"Because your human joy fascinates me—the way you experience things, in your life span, so wildly and deeply and all at once, is … entrancing." - Sarah J. Maas
Apparently, A Court of Thorns and Roses, which is more commonly known as ACOTAR, has been out since 2015 and was a huge hit. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for me to be introduced to it. I ended up on #booktok and I kept hearing "ACOTAR this, ACOTAR that" and was like "What is this book?! What does ACOTAR mean?!" I finally caved and googled what the heck ACOTAR meant and immediately put the book on hold at the library. Once it became available, I dived in and couldn't put the book down. I love the whole series so much that I thought, why not reread the first book in the series (such a hardship) and write a book review about it? So, here we are!
You're first introduced to Feyre, the main character, as she's hunting in the woods. Her once wealthy family has had a change in luck and have been struggling to put food on the table for years. During her hunt, Feyre stumbles upon a wolf, which she shoots with an arrow and kills. Feyre soon finds out, however, that the wolf was in fact a faerie and she has broken a 500 year old treaty between faeries and humans. She now must either die or live in Prythian as part of the Spring Court. Feyre's emotions begin to change from hatred and loathing to love and compassion as she spends more and more time in her new home. Once in Prythian, Feyre learns that the Spring Court, as well as the rest of Prythian, has fallen under a curse that she must figure out how to break if she is to save her love.
Now, before I dive into the review, let me just say that I LOVE this series. Kelli's level of obsession with Zodiac Academy is my level of obsession with ACOTAR. The details that Sarah J. Maas incorporates into her writing make you feel as if you are right there with the characters experiencing everything that they are. I cannot get enough of this world she created and am anxiously waiting for any new information on the upcoming television series or the next book in the series.
I've read that ACOTAR is loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, and I do find similarities between the two. The main character is a strong-willed female (especially for the times), the captured woman falls in love with her beastly captor, there is a curse plaguing her captor's home, etc. These similarities may explain why I so quickly fell in love with ACOTAR as I was obsessed with Beauty and the Beast as a child. Just like Belle, Feyre has a fierce spirit and doesn't cower to people who believe they are better than her. She's a woman who isn't afraid to do what is needed to care for the ones she loves.
While romance is threaded throughout ACOTAR, the Fantasy aspect is more strongly portrayed, but I'll touch on the romance for a bit. While the majority of the book focuses on Tamlin and Feyre building the foundation to their love, I don't feel that Tamlin is the right match for Feyre. Tamlin is the one who 'rescued' her from her life in the cottage, but he does not fight for her once they both have been captured. I can see how he would think that how he is acting is in Feyre's best interest, but there is another part towards the end (I can't give too much detail or it will spoil the ending!) where he has ample chance to fight for Feyre, and once again, he does not. Feyre is willing to risk her life to save Tamlin and his lands, but he seems content to sit on the side lines. Not a man worthy of Feyre, in my opinion.
My favorite part of ACOTAR is imagining what everything looks like. Sarah J. Maas does an excellent job describing scenes that make you feel like you've just walked into the book and sat down. Some chapters include scenes and characters that comfort you (Alis) or that can outright terrify you (Under the Mountain). I think that one way the author adds to these descriptions is by portraying Feyre as an artist. Feyre describes her surroundings in ways that only artists would and it helps to create images within your mind that play out as you read. I would love to go into more detail, specifically about the challenges Feyre must face to break the curse, but I would be giving too much away - and we can't have that!
Books like ACOTAR remind me why I love reading so much. The world that the author can create, the different characters within that world, and how they all tie in together to bring you into a new reality - it's the reason we love books.
Overall, I give ACOTAR five stars. It's so easy to lose yourself in the world created by Sarah J. Maas. This has quickly become my new comfort read and I'm so excited to share with you the whole ACOTAR series.
I hope this review makes you want to give A Court of Thorns and Roses a try, if you haven't already! I can't wait to continue the series and experience the series all over again!
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