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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

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

ACOTAR often read like a romance novel featuring fairies; I listened to this as an audiobook and admit that at times I shrieked when I heard some of the elements I found implausible.

In A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first of five books in Maas's series of the same name, young Feyre (in the audiobook this is pronounced very emphatically as "FAY-ruh") and her spotty success with hunting is the only thing standing between her (largely insufferable) family's cold, strained survival and their starvation. When she kills a wolf that turns out to be a magical creature, powerful faeries demand retribution. Feyre is drawn into a dangerous, glorious faery world of wicked beasts and complicated alliances to live out her days as payback for her destruction.

The book is so romaaaantic and dramaaatic, it often felt like a romance novel with fairies added in. There's a significant amount of page time spent on Feyre's thinking and wondering and imagining, and I felt impatient about getting to some action. The will-they/won't-they tension between the sometimes-beast who's taken her and Feyre herself was pretty obviously pointing toward "they will." (Side note: his claws come out without his meaning them to when he's passionate about something--insert the sounds of my delighted and horrified screams here.)

Some issues I had with ACOTAR (this book is so popular, this acronym is widely used in place of its title) which made me literally shriek at times: eroticism added into what felt like odd moments; characters' often-juvenile reactions to situations; and Fay-ruh's inability to set straight her obnoxious and ungrateful family (this feels like a weakness, not an indication of her martyrdom, as it seems to have possibly been intended). Feyre seems slow to catch on to nuances that were evident to me as a reader; and Maas's frequently used "I didn't feel up to painting" indicator of Feyre's emotional distress didn't resonate with me.

The implausible elements of the story that stopped me in my tracks included: the (unknown-to-Feyre) curse completely fashioned to Feyre's situation, and then others' (and her own) insane blame that she didn’t somehow intuit that she could save an entire kingdom in the nonsensical way specified after the fact; the absurdity that a ruler who was centuries old would within a short time give up everything for someone he had just met--most importantly, a character who has shown herself to be an immature human, however charmingly spirited she might seem; and the terrifying, horrifying, monsterlike creature named...the puca (pronounced in this adorable and not-at-all-threatening way: "pooka").

The tail end of the book picked up considerably in action and intrigue (and earned the book an additional half-star rating for me). I've been told that the series strengthens over time, so I plan to take a breather and then read the next in the series, A Court of Mist and Fury.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I resisted reading this young adult fantasy for a long while. I liked the brave young female protagonist in Maas's book Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), but I had issues with the artificial-feeling prolongation of the sharing of essential information, and some important cause and effect in that book didn't line up for me.

I listed this book in the Greedy Reading List Three Books I'm Reading Now, 4/20/21 Edition.

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