The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

I finally read A Court of Thorns and Roses!

on May 26, 2016

download (4)A Court of Thorns and Roses. Sarah J. Maas. Bloomsbury. May 2015.

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill ? the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

I finally read A Court of Thorns and Roses! I know I’m late to the party with this one, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I’m sorry I didn’t pick it up sooner. As you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been following my blog for a while, I LOVE Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, so I was worried going into this one that I wouldn’t adore it with quite the same fervent passion. Whilst I would still say that ToG is my favourite, this series is fantastic and I’m really excited to pick up A Court of Mist and Fury.

I absolutely adored Sarah J. Maas’ world-building. It takes considerable talent to convince me that a land I’ve not yet visited every corner of exists in such sprawling complexity. Prythian, the land of the fae, was drawn so vividly, and I loved how layered everything was, from the customs and rituals, to the hierarchies amongst the faeries, to the dictatorial politics of the realm. In the first half of the book, the world-view is fairly limited, as everything takes place within the Spring Court (which is essentially just a huge manor house, some grounds, and the surrounding woods). I did find the beginning a little slow, as not a lot happens, but I enjoyed exploring Tamlin’s court. There was something quite magically lazy about the eternal sunshine and the unnaturally quiet woods bordering the house, so different from the noisy, painfully real world of scavenging in the cold just to survive Feyre has left behind.

In the second half of the book, and I don’t want to go into too much detail here in case of spoilers, we get to see a much darker side of the faerie realm. When we venture into this territory, the book’s pace kicks up ALL THE GEARS, and so many twisted things start to happen that if this were a movie, I’d be cowering behind a pillow trying not to *see*. Sarah J. Maas is a fan of putting her characters in impossible situations, where it genuinely looks like there’s no way out but the most brutal of deaths. This book is darker than most YA, and I think it’s that (and the sex scenes) which have led this to be categorised as adult fantasy in come bookshops (although I’ve seen it in the YA section too). I’m seriously impressed that a book which isn’t horror managed to scare me. I had to read a couple of chapters of Harry Potter afterwards to take the edge off whenever I was reading this before bedtime.

I loved the characters in this book, and whilst I don’t feel as strongly about Feyre as I do about Celaena from ToG, there was still a lot to admire about her character. Like Celaena, Feyre has had to become somebody else to survive (in Feyre’s case, a huntress), and they both have that strong-willed determination to do what must be done. Unlike Celaena, however, Feyre isn’t bolshy or cocky – she’s more of a worrier, she’s more willing to admit her fears, and she more thoroughly embraces her sensitive side. I really liked this about Feyre – although I adored Celaena, I did often feel that she was unnaturally flawless. I never worried all that much about Celaena getting through whatever challenge she was facing, because she was such a hardcore badass, I always felt she’d have had it covered in her sleep. Feyre, on the other hand, was less confident – she doubted herself, and on occasion needed help from others, but in my opinion she managed to prove herself just as tough. I like the fact that she couldn’t completely mask her fears, because it made her actions seem a million times braver. I also really respected how loyal she was – saving Tamlin, and keeping her family safe (no matter how much they took her for granted) were her priorities, and love was the driving force behind her every action.

Speaking of love, I really enjoyed the romance between Feyre and Tamlin. Some people have described it as insta-love, and I suppose it does happen rather quickly, but I still *felt* the chemistry between them, and that’s all I ask of my romance – that it doesn’t leave me cold. One thing I am slightly concerned about is the introduction of Rhysand’s character. Nothing happens between Rhysand and Feyre in this book as such, but I have a feeling that we could wander into love-triangle territory in the next book. I actually think Sarah J. Maas does love triangles rather well, and I didn’t mind them at all in ToG, so perhaps she will win me over with her execution of them in A Court of Mist and Fury.

That being said, Rhysand himself will have to do a lot to win me over in book two, because although he helps Feyre out on occasion, he’s still capable of cruelty, and he’s nowhere near as good and kind as Tamlin. I guess Tamlin would be seen as the ‘safe’ option, but I like the security and sense of peace he offers Feyre – real relationships are based on feelings like this, and it doesn’t mean they have to be boring. In fact, there’s nothing boring about Tamlin, who also has a wild and untamed ‘beast’ side which comes out to play when it needs to – he is fae, after all, so he’s never going to be completely ‘safe’.

