A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas can be split into two parts: Before Rhysand and After.

Before, the book is boring. It gathers what seems like every YA paranormal romance cliche that I strongly dislike and as a cherry on top, has an annoying heroine in the middle of it all. There is much whining, then pining, then some more whining.

More disappointing still is the fact that this book isn’t the promised Beauty and the Beast retelling. Sure, there is captivity and glorious books and I guess Lucien could be counted as a talking teapot solely due to the same level of commentary but… Honestly, it feels more like Cinderella romance than any other tale, particularly in the beginning. There just isn’t anything particularly beastly about Tamlin. (Creepy, maybe, but that’s a topic for the next book.) Yes, there is a deadly curse that needs to be broken, and yes, it does somewhat follow the tale as old as times but something is just… off. The vibe is wrong. Something is just… missing. Or maybe I’m just picky.

And then…

And then, Rhysand. Who, for all intents and purposes, is also a walking talking YA romance cliche: dark, handsome, mysterious. Probably tortured. Probably self-loathing. Clearly there for the romance and the drama, the triangular kind. However. What little dialogue he shares with Feyre is far more entertaining than any long conversations she’s ever had with Tamlin. Because Rhysand has personality. Depth. He is fun, to read and to read about. His motives may be glaringly obvious, but it is how he goes about them that truly captivates. And best of all, he brings out interesting sides in Feyre. Which, honestly, I did not expect because she isn’t exactly my fave. Rhysand makes the stuff that was boring Before interesting.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by S. J. Maas

All in all, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is the kind of paranormal romance that doesn’t really offer much new, except maybe being sexy on the level of New Adult rather than Young Adult. And it falls a bit flat with certain characters for me personally, but… Rhysand totally saves the day. Cauldron bless that fae.


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (ACOTAR #1)

A Court of Thorns and Roses #1

Published by Bloomsbury on May 7th 2015
Fae, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
This book contains mature content and may not be suitable for younger readers.

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The breathtaking start to a seductive high-fantasy from New York Times bestselling author of Throne of Glass series.

No mortal would dare venture beyond the borders of their world to Prythian, a forbidden kingdom of faeries. But Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill, and when she spots a deer being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. Killing the predator comes at a price though – her life, or her freedom.

Dragged to Prythian, 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, the faerie lands becomes an even more dangerous place.

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Also by the author: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn

When it comes to fairy tale retellings, what is most important to you? Loyalty to the original tale? The right vibe? Or something else entirely?


  1. Chiqui @ YA Lit Reads Reply

    LOL this book is EVERYWHERE or more specifically Rhysand is EVERYWHERE. Makes me curious to read it, if only for Rhysand lol!
    For me, retellings that are somewhat loyal to the original tale (like where it’s set in etc.) are plus points, but I do want to see that spin on a retelling. The Lunar Chronicles is one of the series that I often refer to when it comes to retellings because despite its flaws I really love the whole Cinderella/Little Red Riding Hood/Rapunzel/Snow White in SPACE thing, plus Cinder and Scarlet actually take place in the country their fairytale originated from. So yeah, a good mix of originality + which parts to stay loyal to makes me happy!

    • Rhysand is definitely a worthy reason to read this book, in my very unbiased opinion! Although, honestly, if I were to reread ACOTAR now that I’ve read the sequel and know what actually happens and why, I would probably give this book way more stars. So it’s not just Rhysand. (But do it for him anyway. He deserves it. Even if his ego is already big enough…)
      And I so agree about the Lunar Chronicles! I’m still not done with the series myself, but exactly as you’ve said, I really like the spins despite the flaws. For example, I didn’t like Cinder that much but where else can you get a fairy tale like this? And in space?! With cyborgs? Total win! And, indeed, the fact that it merges all those tales and heroines together is fantastic. I really need to get back to it some time soon…

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