I recently finished A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J Maas (I know, everyone and their mother has probably already read this book) and I absolutely loved it! It was such a gripping story and even when I wasn’t reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I fell in love with the characters and I’m now far too attached to them! The world was so incredible and every time I picked up this book it was like I was really being whisked away to Prythian. I loved how much detail Sarah went into with everything. The world building was on point, and the backstories to her characters were amazing and so clever – everything made sense in the end and wrapped up so nicely. The ending left me wanting more but also concluded the first story really well, so there were very, very few unanswered questions. I’m now going to discuss some of my thoughts and theories in more spoilery (yes I just made up a word) detail, so if you haven’t read ACOTAR, then please do so before reading on. I can’t recommend this book enough. Prepare for some serious fangirling below.
So the first things I want to discuss are the Beauty and the Beast parallels within ACOTAR. I knew it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling before I began, and I loved seeing how this well-known story was incorporated within this brand new world. I think it was done so cleverly. The plot was definitely very similar to begin with – Feyre is forced to leave her family home to live with Tamlin (the beast), Tamlin’s powers mean he has a beast form, and the whole deal with the curse. However I loved that Sarah put her own twist on things. For example, Belle loves reading and is obsessed with books, but Feyre is illiterate. I thought this was a really fun alteration and I loved how the art gallery was Feyre’s equivalent to Belle’s library. All in all, I loved how Sarah managed to take the story of Beauty and the Beast and put it in her own world. She really made the story her own, and even though I knew the story of Beauty and the Beast, I was still shocked and surprised at several points throughout ACOTAR.
I also found the faery politics so interesting. We have seven courts, each with a high lord who rules over that court and has special powers. There are high fae, and then there are lower fae. It was so interesting to see how the faeries were ranked and to get a small glimpse at some of the tensions between courts. I loved finding out about Lucien’s back story in the autumn court and how the summer court had rebelled against Amarantha. We also learn a bit about Hybern (ruled over by a king) and the tensions between Hybern and Prythian which have been growing for centuries. I feel like this is definitely going to come into play later on in the trilogy.
One of my favourite parts of the book was Feyre’s third task. When Feyre is brought into the throne room that final time, she is faced with 3 faeries (their faces covered to begin with), each with an ash wood dagger. She has to stab all 3 innocent faeries with the daggers in order to complete the deal. Whilst this scene was quite horrifying to read, I loved how it was done. I feel like in most books, the main character always finds a way to get out of situations like this. There’s always some sort of loophole so that they don’t have to break their morals by killing an innocent person. I was really shocked when Feyre actually killed those first two faeries. I thought this was very brave of her character and I loved that Sarah wasn’t afraid to do this. She didn’t whimp out and offer her main character a get out of jail free card. She did what she had to do and I really appreciated this as it was one of the things that really set this book above the rest for me. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this whole scene, and I was convinced that one of the faeries was going to be Alis somehow. I was so relieved when the only female was revealed, and it wasn’t her. And then of course, the final faery was revealed to be Tamlin and I was so shocked I actually shouted at my book. I think Feyre was so clever for figuring out all the subtle little clues she’d overheard throughout the book and piecing them together in a theory and just going with it. It was crazy.
At the beginning of the story, we see Feyre’s family – and I hated them. Her sister’s were the biggest spoiled brats imaginable and it was infuriating to read about them. They had no appreciation for all that Feyre had done and sacrificed, just to keep them alive. They just complained the whole time and fought over what little money Feyre managed to earn, even though it was clear that Feyre was most in need. I did like how we got to revisit them and found out that Nesta had tried to go after Feyre, This redeemed her character a little for me, but I still don’t particularly like her. She was incredibly stubborn and even if she did love Feyre deep down and would be willing to go after her, I still can’t excuse her actions in the beginning.
I really liked reading from Feyre’s perspective and felt she was a great main character. I loved how strong she was and how much she was willing to do to stick to the promise she made to her mother, to look after her family, even though she received little gratitude in return. I also loved her determination and how she was willing to die in order to try and save Tamlin. She was incredibly brave. I loved how clever she was and the way she was always plotting her escape – she was always trying to think one step ahead. Occasionally she did annoy me when Tamlin and Lucien would tell her not to do something or to stay in her room (for good reasons) and she would just ignore them, putting herself in danger. But all in all, I think she was a great main character, and I did really like her.
I loved Tamlin so much! I loved how he cared so much for Feyre. His attempts at flirting with her in the beginning were so awkward that they were absolutely adorable, and I found it hilarious when Feyre just completely shut him down. It was so cute how he took her on little dates to the glen and that lake made of starlight. I loved how he was so protective over her and did everything he could to keep her safe in Prythian. He was also clever enough to allow her to overhear the things that she needed to overhear, and I loved that he trusted her to figure them out when the time came. I also loved how he made sure her family were taken care of and regained their wealth. In the beginning, I realise that some of his actions were a little bit problematic. He did forcibly remove Feyre from her family, all because of the curse. He only took her to Prythian to begin with because of that curse, not because he cared for her. He had reasons for his actions and a motive behind trying to get Feyre to love him. But I still can’t help but love his character.