Speaking of Tamlin’s ‘beast’ form, I’m sure you’ve probably heard by now (because these books are EVERYWHERE) that ACOTAR is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I was a little concerned going into the book, as I’ve never found the fairytale particularly romantic, and I was worried that Tamlin would be too possessive, and the romance too much like Stockholm Syndrome. I was pleasantly surprised. Although Feyre cannot leave Pryrthian, she has free rein of the Spring Court, and her time there never came across as confinement. Yes, Tamlin was protective over Feyre, because there were all kinds of nasty ‘creatures’ lurking in the woods (a million times more dangerous than him), and she was vulnerable simply in her mortality, but I never felt that their relationship was unhealthy. He didn’t try to change, patronise, or restrict her, and I respected Maas a lot for this, considering how many toxic relationships we see portrayed in this genre today.

Another thing I respected Maas for doing was for depicting a completely platonic friendship between male and female characters. I loved Lucien, and I really enjoyed how his initial distaste for Feyre begrudgingly grew into a fiercely loyal friendship, with no romantic undertones. I almost saw him as an older-brother type figure. I see so few of these types of friendships in fiction, and it was so refreshing. Lucien was a fantastic character – cocky and sarcastic, but not in a nasty way, and the way he made fun of Feyre often had me smiling.

Overall, I loved this novel – I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book, because there are so many interesting plot-threads dangling at the end of this one! Sarah J. Maas is a fantastic story-weaver, so whatever she spins them into, I’m sure I’m going to adore.

Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses or the Throne of Glass series? Which did you enjoy most and why?


32 responses to “I finally read A Court of Thorns and Roses!

  1. I’m glad to hear you’ve finally read this amazing book. I really liked this book and am hopeful to get my hands on the sequel soon.

    • mudandstars says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the book too! Look forward to seeing what you think of A Court of Mist and Fury! I’ve got myself a copy now, but haven’t started it yet – so excited though! 😀 Have you read the Throne of Glass series too?

  2. I’ve read A Court of Thorns and Roses and completely loved it. It was the first Sarah J. Mass book I’ve read, but I’m going to read Throne of Glass series when I have a chance.
    I also really enjoyed the fact that I was pretty sure Feyre was going to die, because there seemed no chance she would have been able to get out of the situation alive.

    which of the challenges Feyre had to go through did you like the best?

    • mudandstars says:

      So glad you loved it too! 😀 Have you read A Court of Mist and Fury? Oooh please do pick up the Thr0ne of Glass series – those books are amazing! The first book isn’t quite as good as the rest, but they just get better and better! Yesss I know exactly what you mean about Feyre’s certain death haha – I was so tense during those challenges! It sounds kind of twisted but my favourite was probably the last one – it was HORRIBLE to read, but that’s why I appreciated it because it was such an impossible thing to have to do – it was a real challenge, which nobody could help her out of. What about you?

      • I have just about A Court of Mist and Fury, and I am so excited to read it.
        Yeah I found all the challenges hard to read, though I think my favourite was actually the first one. It was really interesting not really knowing what she was planning until she barley survives. And the shock from the rest of the court when she does actually survive.

      • mudandstars says:

        YES, I loved that too – it was such a triumphant moment haha! I’ve just started ACOMAF – so excited 😀

  3. I am also late to the party. I have just aquired this book and I am really looking forward to reading it!

  4. I REALLY need to read this book!

  5. I’ve had this for about 6 months and haven’t read because like you I am such a big fan of Throne of Glass that I am scared. So glad to hear you enjoyed it. Maybe it’ll give me the push to go for it.

    • mudandstars says:

      I did exactly the same thing – it had been on my shelf since October! I’d say that it’s different enough from Throne of Glass that although I’ve compared the characters somewhat in my review, I didn’t find myself comparing it throughout reading the book – I was never sat there thinking ‘Throne of Glass is sooo much better’. You should definitely give it a go 🙂 Hope you enjoy it is as much as I did! But if not, only 3 more months to wait until Empire of Storms! 😀

  6. Emma The Book Lover says:

    AH IM LITERALLY THE SAME RIGHT NOW. I have had acotar on my shelf for a year and I finally picked it up and LOVED IT I am dying to get my hands on acomaf, everyone’s exploding from it.

