“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”
Honestly, the thought of writing this review was really daunting. A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of my favorite books of all time, and the ACOTAR series is my favorite series of all time aside from Harry Potter. This book inspired me in all ways, especially in regards to my own book. I read Sarah J. Maas’ books when I was going through a hard time in high school and was suffering from anxiety and depression. I even took ACOTAR with me to my college orientation to calm the anxiety I was feeling. Basically I owe these books and this gorgeous author a whole lot and I wanted to write a review that truly did it justice.
Spoilers below 🙂
Just everything about this book is gorgeous. The cover, map and thorns on the chapter pages are gorgeous and I wish all books were so beautiful omg. The first chapter is compelling, beautifully written and sets the stage perfectly. It gives little snippets and just makes you crave more. I remember reading the sampler for ACOTAR and I thought I was going to die waiting for the full book to come out!!
Lets talk about SJMs writing style. Now, I had previously read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire, and I thought I couldn’t possibly like another series again after TOG and Harry Potter. But I immediately fell in love and her writing style is a huge part of that. It’s elegant, poetic, and the dialogue is to die for. Her quotes are to die for, and I would gladly have any of them tattooed all over my body.
The plot slowly builds up over time, piecing together more and more information but always needing, wanting more. It’s like a puzzle that you don’t even know you’re doing. The world builds and builds and there’s still so much more I want to know! I also love how the romance builds up over time and when they finally do it it’s like HELL YEAH and the sexual tension throughout just gahhhh such a turn on. Truly a steamy book. Not to mention the stakes are so high throughout. Like everything just comes to this intense climax and it’s insane. She wrote the trials so well and just everything that happens to Feyre (and all the other characters) is so heartbreaking, but plausible since the stakes are so high.
Ok I talk about all the characters down below, but lemme talk about Nesta and Elain for a minute. I don’t love Nesta and am kind of neutral about Elain, but I think they are super interesting characters. I like how Nesta and Elain change upon Feyre’s return, but at the same time they don’t. We just see another side of them and I just find that really interesting. Poverty and hate changed them. I love Feyre’s comment about how Elain was nothing but kind, even when they were impoverished, and she says “And I know which one of us had been stronger.” It’s also important to mention how Feyre develops in the story. It’s hard for authors to really show character development in the first book, but Feyre definitely changes. All of the characters are so different and unique and really have their own fleshed out personalities.
Guys. The villain in this story is SO good. She has a sad backstory, but she’s also just a complete bitch and doesn’t give a damn. She loves cruelty and being the villain and I just?? Love that?? Holy fuck Amarantha is so scary. I literally think I would pee my pants if I saw her.
In short, this book is just perfection. I love everything about it and I never wanted it to end. I could only read books set in this world for the rest of my life and I would die happy like for real love love love. I cannot WAIT for A Court of Wings and Ruin and I’m probably just going to bawl my eyes out the whole time because this series is ending and I don’t want to let it go.
– the super sexy scene between Tam and Feyre after Calamai where he bites her neck and is like “I would have had you moaning my name throughout it all. And I would have taken a very, very long time, Feyre” LIKE JESUS CHRIST WHAT SO HOT (p. 196)
– Feyre calling Tamlin and Lucien “Faerie pigs” and literally spent hours painting little portraits of them with pigs’ features. She named one of the paintings “Two faerie pigs wallowing in their own filth” IM SOBBING (p. 200)
– Feyre getting drunk on faerie wine, dancing and saying that she’s going to paint Lucien and also Tamlin playing the fiddle for her while she dances like WTF SO CUTE HE PLAYS THE FIDDLE probs good with those fingers amirite mmmmhummmm 😉
– Feyre and Tamlin swimming in the pool of starlight p.162
– Feyre catching Tamlin in the Suriel’s trap and him writing her dirty limericks to help her learn new worlds SO CUTE I’M CRYING and makes her laugh for the first time (p. 174)
– Just every scene under the mountain like it was actually exhausting to read and so well written. I could actually feel the fear and hopelessness. Feyre’s torture scene was so intense and emotionally powerful wowow. And Tamlin holding her broken body gah like ok I’m sobbing.
– puts up with sisters even though they are hella annoying. does everything without complain and really respect that and everything she did for her family ALONE. Love seeing a hardened female. Feyre isn’t just tough, her heart is tough to protect from damage.
