Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass – Book Review

Book: A Court of Thorns and Roses
(A Court of Thorns and Roses, book 1)
Author: Sarah J. Mass
Publication date: 5 May 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury


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.

Book review by Nadaness In Motion

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first instalment in a series of the same name by Sarah J. Mass. It's my first read for Mass. It might take me a while it pick something else by her, although I was planning to read Throne of Glass.

The beginning opens with Feyre hunting and then a scene with her family, both revealing her character. Feyre is harsh on the inside and because of her hard life, a useless father, two useless sisters, she's also created a prickly exterior (not literally). I actually liked her then but the beginning trailed too long and I started getting bored. I wanted "the action", which came in quite late.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is narrated from the first person perspective of Feyre, the youngest of three with a broken father, and whose mother passed away without offering her a chance of education. Feyre has learnt to survive and taught herself to hunt. One day in the forest, she is tracking a deer but instead finds a wolf following the same deer. She kills both but the wolf isn't what it appears and Feyre is now indebted to the High Fae of Prythian.

"We need hope as much as we need bread and meat," he interrupted, his eyes clear for a rare moment. "We need hope, or else we cannot endure. So let her keep this hope, Feyre. Let her imagine a better life. A better world."
"There is no such thing."

While there was some fresh imagery in the book, there were A LOT of repeated images. I liked the "tore me to ribbons" image, and thought it was creative, but it was used once per chapter for six chapters! That's just overkill. The word 'feral' was used 17 times in the book. 17 times! I mean the English language must have some other words to replace this.

These are the most notable examples of repetition that really bugged me in the book. They also made me feel like I was not progressing. Didn't I read this before?

Despite never seeing fae in her life, Feyre is able to determine who is high fae and who isn't, which didn't appear logic to me.

Image via the Throne of Glass blog

There is a bit of a Beauty and the Beast theme in there. Although Tamlin, the masked High Fae, is not entirely a beast. He's actually more likeable than Feyre. The romance in the book is ok.

Even though we see Feyre as selfless with her family, when she meets Tamlin, she becomes selfish in her selflessness. I liked her varying character traits. In the end, her fight and strength are admirable.

Her thoughts and the endless repetition of the need to go back home after being sent to live with the fae are tiresome and could be trimmed down, though. 

His eyes became clearer and bolder than I'd seen them in years. "You were always too good for here, Feyre. Too good for us, too good for everyone." He squeezed my hands. "If you ever escape, ever convince them that you've paid the debt, don't return."

Feyre has an oversized inferiority complex. Despite that, she's a strong but emotionless and harsh character. Her development is slow but there. I loved Tamlin and Lucien. We also meet Rhysand, the trickster Highlord of the Night Court, who is set to appear in future books. I liked and disliked him at the same time. A kind of Snape character with a wry sense of selfishness and humour.

I felt that A Court of Thorns and Roses went on and on and on. I'd read several pages and then check the percentage completed and I'd find I haven't progressed much. The novel took a while to unfold to get to the important and interesting parts. Even towards the end, I felt that Mass had strained certain parts beyond the limit. The book was at an important turning point and the events needed to move faster.

I did like, however, how Mass kept throwing problems in Feyre's way. Testing her to very last breath.

I think I might have had higher hopes for this book. The length didn't help. When I checked book 2 and realised it was over 600 pages long, I was totally put off.  

Overall, I felt that A Court of Thorns and Roses could have been better. As I read books, I try to learn from them. I learnt the cost of repetition. I totally docked one star off my review for that.

Overall rating: 3 stars

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