Bookish Things

A Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses By Sarah J. Maas

WARNING: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD BECAUSE I CAN’T TALK ABOUT THIS ANY OTHER WAY AND ALSO I’M PRETTY SURE EVERYONE HAS READ THIS ALREADY

(Also, special thanks to Ava and her recent blogpost >8 Different Ways to Write a Book Review< because I was really struggling writing this review)

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about ACOTAR. When I finished reading, I ended up giving it a 4/5 stars, but even now, a couple weeks later, I’m still not sure. I don’t think I’ll change the rating, just because there were things I liked about it that outweigh some of the not so great stuff.

Let’s start off with what I actually liked!

icecream â€“ the writing: Beautiful, poetic, and detailed! The writing really saved this book for me. It literally felt like Sarah J. Maas was painting the images into my mind! It felt like I was actually there and that’s probably the best feeling when it comes to reading any book! Though I never really fell in love with any of the characters, I did fall in love with SJM’s writing, and because of that I’m definitely continuing on with this series!

– the world: Okay, so I’m kind of OBSESSED with Prythian! It’s so unique and different from anything I’ve ever read before! Let’s talk about the map first.

a) It’s BEAUTIFUL 😍😍😍
b) I NEED TO VISIT ALL THE COURTS! (yes, even Autumn Court, maybe not Night Court because Rhysand scares me – yes, I know you’re all laughing and saying “Sakina, just wait till you read ACOMAF!”)
c) I took the quiz and I’m in DAY COURT!
d) All the places Tamlin took Feyre in Spring Court were mindblowingly magnificent and I can’t imagine what the other courts look like!

– the history: I love a good back story, so whenever anything about the War or Tamlin/Lucien’s past were mentioned, I was just like:

giphy

I never felt like SJM was “info-dumping”. It was all so fascinating and flowed so well with the story and her writing, that it didn’t feel jarring, boring or annoying at all.

– fae are pretty cool: I’ve never really been into reading stories surrounding the fae, but this definitely piqued by interest. I still don’t ever what to encounter a Bogge or a Naga though.

– the sisters: In the beginning, I hated Nesta and found Elaine to be really annoying. But their character development (or I guess, more like character reveal) definitely changed my initial perception of them.

a) Elaine seemed like a very naive and maybe “too nice” of a person. But I did love her positivity and how she still cared for her father even though he wasn’t helping them out much. I liked how she hid her worries behind her smiles. It was her way to cope with what happened to her family, and like we see with Nesta,  everyone copes differently.

b) That scene in the garden when Feyre and Nesta reconcile and Feyre realizes that Nesta had always cared, and had the courage to try and save her, was so heartbreaking and touching! I honestly feel like I relate a lot with Nesta. She’s angry, but she has a reason to be. She doesn’t like showing affection, and so she hides it behind her iron mask. She feels useless and hates it, so she takes out her anger on the people who can do something, like her father and Feyre. I really hope we get to see more of her in ACOMAF!

– Tamlin(?): I’m not sure how to feel about Tamlin. I don’t think I ever really fell in love with his character. The problem was a lot of Tamlin’s actions made more sense once the “curse” was explained. It also didn’t help that I had heard from pretty much everyone that Tamlin is not as “great” as he seems – which led me to constantly doubt everything he did and said.

I felt like he was hesitant and wary about Feyre. He wasn’t sure how to act around her, which made sense, since I doubt he’s had much human contact. I think he was also really nervous. I mean the fate of his whole court rested on whether he could make a human girl fall in love with him. That’s a lot of pressure! But I also felt like he was a little bit too jealous at times. Like when Feyre decides to go riding with Lucien. But then again, he was probably worried that Feyre would “maybe” fall in love with Lucien, which would totally go against all the planning that was involved to get her there in the first place.

