A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Posted by Mrs Giggles on January 2, 2017 in 2 Oogies, Book Reviews, Genre: Fantasy & Sci-fi / 8 Comments

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Bloomsbury, £7.99, ISBN 978-1-4088-5786-1
Fantasy, 2015

I would have likely enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first in Sarah J Maas’s new series, much more if I were in my early teens and yearning for the world to understand that every little thing I do, even digging my nose, is truly special. Because I am an adult, I can’t help viewing this story from the perspective of one, and the story comes off as supremely contrived and annoying as a result.

It starts out solid. Feyre, our heroine and ugh to that name, is a martyr to her family, having vowed to her late mother (who neglected to educate her the way she educated her older sisters just because) to take care of them. Her father wallows in self pity and delusions, her older sisters take her for granted and don’t treat her nicely, and yet Feyre hunts and does stuff to make sure that they all have food and money. One day, she kills a faerie in wolf form – they are both competing for a doe – and skins it before selling the pelt for some money that her sisters can then use to pamper themselves.

Oh yes, in this world, humans were once enslaved by the faerie folks, until they revolted. The faeries retreated north, taking their magic with them, and a wall is built to separate the humans’ lands from the faeries’. A treaty is signed, allowing the two factions to co-exist in uneasy peace. Anyway, Feyre’s family is soon visited by an angry faerie in wolf form, who demands reparations for what Feyre did. The treaty calls for her life as the appropriate punishment, so this fellow, Tamlin, does just that. Only, he’s tired of deaths and what not, so he only insists that Feyre come stay at his land… forever.

This is where the story falls apart for me after the initial gripping build-up. Surprise, Tamlin is a High Fae, the ruler of the Spring Court, because heaven forbid a teenage special snowflake is forced to swap saliva with anyone who isn’t royalty. And so, he brings her to his magnificent palace, gives her lots of food, provides her with a personal maid, and even gives her a place and the supplies needed for the special snowflake to express the obligatory creativity skills – in her case, painting. He even offers to teach her to read. Not only that, he even provides for the family she left behind.

What, then, is the conflict, you may ask?

Well, there is some kind of blight that is making magic go awry and there are some evil scummy plans afoot, with dead or dying faeries showing up in Tamlin’s land. But don’t ask me about what is exactly happening, because Tamlin is a joy of a character in that he will never tell Feyre – and hence, me – anything. It’s all “Go away, don’t worry about details as I’ll take care of it!” or some variation of that when it comes to this guy. Unsurprisingly, Feyre will do all kinds of stupid things like running off alone even after being told never to do so, only to get into all kinds of trouble and needing rescue. Is this annoying? Of course. But perhaps she wouldn’t have to be such a colossally stupid and reckless moron if Tamlin would be straight up and just tell her what the hell is going on.

On Feyre’s part, her conflict at the bulk of the early part of this story is that she must go home and resume being the unpaid and unappreciated slave to her family. Yes, really. I’m sure you can tell how much I’m just invested in her dilemma. Later on, of course, it’s all about trying to prove to Tamlin that her love is pure and her honey is better than the obligatory evil slut ho bag that we all know must show up in any reading material for teenage girls. Oh look at me, I’m so thrilled, I deliberately sit on this book when I feel some flatulence coming on.

Of course, the High Fae are all basically shiny humans with pointed ears – Legolas with bigger penises, in other words – while the lesser faeries, the ones whose penises Feyre has no interest in whatsoever, are of different forms and sizes that make her go all icky and eeuw. That’s not elitist or snobby at all, oh no, as we all know that Tall, Handsome, Muscular, Fair, and Sexy is the only master race that deserves the honey of special snowflake. Despite supposedly having lived for so long, Tamlin realizes that the  bratty Feyre is not like other humans when she puts a band-aid on his wound. She is so special! So amazing! So remarkable! She cries and goes boo-hoo-hoo when she sees a dying faerie – this really means that she is 10,000,000% special-er than special! Like I said, if I was 15, I might be better able to buy that some band-aid and tears would elevate a stupid girl into something truly special like no other woman that guy has ever come across in his long existence, but since I’m an adult, I have only eyerolls to give.

Oh, and this one can go from icky sweetness to OH MY GOD I AM FEELING SO HOT DOWN THERE BETWEEN MY LEGS in an abrupt manner. It all begins when Tamlin tells Feyre to stay in her room – without telling why she must do that, naturally – during some hornytoad orgy festival night and she of course goes out to peek, only to nearly get assaulted by horny faeries before learning that that is one night when everyone boinks to make sure that the magic remains… er, magical to keep the land happy. So, for the greater good, Tamlin will have to ejaculate his magical fae goo into some lady – there is no homo when it comes to faerie woo-woo, sorry guys – and oh no, he’s now upset because he smelled her that night and went looking for her, only to be forced to do that magical “For the land, HO-OOO-OOO-HAAA!” thing with some other woman instead, and the whole thing gets really weird, like Care Bears suddenly start making out and I find myself squirming in discomfort and thinking, “Wait a minute, shouldn’t this be some kind of Rule 34 thing?”

Anyway, this is one story that is calculated from start to finish to make the reader see herself in Feyre’s shoes and imagine herself to be the most special snowflake in the land ever just by existing. Sure, Feyre can hunt and do things, which is a plus, but for the most part, everyone who isn’t that slutty ho bag adores her and everything comes way too easily for her in this story. No genuine conflict, no credible sense of danger, not even a good plot. Just another day of unearned pretties and wonderful things in the life of a special snowflake.