– her main thoughts are always of others first, herself second. Especially regarding Tamlin, her family, sisters and Lucien.
– she mouthes off and doesn’t apologize for it haha
– love how she always follows her warrior instinct. She doesn’t think, she just reacts. As a compulsive over thinker I can really appreciate that.
– Feyre does have shortcomings, acknowledges them, and reacts accordingly. She is not perfect.
– love how she likes to paint/look at other paintings GIRL I RELATE SO MUCH
– she never just accepts her fate. constantly tries to leave, constantly tries to get Lucien to get Tamlin to let her go, doesn’t stop fighting back against fey creatures or rapists, and thats why I found the ending so powerful. When she’s under the mountain, she literally gives up. she stops fighting, breaks, and Rhys helps hold the scraps of her together as he holds scraps of himself together. gah just love so much.
– SHE IS SO STRONG literally gets beaten half to death by faeries, faces a giant worm, almost dies of blunt, heated spikes cuz she can’t read and almost watches her friend die with her, is subjected to ridicule, she was drugged and humiliated night after night at the hands of Rhys, AND SHE NEVER GIVES UP. She fights until the very last second even when shes broken and doesn’t think she can do it anymore she does.
– Tamlin’s first concern when Feyre got to the house was that she eat enough. He was worried about her STARVING
– never treated her as a slave
– Tamlin is so cute. He went through all that pain, suffering and learns feyre kills his friend, one of his own men, and he tries one to compliment her. like that just breaks my heart.
– feyre is literally so rude to him and all he does is take it.
– he doesn’t try to hide anything from her. he literally cannot tell her stuff.
– he tries to help her learn to read without being condescending , and he writes adorable smutty limericks to help her learn and pronounce the words she didn’t know
– super cute scene in the pool of starlight, the art gallery, laying in the meadow, etc
– keeps a painting that feyre did of the woods of her own life because it was part of her life
– he plays the fiddle? literally so adorable. that scene where he plays the fiddle and dances with feyre is just GAH
– tamlin says please to Rhysand, basically willing to make a deal with him if he doesn’t harm Feyre. Literally grovels on the floor to protect her.
– doesn’t resent feyre for not saying I love you back. he just lets her go.
– lets review: Tamlin knew Amarantha before, his fam tied to Hybern. The King of Hybern. The horrible, terrifying king and Tamlin knew him as a child.
– Whole family kept slaves so he’s against slavery and has so much shame from his family BECAUSE HE AND I QUOTE “he’d somehow know what it was to be enslaved”
– lets go back to his relationship with Lucien for a minute: K so obviously Tamlin is lonely, has sentries or whatever but wants friends. So he knows Lucien and names him emissary after three of his brothers tried to KILL him so he saves Lucien basically because he knows Lucien is a good person and knows what pain he was in at the autumn court. HE SAVES LUCIENS LIFE and protects him to this day from his father and brothers.
– so yeah he sends his friend to Amarantha, thinking he might be able to make peace. thought Lucien would be better at talking than him that was the only reason why he sent Lucien instead of going himself.
– Ok so Tamlin has a stoney face right like even when Feyre, the women he loves, is beaten, forced to go through trials and is drugged and humiliated by Rhysand, Tamlin DOES NOT REACT. He has so much control and will not put others in danger simply because he cannot reign in his emotions. Obv this doesn’t mean he’s not feeling anything but yeah. How many horrors has he seen that makes him remain so calm and collected, even when inside he is suffering? (Ok so keep that in mind, nothing gets a reaction out of him but what happens when he sees Lucien’s face? He throws up. Tamlin vomits at the sign of his friend’s face. Think about how bad it had to be for that to happen. So yeah.)
So after the curse, Tamlin sends his men, his friends, out across the wall every day. He had to pick who went out across the wall. He had to change them into animals so they would be easier to kill. Imagine doing this to people you love, asking them to die for you. Knowing they want to die for you so the curse will break. Think about how much that weighs on your soul.
eventually it becomes too much, and he calls it off. he just gives up and does the best he can to protect his people.
– hides alis and her boys despite amaranthas wrath.
– not only that, but even if he did get a human to kill his men, he thought bringing her across the wall would be slavery and he just couldn’t do that.
– he sacrifices his ENTIRE COURT for Feyre to be free. Doesn’t matter that there were only three days left and he could have asked her to stay until the last minute to see if she would say she loved him. He put her life first, before his, before his court, and let them take his court, his family, under the mountain to be enslaved. all he cared about was feyres safety, so don’t you dare tell me he didn’t care about her or is selfish.
