- First published in 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
- Format: Paperback
- Reading Time: 5 worthwhile days
- Reading this as part of the GirlXOXO’s Monthly Motifs Reading Challenge. This month’s challenge is to read a book by an author that’s new to you. I’ve never read anything by Sarah J Maas, believe it or not, and this fulfils the bonus criteria of being on my TBR for more than a year so I’d better get this read. This book is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and follows Feyre, whose once-prosperous family has fallen on hard times and must hunt for game in the woods to make sure they eat. One day, she kills a beast from the faerie land of Prythian and, as punishment, must be dragged into the faerie land beyond the wall to be imprisoned for the rest of her days. Feyre is distraught at being separated from her (admittedly awful) family but, over time, she finds that staying in opulence and with a High Fae Lord who, despite the permanent mask, is very easy on the eyes might not be so bad. Her pleasant new life is, however, threatened by an ancient curse and an evil that can never be spoken of.
- Effectively follows the usual story of Beauty and the Beast in the broad strokes. The author gives themselves enough room for originality and gives us a few twists on the usual faerie tropes. That said, some of the irritating cliches are very present, such as the heroine wandering off when she’s explicitly told it’s dangerous to do so.
- Well done romance, given the source material. I always find the romance between the ‘beauty’ and the ‘beast’ to be a bit disturbing as it involves a fair amount of Stockholm Syndrome to work but this take on it is done pretty well. Tamlin doesn’t seem to have a choice in abducting her and the biggest obstacle they have to overcome is Feyre’s own prejudices.
- Amazing world building throughout the book. The faerie world is slowly revealed as glamours are stripped away and the history of Prythian slowly unfold as time goes on. The book gives us a brief outline of the Courts and impresses on us how dangerous they can all be while giving plenty of room for fleshing things out later in the series. Yes, there are plenty of gorgeous scenes with scenery straight from a fairy tale illustration but, make no mistake, this is a dangerous land to be a human. There are some fearsome monsters in those woods and drinking anything given to you by faeries is definitely not a good idea. The humans lands get some relatively good world building too, even though the story spends relatively little time in them.
- Really great character arc from Feyre. At the start, she’s a prickly, hard-hearted girl worn down by hardship and of always sacrificing for the sake of others with no expectation of anything in return. Once her burden is lifted and she’s allowed to pursue her own happiness, she opens up and reveals herself to be a sensitive, artistic soul. She’s tough and has the wherewithal to handle herself but she has her limits as well. I’m very happy with how well her characters was developed.
- Deals with the revelation as to what the danger is very well but I have to say that the curse is a very specific one indeed. A bit too specific. Perhaps, if the Big Bad had some gift of foresight, that would have explained it but, as it is, it just seems weird.
- I have to say that picked up the answer to the riddle pretty soon after I read it and Feyre falls into the classic trap of interpreting it it too literally. I wasn’t expecting the action to start back up again when it did or the climax to be so dramatic. Needless to say, it was quite an ending.
- Now, the rest of the characters nearly all get some good development too. Tamlin, of course, turns out to be much more than a masked abductor and, though Lucien doesn’t make the best first impression, he turns out well too. Rhys is the perfect anti-hero where you’re never quite sure whose side he’s on but there’s enough good in him for you to be interested. The one character that wasn’t done as well was the spoiler character I’m not going to mention. She was a bit one-dimensional and a bit of a moustache twirler.
- Great ending. It strikes the perfect balance between leading into a sequel and being an solid ending to the story. The story may be over for now but there are certainly a few loose ends that could turn into something bigger. It’s a great start to a series and I’m definitely going to be reading the next one soon.
Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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