Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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

Released: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Received: Library
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Special Shelf

The preamble

Well, be still my heart!

I was a little worried (ok, ok, I was A LOT worried) I wouldn't love this new series as much as I love the Throne of Glass series.

I mean, it has fairies and stuff.

And, her name is Feyre, which I can't for the life of me say properly in my head (I'm constantly tripping up between "Freya" and "Fire" and stuttering through a mix of the two every single time I read her name.)

Also, I hate that cover (seriously, I hate ALL of Sarah's covers, except the first one, which they changed. *sigh*)

So, yeah, there were a lot of things for me to worry about. I worried so much I didn't even pre-order A Court of Thorns and Roses even though Sarah and me are totally on pre-order basis by now (Queen of Shadows already pre-ordered!)

Instead, I waited for a copy to come through inter-library loan. Which basically means I had to hide from the internet all during release week until my ILL copy finally came through because ya'll were blowing up internet with ACoTaR updates, reviews, quotes, and hypable squees.

And, touche, you were all right. I should have just pre-ordered, because I'm totally buying a copy to put on my Special Shelf and re-read a million times.

This is a kissing book
(and then some)

Swoon. Lots of swoon.

I know Sarah J. Maas is known primarily for her YA series and I think a lot of libraries are getting mixed up in their cataloging because of that. But this series? This is NOT a YA series.

I've heard a lot of back and forth about the romance and whether or not it's wrong or swoony or we're wrong for swooning or not or, yeah, I'm not wading into that.

I'll say this: I like it. 


Ok, so I couldn't help comparing Feyre to Celaena, and I'm sorry but I like Celaena a little more. That's not to say that I don't like Feyre, because I definitely do. It's just, Celaena has a...spark? She has something that Feyre doesn't.

Feyre and Celaena are both so similar, but also totally different, which is a completely unhelpful description, I know. They both have fire and sass over a core of vulnerability, but Feyre is in some ways...harder? Darker?

I know that's a weird thing to say considering Celaena is the assassin here, but Celaena always had a certain sparkle to her. She's had terrible things happen to her, but she retains an almost childlike optimism, even when she's in the depths of despair (seriously, could you see moping, sad Celaena turning away candy? I think not.)

She also has a swaggering bravado and self-confidence that I can't help but love. She's Celaena Sardothien, and she will not be afraid.

Feyre feels more beaten down by the grinding suckiness of life. Poverty, starvation, the bone-aching hurt and betrayal of a family that disappoints. Feyre's painful experiences aren't relegated to the world of fantasy and they seem all the more adult and crushing because of that.

But, then I get scenes like the mud worm fight and suddenly Feyre goes from her regular likable but not entirely stand out self to someone who is awesome. And she's made all the more awesome for it because she isn't a trained assassin or some super-fairy. She's just a tough as nails survivor and THAT is what makes me like her so much. 

All the men

For the most part, all of the other main characters are men, and I can't decide which one I like more. They each bring something different to the table (think Marcello, Luca, and Lord Greco), and every one of them is a character who is interesting in his own right beyond romance.

I want to know more about their histories. I want to follow them on their own adventures. I want to read from their perspectives. I want spinoff series.

This is why I love Sarah J. Maas so much—she writes every character with a depth and realism that is usually reserved for the main character. All of her characters have main character potential. Her romantic interests don't just exist for shallow swooning. Her side characters aren't just props to support the main character. They don't exist solely for the purposes of advancing the plot. They are fully fleshed out people who happen to cross paths with the main character while going about their own off-screen story.

Bottom line

Ok, ok, Sarah J. Maas is an auto-buy author, regardless of what series she's writing. I get it. I won't resist again. Just take all my money, ok? All of it. Just please keep writing these books that feel like they're ripped from my very soul and heart and encompass all my readerly desires. Ok? Thanks. 

Looking for another book like this? 
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Click on the covers to go to my review/Goodreads

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