Phew, I am on a Fantasy reading spree this summer. I think my mania actually started last year with The Queen of the Tearling, The Name of the Wind, and Assassin’s Apprentice, and then I went absolutely crazy last month reading Fantasy stories back-to-back. The sad thing is that I actually haven’t finished any series yet (forget finishing, not even embarked on the second book of any series), I just seem to be kick starting a new bunch of these books but I have no idea if/when I”ll actually finish any of these series.
I do have this to say though. This is the first book from this lot of Fantasy, where I’ve rared to have a go at the second book in the series. And of course, tragically, that next book is coming out only next year 🙁 .
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it or doom Tamlin and his world forever.
~ Synopsis from goodreads
This book is a fabulous mash-up of various fairy tales – Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Tam lin. I am not very familiar with the Tam lin story, but a quick glance at the wiki page shows that the book takes several elements from there as well.
This mashup could have gone horribly wrong. I mean three totally different type of fairy tales in one book? But Maas makes it work and how, fashioning a very coherent and engrossing story.
The story takes place in a land that looks vaguely like England.
The main character Feyre is kick-ass. She’s a tough little girl who is incredibly loyal to boot. She works to the bone to provide for her lame father and lamer sisters. See the Cinderella connection there? Unfortunately one cold winter day, she kills a faerie in disguise, and to make up for that, she has to go stay in Tamlin’s castle to make up for the loss of his friend.
And well, what happens next is predictable. Tamlin and Feyre fall in love in true Beauty and the Beast mode. This part of the story didn’t have me rolling my eyes as much as I expected to. The love blossoming between the two is actually done fairly well, and I fell in love with Tamlin right along with Feyre.
But there are other characters in the book too. Tamlin’s sarcastic friend Lucien, a dangerous seeming Rhysand (both of whom I loved), and a truly evil queen Amarantha who come between Feyre and Tamlin’s happy ending.
The last third of the book kicks the action up a notch, and this is where the writing really comes into its own. While the romance was sweet, Maas truly excels in the action sequences. I loved the last third of the book where Tamlin and Feyre have to fight for their love, and to rid the realm of the evil queen’s rule. I loved these parts of the book.
What I didn’t love are the absolutely ridiculous masks the faeries wear. Wait what! Weaved into the plot is a ridiculous mask that all faeries need to wear. And frankly, that just didn’t work for me. I would have preferred the regular Beast story than a handsome man in a mask. I guess it’s because I feel you really need to see the person to fall in love with him, even if the face is that of a beast. Whereas if all you see is a man hidden behind that totally ridiculous-looking mask, it just feels like a silly pretend love game. Get what I mean?
I was also a bit surprised at some twists and turns in the end. I don’t want to give details but some parts of the story were a little surprising. These are done to set the stage for the next book, I guess. I liked these twists for the most part even if they seemed a little forced.
Overall, this was one helluva entertaining book that I enjoyed very much. I really look forward to reading the other books in the series. Some goodreads reviews have indicated this book is not as good as Maas’ other trilogy – The Throne of Glass series. If that is the case, I might just distract myself with these books till the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Stars comes out.
Have you read The Throne of Glass? What did you think of the series?
A note about the genre
Bloomsbury actually has it tagged as Young Adult. However, I think that it should possibly go in an older age bracket because of the steaminess of the romance, and a couple of other problematic tropes (such as the dominating faeries forcing Feyre to do some very questionable things).
Huge thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me this book for review consideration.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon