“‘Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.'” ~Rhysand, A Court of Thorns and Roses
The synopsis of this book does not serve it justice, especially when it is repeatedly compared to “Beauty and the Beast.” Although I did find some resemblances in the beginning of the novel, I feel the need to emphasize A Court of Thorns and Roses is very, very loosely based on “Beauty and the Beast.” Sarah J. Maas transforms the story into her own by creating a ruthless world of faerie rulers and their horrifying disregard of the human race that is simultaneously repulsive and compelling. Nineteen-year-old Feyre is a starving huntress and the only source of survival for her meager family. She does not expect to be taken hostage after killing a wolf in the woods one night, and certainly not be the dangerous and deadly Tamlin, High Fae of the Spring Court. However, Feyre soon learns that many who seem evil may be inherently good in a complex new life of magic and mistrust.
Sarah J. Maas spins this tale in the most captivating manner as there is never a dull moment in the story, although the plotline could get predictable at times. The ending is absolutely stunning and superb with the right amount of suspense to encourager readers to pick up the book’s sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury. I also really enjoyed the characters in this novel. There isn’t a single character that I didn’t have an opinion about, positive or negative, since all the characters managed to hold a noticeable role in and impact the story. Since the characters in A Court of Thorns and Roses are so crucial, I’ll be discussing them in-depth (warning: may contain minor spoilers):
Feyre: You may have noticed that many of the characters in A Court of Thorns and Roses are given unique names that add to the overall intrigue of the novel. The correct pronunciation of these names can be found in the back of the novel, which I wish I knew before beginning to read this! Feyre is an amazing protagonist and a strong female character, and her loyalty to her loved ones is admirable. Even at the expense of her own life, Feyre honors her vow to her dying mother and endlessly protects and provides for her father and sisters who take her for granted. Later, when Feyre finally gets the change to be free from the kingdom of Prythian and live happily with her family, she returns to face Amarantha and fight for the freedom of Tamlin and all her other fae friends. Feyre is undoubtedly promising, and I can’t wait to see what she will be capable of in A Court of Mist and Fury.
Tamlin: Tamlin’s kindness is visible from his first appearance to the last page, which is my problem with him. I really liked Tamlin, but he felt distant and his characterization was flat. He is Feyre’s protector from start to finish, and it bothered me that the second-most important character in this book manages to be so one-dimensional. He is also the least thrilling character in the novel for me because his actions and intentions could be easily predicted. Despite Tamlin’s charm, I just don’t see much potential for him in A Court of Mist and Fury.
Lucien: Lucien is one of my two favorite characters in the novel. I loved the unexpected friendship that forms between him and Feyre, and his somewhat fraternal attachment to her is touching. I feel like Lucien almost fills a void in Feyre’s life as the caring sibling she lacks (and Alis, a mother figure). His sassy attitude is entertaining, and the snappy, awkward conversations between him, Feyre, and Tamlin at the dinner table were laugh-out-loud hilarious. Even though they tease each other endlessly, I felt comforted by the fact that Lucien will always be there for Feyre and vice versa. I hope to see more of him in A Court of Mist and Fury!
Feyre’s family: I pitied Feyre’s family for their helplessness and could not dislike them despite their selfishness and lack of compassion towards Feyre and each other. Elain’s sweet, innocent demeanor made it impossible for me (and Feyre) to dislike her, and although Nesta puts up a front of cold indifference, she is arguably the one who loves her sisters the most. Feyre’s father, on the other hand, is so weak that he is despicable, forcing his youngest daughter into the wilderness in his own stubborn refusal to rebuild himself; but, in the end, he is just a man broken and beat by life. I’m expecting that Maas will give readers some indication that Feyre’s family is okay in A Court of Mist and Fury, and perhaps include Nesta in a few extra scenes. I can see her as Feyre’s sidekick, for Nesta is definitely a fighter (although a dainty one indeed).
Amarantha: Amarantha is vile. She is the only character in the novel that is completely, utterly heartless, and I wonder about the horrors she went through that turned her into a monster. I also wonder whether or not she’ll be replaced in A Court of Mist and Fury.
Rhysand: Rhysand is my other favorite character in this novel. I knew from the moment he was introduced on the night of the Great Rite that Rhysand would reappear with utmost importance later in the novel. Boy, was I right. Rhysand’s unwavering commitment to save Feyre and his people is inspiring, and I feel as though this bold, brave, and noble dedication isn’t displayed by either Tamlin or Lucien. Sure, Rhysand torments Feyre, but in the end he respects her enough to throw himself at Amarantha repeatedly in an effort to save her. The softness that Rhysand hides within his leers and mask of cruelty took me by surprise. I have a feeling Rhysand will hold an even stronger role in A Court of Mist and Fury, and I’m excited to uncover more of the secrets the High Lord of the Night Court hides (as well as what he saw that caused him to stumble!).
Overall, A Court of Thorns and Roses is beautiful and well-written, and is also a prime example of the reasons why fantasy has become of my new favorite genres in young adult literature. I’m excited to read A Court of Mist and Fury and follow Feyre’s journey into the depths of fae realms!