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I have been reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and thought instead of doing a typical review of the book I would instead share my thoughts and opinions as I read the book.
Going into this book I knew two things:
- Everyone seems to love this series.
- Tamlin is a horrible person, and Feyre should be with Rhys.
These two things are all I gathered from TikTok, where I learned about this series. I don’t know why everyone on their hates Tamlin just that they didn’t like him for some reason. Starting out the book my first thought was ‘this is going to be the issue of Jace and Clary aren’t siblings’ all over again. But I tried to keep an open mind when I first was introduced to Tamlin… granted it is lingering in the back of my mind the entire time.
Note before continuing on, there will be spoilers since I’m going to be sharing my thoughts as I read the book. So, you’ll see my opinions throughout the experience. Though I will try to keep them to a minimum. I saw this concept from Jenna (J.K. I’m Exploring) when she was reading Outlander. And really liked this idea. Let me know if you would like more of these in the future with the other books.
Right out of the gate, I got strong Beauty and the Beast vibes from this book. Maybe that’s where the Tamlin hate comes from. Feyre gets punished for breaking the treaty between humans and Fae by killing a Fae who was disguised as a wolf while she’s hunting one night. As it was going to kill the deer she was hunting. She initially thinks it is a faerie but then thinks twice about that. After returning home from her hunt, she is berated by her self-centered family (got the evil step-sister vibe from one of her sisters). Later Tamlin comes and gives her two options: die or live in the Fae land for the reminder of her days. Feyre chooses the latter with the hope that she’ll escape at some point to get back to her family.
After she plots her escape and hates her captors, Lucien and Tamlin. Only unlike Belle, Feyre doesn’t know how to read or write. She tries multiple ways to get information about there possibly being a loophole to the treaty that has her trapped in the Spring Court. Only to learn a few things:
- Faeries can lie.
- There is no loophole out of the treaty.
- Tamlin has modified her family’s memories into believing she is off with a distant, dying aunt and her family was given money and food.
So far, Tamlin has shown himself from being anything other than a beast. Not once has he treated her poorly. If anything taking her to the Spring Court was a mercy as she gets new clothes, plenty of food, and literally can do whatever she wants. Including going hunting with Lucien in the woods (granted she doesn’t actually hunt anything as she’s just trying to get information from him).
There’s also a blight. Which in pretty much every other fantasy thing is a disease that kills everything. But this one apparently has just forced everyone into being stuck wearing masquerade masks that they had on for a party fifty years ago. Which is kind of a ridiculous blight if you ask me. I’m sure there’s more to it, but they aren’t telling Feyre and the entire book thus far is from her POV in 1st person.
Well this section spans several seasons: Spring and Summer. We’re also introduced to Rhys, who I can only describe as Hades. Delighting in the pain of others as the High Lord of Night, but there’s something else there that I can’t quite explain yet. As he helped Feyre during the Fire Night get away from some faeries that were hurting her after she stuck out of the manor. I don’t know there’s just something about him that screams Hades to me. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. He has only had like a few words during that scene, a mention later from a prank he pulled on Tamlin with a head in the garden, and then another scene I’ll mention in a second. But I swear he’s Hades. Not just because his realm is described as being like hell and death, of which he rules over… I don’t know, it’s just the vibe I get.
Prediction: I don’t know if this will happen at the end of this book or in one of the later ones. But I’m leaning into my Hades vibes from Rhys. He’s going to give her something like Hades did to Persephone, that makes her have to go to his court for a set period time on a regular basis. And then she switches from loving Tamlin to Rhys.
Fire Night also reveals the two (Tamlin and Feyre) have feelings for each other. Again, serious Beauty and the Beast vibes been those two. She is distracted for a time by painting (something Tamlin gives Feyre like Beast gave Belle a library) then gets angry that her family just let her be taken by a beast. Who is and isn’t a beast as his animal side comes out a lot. Tamlin also grants her the ability to see the faerie realm as faerie see it.
Soon after Rhys appears and discovers Feyre. He reaches into her mind and finds out that she has very sexual thoughts about Tamlin. Then reveals those thoughts to Lucien and Tamlin. Before the two grovel for him not to tell Amarantha about her, whom Rhys is the sex slave of and both fae are terrified of. The blight is also revealed to be killing children of faeries in other courts. After Rhys leave, Feyre has sex with Tamlin in an attempt to get him not to send her back to the mortal realm.
While Tamlin is kind of predatory towards Feyre, I still don’t see anything completely horrible about him. He’s kind to her and genuinely cares about her. Also, Lucien… dude, you have a knack for slipping out when those two even so much as look at each other. I’ve actually found myself laughing out loud at bits… which I can’t think of another book that’s done that. So, at this point of reading I’m quite hooked and curious to find out what happens when Rhys goes back to Amarantha. Especially considering I know he ends up with Feyre and seemed to be aware that he would run into her at the Fire Night. So, there’s something more there. I don’t know what. But I’m hella curious.
So, Feyre leaves everyone calls her an idiot. And low and behold it was freaking Beauty and the Beast. If she had just told him she loved him, the curse would’ve broken and she could’ve stayed with Tamlin. Instead, she goes home like Belle does. While at home her oldest sister is revealed to have gone looking for her, as the glamour didn’t work on her. And we learn of her motives for everything… and she was completely redeemed in my eyes. She went from being hateful to a teenager acting out trying to get her dad to actually do something. And mad that Feyre was forced to take care of them. I don’t know, in one short chapter my opinion on her completely switched.