    • mudandstars says:

      Haha I know what you mean, I’ve had to hide myself away from everyone’s reviews so I didn’t accidentally spoil ACOTAR for myself. I’ve seen quite mixed reviews for ACOMAF though – some people seem to be fangirling, and other people seem to be really angry with the book. Hoping I fall into the first category!!

      • Emma The Book Lover says:

        Oh man I haven’t seen any negative reviews yet, only ones where people are fangirling so hard, hopefully I’ll love it!

  7. selinn92 says:

    Great review! I loved the book 🙂 I have a very strong feeling you’ll like ACOMAF too.

    • mudandstars says:

      Ahh thank you 😀 I hope so – I’m planning on starting it this week, as I just can’t wait any longer haha! Will hopefully post a review soon 🙂

  8. NightGirl says:

    I really need to reread this because I want to read the second one so bad but I feel like I need a good refresher of the story. Great post!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 🙂 I’m glad you loved this book too! I always have to re-read books when sequels come out, I can never remember what happened in the previous books! In a way I’m kind of glad I left it so late to read this, as now I can dive straight into the second book! Although on the negative side, I’ve had to hide myself away from ACOMAF spoilers all month – I couldn’t even look at the book cover haha! Look forward to seeing what you think of ACOMAF – I’m hoping to start it this week 🙂

      • NightGirl says:

        I should really try rereading books more often. I almost never do but lately I feel like I crammed so many books into my head I can’t keep track. So I think I might just start rereading all the great books on my shelf. It’s awesome you were able to avoid spoilers! So far I’ve been able to as well which makes me happy. Hopefully you enjoy ACOMAF!

      • mudandstars says:

        I know exactly what you mean – I very rarely re-read books (unless they are old favourites) because I’m so overwhelmed with all the new books I keep buying (which is totally my own fault, but y’know 😛 ). That’s an awesome idea – I hope you enjoy your re-reads 🙂 What other books are you planning to re-read?

  9. Selbster says:

    Awesome review! It’s been in my library for a long time now, I just can’t seem to get to it. Really excited about reading it after your review!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 😀 Oooh I really hope you do, it was an awesome book! Have you read any of the Throne of Glass series?

      • Selbster says:

        Yes! I read the first one and I think I’ll read the remaining books within this month. Did you like those?

      • mudandstars says:

        I loved them – it’s one of my favourite YA series of all time 🙂 I actually wasn’t entirely convinced by the first book, but then I binge-read the rest of them and found they got better and better with every book!

      • Selbster says:

        I think that’s what I’ll do too! I’m really excited about it. Thanks for the advices!

  10. I just started the Throne of Glass series this week so I’m really late to the party!!
    This one sounds like a good one to pick up next 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Ooh that’s awesome, I wish I could re-experience those books for the first time! I love them so much 😀 Look forward to seeing what you think of them! And if you do end up loving them, I’d definitely recommend picking up ACOTAR next 🙂

  11. I only read this recently too and was not a fan, unfortunately 🙈 I loved SJM’s writing, but that was about it, haha. I’m glad you enjoyed it though! I’m still going to read ACOMAF and am hoping I’ll have more luck with that one! I haven’t read Throne of Glass yet, but I’m hoping to start it soon-ish. Great review :)!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 🙂 Aww I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it 😦 What were the things you didn’t like about the book? I think I might have been a bit too blinded by my love for SJM to notice the flaws haha, but when I’ve read other peoples reviews I can definitely see where they’re coming from with the things they point out! I am a bit apprehensive about starting ACOMAF because I’ve heard mixed things – some people loved it, and other people seem really angry about it haha. I hope you enjoy Throne of Glass – I really loved that series, and I’d never really been into high fantasy at all before I picked it up (it’s still not a genre I reach for loads!)

  12. […] I finally read A Court of Thorns and Roses! May […]

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