I was intrigued by this set of Fantasy trilogy by Sarah J Maas when a fellow member at my book club brought it for a review. I fell in love with the cover and immediately ordered the first one but it took me a year to finally read it as I had a massive TBR piled up by my bedside.
Title: A Court of Thorns & Roses
Genre: Fantasy fiction
Author: Sarah J Maas
I have been seeing quite a few posts about Sarah J Maas’s books as they have been garnering favours with a lot of my reading friends and family. Sarah is an American writer who wrote her first book draft at 16 years of age. She is now one of the most popular authors in this genre in New York.
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Humans and fairies are at war and the former hate the latter with a vengeance. Years ago the land was divided into two realms – a huge one for the fairy folks and a tiny one for the humans. The magical land called Prythian was cordoned off by an invisible wall to prevent any accidental straying by either sides into either lands.
Feyre is a 19-year-old human girl living in abject poverty in a village on the fringes of the wall. Her family was once rich and after the financial downfall, her father became an invalid while her two older sisters never forgot that they had been rich. It fell on Feyre’s shoulders to cook, clean, and hunt to make sure she and her family survives.
One bitter cold winter day, Feyre is out hunting when she chances upon a wolf that she thinks might be a fairy in disguise. She manages to shoot him down, skin off his pelt which she then trades in the market for a fair price.
Thats when the horror hits home, literally. A huge beast bursts into their house the next time demanding a life for a life according to the treaty between the Humans and fairy folks. He threatened to kill them all if Feyre didnt comply.
Being of practical mind, she agrees to go with him, all the while searching for a plot in her head to escape from him.
Once at the beasts estate, she learns about a blight that’s struck disaster at the Magic folk and all sorts of foul creatures waking up in the realm. The magical world was fighting a war on its own from within. The beast was actually the high lord of the Spring Court – Tamlin.
Plot thickens when an evil Black queen Amarantha appears on the scene who apparently desires our hero and kidnaps him.
Feyre now has to complete three impossible tasks or solve a riddle set by the Black queen to win back everything good. She is aided by an anti-hero who has his own motives.
So what happens next- does she complete the three tasks or solve the one riddle? Does she take the hero home or is she now rooting for the anti-hero? Is all righted in the end?
Impressions on me:
I am going to say it outright, right here – I am disappointed!!! I had been really looking forward to this series and am heart-broken. Let me vent out my angst here.
First of all the characters like Feyre who is supposedly a 19-year-old but going by her thought process she is a dithering idiot. I have no clue how she could have been the saviour of her family, when she can’t even think or articulate clearly.
I had deja vu as I started reading the first few chapters. Hunger games came to my mind along with Cinderella and then the beauty and the beast took over the tale. Yup there are a few concepts borrowed and rehashed here to formulate the plot lines for this one.
To be honest, the first 100 pages were dull and I kept wondering if it will get any better. The only thing that kept me going is that the writing quality is good. The writer has a firm grip on the language even if the plot is sketchy and thin.
The sex scenes are quite detailed and reminded me of a racy M&B read. Actually this was the best part of the book as I loved Rhysand – the anti-hero who though was villainous, had some gumption unlike the other male characters in the book.
Her family is sketched out to be vain, pathetic, selfish, and helpless in the first half when they are poor. Then all becomes okay when they become rich again.
The development of a relationship between Tamlin and Freyre is so poorly done- its like the author can’t make up her mind as to will they or will they not. Too much teeth gritting over this and quite unnecessary.
The concept of seven courts is interesting though the politics seemed to be borrowed from Game of thrones. The evil queen is truly evil as can be and a master at draining out magical powers. Her rise to power story is pretty clichéd and doesn’t convince the reader at all.
The biggest baloney in the book is the spell she cast on Tamlin – it is the most unimaginative and stupid spell I have ever come across. And yes it breaks when his true love, loves him back. Biggest sham on Beauty and the beast I could have ever imagined.
With the tasks, the Hunger games take over and it gets pretty predictable. The ending had a wrench thrown in when it seems that the anti-hero might have captured our heroines heart, though she does walk off into the sunset with the hero.
I wish the plot line was tighter and well-edited. The characters too were more fairy tale than fantasy and didn’t feel real. The writer alternates between fairy tale settings and fantasy fiction, moreover borrowed from already existing tales; which I found very annoying. I was expecting a lot more from SJM and am pretty disappointed to say the least.
Needless to say, my rating is not very complimentary. I won’t be picking up the next in line in this trilogy nor investing in another Sarah J Maas book – her writing didn’t find flavour with me at all. My rating is 3/5 stars.
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