Realizes her love is in danger, then goes back. Instead of Gaston coming to kill the beast, Tamlin is now a slave to Amarantha Under the Hill. And instead of the Beast and Gaston fighting, Feyre accepts three trials of Amarantha. The first she manages to beat on her own using her hunting abilities but gets seriously injured.
And while before this section of reading, I thought Rhys would offer Feyre something in exchange to force her to come to his court… I didn’t literally think it would happen a few short chapters later. He agrees to heal her at the cost of one week a month in his court. Of which, he tattoos her arm then parades her in front of Tamlin. Then helps her beat the second task as she can’t read… ummm, let’s say while I don’t hate Tamlin yet. I have to give mad props to Rhys. Because I freaking love him.
And he’s not even that great of a guy. He did show mercy to one guy, and possibly lied to the Queen before doing so. And he has helped her so many times during the trials (like literally saving her life multiple times), and Tamlin has done nothing for Feyre. Other than being quiet… claps for you Tamlin. You do so much. Then again, Rhys has drugged her and made her give him laps dances when she’s blacked out drunk. But he also doesn’t take advantage of her during that either, just has her dance to make Tamlin crazy.
I don’t know. But I was freaking right they are Hades and Persephone.
Also, I’m pretty sure the answer to the riddle is love. I didn’t need the entire riddle to figure that out. Just the first line. But maybe, for some stupid reason, I’m wrong. But I doubt it since the entire curse and trial are about or because of love, it has to be the answer.
The last few chapters saw Feyre through the last trial. And her last time in the throne room being drugged by Rhys. She manages to steal a moment with Tamlin in the closet before Rhys interrupts them. I knew immediately he was protecting her. As he kissed her a second before the Queen entered, so the smudges in paint would appear to be caused by Rhys not Tamlin. Honestly, at that point I was fully jumped over to the Rhys x Feyre shipping group.
The next day is the final trial where she has to stab/kill three faeries. The last of whom is Tamlin. Though she stabs him, his heart is stone so he does not die. Amarantha laughs that she’s not freeing everyone from under the hill until maybe after Feyre’s death. Then proceeds to torture her to the point of death. But before she dies she answers the riddle, which I was right about. Then the next chapter sees her looking at things through Rhys’s eyes, as if her soul jumped to him. Now I don’t know anything about the mate bond that they briefly mentioned. But if I had to take a guess, her mate or whatever is Rhys.
Why else would her soul jump to his to linger until all the High Lords brought her back to life as a High Fae?
I have a feeling that’s going to come up along with her deal with Rhys in the next book. Which I’m excited to read.
I freaking loved this book, I read it in not even a day. Sure some parts are predictable, but I’m wondering if that was because I was exposed to some elements through TikTok that I’m getting that bias from. Or if it really was just that predictable. I mean it’s an altered version of Beauty and the Beast where Belle (Feyre) plays way more of an active role in breaking the curse. Rather than in the Disney movie. So, if you know that story you have a rough idea how the story will end. Granted there are some creative freedoms taken.
Though I instantly put the two together in my head, I didn’t think of that the blight was a curse by Amarantha that a human needed to state they loved the High Lord. Until Alis called Feyre stupid for leaving. I didn’t need her explanation at that point to know what the blight was. Since I knew it was following Beauty and the Beast plot to a tee at that point (more or less, less being throwing in Hades and Persephone story which I’m 100% for if it’s anything like their story).
If I were to give it a rating, I would give it 4.5/5. It’s a creative retelling of a classic and though predictable at points (where I’m knocking points) I couldn’t put the book down.
If you’ve read A Court of Thorns and Roses, what were your thoughts of the book? Also, please do not spoil the next books for me. I want to have some level of surprise.
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Wonderful review! I read ACOTAR and also the two next books. It is a great series. I love Rhys. Keep reading, it gets better ;).
I can’t wait for the next book. I’m curious if it’s going to fully switch to Hades/Persephone which I’m 100% or what they’re going to do with Tamlin/Feyre because I think that pretty much was dead in the water at the end of that book.
I can’t answer that without spoiling the fun. You will like the next book, that is all I can say ;).
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it Mae, and it was really fun to read your thoughts throughout the book! Great review 🙂
I enjoy these types of book reviews especially if there is a lot to say. Nice review!
Thank you so much!
Great review! I’ve got this on my tbr and am hopefully going to read it this year!
You totally should, I couldn’t put these books down.
Great review Mae! This is one of my favorite series and I’m happy to know you liked the first book❤
I read this one soooo long ago I had completely forgotten about the masquerade mask thing! I’m so glad you liked this one! I think the second was my favorite so I’m looking forward to reading that review too! I really wish I remembered what my thoughts had been on this one as I was reading it. I read it with the preconceived notion the second one was the only good one (and I kind of agree but I don’t remember a ton about the other ones.)
Yeah the masks are an interesting curse… I didn’t know the second one was the better one going in (though I completely agree, that’s probably my favorite book of the three), just that no one liked Tamlin after ACOTAR… and I get why. Even when reading the first book (and re-reading the series) Tamlin is more of a Gaston than the Beast.
Great post, was interesting hearing your thoughts as I’m yet to read this series
Thank you so much!