I have to say, I probably made a mistake with trying to read the “Throne of Glass” series before starting this series by Sarah J. Maas, as I am finding this book to be vastly better despite all the spoilers I’ve already encountered. The spoilers are my fault; this series is insanely popular and I wanted until NOW to start it. So with all the beautiful fan art of the characters floating around, let’s just say I knew certain elements very intimately of this series long before I cracked the spine on “A Court of Thorns and Roses”. But you know what? I think those spoilers actually helped me enjoy this book more. No, really! This first book is supposed to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I found it to be much closer to East of the Sun, West of the Moon. So, if you are like me and haven’t started this book yet, hopefully that gives you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into. The world is split between the humans and the fae by a literal wall that really only seems decent at keeping the humans out, so of course tensions rise when Feyre accidentally kills a fae when she was simply trying to feed her family. In the fae realm, Feyre learns what really happened during the bloody conflict between their peoples, and also learns to not hate the fae, and they in turn (at least some) learn not to hate humans.
I think, when comparing this to “Throne of Glass” the biggest reason why this book works so much better for me is Feyre. She isn’t starting from a hidden place of power, she is completely outmatched to even the weakened fae, and she is not the favorite child of her human family either. It’s far more relatable of a character then I found the characters in the authors YA series to be. Perhaps that’s not fair considering this book came out later and so of course she’s improved as an author since then, but that’s the only work of hers I can compare it to. I also really liked that if this was the only book and there wasn’t a series, you would still get a complete story, and it’s a lovely one at that! I liked seeing the emotional torment Feyre goes through and the growth that came as a result of that. Though a lot of that torment is why this book shouldn’t be considered YA. Like at all. Yes there’s sex but it’s pretty mild in terms of graphic detail, but when it comes to the brutality of the fae world and what Feyre witnesses… that’s another story and makes this much more of a NA read.
Now this is where spoilers made this story interesting to say the least. I’ll do my best to avoid them here but, honestly, this community is so loud and passionate that if you’ve managed to avoid spoilers so far: teach me your ways! But I actually really liked the love interest in this first book so I’m curious to see what comes next that will make me change my mind about that character, because the “alternative” love interest I did not like in the slightest. I know I should feel bad for him and the things he was forced to do, but I have a hard time excusing how Feyre’s consent was either not a concern, or blatantly taken away from her each time this other man was around. A lot will need to happen for me to like him beyond him being handsome, that’s for sure! Also, I could have done with a lot less of Feyre reminding the reader of her “human this” or “human that.” It legitimately did not need to be pointed out with near the frequency that we get in this book, so that got a bit bothersome after a while. But that was honestly about it for things I didn’t like! This book was very easy to read and immerse myself in compared to others by this author, so I was very pleasantly surprised which is why I’m giving it 4 stars and am looking forward way more to continuing this series versus Throne of Glass. Whoopsie?
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