Friday, April 24, 2015

ARC Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Expected Publication: May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
*An ARC was provided by Penguin Random House & Bloomsbury Children's Books in exchange for an honest review.*

A Court of Thorns and Roses is, as I'm sure you've all heard, the first book in a new series by one of my all-time favorite authors, Sarah J. Maas.  Needless to say, I needed to get this book in my life, as soon as possible, and while my hopes were pretty much sky high, this book managed to sink it's teeth *ahem* ;) into my very soul and hold on for dear life.  Any moment that I wasn't reading this book was torture and I found myself dreaming about it at work, in the car, before falling asleep at night and pretty much everywhere in between.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is something of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but rest assured, it's wholly original in it's own right.  Only the broader details of the classic tale remain, and the rest is a glorious mixture of survival,  a swoon-worthy and deliciously slow-burn romance, the Fae and the discovery of an amazing new fantasy world.  I was quickly swept away into the magical and terrifying wilderness that is the Fae realm and desperate to know every inch of it.  There's an expansive estate, an enchanted (and haunted) forests, a starlight pool *swoon* and rainbow waterfalls. ♥  There are wickedly vile creatures lurking about, waiting to prey on the innocent, but most the most unnerving of all might just be the variety of Fae courts - like Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Night, Dawn, etc. - with their immortal powers and thirst for human blood. Except...except Tamlin, 'the beast' and Feyre's captor - the ruler of the Spring Court.  He seems different, and though he's terrible to behold in beast form, he doesn't quite seem to share his people's hatred for humans...

Let's start things of with Feyre, our main character.  Feyre is definitely a one of a kind heroine.  She has a quiet resolve about her and her incredible inner strength won me over from the word go. She's a huntress, but she doesn't enjoy killing - she just does so to survive.  She takes care of her family even though they seem unappreciative at best, and downright ungrateful at worst.  Through it all, Feyre is selfless and makes sure everyone one is fed, clothed and does her best to keep the peace.  She isn't as 'in your face' as some other heroines I've come across, but she left her mark in my heart all the same.  I admired her devotion to her family, as well as her willingness to do whatever it takes to survive.  Her honesty and snarkiness on through it all didn't hurt either ;)

Moving on to Tamlin. Sigh...  Tamlin is... dangerous, tortured, powerful and beyond enigmatic.  I enjoyed his awkwardness around Feyre at first, but what develops through the course of the book was better than anything I could have imagined.  Tamlin is fiercely protective of his friends and his Court but he also has a lot of secrets, a complicated past and a whole mess of family issues.  He was a mystery that I couldn't wait to unravel and with every layer we discovered through the story, came new reasons to feel for him, to swoon over him and to love him.

The romance between Feyre and Tamlin is luxuriously slow-burn. Maas really takes her time with them, allowing them to get to know each other, despite their prejudices against one another and their personal issues.  There is a mutual respect for one another that develops first, followed by an appreciated and admiration for each other.  When things finally cross over to attraction and affection, it's deliciously drawn out and hopelessly addictive.  For someone like me, who rarely picks up a book for the ships alone, I was head over heels on board with this one!  Despite the fantasy setting and the action/adventure which are central to the story, A Court of Thorns and Roses is, at it's core, a romance. And it's a phenomenal one at that. Words seriously can not express my glee over how Feyre and Tamlin won me over :D

Inevitably though, it's hard not to compare A Court of Thorns and Roses to SJM's other epic series: Throne of Glass though, and while some readers will no doubt prefer this steamy, dark fairytale retelling, I still prefer Celaena's fiercely epic, kick-ass escapades.  Considering the fact I tend to read for the world-building, adventures and characters instead of the romance, that fact shouldn't be surprising though. That being said, ACOTAR definitely stands on it's own as an addictive and deliciously atmospheric romantic adventure.  I can not wait to continue on with Feyre and Tamlin's story - especially considering that ending. Gah! Knowing Miss Maas, the sequels will no doubt be even more impressive than this one already was.  Bottom line: A Court of Thorns and Roses is beyond promising as a debut to yet another innovative and addictive series for Sarah J. Maas. This woman is a goddess and I will forever read every single book she comes up with.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 

39 comments:

  1. You owe me a keyboard, your review made me drool :p ;)
    I absolutely love her Throne of glass series, I need to read this !!!

