Ok so I warned you that I’d be reviewing about fifty Beauty and the Beast knockoffs. I mean that in a loving way, Sarah J Maas–I’ve been looking forward to your novel–A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Feyre lives in a cottage in the woods with her pretty useless dad and 2 older useless sisters. Because of a promise to her (dead) useless mother, and a crippling sense of duty, Feyre spends most of her time Katniss-style, shooting stuff in the woods with arrows.
Not too far from her home looms the wall separating the humans and the fairies. Fairies around these parts are nasty, scary, magical beings that you do not want to play with. When Feyre shoots a wolf in the woods that evening, she tries to tell herself it’s just a wolf, not a fairy in disguise, even though she purposefully uses an ash arrow (their only weakness).
Unsurprisingly for plot purposes, the wolf was a fairy. When a frightening beast creature comes to claim her life, Feyre must choose between her death or living forever with him on his estate. Grudgingly she chooses to leave her life of drudgery with her horrible, ungrateful family and follow the beastie into the woods.
When they arrive at his estate Feyre’s beastie turns into a beautiful dude wearing a mask. His name is Tamlin, and he and the rest of his court were cursed at a party that has left them all wearing their masks permanently. Feyre’s only role in her new home apparently is to eat a lot of food and dress nicely.
I can understand not wanting to live forever in a magical world where everything can kill you, your host is prone to fits of rage, and you’re bored out of your mind–but I don’t understand Feyre’s longing to return to her family. They really sucked. Eat some more tarts and go pet your horse Feyre, this is as good as it’s going to get for you.
Tamlin is determinedly close-mouthed about what’s wrong with the fairies, why he is wearing a mask all the time, and why Feyre can never return home. Despite the fact that Feyre is there for murdering one of his buddies, he’s pretty pleasant to her. We all know where this is headed but I feel like the author rushes it. One moment Feyre is raging about being trapped with rude horrible fairies and the next she’s skinnydipping with one. Nothing really happens in the interim that makes that feel natural. For instance, no one builds Feyre a gorgeous library because she’s illiterate (FINALLY FINALLY an illiterate character, I was literally just pining for one two posts ago).
However, even if the transition is worked a bit awkwardly, Tamlin and Feyre are coyly flirting all over the place before you know it. But the bad fairies keep encroaching on Tamlin’s territories and something bad is clearly going on–though no one will explain it to Feyre. After a particularly bad event, Tamlin decides to ship Feyre back to human-land.
When Tamlin took her, he brainwashed her family into thinking she was caring for their aunt, and also reinstated all their former wealth. Despite all her earlier bitching about missing her family, Feyre is only back a day before she’s complaining about being with them.
Finally getting wise to the overarching plot of her storyline, Feyre realizes that by leaving Tamlin she left him in danger. She finds her way back to his estate only to find it abandoned. One of the servants explains to her the fairy curse, why Tamlin brought her there, and where he is now.
Let me take a moment to tell you HOW specific this fairy curse is. Like, if someone put a curse on my husband that only a stretch-marked thirty-year old with hip dysplasia, a dachshund, and a dinosaur tattoo could break.
Anyway, despite being told it’s hopeless, Feyre finds the Queen of Bad Fairies (not her real name) and makes a deal to rescue Tamlin. He’ll be freed if she can complete 3 trials set before her OR by answering a riddle the Queen gives her. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I will just say–the riddle is pretty obvious. Like even for me and I suck at riddles.
Despite some plot pain points I’ve mentioned above, I really enjoyed this twist on Beauty and the Beast. Supposedly it’s going to be a series, but it is able to stand on it’s own as well.