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.
First of all, just as a heads up, A Court of Thorns and Roses does not fall into the Young Adult genre, but is classified as New Adult, diverging slightly from what I usually post here since it is for more mature audiences (I think, if it were a movie, I´d rate it PG-16).
And now, let´s proceed to the interesting stuff.
I was hooked from the very beginning, and I am not kidding when I say I could not concentrate on anything while I didn´t finish it. The book is full of beautiful things; not just the scenery, but the people and clothes and art and it´s very pleasing to the mind´s eyes (if that even makes sense). Plus, it has a gorgeous cover.
The book is picturesque, with incredible sceneries (that kind of reminded me of Scotland) and some pretty awesome world building. It was very easy to picture the places through Feyre´s eyes, since she had a fascination with colors and beautiful things, allowing Maas to describe the settings with plenty of details without weighing down the plot. Something that I absolutely adored, was the curse that made all the fae from the Spring Court wear ballroom masks; it´s so original and fun to imagine.
I must admit that at first, I did not like Feyre. She had to mature faster to take care of her family, but she still acted childish, so much that my notes concerning Feyre in the beginning were all something along these lines: “WHY DOESN´T SHE EVER LISTEN UGHHH.” But, even though I squirmed at all her brash decisions, Maas is a certified genius when it comes to character development. And it seems the author has a thing for characters with strong, bold personalities who wake up very early (seriously, though, what´s wrong with having a good night´s sleep?). Another thing that I loved: the fact that one of Feyre´s obstacles isn´t a mortal wound or curse, but that she can´t read; a personal crippling that she has to overcome.
Aaaaaaaaaaand GUESS WHAT? *drumroll* no love triangles! YES! We have a very handsome and mysterious love interest, in a sort of Beauty and The Beast situation, who seems way too nice and way too interested at first, and the cool thing is that the reader can feel that something isn´t quite right. The author manages to make us wrinkle our noses and tilt our heads in reaction to what´s happening, and precisely because of that, it´s impossible to set the book down (also, Tamlin is very hot).
I also came face to face with a villain that I love to hate. Amarantha is an evil female character who isn´t portrayed as bitchy and whiny, but as a lethal general who is feared by all. She does horrible things, but in no point in the story is anyone surprised that a woman is as dangerous as she is, which is refreshing. They don´t underestimate her, because they are sure of what she is capable of.
And without further ado, allow me to explain why I would not recommend this book to younger audiences: it is very explicit. It´s extremely gory and has more sexual content than any of Maas´ other books. Blood and guts are part of Feyre´s daily life, the Fae culture can be primitive and barbaric and killing things is one of Tamlin´s many duties, so in a way, the book would be missing something if these things were not present. And it´s so good.
In my opinion, this wonderful, wonderful book is a mixture of George R. R. Martin (if he wrote for slightly younger audiences), Beauty and the Beast and Fae lore. I give it four and a half stars and recommend it to all who are looking for a fantasy world to immerse themselves in.