Lucien was one of my favourite characters. I loved him so much. I loved his banter with Feyre and the sarcastic comments they shared. He definitely had the best lines of dialogue in the book and some of the things he said made me laugh aloud whilst I was reading. I loved his reactions when Feyre and Tamlin were flirting at the dinner table, I thought he was hilarious. Although it did take time for him to warm to Feyre, I loved how their friendship developed in the end, and how much Feyre grew to care for him. She gave away her name to Amarantha to save his life, and Lucien risked so much in order to help her during the tasks. His back story was so tragic it breaks my heart, and I really hope he finds happiness in the next books.
Rhysand was such a fascinating character, and one of my favourite kind to read about. I love characters which have a bit of a dark side to them, and you’re not really sure whose side their on – which is exactly what I felt Rhysand was like. Some of his actions were beyond creepy. Like how he embarrassed Feyre by sharing all of her ‘more intimate’ thoughts in front of Tamlin, and how he forced Feyre to sell herself to him for one week of every month for the rest of her life, in exchange for healing her arm. It creeped me out how he would have her body painted so he would know if someone else had touched her (this was kind of justified in the end – so Tamlin would know he only ever touched her waist and arms – but it’s still super creepy to me!) and the way he would drug her so she didn’t remember what she’d done during the night. It just didn’t sit right with me at all. But then he would do good things, like saving her life (and Lucien’s) during the second task, and how he turned on Amarantha at the end and helped her to be defeated. I’m not convinced even Rhysand knows whose side he was on. His backstory of how he ended up as Amarantha’s whore was so interesting and it really made me sympathize with him. I’m so conflicted with my feelings towards him. He’s such an intricate character and there is so much we don’t yet know about him. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about him in the next book.
Finally, Amarantha was such an interesting villain. She was cold-hearted, merciless and brutal. I loved finding out about her backstory, with her sister Crythia and her human lover, Jurian, who had betrayed them during the war. It really made her seem real to me, and I could understand her motives so well. Her actions were terrible, of course, but her motives were so understandable, it was quite scary. It was so creepy how she wore the necklace made out of Jurian’s finger bone, and the ring made form his eye, trapping a part of his soul in there so she could continue making him suffer. It was horrifying and really made her seem so much more bloodthirsty and terrifying. She was such a well-developed villain, Sarah did such a good job with her.
So, I have a few theories about what is going to happen in the next books. These are just some of my thoughts and opinions, I have no idea if I’m on the right tracks or completely wrong, but I’m really excited to find out!
- I think that the King of Hybern (who is Amarantha’s father, if I’m remembering correctly) will be mad at Tamlin and the other High lords and faeries of Prythian for killing his daughter, and this is going to spark some sort of conflict between Prythian and Hybern
- There’s going to be a war between Prythian and Hybern, and the mortal realm are going to be involved some how as well. I feel like this won’t happen until the third and final book, and if it does, it’s going to be very bloody and I feel like quite a few characters that I love are going to die.
- Feyre is going to be permanently affected by being made to kill those innocent faeries in the third task. I think she’s going to feel incredibly guilty and it will take a long time and a lot of help for her to come to terms with it. I feel like she might try to shut Tamlin out and deal with it all on her own – which is a bad idea.
- I think that at the end of ACOTAR, when Rhysand was saying goodbye to Feyre and suddenly he looked really shocked, he realised that she was his mate (as it described in the beginning that some fae find their ‘mate’ and a sort of bond is formed between them). I don’t know how I feel about this. I really like Rhysand’s character as he’s very interesting, but I don’t want him to end up with Feyre. I think that Tamlin is much better for her. And I really hope that there isn’t some sort of love triangle. I feel like Feyre will be spending a lot of time with Rhysand in the night court in book 2… It will be really interesting if Sarah can pull this off though, because I don’t think I’ve read many books where the main character has more than one real love – but that’s more like real life, isn’t it? And if she can get me to ship Feyre and Rhysand when right now, I am a hardcore Feyre and Tamlin shipper, I will be very impressed!
Overall, this was probably my favourite book I’ve read so far this year, and it’s possibly a new all time favourite as well. I’m so glad I finally picked it up! The characters were amazing, the world building was fantastic and the plot was so clever. I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you love high fantasy or Beauty and the Beast! I can’t wait to continue on with this series.
If you’ve read ACOTAR then I’d love to know what you thought in the comments below. (Please no spoilers for ACOMAF!!) Thank you so much for reading my review!
Chloe 🙂 x