Feyre’s family are slowly starving to death. After they lose their fortune, Feyre leaves their hovel every day armed with her hunting knife, her bow and a quiver of arrows. On one such hunting trip, Feyre is stalking a doe when she comes across a faerie disguised as a huge wolf. She kills the enchanted beast, but the repercussions stretch further than she could possibly imagine.
I was so surprised at how much I liked this book. It drew me in from the very first chapter and didn’t let go until the explosive ending.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and while there are definitely parallels, Maas injects a lot of new and interesting plot points and gives it a really interesting twist by making it high fantasy and making the beast of the fable a faerie.
Feyre is a very strong heroine. She literally does everything in her power to protect her family (who are all a bit selfish and lazy), including offering up her life to the faerie who comes seeking retribution for the life she took. She has tough decisions to make, and although she makes some odd choices at times (like visiting the Fire Night celebrations or capturing the Suriel after she’s been warned not to), I could see why she did those things and it certainly made for an interesting plot!
Tamlin was a strange love interest. He was totally hot and really witty (when he forgot to be grumpy), but the fact that he had claws was a bit off-putting. I mean, I know he’s The Beast, so he has to be bestial, but yeah. The claws were weird. Having said this, I did really like the way his and Feyre’s romance was built up quite slowly - no instalove, thank god - until they were totally passionate for each other. And there was no love triangle, which was a major plus point!
The worldbuilding is exquisite. The faeries are the proper sharp-toothed, iridescent-skinned evil little blighters. There’s good description of the different races and social strata of faeries and they are characterised really well. There is an immense amount of description in this book, but it is all done cleverly so that it never detracts from the plot.
I’ve only read one other book of Sarah J Maas’ before: The Throne of Glass. It didn’t do a lot for me, I thought it was kind of meh, and I didn’t carry on with the series. When this book popped up on my radar I wasn’t going to bother reading it, but I saw so many rave reviews that I thought ‘Why not?’ and gave it a shot. And I’m so, so glad I did.