I did like how much he cared for Feyre’s happiness and her family’s. The scenes when Feyre and Tamlin are out walking or when Tamlin shows Feyre the gallery with all the paintings are so adorable! I was literally smiling through all of it. In the beginning, I was expecting Feyre to fall head over heels for Tamlin immediately, but it didn’t happen like that. She was scared and wary, and worried about her family. I wouldn’t say she didn’t have any feelings for him at all and that there wasn’t a hint of “love at first sight” (or “lust at first sight”), but it didn’t bother me as much as it does in contemporary books.

– Feyre(?): I honestly didn’t love Feyre entirely either. But she does have some good qualities that I did like. She’s definitely a strong, confident female character, willing to do whatever it takes to protect her family, even if that requires venturing into a dangerous forest to hunt for food. I really enjoyed reading from her perspective and seeing her constantly argue with herself over her choices. I felt like that made her more realistic. I loved how she saw and experienced the world through colours and light and shadows. It showed the contrast between her bleak life living with her family when survival was the most important thing to worry about, compared to living at Spring Court and being surrounded by beautiful flowers, trees, and grass, to the darkness and hopelessness of the dungeon in Amarantha’s court. The 3 challenges at the end really showed her determination, her intelligence and her strength. The first challenge and how she survived were definitely my favourite. The ones after, not so much. But, there were certain things about Feyre that did annoy me (more on that in next section).

– my adorable fox-masked Lucien: Lucien was definitely my favourite character! He’s funny, he’s charming, and I personally would have preferred Feyre to end up with him. He always made me laugh and I loved his relationship with Tamlin as his advisor and emissary. His back story is so terrible and bloody – I really hate his brothers! I know everyone hates Tamlin after ACOMAF, but they better not hate Lucien! He has that typical “bad boy” vibe, but he does care deep down inside. That scene where he “tells” Feyre where to find the Suriel was hilarious 😂 Also, he never misses anything – that scene when he tells Feyre that he knows she wants him to ask Tamlin to let her go…yeah, I could go on.

– the Professor Umbridge of Prythian/Amarantha: Amarantha is the kind of villain you love to hate, which is why I’m kind of comparing her to Umbridge. Well Umbridge did sort of take over Hogwarts while trying to disguise herself as a new, innocent Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. Pretty much what Amarantha did, though Amarantha had more violent tendencies.

I loved the whole mystery surrounding “her” during most of the book. When we were finally introduced in the throne room scene, it didn’t disappoint. Amarantha’s back story is interesting. I mean I understand her motives – it was her sister – but I definitely don’t agree with them.

Let’s talk about the bargain she made with Feyre. The riddle she gave her wasn’t that difficult to solve. I mean I read it once, and thought, “Is the answer love?” But I told myself that that seemed too obvious and it probably wasn’t. Turned out, I was right. The scene when Feyre finally realizes the answer was still written well and I did like seeing Amarantha’s face when Feyre gave her the answer (at least what I imagined in my head).

The final task was just brutal. I was kind of expecting something like it, but when the guards brought in the three prisoners, I assumed at first that it was Lucien, Feyre’s father, and Elaine/Nesta. Then when it was mentioned that they were faeries, I thought that maybe it was Alis and her boys. That would have honestly been terrible and I don’t think Feyre would have gone through with it. So it did help she didn’t know two of the faeries. When she realized that Tamlin has a “heart of stone” (which I wasn’t expecting at all), I knew the second she stabbed him that Amarantha was going to go all “Well, I didn’t say when I’d release him, did I?” But it was so Amarantha that it worked.

what i disliked– the magic system: Now don’t get me wrong, I really loved all the magic. But it would be nice to see how it actually works. I’m assuming more will be explained in ACOMAF since Feyre is now High Fae and has powers too.

– Feyre’s father: I’m putting this in this section only because I’m not sure if I like Feyre’s father. I mean, I understand why he is the way he is. Imagine losing all your fortune, your status, and then on top of that being crippled. It’s embarrassing, it’s a blow to anyone’s self-esteem, and it makes sense why Feyre’s father can’t really do much to provide for his family. But still…your family is starving, your youngest daughter is off hunting in a very dangerous forest, and you can’t do anything? It makes me wonder what would have happened to Feyre’s family, if Tamlin hadn’t helped them out.

