World building: 9/10
Writing style: 9/10
Character building: 8/10
My Opinionated Review
A Court of Thrones and Roses is a wonderful and captivating Beauty and the Beast retelling, with a rich Fae world building, great characterisations, and plots and twists that are impossible to see coming. It is the second Maas’s series, and the complexity and richness of the Fae world have improved immensely compared to Throne of Glass.
I avoided reading this book for months, having been too exhausted and annoyed with the Throne of Glass series. After finally starting it, I saw the similarities with the first series, recognised the themes that I usually do not particularly like, acknowledged the beastly behaviour of the love interest, and the over-the-top love story. And yet, this book broke all my prejudices and bend all my rules, and made me enjoy every single moment of the story.
The book starts with the main character Fayre killing a wolf, who is actually a Fae in an animal form. Having been starving for the most part of her life, she is a huntress who provides food for her family, and is filled with hate and resentment towards her father and older sisters for not taking care of her, and especially for the Fae race, who terrorises the mortal lands and leaves humans vulnerable and suffering. But one day, a wild Fae beast appears demanding justice for the killed Fae, and takes Fayre to Prythian, the lands of the Fae, to live the rest of her life among the immortal beings that Fayre hates. Of course, she finds that nothing is as it seems, and Tamlin, the Fae lord who has taken Fayre, is much kinder than she has thought a Fae could be. Moreover, there are many secrets surrounding the place that she lives at now, and many existing threats and twists in the storyline takes the heroine on a wild and life-changing journey, and provides the reader with an incredible romance.
I usually do not find Fantasy books with so much focus on romance to be that captivating. Somehow everything worked in this one. I was enthralled in the shift from hate to love between Fayre and Tamlin, captivated by their wonderful relationship, and was rooting for the characters so much. Of course, being late to the party, I was aware of certain spoilers from the second highly praised book, especially with the love everyone seemed to possess for a character Rhysand. And while reading ACOTAR, I just did not understand how my opinion could change about a cruel character Rhysand, or the very lovable beast Tamlin. Tamlin and Fayre’s relationship was thrilling and primal, and most of all, it was about two wounded souls finding ability to love. I adored every minute of the relationship, with every single moment surprising me about it. I am never a huge fan of such romance-focused fantasy, especially the instant kind, and Maas somehow was able to break every rule I live by.
But the aspect that I enjoyed the most was the rich world building. Compared to Throne of Glass, ACOTAR has such a rich and captivating Fae world build-up, with so many details and different traditions, that I was constantly impressed with Maas’s skills. She definitely has tremendous talent in creating amazing characters and a plot that is able to shift at any minute.
Where the most part of the book was quite foreseen, the last third came as a total surprise. I started liking certain characters more, changing my opinion about others, and most of all, I respected the author for never being afraid to take things too far. So now, after finishing the book, I have trouble processing every single thing that happened during this wild ride, I cannot wait to read the second book, that is apparently even better that the first one, and most of all, I want to know why everyone is so obsessed with Rhysand and why nobody talks about Tamlin anymore. Rhys’s character definitely grew on me in the last bit of the book, but I am not sure what has to happen in order for me to change the opinion about who I am rooting for.
Overall, it is one of the best retellings of Beauty and the Beast. However, the story world is so much richer, that describing it merely as a retelling, does not do the book justice. I definitely saw all the flaws in the book, like over-the-top romance, unnecessary sexual scenes, silly reasoning, and stupidity, but I did not care, because somehow I loved every single moment of this incredible story.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? I eagerly await to hear your opinion.