– amarantha never punishes Tamlin but punishes the people around him, which is worse. thats why he never rebelled or pushed or tried to get feyre except that one time when rhysand saves them.
literally watches as amarantha breaks every bone in feyre’s body, tortures her, brings her back and tortures her again because he doesn’t have enough power to heal himself he is utterly helpless and too late, because feyre dies ugh just heartbreaking.
– definitely have mixed feelings on Lucien as a person, but I absolutely adore his character.
– actually a totally asshole bc very very damaged on the inside
– lets Tamlin boss him around because he needs stability. Just wants someone to take control in his life.
– he’s weak. he’s a coward. but it’s because he doesn’t want to be hurt anymore. plus it makes him different from all the other characters in sjm books. all of her males are pretty damaged, but they’re super strong and have hard outsides with soft insides, but Lucien just wraps himself in sarcasm and bitterness and on the inside he’s crumbling. I just find that SO fascinating and compelling compared to her other male characters. Not everyone deals with pain/fear/stress/loss the same way. Not everyone can be stronger from it. And that’s ok. Everyone is different and there is always room for change and improving yourself for the better and I’m excited to see where Lucien’s character goes because he has a LOT to make up for, and I believe he can do it. He has a good heart, it’s just buried very deep inside that weak, asshole exterior.
– HIM AND FEYRE ARE NOT SIMILAR OK like yes they went through traumatic experiences but Feyre refuses to be weak. To let people push her for too long because she knows how damaging it is. Yes, Rhys helped her get out and gave her somewhere to go (as Lucien has no where to go) but Lucien just lets it happen. He half asses fighting back against Tamlin because he will always crave Tam’s stability and dominance. And I’m just not going to compare that to Feyre, who suffered so much because of her bravery and did everything she could to save herself.
I get why he stands by Tam. Tamlin gave him somewhere to go when he had nowhere and gave him a family, a friend. I think if he would have pushed back against Tamlin more (and if Feyre did too) Tamlin might have seen the problems of his ways in later books. But more on that later.
Lucien doesn’t not fight back against Tamlin because Tamlin abuses him. HE DOESN’T FIGHT WITH TAMLIN BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO. Please just admit that he’s a weak character. That’s ok!!! He’s a real person, and real people have flaws and make mistakes. So just see him for what he is and stop blaming everything on Tamlin thank.
– HE HAS SO MUCH ROOM FOR GREAT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND I AM SUCH A SLUT FOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
– he intends well, but doesn’t always do the right thing, both intentionally and unintentionally.
– he’s scared to lose even more than he already has
– he gets angry, bitter and I just appreciate that a lot. he’s real. not all guys are perfect like Tamlin or Rhys.
– Lucien is a total dick to Feyre at first because he watched as Tamlin fell apart and Feyre just reminds him of everything that happened with Amarantha and the curse and how much he’s lost and is going to lose and I just really get that.
– THE ULTIMATE THIRD WHEEL LOLZ
– very damaged, very hurt. needs love. protect at all costs.
– actually tries to answer Feyres questions
– probably is repeatedly made fun of for being ugly by the other high fae.
– list of good things Lucien has done:
1. told Feyre about the Suriel
2. forced her and Tamlin to hang out
3. awkwardly third wheeled all of their dates
4. made sure Tamlin didn’t rape her on Calamnai
5. gives Feyre her first weapon in faerie: a knife
6. glamours Feyre to protect her from Rhys so Tamlin can save his strength in case he needs to fight Rhys
7. calls Feyre his betrothed to protect her from Rhys JUST TAKE A SECOND AND IMAGINE HOW 8. FUCKING MUCH THAT WOULD HAVE HURT HIM. JUST. IMAGINE.
9. comes and heals Feyre after she’s beaten and makes sure she isn’t in too much pain
10. throws Tamlin the sword to pin Amarantha in place
11. tells Feyre where the wyrm is and gets whipped FRIENDLY REMINDER: every time he rebels against Amarantha he’s risking everything INCLUDING THE ONLY EYE HE HAS LEFT
SO YEAH THIS BOOK IS MY WHOLE HEART AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ IT IMMEDIATELY SO YEAH. Sarah deserves the world and I’m so happy for all the success she has. She truly deserves everything and gah my heart is just so happy for her ❤