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.
Okay. I’m late on the Sarah J. Maas book-obsession train, I know. I’ve read the first Throne of Glass book and although I did like it, I never felt inclined to finish the series. There’s something strange about the things she writes about- the mystical lands and people with unpronounceable names- that makes me bored enough to drop a whole series. So when people started singing this book’s praises (and raving about the release of A Court of Mist and Fury) I decided to succumb to pressure and just read it. The blurb sounds alright, interesting enough for a mystic-magic type of book that I find hard to get into. It sounded promising. So I read it. What did I give it on Goodreads? 2 1/2 stars (3 stars). Why can’t I just enjoy books that other people enjoy? WHY? Well, there were several things about the book that didn’t sit right with me, but there were other things that blew my mind. Overall, I’m conflicted. Let’s discuss (get your tea and meet me here in 5).
Firstly, what I didn’t like:
The writing. I’m a fan of descriptive prose, but only when it’s done well. Maas’s writing is nice, many people would say that. But when you hit me over the head with purple prose and do things like shift between old-fashioned, fairy tale-like dialogue and modern language, it becomes a mess. The characters would speak like people in a Grimm’s fairy tale on one page, and then use words like “shit-hole” and “huge jerk” on the next and it made no sense to me. I know the book isn’t set in any one time period, but for god’s sake at least be consistent in style. Thank you.
Next, the romance. *Coughs* what romance? I’m sorry, but this is perhaps the least believable romance between two characters I’ve ever encountered. I just couldn’t care about them, and their budding relationship (dafuq?) was so rushed and predictable I wanted to be sick. I know that Feryre is taken away to Tamlin’s mansion for a long period of time, but it just did not read like that. When she suddenly stops mourning becoming a prisoner and starts noticing how hawt Tamlin is, I did a double take. There was no build-up. It just happened. Why?!
I also hated the way the story played out. Look, I’m not going to lie. Nothing made sense to me at all. And no, this didn’t enthrall me and make me want to know more. It made me really, really angry. Why the hell would you take a girl as prisoner for killing a faerie as part of some treaty instead of just killing her? *SPOILERS ALERT* I know its explained later that that treaty thing was made up to hide the curse, and that cleared a lot of things up, but at the time I felt that the way in which Feyre was “taken as a prisoner” and then treated like a princess was ridiculous. If there was a treaty of a life for a life, I’d kind of understand the “your life is mine forever” thing. But Feyre wasn’t treated like a prisoner. She wasn’t banished for killing a faerie. Did she question why they suddenly became so nice to her for her supposed crime? These faeries who are so notorious there are folk tales about them? Nope. She fell in “love” with Tamlin instead. And why the hell was she blamed for not saying “I love you” in time? I just didn’t understand this, even after it was explained. I just didn’t feel the chemistry.
I hated Feyre’s character changes. She starts off as a huntress who kills to survive. She is hardened by poverty, willing to protect her family over herself. What happens to her at the mansion? She’s angry for all of five minutes, tries escaping once and then is suddenly a passive, loving girly-girl who falls for her captor because he…..what? Is nice? Shows her art? I just don’t get it. I wish there was a little more attention given to her softening views towards the occupants of the mansion.
One more thing: I cannot stand clunky exposition in fantasy books. Any book that attempts to beat me over the head with made-up kingdoms, rules, history etc in a very rushed fashion is not enjoyable. I really hated the whole Faerie aspect of this book, mostly because of the way it was thrown at me. Sigh.
Because of those reasons, and the fact that the book is so stupid I couldn’t help roll my eyes every five seconds, I was tempted to give it one star. I noticed a lot of parallels with Twilight (maybe it’s just me?) that made me cringe so hard. But then, a few things cropped up that made me grudgingly respect it. Here they are:
The age ranges. Okay, I know it isn’t fair to complain about characters’ ages when I’m 20 and the majority of YA novels centre around and aim at younger readers, but it was so refreshing reading about a character that is at least older than the age of 16. 16 is okay. 17 is better. 18 is pretty damn good. But 19? Thank you, Maas. I liked how mature Feyre appeared, because she wasn’t a frightened 16 year old. I’m pretty sure I’m just outgrowing YA, but it was really nice to have an older protagonist (a literal young adult) because it made the book more relatable and more readable. I appreciate that Maas catered for an older audience. Hats off to ya.
Linking to this, I loved the mature content. I loved how there was violence that wasn’t downplayed just because younger readers might read this. But more than this, I loved the sex. Now, before you go off and call me a pervert, let me explain. One of my biggest YA pet peeves (a topic for another Top5s) is how childish sex appears. It is just too PC. I think the majority of readers are capable of reading sex scenes without being affected really badly, so why the hell do so many authors skip around it with ridiculous prose? That’s why I have always respected authors who have at least TRIED to describe actual sex scenes, without dancing around it. And boy, did Maas do this. I’m a huge believer in sex positivity, and I’ve never shied away from graphic scenes. So when the characters perform a certain act, Maas doesn’t offend a reader’s intelligence by writing some crap like “his lips traced a pattern on me that filled the sky with fireworks”. That would literally be how some authors describe an oral sex orgasm. What does Maas do? She freaking tells us that the two characters have oral sex and that they orgasm! She mentions body parts! She mentions arousal! And it is so much better, and so much more believable. It’s one of the redeeming qualities of this so-called romance; when I see passion in realistically-described sex, I believe that the two characters actually feel something for each other. Okay, that’s off my chest. Enough about sex.
Finally, I LOVED the final quarter of the book. It really only picked up from the moment that *SPOILER* Feyre snuck into the queen’s court. Because that’s when the action and emotional rollercoaster began. I had heart palpitations at every run in between Feyre and Amarantha, and I loved how seriously Maas took this. There was dizzying violence and actual fear. As for the Trials thing; I am not a fan of copycat three trial things from Harry Potter, and I was starting to get mad, but then the final trial came. And oh boy, was this me:
It was so well described. And I don’t say this lightly. I loved it. I actually cried.
*SPOILERS* It was just so smart and evil to make Feyre kill the innocent faeries. And the fact that she did it? *SCREAMS*. I can’t get over the fact that she did it. In a good way. Because a protagonist actually had the balls to make such a huge decision. And the second faerie? The one that said the prayer? It had me bawling, because it was so heart-breaking. If that was a movie scene, I can already picture it, and the score that would be used. It was so well described. And when Tamlin was revealed to be the third?
I literally DID NOT SEE THAT COMING SARAH J. MAAS WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? I thought that Lucien might be used, but Tamlin? Hot damn. Such a good move. Mad respect. And the conclusion to the book? Perfect. I was pleasantly surprised by it. You know what? I think I’m leaning more towards a 3/3.5 star rating now. That ending though. I’m going to read it again.
So there you have it. I don’t want to be a downer, so I’m going to brave the second book and see if I like it more. Hopefully I will. No Top5s this week I’m afraid, for absolutely no reason. Just kidding, college is slowly devouring me. *Nervous laughter*. More soon though! Thanks for stopping by!