A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J. Mass is a retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast but in the world of the fae. Feyre (the first of ridiculously named characters) and her family once had been rich merchants but her father had lost their fortune years ago, degrading him and his three daughters to a two-room cottage. While being forced to hunt for food, Feyre kills a faerie in his wolf form and gets taken from her family by another, to live in his kingdom as a punishment for murder. But the real reason for her presence in his court is something completely different.
The plot in the first two-thirds of the book is paced too slowly, only to become abruptly more exciting. The individual scenes were pretty well written but the transitions felt forced and not developed enough. The romance develops too soon and it kind of just happens, hinting that the unavoidable love triangle will be introduced in the next instalment and that’s basically the only cliff-hanger of the story.
The characters I found the most likeable were Lucien, Feyre’s captor Tamlin’s emissary and guard, who is a great comic-relief of the novel, and Rhysand (tip: the weirder the names of your characters, the harder it is to remember them), the High Lord of the Night Court, who’s tall, dark, handsome AND mysterious and I think I’ve developed a bit of a crush on him. I mean, who wouldn’t? But you have to ignore his mind-control powers.
What I did appreciate in Maas’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to tackle the topic of casual teenage sex. Although most YA writers avoid talking about it altogether or at least mention it briefly as a dedicated tribute to love. In this novel, we can see that the concept of lust and sex as result of it is presented in a way that perhaps is the most realistic, as a form of escape from the reality of poverty. But to be honest, the novel is basically softcore erotica, which is okay if that’s what you’re looking for.
Overall, it is an entertaining novel and I will definitely read the next one in the series, A court of mist and fury, but I would rather recommend reading the author’s other series, Throne of glass, which is much better in my opinion.