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Cantankerous muffin who loves boys that sparkle, unicorns, money, chocolates, and fantastical stories.

8 responses to “A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

  1. amousie

    Sooo. Still feel the same as the previous comment I left in aligator book. Don’t know if you can move comments to their rightful place or not.

    For the unwary, there will must likely be SPOILERS in this comment.

    I’d give the book closer to a 3. If I weren’t following Mrs. G’s recommendation I wouldn’t bother with the next book in the series unless I already loved the author and knew she’d surprise and delight me with the trilogy.

    That said, my primary objections are as follows:

    1. I feel like I was reading through a filter. As if the narrator was Freyre but removed from herself and watching the story unfold as if it were happening to someone else.
    2. The person the author keeps telling the narrator is, simply isn’t. She’s much too naive. Someone who’s gone down society’s ladder and had to survive for just shy of a decade isn’t going to be that naive. Every suggestion laid at her feet, she followed. Get close to Lucien, find and trap the Suriel, you wouldn’t leave the love of your life to die alone without going to the ends of the earth.
    3. Even during her “trials,” she still never really questioned anything. And I’m so over fade into black and I’m glad I can’t remember humilations cop-outs. Not that I have to read the gory details but tortures reveal who the character really is. She got a get out revelation card for much of it.
    4. The whole whore thing. It was jarring to have it come up early in the story. I have no idea why a High Fae lord would even care about a human female taunt. And let’s face it that human taunt is really a product of wanting to be middle-class American with the possibility off hitting upper middle class, maybe even lower upper class from the 20th Century. Mrs. G, you’ll have to speak to your culture and how it crosses over. In the US, at the teenage level, it’s still very much a female disempowerment trick. High Fae lords… I don’t see why it would even touch him given the long-game he’s playing.So in my mind, it’s not organic to the story, it’s an author toolbox device that will play a bigger role as we go along if the little you’ve said plays out the way I fear it will.
    5. The villain’s end for this story. How truly truly lame. Seriously, these all-powerful men folk couldn’t figure out how to destroy this villain on their own without the human. Seriously pathetic. What’s worse is how easily she’s destroyed. Some powerful general.
    6. Females in general. Uninteresting as characters although the female mercenary with the cameo had possibilities as did Nesta.

    I’m sure I’ll think of more but that’s my initial reaction to finishing the story.

    Should get the next book in the series in the next week or so as I’m number #4 on the library reserve list.

  2. amousie, I wouldn’t disagree with your points, but I mostly rolled with them as they are all common young adult tropes. As to 4, though, well, in certain parts of Asia, honor or keeping face is huge, and you don’t let a taunt go unchallenged, ESPECIALLY if it’s from someone considered your inferior. Don’t want them to put on airs or your own peers to think that you are weak, that kind of thing. So in many ways, I can see why Tamlin behave the way he does. Especially in book two, when you will learn that he is actually not what he is made out to be in this book.

    The villain in this book is more of a small time one, and I did roll up my eyes at that one because it’s another “skanky evil ho who makes our heroine seem purer in comparison” archetype. But the portrayal of secondary female characters who are against the heroine is one of the more annoying issues that I have with this series. Slut shaming and sex negativity are always part of the villainess package. You like sex with many, many men? VILLAIN.

  3. amousie

    Funny, I wasn’t thinking of Tamlin at all when I wrote that. LOL I was thinking of Rhys. So much more interesting of a character. Tamlin I got to a point. I just never cared about him at all because I only saw him through a hazy child’s one-dimensional filter. He wasn’t real to me.

  4. amousie

    Okay, that’s not right. I thought his facade was “truth” but also a lie somehow because of the narrator.

  5. amousie

    I found Rhys to be multi-dimensional compared to how the narrator / author portrayed Tam. I always like multi-dimensional characters more. I also found it odd that the worse that Tam and the other lords could come up with was to call him a whore. The morality and the games seem too humanish and more importantly simplistic.But as you say, there’s the whole skanky ho theme coming up in the next book. It’s bad enough in adult books, I think it’s absolutely horrible that it’s in teen or young adult fiction. Plus it’s damn weak writing if that’s the best an author can do, even if the rest of story is fabulous.

    Be back soon. Yep, that’s a threat!!!!!

    Checked my library listing, looks like it I might get book 2 and John Wick chapter 2 this weekend. Will make any additional comments in the next book’s thread. Looks like I’ll get book 3 in September.

  6. I’m jealous of the libraries in the USA. We don’t even have a centralized library system in Malaysia yet, and the best libraries are always located in the heart of traffic jam and parking hell.

  7. amousie

    Libraries in the US are just the best thing ever. When I had more extra cash, I didn’t really use them much. Now I find all kinds of delightful things in them. Plus online catalogs and inter-branch sharing within my county (about 20 locations) and they deliver it to a pickup shelf at the branch of my choosing. You can pause stuff in your queue and everything. I can also borrow items from outside of city/county system. From the university from other counties.Plus they have special free seminars, author events, literacy classes, computer and printer access. Children dance, story and playtime. And they end up being a kind of de facto homeless sheltering location during their open hours in certain places.

    Unfortunately this absolutely amazing system is also under attack by the austerity push in my country. My particular county and state are currently pretty committed to the library system but I have no doubt that that could change in a heartbeat. So I give thanks for how very lucky I am right now.

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