Well summer is officially here. My classes are done and major work projects wrapped up. The last few weeks were intense, with finals going straight into wrapping up a major freelance assignment. I was on my beloved Macbook hours each day, and I finally reached the point where I couldn’t look at the screen anymore. So I took this past weekend off for the most part and just chilled.
I was in the mood for some YA, and I went to Target on Friday and splurged on some new books and other items that you convince yourself you need on a double payday. One of those was Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, which just came out on May 5, 2015. I barely looked at the jacket description, just eager to take a chance. That’s probably a good thing since I don’t normally go for YA fantasy (or fantasy in general, really), but since I’m working my way through A Song of Ice and Fire I’m a big more openminded. In any case, the jacket promised a “fiery passion,” and I was all about it.
And wow, I basically just checked out and binge read the novel in two days.
This book was entertaining to be sure. Overall I do think it was quite captivating. I binge read it in 48 hours, and man those pages did not flip fast enough. I was in a reading rut with nothing really grabbing me–and honestly in a bit of a crisis since in about a month I’ll need to submit my summer reading list to the Swarthmorean and I’m scrambling for titles–and this is going to launch me into nonstop reading. The romance was hot (definitely confirming that I won’t give this to my teen niece), and I appreciated that the world felt half-familiar in a fairy tale kind of way, but half-fictional. It was an interesting twist that in some ways some of the language felt updated to the 21st century.
But there were a few things that seemed off to me.
For one, I never quite believed Feyre. Feyre’s decisions were at times incredulous, and in some instances she does things (like try to escape to go back to a family she seems to have no connection to other than an all-too-convenient dying wish) or doesn’t do things (like SPOILER: not say some crucial words) and I don’t feel she really believes in her motivation enough to justify her actions. I guess essentially I had a hard time believing Feyre when she felt strongly about some things, and then other times was left shouting at the book when she didn’t act on something in a believable way. The conversation with Alis where Alis reveals the real reason Feyre is there seemed a bit too neat, and she seemed to take it as a given.
I thought the back story with the Fey and the mortals was underdeveloped and written to fit conventions in YA fiction today (does every YA fantasy need a resistance and class conflict? Does it fit naturally within the story or is it just plopped in to grab people whose read-a-likes are as vague as, “Something like the Hunger Games“) without achieving much originality or depth. The conflict between faeries and mortals was thinly drawn at best. I just couldn’t believe in why they were so apart. It was confusing that there were so many kinds of faeries. Wouldn’t it have been easier just to have all of the types of faeries (High Fey. Attor, Puca, etc) different species? Because if they are all faeries, what genetic patterns do they share? Is it just a synonym for non-mortals? Weird!
Far more disturbing to me were the animal masks. It seemed so unnecessary even when you discover the reason behind it and bizarre that eventually I stopped picturing the Spring people with them on. But Feyre didn’t seem to care at all, whereas it would have creeped me the hell out. You’re not concerned that you’re banging a man wearing a costume, Feyre? Have you seen Eyes Wide Shut??
Also, “glamour”? Really? I guess I did get a good chuckle out of reading that word, though it seemed so over the top and like an afterthought.
Overall this is more like a 3 at best, but I’m bumping it up to a 4 because it was addictive, delicious, and totally took me away from the end to a busy semester and guided me to a summer of awesome YA new releases. Plus it made me reconsider my hesitancy towards fantasy.