Mostly Thorns With a Few Roses: The Bookie Monsters September Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses

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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. 

*Summary from goodreads


There is a finite amount of time in the world, and I've reluctantly accepted the fact that I will not be able to read all of the books on my never ending TBR list. Because I have so little time to read for fun, I find myself less willing to read books which don't interest me; however, I also don't want to judge a book too quickly and not finish it because maybe it could get better. While reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, I forced myself to keep reading in hopes that the story would become more engaging. Everyone else had been raving about Sarah J. Maas, and I wanted to share in their adoration. Unfortunately, slow pacing, frustrating characters, and an unsatisfying romance keep me from jumping on the Sarah J. Maas obsession train the internet seems to be riding.

Until page 280 (yes, I wrote down the exact page number while I was reading and thought "finally!), I was a bit bored. The plot moves at a glacial pace for more than half of the book with the characters not doing much of anything except talking and eating. The conversations between characters isn't stimulating, doesn't move the plot forward, and is intentionally, frustratingly vague at times. I had to force myself to keep reading. Then, finally, on page 280 the plot kicks in, and the antagonist is finally introduced. From page 280, the storyline improves. I'm glad I decided to stick with the book, but not every reader is patient enough to read 280 pages before anything interesting happens.

The slow moving plot was exacerbated by the fact that I didn't connect with the main character Feyre. I didn't agree with most of the decisions she made, and I didn't like her. A Court of Thorns and Roses is supposed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and the Irish ballad Tam Lin. I understand that retellings change characters, settings, and plot points in order to put forth a new interpretation of the original story. I've read and enjoyed lots of retellings that have updated or changed different aspects of the story. The character of Belle from Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favorite characters. In A Court of Thorns and Roses, the character of Feyre is supposed to be Belle. Perhaps Maas intentionally made Feyre the exact opposite of Belle, but I don't like the changes. A big part of Belle's character is that she is kind, forgiving, compassionate, and loves to read books. Feyre isn't particularly kind (in fact, she can be quite abrasive) and doesn't know how to read. Feyre's personality and her interactions with other characters reads much more like Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games than Belle, which is not what I expect or want in a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Because I struggled to connect with the main character, I didn't buy into the romance between Feyre and her "beast." With such a slow moving plot, one would think that the romance would slowly but surely build between the characters. Instead, the exact opposite happens. Suddenly, they're in love with each other (despite the fact that Feyre doesn't have many lovable qualities, at least not in my opinion). I found myself unsatisfied with the entire romantic storyline.

This book is not all thorns though. There are a few beautiful roses sprinkled throughout which redeem some of the book's faults. The writing style is good. The plot drew me in once the antagonist was introduced, and I did like the character Rhys as well. As I said earlier, I'm glad I finished reading the book. I ended up giving A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas a 3 out of 5 stars on goodreads (though really it's more like a 3.5 out of 5 stars). I bought the second book in this series, A Court of Mist and Fury, before I'd read A Court of Thorns and Roses because I'd heard some friends say they liked the first book but loved the second book. While I do plan to read the next book in the series, I'm going in with lowered expectations. 


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