Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Reviewed by Ronelle

When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, she never expected it would change her life forever. That same night, a beast-like creature bursts into her home and demands retribution for it. He gives her a choice: join him in the treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends or die. At her family’s terrified urging, Feyre chooses life and exile, soon discovering that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate and they spend more time together, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s even been given about the Fae. But lurking on the borders of Tamlin’s lands is an ancient, wicked shadow and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

***

Oh. My. God. This book was…it’s…wow.

No, seriously. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a bestseller for a reason. I won’t lie to you, though when I saw that it was marketed for fans of George RR Martin, I almost skipped it. I’m honestly sick to death of everything being compared to Game of Thrones and I could slap the next person in my office whose cellphone blares out that theme song…*deep breath* Jennifer Ikeda was the perfect choice of narrator to bring this beautiful, heartbreaking story to life and I’m beyond glad I chose the audio version of this book.

A Court of Thorns and Roses has strong parallels to Beauty and the Beast (a beast, a curse, and a girl to break it), although I wouldn’t call it a retelling per say; there were enough fresh spins and unique additions to make this its own creature. Definitely don’t go in with the expectation of singing candelabra and dancing teacups—you’ll either be sorely disappointed or possibly a little traumatized. The world of Prythian was unique, full of vivid characters and complex plot twists. The pace didn’t start out slow, exactly, but it definitely picked up speed as it went along. And oh, all the feels were present. I bawled like a baby, laughed my as off, and cheered by turns, and if I wasn’t wearing acrylic nails, I’d probably have chewed mine to the quick during the last third of the book.

Ms. Maas’ characters were FANTASTIC. Feyre turned out to be a badass, ballsy yet wonderfully human heroine, and her love, honor, and loyalty were fierce. She was relatable and inspiring, and watching her hold her own among the fae kept me listening for hours on end. Tamlin was everything a High Lord of the Fae should be: powerful, distant, kinda scary, beyond beautiful, and definitely not human. However, it wasn’t hard to grow attached to him, especially seeing his interactions with Lucian, the sacrifices he made for his court, and the efforts he made with Feyre. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure a romance would develop in this first book or that if it did, we’d be left hanging right as things got good, but Ms. Maas delivered on that front and it was so, so worth the wait. I won’t spoil it for you, but just know that things do get pretty steamy in all the best ways. I also have a sneaking suspicion that said romance is going to get reeeeally complicated in the next book. As for supporting characters, at least one of whom I suspect will be a major player in book 2, they played their parts well and added even more depth, intrigue, and interest to an already complex tale.

Jennifer Ikeda was a narrative rockstar here. Her voice kept to the perfect pace and she made it easy to distinguish characters without overdramatizing them. She conveyed the emotions flawlessly and made it so you really feel what’s happening. The audio quality was professional, with no distracting background intrusions, volume changes, or narrator-created noises. I will definitely be looking for more by this narrator and in fact, I’ve already started listening to her reading of book 2.

Bottom line: If you’re a lover of fantasy romance, but don’t want the romance to overpower the other elements, then go read this book already. Or listen to it, as Ms. Ikeda was an excellent narrator.

Rating: A+

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah J Maas
Narratated by: Jennifer Ikeda
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

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