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    1. hahahaha that made me LOL ;D
      Ditto on her ToG series, I hope you love this one as much as I did^^

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  2. I'm so excited to read this book. It'll be my first Sarah J. Maas book but I'm all about retellings so I'm sure it's going to be good. I'm glad you enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading it once my preorder gets to me! :D

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    1. Well I hope you'll love your very first SJM experience and that it encourages you to get into her Throne of Glass series. Because you need to! I look forward to reading your thoughts on this one once you get your hands on it^^

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  3. I was already sold, but you just sold me even more. So glad you enjoyed this one. I'm dying to read it. Great review. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. I also just read Cruel Beauty. I was a little disappointed with it. I loved it, but then, everything just happened so fast. I wasn't sure what to think. I get why you're conflicted about it.

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    1. Awesome, I love reading that Danica^^ :D Thank you ♥ I hope you love it just as much when you read it!

      Well, it sounds like you had quite a bit more luck with CB then I did but I'm glad to see that you know where I'm coming from :)

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  4. Wow - your review defo. has me excited for this one! I already have pre-ordered it so I'm waiting for my copy to arrive soon, I hope it's better than Throne of Glass.. I do love fairytale retellings and Beauty & The beast is one of my favorites one. Wonderful review overall <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. Well, as I mentioned in my review^^ I still prefer her Throne of Glass series, but this was an impressive debut to a wholly new series ;) I hope you end up enjoying this as much as I did Benish!

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  5. Oh I'm excited now. I have too much on my plate this spring already with regards to books so I probably won't be able to read this right away when it comes out, but I sure hope my library will get the audio copy so I can listen to it at some point! I've "read" all of Maas' books that way and I think her style makes for books that are great listens :)

    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. I need to get into more audio books, and since a ToG and ACOTAR reread is definitely in my future, I should try re''reading'' them in audio :) Whenever you do get a chance to get into this one, I hope you love it!

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  6. Amazing review!!! :) I absolutely loved this book and I can't wait for the next book in the series. Maas is one of my all time favourite authors, she hasn't disappointed me yet. I get to meet her in May and I am very excited.... I have to try not to fangirl too much!!!!!!!! :)

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    1. Thanks Charnell! :) I know what you mean, I'm already desperate for the next installment. That's great that you get to meet Maas soon, I met her last year and it reduced me to a delirious fangirly mess LOL!

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  7. I have to admit that I love this series. Her Fae world is beyond amazing, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for the rest of the series, because after that ending, there is no way she can stop now!

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    1. I know what you mean Lyn, 2 more books hardly seems like enough. I could explore this world for ever!!

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  8. Oh man, I can't wait to get my hands on this! I feel like just about everyone has read it except me, even though it hasn't even been released yet, lol. EVERYTHING about it sounds amazing, as if we'd expect anything less from SJM. I have some Amazon points saved up, so I guess I know what I'm going to spend them on now, hehe. Awesome review, Micheline! :D

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    1. Oooh, you're not, I know a ton of people still eagerly awaiting this release^^ And you're right, SJM can do NO WRONG. Seriously though, not just one, but TWO epic series' now *mind explodes from awesomeness* hahaha good plan, I hope you love this as much as I did :D Thank you ♥

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  9. This was definitely a unique book, but there were times when I mentally screamed, "This is so Beauty and the Beast!" and I loved those little tidbits that were similar to the original story. :)

    I adored how Fayre did everything she could to provide for her family. And Tamlin's just... INDESCRIBABLY HOT AND AMAZING. <3

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    1. OMG yes, the B&B influences were there, and they were glorious but I couldn't get over how much this book managed to surprise me all the same :D Feyre was the BOSS and well, yeah, Tamlin was BEYOND swoon-worthy!!

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  10. This is such a good review! I think I'll probably end up feeling the same way you did, since I'm definitely all about the world-building and the characters too, but it's great to know you enjoyed this one too, even if it wasn't as kick-ass and epic as Throne of Glass (because really, how could it have been?!)

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    1. Aww, thanks so much Faith^^ It's not that the world-building wasn't stellar in ACOTAR, it's just that there's SO.MUCH.MORE to discover in ToG, and Celaena is in a class all by herself. ToG to me feels like an epic YA fantasy whereas ACOTAR had a less action and more romance. You're right though, I don't think anything could top ToG but the fact that this was so good despite that says a lot about Maas' mad skills ;)

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  11. I only read Throne of Glass and wasn't really a fan, but am looking forward to my opinion of Maas being redeemed by this one. Everyone seems to love it, including you :) So, I'm looking forward to meeting the characters and entering this new fantasy world.

