A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. The main girl is supposed to fall in love with her captor…bla bla bla.
I get it.
But what I didn’t understand was Feyre’s sudden transition from being a faerie-hating, ungrateful, arrogant girl to a passionately loving, self-sacrificing martyr.
In the first 60% of A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre spent being angry at Tamlin for taking her away from her abusive family and giving her every luxury she could possibly want… because of some sort of vague promise to her mother? What?
And then, just when Tamlin began showing sexual predatory behavior, she was suddenly desperately in love with Tamlin? Logic.
Or is it Stockholm Syndrome I smell?
A Court of Thorns and Roses Review
The Main Characters
The amount of times Feyre acted like a plain stupid person took away my enjoyment greatly.
Everytime someone told her not to do something (because it was considered dangerous even for the immortal, magical Faes) she would just rush at it immediately and do it anyway. The Suriel and Naga, leaving her home even after told not to during the magical mating thing (or whatever), the three lesser faes who tried to rape her – these are just some examples of Feyre’s hotheaded naivette.
Tamlin was a boring dude-bro with the personality of a twig.
Cherry on top- later he started showing rape-y behaviour towards Feyre. Really, why did Feyre fall in love with him again? Oh, because he’s hot.
How is this A Court of Thorns and Roses a beauty and the beast retelling then? When the main theme of that timeless story was that appearances mean nothing when you have a good heart? It seems this series is the exact opposite of that message. Because everyone looks good but has no substance.
And also, did Tamlin and Lucien have no other tasks other than to just show Feyre around?
They spent a great deal of time just being a host to her when she was supposed to be a prisoner. But even if I can get past that – that they were nice to her because of the curse – I don’t understand why Feyre was so mad whenever they couldn’t give her time.
Girl, you’re a priosner! Not a princess!
And these are High faes and High Lords? Not your attendants!
I guess, I really disliked Feyre’s entitled behavior. In the later books it just got worse and worse.
Amarantha as a villain wasn’t formidable enough, not when she thought that riddle was enough of a barrier between her and her dismantling. She acted and talked more like a mean girl-ish, silly teenager than the evil, scheming, ancient villainess that the book made her out to be.
Also, she didn’t see through a certain character’s acts? Must feel good to be so trusting of someone whose power you took away. Amarantha was probably the most laughable, dumb villainess I’ve seen in a story.
Why did she give Feyre the tasks anyway? That serves no purpose other than being there for lazy plot development. It’s inconsistent with the villainess’s character and inconsistent with the plot.
This story invoked no feelings in me. Everything was just a swirl of meh. I did not love anyone, did not loathe anyone.
Oh no, wait…I did hate Feyre.
The only characters I found mildly interesting were Rhysand and Lucien. But soon enough in the later books in this abominable series- even Rhysand lost his appeal completely.
What about Feyre’s family? I refuse to believe that they are real characters, especially Elain. They seemed like shells of people just to let the readers know how pathetic Feyre’s life was at her home. Still the amount of time she spent spitting at Tamlin for taking her away and releasing her from the responsibility of taking care of the family that she didn’t like baffles me!
My Main Gripe With A Court of Thorns and Roses
In the pretense of being strong, confident and cool – all the main characters show extremely narcissistic, entitled, abusive, and violent behavior that is not easy to catch.
Unlikable characters in any story is never a problem WHEN the reader knows that they’re supposed to be unlikable and morally gray.
But the problem is – Sarah J Maas shows this type of behavior in a positive light.
She makes the main characters behave in ways that are not commendable and then praises them for it. It’s subtle. So that readers (especially young readers) can’t really distinguish the bad from the good.
I myself had a hard time pin-pointing the reasons the characters in these books didn’t sit well with me. But, now I’m really, really uncomfortable thinking that even kids of age 11-14 read this story and they might think this sort of behabior is okay!
I didn’t even enjoy the writing style at all. SJM repeats the same adjectives too many times, even in the same page, some sentences apart. Even a good phrase loses its appeal if used more than once and so frequently.
And do I even need to start with the ellipses and m-dashes?
Also, Why can’t Feyre finish a single one of her thoughts? Is there some kind of block on her mind? Why do all her internal thoughts end in a series of ellipses?
I can’t help but roll my eyes at the dramatics of this whole series. Every description is exaggerated and heightened to the point of ridiculousness.
Everything is melodramatic.
Is that what you call a plot? Where do I begin with the ridiculous string of convenience after convenience that pretends to be a plot but fools no one?
The entirety of A Court of Thorns and Roses is so focused on forcing a romance down the throat of the readers that everything else fades into background.
Telling instead of showing. Info dumping. Uneven pacing. Any bad technique you can think of- it’s there. Even the development of the romance is out of the blue and seems more like lust than love.
Nothing happens in the first 60% of the book and then the whole world building, or what passes for it, is dumped onto the readers in a stream of monologue by a minor character. And that monologue is like 6 pages!
I also have an issue with how quickly Feyre reaches Under the Mountain at the end. That place is halfway around the whole freaking world – consult the map if you don’t belive me- and Feyre just goes under ONE tunnel and suddenly she is in her destined place. Do you know how to teleport yourself sister?
And if you tell me the ending isn’t a total cop out, and very, very twilight-y, I’ll say- read it again.
The Only Thing I Liked about A Court of Thorns and Roses
The first two tasks Amarantha gives Feyre are pretty cool. Especially how she kills that giant worm – that was the only time Feyre shows an ounce of intelligence and I admit, it’s pretty badass.
Rhysand – at least in this first book – is an interesting character because at first we didn’t know his motives.
I know this series gets a lot of love. I know people will tell me to read the later books.
But here’s the thing – I did read the later books and found them just as ridiculous, strewn with even more annoying characters and their earth-quake inducing sex, and their entitled and violent behavior. They too, were logicless and substanceless.
At the end of the day, I think this whole series is the most overrated series I have and probably I will encounter in my life. And this isn’t even YA to begin with. This is a fantasy erotica that has no business showing its face in the YA section of bookshops.
But, tell that to the marketing department.
Looking for more great reviews?
Check out my review of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.