Tag: YA

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

This is the second book in the Sarah J. Maas trilogy that began with A Court of Thorns and Roses. (Click HERE to read my review.) If you haven’t read the first one and plan to, stop reading now! There will be a few little spoilers in this review.

Feyre, having survived Amarantha and Under the Mountain, has paid a huge price to save Tamlin’s life, as well as the lives of the entire Fae realm. Although she is now High Fae herself and has some strong faerie powers (although she has no idea how strong yet), she cannot forget what she had to do to save her new people. She also has her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court, to contend with. By the end of the novel, Feyre must decide what, and who, she wants, and if she is willing to harness her new powers to save the world again.

Even though I had been told that this book was even better than the first, I was hesitant, because sequels are just never as good. (Unless you’re Harry Potter.) I’m so glad I was wrong. Like A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury is slow to start, but after 100 pages or so (a drop in the bucket of an almost 700-page book) I couldn’t put it down. Just like the first book, I think this one is incorrectly categorized as YA, and if you like fantasy novels you’ll love this one. There are some formulaic plots going on here, but it doesn’t bother me. (We know we’re supposed to be rooting for Rhysand over Tamlin, we kind of know where it’s going end up, we just don’t know why. This novel really explores the why.) Formulas are fine if they’re done well, and Maas does a great job once again.

We get a lot more character development with Feyre, and a lot more with Rhysand. However, what’s different here from most other novels like this is that while we do have character development for both the female and male leads, their development is not dependent on each other. Whatever Feyre chooses to do with her powers and her future, you know she’s going to be making that decision by herself and for herself. Feyre is definitely not a princess in need of saving, and this book shows exactly why and how she can save herself, and not in an implausible way. This is what Disney princesses should be. (Without all the sexy bits.)

If you haven’t read this one, start now! The third book in the trilogy, A Court of Wings and Ruin, comes out May 2!

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

If you enjoy fantasy novels, have I got a series for you!

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first in a trilogy by Sarah J. Maas that is loosely based on the tales of Beauty and the Beast and Tam Lin. Feyre is 19-years-old and in charge of keeping her family (two sisters and father) fed and alive. While Feyre is out hunting, she kills a wolf in the woods who ends up being a faerie. Tamlin, a beastly creature, shows up and not so graciously gives her the option of being killed immediately for her actions or leaving her family forever to live with him. She chooses life. Things are not as they seem when Feyre arrives in the Fae world. The faeries aren’t all the monsters she grew up hearing about, and Tamlin might not be as beastly as she thinks. There is also a curse on the entire Fae realm that affects Tamlin, and will begin to affect Feyre as they realize she may be the only person to break the curse.

This is not usually the type of fantasy novel I go for. I do love fantasy, but more along the lines of Harry Potter and The Once and Future King. That being said, I really loved A Court of Thorns and Roses! The beginning is a little slow and heavy, but once the story gets going it is unputdownable, and I ignored my family for a good chunk of a weekend to finish it. The story is great and Maas really paints a clear, beautiful picture of everywhere Feyre goes: the bleak, cold village where she lives, the lush, extravagance of Tamlin’s lands, and a few other places I’ll leave out due to spoilers. The best part, though, is how Maas writes the characters. Often when a book is plot-heavy and action-packed, the characters are an afterthought. We read those books to find out what happens next, and the characters are simply vehicles for the author-chosen action. I don’t feel that way here. I was turning the pages to read more about the characters, as well as to find out what happens next, and I think that’s rare in this category. Feyre is a strong female leader and hero, and as you’ll find out, she doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do. She isn’t the simpering, meek female lead usually presenting in fantasy and romance novels. She can hold her own, and I genuinely like her. Maas really rounded out everyone, even the supporting characters, and I cared about what happened to all of them. Not every author can do that, but Maas can, and she does it well.

There is some cheesy writing, especially in the romantic scenes, but don’t let that put you off. Those bits are quick and don’t really detract from the rest of the story.

My one disclaimer here is about the novel’s categorization. The series is categorized as YA, but I really don’t think it is true YA, or was intended to be. Maas’s books seem to be categorized this way simply because they are fantasy novels, and as a way to increase readership. (And while I am in no way supportive of banning books or not letting kids read certain books, the sex scenes in this novel and its sequel are explicit enough that I would hesitate to hand them over to a kid.) I think this is kind of a shame, because there are plenty of adults who enjoy reading fantasy! (Raises both hands.)

The second book in the series is A Court of Misty and Fury, and the third and final, which will be released on May 2, 2017, is A Court of Wings and Ruin. I honestly can’t wait to find out how the story ends!