book review, new adult, re-read, retellings, romance

#MaasMondays: Week 7 – A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

We are on HIGH alert for ACOWAR. 8 afternoons from now it will just me, my iPhone on do not disturb, ACOWAR, and a box of tissues for any rogue tears. It is starting to give me anxiety to find out what happens to all of our favorite characters. Ugh. And hooray. Because this book is going to be AMAZING.

This week I did my revisit of ACOTAR. Re-reading A Court of Thorns & Roses made me appreciate Tamlin a bit more, but also left me longing for Rhysand. So here’s my disclaimer, as usual… spoilers ahead.

ACOTAR focuses on the story of Feyre’s journey and her new life in the magic filled world of Prythian. We spend more time than I remembered in her village, and witness her hunting skills as well as her role of caretaker within her family. It is really easy to hate her family in this book. Her sisters seem spoiled, and worse, they seem to expect her to do everything for them. Her father may be ashamed of his injury, but you feel like he could do something–at the very least to keep Nesta in check. Feyre’s life is…well… sad. She’s weak from hunger, but strong and determined and a bit reckless, and finds comfort with a boy that she has no feelings for other than a desire to have companionship in an old barn. (Very romantic.) But to have that shows that she does have a desire for something better, something comforting and worth having.

If you haven’t read the book yet, and you are specifically looking for spoilers, you may be interested to know that Feyre is a human who lives south of a wall. The humans have no innate magic. The Fae, in Prythian, live north of the wall. How does she get there? Well, she kills a wolf while she is hunting that turns out to be a Fae in disguise. In the briefest of moments she thinks it could be Fae, but also doesn’t want it to kill the deer she was hunting. Besides, her family needs the meat. So she kills them both, and then Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court (though she doesn’t know that yet) shows up, busts down her cottage door, and claims her life in exchange for his friend’s. At this point, it all turns very Beauty and the Beast. In truth, his beast form to me always looks like the Beast from the B&tB. Tamlin, however, does not need to stay in beast form. It’s only his hunting form. Otherwise he is described as being tan, handsome, muscled, and pretty much what you would expect of a Disney-like prince.

Let’s move on to the QUICKish SUMMARY:

77493_originalFeyre kills a wolf and has to live in Tamlin’s home at the Spring Court of Prythian, away from her family, to fulfill a treaty code for killing a Fae. She isn’t tortured, but she is warned to stay close in his palace like home because everything in Prythian wants to kill humans. Apparently humans and Fae don’t get along that well, and in the meantime there is trouble in Prythian and the courts as there is a greater force at work that is affecting their magic, killing their young, and breaking the borders of their lands.

Tamlin and Feyre begin to have awkward exchanges. Lucien, Tamlin’s trusted emissary, tries to get her killed a couple of times but also becomes her friend in a way. Feyre nearly gets herself killed a couple of times on her own accord as well. As Tam and Feyre grow closer and things are a little tense, she is told to stay inside during a festival. She doesn’t stay inside because the drums are calling and she wants to see what’s going on. So she’s goes to the big bonfire party, and nearly immediately gets cornered by a few males only to be rescued by Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court. (She doesn’t know him or his title yet though.) All we know is that she thinks he is the most beautiful male she has ever seen. Rhysand sends off the other males and offers to escort her whereever she is going. Long story short, Feyre goes back to her room for the rest of the night, and after the rites are complete, Tamlin comes home and says that he was looking for her because he could smell her all the way out there among the bonfires and it was driving him mad. He couldn’t find her, so to complete his deed as the High Lord, he had to take another willing female, but he wanted her and he confesses he wanted only Feyre. She says “no sloppy seconds for me tonight” (not literally), and so we know she wants him to.

Tam and Feyre get together. Things are looking bad in Prythian, and there is danger. Tam sends Feyre back to the human realm. This is a very B&tB moment. You will know that she needs to say that she loves him, but she doesn’t even though she feels it, and instead goes home. She’s not home long as Nesta convinces her to go back. Seeing that her family is well taken care of (courtesy of Tamlin), she decides that she does love him, and must go back to stand by her man like the Suriel told her to. (Suriel = truth telling thing that is likely to kill anyone, and looks like a dementor.) She returns to find that the world is basically a wreck, magic is a wreck, and everyone has been taken “Under the Mountain” because she’s an idiot who didn’t break the curse in time, and all she had needed to do was tell Tamlin that she loved him. So she decides to go Under the Mountain to prove to Amarantha, the evilness within, that she does in fact love him.

Amarantha welcomes her to her court and makes a bargain with Feyre… if Feyre can answer a riddle, she will instantaneously release everyone (or something like that), and she can answer the riddle at ANY TIME. Otherwise Feyre will be put through 3 challenges of Amarantha’s devising. One each month. Again, long story short, Feyre defeats the 3 challenges (with a bit of help from Rhysand… okay, a LOT of help from Rhys), but Amarantha is displeased and says ha-ha-i-didn’t-say-i-would-release-everyone-instantly-via-the-challenges. Then Feyre, in her desperation, realizes the answer to the riddle. And Amarantha kills her. And Rhys lunges for Amarantha. And Tamlin kills Amarantha. And then all the High Lords give a ‘tear’ like thing of themselves to bring Feyre back to life. Feyre becomes Fae. She says farewell to Under the Mountain; Rhys and Feyre have an interesting departure from each other, and Tamlin and Feyre head to the Spring Court very happy to be together and alive.

Seriously, I am horrible at short summaries for long books.

What I really enjoyed about ACOTAR was the world building and all of the adventure (good and bad) that Feyre has in Prythian. Honestly, before she heads over the wall, things are pretty grim. And as I mentioned, her family is really frustrating. Life in the Spring Court may be life-threatening, but it is also enchanting. I loved Sarah’s departure from the B&tB storyline wherein she has Feyre (Belle) NOT fall head over heels at the library… because she can’t read. And also the further departure with all the fae rituals, and ultimately the horrors of Under the Mountain. Feyre has to fight so hard against the temptation to give up and leave Prythian doomed to Amarantha’s control.

What I enjoyed about the re-read of this was the little bits and pieces of Rhysand that we do get to see. I remember liking him from the start, and feeling like we (the readers) could see through his facade. When he shows up in ACOTAR, you just know something is going to happen between them because of their immediate attraction, but at the time you are so distracted by the Tamlin-ness, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Especially if you are in it for the Beauty and the Beast aspect and want nothing more than the Beast to get his Belle.

I am not generally a fan of Tam’s, but I love this book and their relationship within it. Tamlin, to me, is everything that Feyre needed to become strong but also to be cared for… something which was seriously lacking in her family life. And she, in her way, was also everything he needed. Not only because of the curse of the lands, but because he needed someone to love and to be loved by. So that’s all I can say about Feyre and Tamlin until the next book.

So my question for you, as many people criticize ACOTAR for being a bit slow. What was the moment for you that you knew this book was for you? Was it late in the game when they reached Under the Mountain? Or much sooner?

For me, it was when Lucien and Feyre first crossed paths with the bogghe. The description left me haunted and immersed, and from then on, there was no turning back. Up until then though, I remember thinking… this is good, but I don’t know what all the fuss is about, and I don’t understand when something will happen or where this is going. The bogghe changed everything for me because I finally crossed into wanting to know more about Prythian and the courts and all of the dangers and faeries about.

Let me know if you had a moment, or if it didn’t happen for you until ACOMAF!

Until next week. (So few days to go… sleep well all!)

TS

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