– Feyre(?): Like I mentioned above, I wasn’t a huge fan of Feyre’s character. I felt like that made it even harder to rate this book because main characters are important and I just felt confused about my feelings towards Feyre. The two main problems I had with Feyre was that she made a lot of stupid decisions AND a lot of things came easy for her.

For someone so intelligent – I’m pretty sure I would have just cried during the first challenge instead of coming up with an elaborate trap – she doesn’t really think before she acts. The whole thing with the Suriel was really helpful since it did tell her a lot about what was going on, but it was also kind of stupid. Like what if Tamlin hadn’t been nearby or Lucien decided not to come to her rescue (he had hesitated anyway). She would have died and Tamlin would have been even more screwed.

Partnering up with Rhysand though…I don’t know how I feel about it. I wouldn’t have trusted Rhysand just like that. Especially after that dining room scene when Rhysand did his mind magic thing, I would have demanded answers for why he even wanted to help. Actual answers. Not, “Oh I have my reasons” or “It’s boring being at court and I like to have some fun” But she was desperate and I do understand why she agreed. I don’t think anyone wants to die when they can find a way to live for a little longer.

(I’m going to talk about the whole Fire Night thing in Tamlin’s portion)

The trip to Under the Mountain? Took like a couple hours! She literally walked into a cave, found a slit in the wall, walked through, got caught by the Attor and was taken straight to the throne room. I was expecting the whole journey to take a while, especially since it took so long for Amarantha to actually be introduced (I was expecting her to appear about half-way through the book).

The challenges were okay. She did the first one really well. But Rhysand pretty much told her what to do for the second one. And the third one she did do on her own, but I was expecting it to be harder – instead of just some random fae, I was expecting her family or maybe Alis.

– Tamlin(?): Let’s talk about Fire Night, shall we. I’m going to talk about Feyre here too.

So both Tamlin and Lucien tell Feyre not to leave the manor during Fire Night because it’s not safe. Feyre’s all like “But I want to see what it’s about”, but they tell her no and she listens, at first. Then, because she’s curious (WHY ARE ALL MAIN CHARACTERS CURIOUS? Like after that whole Puca thing, and the Bogge, and the Suriel and the Naga? Here’s another instance where Feyre is making stupid decisions) she decides to go out anyway. BUT. I don’t want to say it’s entirely her fault. Lucien or Tamlin could have told Feyre about Fire Night. But I also understand why they didn’t. I mean Feyre obviously has feelings for Tamlin – no one’s blind to that. So I guess by telling Feyre about the whole ceremony, she might be put off by it and Tamlin. And that would ruin everything.

She goes out, almost gets raped by some fae, is rescued by a handsome faerie (who I knew was Rhysand), and then Lucien finds her and drags her back to the manor. THEN…then, Feyre decides that after the noise has quieted down, she wants to get a snack. Lucien specifically told her not to leave her room till morning and it’s like 1am or something, but I know, and I’m pretty sure Feyre knows, that he meant “sunlight and birds singing” morning, not when it’s still dark. And she bumps into Tamlin. What happens after is weird. Like I don’t know what to say. She obviously has feelings for him, and he does as well. Stuff happens, he bites her neck?? Then he’s like “Don’t disobey me again?”

This feels all wrong. Like the whole “Well I was drunk, so I’m not responsible for my actions” excuse. Feyre’s also at fault. She was told it was dangerous, then she goes out anyway and almost gets hurt, and then goes out again and bumps into Tamlin. It was a stupid decision on Feyre’s part. She did stand up for herself though, so she has that. Tamlin, on the other hand acted like it was all Feyre’s fault for being out of her room. Like I mentioned above, they could have told her about the whole ceremony, then maybe locked her in her room or something since she gets a little too curious. Lol I’m joking, I don’t know. But I didn’t like the way this was handled.

