I’ve finally managed to read this book! It was about time! So now that everyone’s talking about A Court of Wings and Ruin, I’m going to talk about the first book, lol. Only there’s a slight problem… I felt a little bit let down, disappointed. Not saying that it’s a bad book but I have a lot of complicated and mixed feelings towards it.
It all began when I watched Beauty and The Beast for the first time (the original animated movie) a month ago and I fell in love with it. I was so obsessed that I went to watch the movie starring Emma Watson even though I had heard mixed reviews about it. Still loved it. I was on a Beauty and The Beast mode and so I needed more. I’ve heard a LOT about ACOTAR that I had in my list of 20 Series I Have Yet To Read. I had Sarah J. Maas’ series first in the list because wherever I went, I saw her name and how amazing her books were. The fandom is huge, there’s so much beautiful fanart and one of her series was a Beauty and The Beast retelling! Naturally, I got curious and I went ahead and picked it up immediately.
There are things I liked about this book but there are lots of others that I disliked. The plot, overall, was great (Beauty and The Beast, huh) and it was a fairly entertaining read, but nothing more. You shouldn’t go into it expecting a lot. Only 20-30% of the book is worth reading and still, contains lots of problematic things. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone right now but since there are many people saying that the second book is sooo much better, I’ll have to wait and see.
First of all, Feyre. If I was to sit with her, I’d probably just be like “Okay, Feyre. WHAT THE F?”. I’ve never been so struck with the inconsistency that came with her character. In fact, I think I’ve finally understood what’s “inconsistency in a character” thanks to her. Feyre is a hunter when it all started. She has been taking care of her family for years and so at first, she seemed to me like a really strong badass character BUT the second the Fae came visiting her aka Tamlin, she becomes stupid, clueless and irritating. I mean she does a stupid thing after another and another and doesn’t seem to think anything through. I understand that at the beginning she wasn’t really supposed to trust the people around her since it was a whole new environment for her but when it happens lots of times and Feyre keeps ending up doing things with bad consequences, that’s stupid! The Suriel literally told her to stay with the High Lord but the second he told her that she needed to go, she went anyways. Thank God for Nesta! I didn’t like her initially because she was kind of mean to her father. I still don’t understand why she treats so poorly her father by the way but her brain works and she has some agency, not like her sister. Feyre only does what everyone else tells her to do. There’s also another problem. She goes from hating Fae to loving them and back to hating them and of course, thanks to Sarah J. Maas’ writing, we get loads of paragraphs talking about the same thing over and over again. Which brings me to my next point: The writing (lol).
Okay, to be honest, being a non-native speaker, I tend not to pay much attention to the writing. If it’s too simple, it’s okay. If it’s too complex, it’s okay. Nearly everything is fine for me because (1) I can’t do better and (2) maybe the stucture, syntax or whatever can only be better judged by someone who really knows his grammar well (???). But the writing in this book? It’s not about this. Too many repetitions! It almost felt like the author was just trying to find words to add to make a sentence longer or more poetic or even just for fun. Examples?
There were many ideas that were repeated in several chapters and like… WE GET IT, okay? No need to say it 4 times. I really really loathed the writing and was extremely disappointed, especially in the first 60-70% of the book where it was so boring and so slow. My last fantasy read was “The Name of The Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss and oh my God, the difference in storytelling is appalling. I know that each author has his own style but like, I’m sorry, this is just downright bad. Yes, Sarah J. Maas has an attention for detail and she knows how to describe beautiful scenery at times but no, it doesn’t make it good because a book needs cohesion and needs structure. In Fantasy, we also need some more world building. Right? There wasn’t much discussion about the powers of the Fae or how they were “Fae” (if that makes any sense). When I was reading, it almost felt like I was reading about vampires, or any other creature wearing a mask as a matter of fact. We didn’t know how their magic worked and what was the difference between a High Fae and a normal Fae… I might be missing something/wrong, I don’t know, especially that I’m new to Fantasy so I didn’t really have a big problem with this point but still, it would’ve been better to stop adding unnecessary words and build a better setting. I think I should read the second book to have a final opinion because I see lots of people who said that “A Court of Thorns and Roses” might as well be a prequel although I don’t know when because I was really disappointed. I feel like Sarah J. Maas could do so much better, especially if she leaves the dashes alone a bit (too many!!).
Now Tamlin! Oh, man. His relationship with Feyre is very problematic and abusive. Tamlin isn’t aware of the word “consent” and likes to do anything he wants. He literally told her to lock herself in her room because otherwise he might not be able to control himself and he might rape her or do something really bad to her. In fact, when she went out (which was really stupid because, they explicitly told her NOT TO but that’s Feyre: stupid) and she encountered Tamlin, he bit her! So the next day she wore her clothes in a way that she let her bruise visible but no one did anything about it. Everyone just kept telling her that it was her fault because she didn’t follow the rules. Ugh! He’s the “Beast”, he’s the ruler, the High Lord so don’t you dare disagree with him basically. “Don’t ever disobey me again” says he.
There is lots of abuse in this book, and not just with Tamlin. There’s also Rhysand. He mocks her, abuses her and invades her privacy! I still can’t understand how there are couples that people ship in this book because seriously, at times, I almost have the impression that this book says: Rape is okay and abuse too, if you were wondering. Do bad boys have a free pass to abuse you sexually and treat you poorly?
But you know what’s worse? Feyre’s approval of all of this! She was grateful even! Can you imagine? Grateful because she was abused? Also, aside from this, I really don’t know when did Tamlin and Feyre connect and most importantly HOW. Is it just about the looks? Tamlin is really boring as a love interest and is *drum rooooll* ABUSIVE. I mean, he even made your dessert disappear, Feyre! That was another scene that I really didn’t like because how dare he? I know that he was worried she might fall sick but it again gave the impression that if he doesn’t approve of something, then it just won’t happen. I really couldn’t buy their romance at all. I think it was mainly physical anyways. Instalove! Just kept rolling my eyes at it in this book.
Amarantha, the evil woman in the book, I found her to be rather gentle. Too gentle. She gave the easiest tasks to free Tamlin and… Wasn’t it already too late? I do like her backstory though. The only character that caught my interest in this book was Lucien. I wish there were more parts about him in the book. I really liked him but the character was soooo not developed. In fact, I wish he was the main character. Well, unless he’d also do something as stupid as Rhysand because initially, I liked him too. But now? Nope. Also, I’m not sure how this can be a Beauty and The Beast retelling. The main reasons I loved Beauty and The Beast were: (1) books (2) we should see more than physical beauty (3) don’t settle for less than what you deserve. In ACOTAR we get very handsome “beasts” and Feyre settles for abuse and is happy about it…
Not a big fan, yup. I am still going to pick up the next book though, to see if it really gets better.
Let me know what you thought of the book! What are your most and least favorite characters? What did you think about Sarah J. Maas’ writing? And if you’ve read her other books, is it worth resuming the series? I’d love to know what you all think of this love triangle too. I find them quite annoying in books but what can I do?
I hope this wasn’t too long. I know I haven’t said anything (especially about the ending) but these are the main points that I had to talk about. I hope you’ll enjoy it! 😀 ❤
PS: Bear with me please, I’m sorry about the non-consistent posts but I’m still trying to survive finals! 😦