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    1. I'm sorry you didn't hit it off with ToG - a lot of people felt like you did until they read Crown of Midnight and/or The Assassin's Blade, which tends to win people over in a big way! Hopefully, if you enjoy this one^^ you might give the ToG books another chance ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Yeeaaahh!! This is SO exciting!! I'll admit that I've never considered myself a fan of faeries before, preferring other paranormal beings. But Sarah is making me a fan of them, for sure! I'm pretty sure I'll feel the same as you in loving this one, but preferring ToG due to its epic heroine and world building. BUT I also know you're right in expecting this series to get better and better with each book ala ToG. A goddess, indeed. Fantastic review, Micheline!

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    1. It's funny how so many people have a dislike or simply don't care for faeries. I know there are some pretty bad faerie books out there but this isn't one of them^^ Yeah, I mean, if I'd never read the ToG books, this would have easily gotten 5-stars from me, but you can't help but compare it to Maas' first series and since ToG had gotten 4.5-stars from me, I didn't feel right rating ACOTAR higher. I'm sure the next books will blow it out of the water though XD Thanks hun! xx

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  13. You might strike me with the lash but I have to admit I have only read the first Throne of Glass book. I do plan to read more, I already purchased all the other books on audio. I think this one will be more for me since you say it's steadier and I am in the mood for that lately. Oh hey do you want a copy of Midnight Crossroad or a few othe r books? I am spring cleaning my shelves!

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    1. I would NEVER strike you with a lash Tabitha D: BUT I WOULD encourage you intently one picking up the rest of the ToG books. I loved the first book in that series but it's the following books that turned me into an obsessed super-fan LOL! I'd say the ToG series is more intense action/epic fantasy and ACOTAR is more romance heavy with fantasy+action. I recommend both^^ Cleaning your shelves you say? I'm off to check it out :D

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  14. Oh my goodness, Micheline! Court of Thorns and Roses sounds fantastic! And I'm so glad it lived up to your extremely high expectations ;) Now, I need this book in my life as well...
    Have a wonderful Wednesday and happy reading!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. YES you do Lexxie! I know you read more adult fantasy romances than I do so I'd be REALLY curious to see how you'd make out with this one^^ Thanks hun xx

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  15. WOOOT WOOOTTTTT LOVED THE REVIEW MICHELINE!

    Feyre's devotion was absolutely beautiful. How I wish I could emulate her loyalty. The slow burn and the tension just absolutely killed me BUT in the best way possible. LOVED IT!

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    1. THANK YOU JESS :D

      Her devotion and sense of responsibility inspired me, especially with how thankless her efforts seemed to be at first. The slow burn romance was absolutely THE BEST, and I have a feeling the sequels will be even better!

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  16. I could have sworn I commented on this because hello, Sarah J Maas but my memory is probably failing me (again.) Anyways, I'm beyond excited for this one-no words. It's interesting but not entirely surprising this is more romance than action like Throne of Glass but by the sound of the couple I will be totally okay with that ;D

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    1. LOL now that you mention it^^, I thought you had too and that I'd replied. Maybe the internet ate it up. *glares* I can't wait to see how much you'll love this one because it isn't even a question of IF you'll love it, just HOW MUCH (hint: it'll be a LOT) I loved the romance AND the world and characters in this one, it's just pretty much impossible to surpass ToG in my mind. So many feels XD

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  17. I have this one waiting on my TBR for me. Now that I know you enjoyed it, I'm even more excited to read it :) Maybe that will encourage me to get to it faster. haha

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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    1. Awesome Michelle^^ glad to hear it! I hope it does encourage you to get to it faster, I'd love to compare notes/gush with you once you get to it :D

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  18. I am the last person in the world who hasn't read anything by Maas yet. I really need to change that, and I actually think I might start with this one. We shall see ...

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. LOL^^ Well I'd say you need to fix that as soon as possible Nicole ;) Hopefully this one wins you over, and then you can move on to Throne of Glass ♥

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  19. I love that you focused on the family issues Maas weaves into the story, because I found them really compelling, especially as there was a lot more depth to Feyre's family than just the "two ungrateful sisters" as she comes to understand them more later in the book. It added more depth to the common fairytale tropes and made me more invested in the characters. I am right there with you with this book absolutely absorbing my thoughts, even two days later! SJ Maas is the Queen <3

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    1. Especially since usually the MC's family is absent or dead in a lot of fantasy fiction^^ and yes, I really appreciated that Feyre's family was more than they seemed initially! Like you said, it adds so much more depth to the story. Oh man, we need book 2, BAD! *bows before SJM* Thanks for stopping by Cristina!! x

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  20. The world building was fantastic. Sarah is able to create such lush descriptions and imagery that you feel as if the world suddenly leaped up from the page and completely surrounded you. The plot is beyond engaging and you will want to keep turning the page until its over.

    Marlene
    Sprinkler Systems Olympia WA site info

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