– why isn’t Amarantha suspicious?: Rhysand would disappear at times to go and visit Feyre in her cell. He had her all dolled up, drugged, and forced her to dance at those nightly parties. Why didn’t Amarantha say anything? Why was she okay with Rhysand doing all of that right in front of her? Wasn’t she suspicious that maybe he had other plans? She knows about what he can do with his powers – the reason Feyre survived the second task was because of Rhysand. That scene when Rhysand forces himself onto Feyre behind the tapestry right before Amarantha finds them – wouldn’t she be mad that he was playing around with someone else? When she finally realizes what Rhysand has done, she seems so shocked. I guess Rhysand is just a good liar.

– creepy Rhysand: Okay, so I hate Rhysand. I’m sorry, but I do. First of all, he’s intimidating. I don’t care how dark and mysterious and handsome he looks, he’s creepy and I’d never want to bump into him.

The dining room scene was just awful. Seeing Tamlin beg was just terrible, and what he did to Feyre was disgusting. He is intriguing though, I’ll give you guys that. I’d love to know why he is the way he is and what’s going on in his head (which I’m assuming will be explained in ACOMAF).

When Feyre’s hurt and Rhysand offers to heal her, and she refuses, so he twists her arm?????? Ummm sorry?? So he pretty much hurt her even more, just so she’d say yes and he could have his way. Also the bargain he made with her…I don’t know if you’d call that fair exactly. He didn’t even tell her the terms.

A couple nights ago, Paige (@thepaigeturner) on Twitter talked about how she could never forgive Rhysand for drugging Feyre and making her dance for him. Oh, and also making her dress in barely nothing and covering her in those ink tattoos. Now I know it was all to make Tamlin mad, so that once he had his powers back, he’d be so mad that he’d kill Amarantha. BUT…two things. Firstly, Amarantha has done terrible things to Feyre and to Lucien as it is. If Tamlin decided not to kill her once he got his powers, I’d be a) surprised and b) highly disappointed. Making Feyre dance while intoxicated in revealing clothes is probably not going to change the outcome. Yeah, it did make Tamlin more angrier, but he would have killed Amarantha anyway.

Secondly, WHY DOES FEYRE HAVE NO CHOICE??? Like the bargain Rhysand made with Feyre about her spending a week with him and doing what he wanted doesn’t start till after the trials. I get that the drink helped Feyre forget her predicament and stopped her from going crazy in her cell, but she never had a choice! Why couldn’t Rhysand just tell Feyre his plan? Think about it this way. Rhysand is parading Feyre all over the place and Amarantha doesn’t seem to care – I don’t know why, but she doesn’t. On top of that, Rhysand seems to be the “royal questioner” when it comes to interrogation. So if he told Feyre his plans and Amarantha told him to crush her brain until she confessed, he could easily lie like he did before. He could have told Feyre everything, Feyre would obviously agree because she wants to save Tamlin and his court, and there! It works! I mean, I’m still not happy with Feyre being sexually exploited like that, but at least it would be with her permission.

– and we have a cinderella-like transformation: The ending seemed kind of convenient – Feyre becoming High Fae. Pretty much a better, stronger, more beautiful version of herself. But I’m not going to complain too much, since this review is so long anyway!

Okay, that’s it! Did you make it all the way? What did you think? Am I wrong? We can have friendly debates in the comments section below! I’m exhausted from writing this review and I’m scared to read ACOMAF because it’s even longer and how am I supposed to review that in less than 5000 words?

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5 thoughts on “A Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses By Sarah J. Maas

  1. This is a fantastic review! Every point you made is spot-on, and it’s made me want to go back and reread the book to reevaluate my own rating for it. I don’t think I judged it harshly enough, regarding Tamlin’s creepiness, Rhysand’s abuse, and Feyre’s lack of free will.

    Now, don’t limit yourself to a mere 5,000 words in your ACOMAF review! I want all of the rant, give it to me. *Grabby hands.*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like I’m one of the few who actually didn’t like ACOTAR as much. And ACOMAF was even worse than I was expecting 🙊 I did love the side characters though so I’m definitely going to continue on with the series! This review needs to happen soon – why does school have to be so inconvenient?

      Liked by 1 person

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