Rhysand, it was Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco, and now I’ll never picture anyone other than him, because LOOK IT:
That is all.