Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

So…I finally finished A Court of Thorns and Roses! I’d started last year, put it aside & got absorbed into other things. Then about a week ago I decided to start from the beginning again (I’d forgotten some details)…and this time I got sucked right in & finished it in a week.

Warning…spoilers ahead…warning…warning…spoilers…

Wow…I did not expect this story to go where it did. I never expected Feyre to do what she did in the third task, but I’m glad that it seems like it’s going to haunt her.

I hope she doesn’t ever “get over it,” especially not in some easy fairy way – she went through really, really awful things, both in the third task & just after it, and I don’t care that she’s now a High Fae…I expect her to be haunted/changed by those experiences. Becoming a fairy was just a deus ex machina way to bring her back after what Amarantha did to her…her actual change is from having taken innocent lives and from having endured that kind of physical pain & abuse as well as psychological abuse. She basically survived a war, and that isn’t something you ever “get over” or forget or pretend didn’t happen. It fundamentally changes you.

I hope, hope, hope that the next books go into this…but this really is a serious and complex subject that might be too “much” for a YA story about fairies (no matter how cruel the fairies may be)…so I’m not sure how Maas is going to deal with all of this. I suppose the only way to find out is to crack open book 2, which is sitting next to me as I write this, waiting to be started.

What’s really funny to me about this book & my reaction is that I got to thinking about how “far” it went regarding violence – but it wasn’t gory, and it wasn’t gratuitous in any way (I felt like all the violent things happened for good reasons in the story) – and how many times I’ve wanted other books to at least have *some* kind of actual threat happen, to make all the build-up danger actually mean something. I thought back to the Twilight series, because that’s one that disappointed me so much in the last book. I went back to read my review of Breaking Dawn, as it’s been ages since I read the series, and ha, here’s what I wrote back in 2009:

“It’s no wonder that the story limps off and dies after we leave Jacob’s POV. Big bad Volturi? They come, they sneer a bit, they leave. No fighting, no loss. Not that I wanted anyone to die, but there needed to be some kind of loss, some sense of sacrifice, so that the danger the characters had expected and that was built up to had been real. But no…when I finished the book, I felt like everything that happened after Bella woke as a vamp was just a fluffy, feel-good epilogue. I don’t mind happy endings, but I prefer it when they’re earned.”

Well. A Court of Thorns and Roses certainly gave me all I’d said I wanted back then.

Feyre certainly earned her happy-return-to-home ending more than any other heroine I’ve read recently.

And how do I feel about that now? Hmmmm.

I didn’t enjoy reading the hard parts, but it all “fit” the story, and honestly after all the build-up, Amarantha couldn’t have been anything other than what she was if Maas was to avoid a limp ending like Twilight had (however, I wish Amarantha’s death had been much more drawn out; she deserved to suffer a long time before dying, considering all she’d done in just this book, let alone her long life). But Maas is much too good a writer for limp endings. However, I’m leery of the other books in the series only because I don’t want to be let down…Feyre’s new fairy-ness better not include magical healing for all that she saw & did as a human. I don’t like reading sad & depressing tales, but Feyre’s story needs to stay dark for quite awhile, and I won’t enjoy the other books as much if it doesn’t.

Overall, I really liked A Court of Thorns and Roses more than I thought I would…I knew I’d LIKE it, but I didn’t expect to be pulled so completely in & to take time whenever I could to keep reading & to blast through it in a week. And I certainly didn’t expect to be affected the way I was. But I love it when books do that to me! Crossing my fingers that the next three do the same.

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