Book review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This beautifully rendered fantasy novel features a daring heroine, tortured hero and a world cloaked in beauty and deadly secrets.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (first published in 2015 by Bloomsbury UK)
As an avid lover of all things fairy tales, myth and folklore, A Court of Thorns and Roses proved to be a book that was just up my alley and one that I’d certainly say ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the more traditional books about the fey (ya know, the bloodthirsty, not-so-fluttery kind).

Darkly enchanting, sensuous and lush in its settings and descriptions, this book combines elements from two fairy tales as well as a traditional piece of folklore based on an old Scottish ballad, to tell the story of Feyre, a young huntress who finds herself in the fairy borderlands after inadvertently getting herself into trouble.

Punished for taking the life of a fairy, Feyre, in exchange for not losing her life, is forced to live out the rest of her days in a world that is as beguiling as it is deadly.

Though she is treated well by her captors, it soon becomes clear that the new world she inhabits not only poses a potential threat to the human realm, but perhaps to the very existence of the fey themselves.

With no choice but to rely on Tamlin , whom the fiercely independent Feyre eventually develops all sorts of unsettling feelings for, she soon finds herself navigating through treacherous territory - thrown headlong into ruthless fairy politics, old curses, bloodshed and violence.

With her home, heart, family and the lives of those who she’s come to love all at stake, Feyre soon learns that some sacrifices require the ultimate price.

Ok, so just in case I didn’t make it clear... I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!

From its plot and beautiful writing, to the characterisation and storytelling, A Court of Thorns and Roses has proven to be the kind of fantasy novel that I’m always on the hunt for, but never seem to find. 

With a fiercely courageous and gutsy heroine, Sarah J Maas has brought to life the kind of heroine we’re all eager to see more of in fiction.

Relentless in her duty to protect her family, and brave-to-the-point-of-stupidity in the face of mortal peril, Feyre is the kind of protagonist that does everything in her power to help those she loves, even if she doesn’t always get along with them.

With no choice but to go along with the consequences of her actions, she’s quick to make the best of the circumstances, while being smart enough to be on the lookout for the first opportunity to escape.

The most interesting thing about her is the fact that, while she’s a gifted huntress, she’s also illiterate, an important fact which comes into play during the course of the novel.

A huge round of applause goes to Sarah J Maas for weaving this in so effortlessly without making Feyre any lesser of a character for it.

Being part her struggle to find her way around her inability is a huge part of what makes this book such a joy to read. Yes, she has her pride, but oh is she a fighter. She’s fierce, determined and is a badass warrior queen in my eyes.  

Then, of course there are the fae.

And oh my soul, are you going to swoon!

This book has heaps of devastatingly beautiful fairy men - our protagonist’s love interest - Tamlin, shape-shifting high lord of the Spring Court, upping the swoon factor even more with his gentlemanly ways, wicked roguishness and kind heart.    

There’s Lucien, Tamlin’s emissary, who with his devastating wit, scarred-but-handsome visage and cheek, will quickly find a place amongst the favourite secondary-characters-who-should-get-their-own-story category.

And last, but not least, Rhysand (one of my favourites), whose morally ambivalent ways will keep you on the edge of your seat and will have you begging for more by the end of the story.

This is the kind of book that will satisfy lovers of romance and fantasy alike,  bringing to life the deadly and enchanting allure that many fantasy tales steeped in folklore, are often known for. 

Beautifully written, action-packed and filled to the brim with plenty of heroes, heroines and villains to keep you utterly enthralled, Sarah J Maas’s fairy tale retelling is an exquisite read worth spending money on.