Published in 2015, 416pp, Bloomsbury
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book. I loved this book. It’s been many years since I last finished a Young Adult series but since discovering Booktube, I’ve been persuaded to pick some up. Boy, was that the best idea I’ve had in a while! A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas came highly recommended so I bit the bullet and ordered it; I’d been in a bit of a reading slump whilst attempting to slog through the rest of Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd and I’m so glad I bought it. This book reignited my passion for storytelling all over again and gave me the kick I so desperately needed (even though my bank balance objected) to get back on the reading wagon.
I’m not sure what it is about YA fantasy that I find so compelling, but it is so addictive. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel but I felt conflicted after the first few pages… I was so eager to read on that I was reluctant to ever put it down, but conversely, I didn’t want it to end. It is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with hints of Tamlin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon and hints of Persephone retelling at the end whilst also reading as a completely new story. I adore fairytales and folklore so naturally this was a good fit for me. It follows Feyre, a teenage huntress who’s family has fallen from grace and is forced to go into the dark, dangerous woods to scavenge food for her sisters and father. One day, a wolf interrupts her mid-hunt and threatens to scare the deer she had been hunting. Forced to face starvation or the possibility of killing a magical being from across the border, Feyre chooses life, and kills the wolf before it frighten the deer. A decision that returns to haunt her. Days later, a terrifying beast breaks into her house and demands retribution for the death of his friend. A friend Feyre had murdered in the woods whilst he was in the shape of a wolf. Her family too weak to fight back, Feyre is taken across the wall to the beast’s homeland as payment, just as the treaty signed by humans and Fae at the end of their war decreed. Once across the border and living in the magical Spring Court, Feyre realises that not all Fae are the monsters she had been warned against and taught to fear. Needless to say, there are many obstacles Feyre has to overcome as she learns to live in this world but I daren’t tell you anymore for fear of ruining the plot.
ACOTAR could easily be a stand alone novel, but I am ever thankful it is the start of what promises to be a fast paced, action packed, magical trilogy. It is a testament to Maas’ writing that although the story ends without a cliffhanger, its readers are still desperate for the next installment. She subtly introduces new characters and offers glimpses into the different Fae Courts whilst hinting at their part in a larger story. The characters have great depth and are very well developed, even the darker characters have layers that leave you unsure how to regard them. It is everything a good book should be; a perfect form of escapism. The world melted away while I was reading this and I suffered the pangs of a ‘book hangover’ once I had finished it. I gasped, I shouted, I regularly put the book down and silently said ‘Oh my god!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’. It got me out of my reading slump. I devoured it. I had forgotten how enjoyable YA is and I cannot recommend this book enough. I already want to re-read it.
You can buy it here.