REVIEW: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Review We Hunt the Flame 1 -- The Riverside Library

Somehow, We Hunt the Flame managed to fly right under my radar as I conducted my extensive research into my most anticipated reads of 2019. I ended up hearing about it a few months before release, and I was lucky enough to receive a copy from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for a review.
I’m a huge mood reader, and I’m not sure if I can blame my mood for this, or if the book starts too slowly for me, but We Hunt The Flame took quite a while for me to get into. It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of slow-paced fantasy, after all, it took me a whopping three years to get past the first handful of chapters in The Fellowship of the Ring. However, once I was past the first third-or-so, I found the story a lot more intriguing.


Blurb

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.


Things I Loved:

It’s obvious to any reader that the world in this book has been lovingly crafted, and almost as if every single word was painstakingly deliberated over before it made the final cut, which, oftentimes can be slightly too much, but surely served to add to the world’s richness in We Hunt the Flame. It’s always a joy to read something that’s evidently loved by the author, and Faizal’s unique talent of incorporating that into her work was a surprising delight that added to the story’s charm.
The rich, slow writing style in this novel reminds me of adult fantasy. In some ways, We Hunt the Flame would make a good transitional read, if you’re feeling near the end of your love affair with YA, and adult fiction is calling your name from the infinite TBR stacks.
Also – this novel has a quest, guys! You know, I am all for a quest novel. It’s hands down one of my favourite types of stories, and I admire anyone who can write one. Imagine, you have to somehow make the story of a person walking from one place to another actually interesting. It’s a feat. Truly. Simply the presence of a quest in the novel is a huge thumbs up for me and if the quest is in hopes of restoring magic? Sign me up! 

Things I Didn’t Love

As I mentioned above, We Hunt the Flame was extremely hard for me to get into. Again, whether this is purely because of my reading mood, or perhaps because of the book’s pacing, I’m undecided.
Having said that, the book was definitely on the slower side pacing wise, I felt as though the book wanted the plot to happen as much as I did, but something kept holding it off right up until that third of the way through when I really got sucked in.
I think the writing style could definitely be the cause of the story’s speed.
As I mentioned above, the writing style was really beautiful, but in some parts, I did find it too descriptive – to the point, I became disoriented, not entirely sure where the characters were or what was happening. This is possibly a personal quirk, my imagination sometimes likes to shut down when there’s too much description and the characters exist in a black void.
Finally, something I find increasingly common in recent releases is the inclusion of wildly popular tropes that I really dislike. One of my least favourite romance tropes is enemies to lovers – a hugely unpopular opinion, I know. If you’re a sucker for that type of thing, the romance in We Hunt the Flame will definitely be for you.

My final thoughts

If you’re a fan of YA Fantasy, We Hunt the Flame is definitely something you should pick up, and you’ll likely devour it. Unfortunately, We Hunt the Flame and I just didn’t connect in the way I thought we would, and the book really wasn’t for me. I have quite the inkling that I am in the absolute minority with this opinion (let’s be honest, this happens a solid 76% of the time), however, and I encourage you to pick up a copy and dive into this beautiful fantasy world.
Thanks so much to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy for review!
Mikaela | The Riverside Library


BOOK DETAILS


TITLE: We Hunt the Flame
AUTHOR: Hafsah Faizal
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan/Farrar Straus Girox BYR
AUS PUBLICATION DATE: 14/05/2019
RRP: AU$18.99


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REVIEW: Enchantée by Gita Trelease | BLOG TOUR

Enchanted REview -- The Riverside Library

 

Welcome to my stop on the Enchantée blog tour! Enchantée was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, and when I discovered it back in October of last year, I couldn’t stop telling everyone about this debut due for publication in Feb. I was extremely lucky to receive an advanced reader’s copy from Pan Macmillan Australia, and now I get to tell you everything I thought of this magical, fantastical, historical book. I’ve tried to keep it spoiler free, but as always, if you’re spoiler sensitive, proceed with caution.

Set both in the rich and opulent court of Versailles, and hunger ridden streets of Paris in 1789, Enchantée follows Camille as she is forced to risk everything to save her family. Just a little trigger warning: this book includes one scene of domestic violence and a lot of gambling.

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These Things I Loved:

My returning readers will know that I am obsessed with three things: magic, books and France (also cheese and a number of other things, but we’re not going to get into that). Enchantée combines all three of those obsessions and mixes it with an exploration of the costs of freedom, the importance of fighting for what you believe in, and characters who sometimes survive off little more than hope. Of course I was hyped for this, it sounds perfect to me.

Magic

The magic system in this book is so unique (I feel like I say that about every book that I review, but seeing as I only tend to review books I like and I really like books with unique magic systems, you’ll read this a lot). I’m not sure what I was expecting from the blurb, but I can say I wasn’t expecting what we got. The magic in this book isn’t an in-your-face style of magic, there’s no spellcasting or wand fights, it’s much subtler, yet it is intrinsically tied to the plot. Though I loved many things about the magic system, my favourite (by far) was the limitations that controlled it. In my eyes, a limited magic system is a good magic system. In Enchantée, magic cannot fix everything, in fact, instead of serving as a solution to problems, it merely acts to further complicate the situation. This increases the number of sacrifices that our protagonist, Camille, makes for her family and also adds to some of the themes that the book explores – but more on that later. First, Camille.

Camille

I am a sucker for any character willing to make sacrifices for their family, this means I am a complete sucker for Camille. She was, perhaps, my favourite character in this book, though I did really like Lazare. At some points, I wished Camille had better communication skills, but every character has their flaws. She more than made up for them with her selflessness, and her bravery. I also liked how her actions really brought up some interesting questions tied to the theme (again, more on that later).

History

Another thing that I really enjoyed in Enchantée was the history. Now, I’m no history buff, so I’m not going to claim to be an expert, (in fact, if I’m being honest, my French history knowledge is entirely from Les Misérables, the second book in the Outlander series and one crash course video I watched on YouTube when I was seventeen) but I did appreciate the historical component of this novel. Enchantée is actually the first YA historical novel I’ve ever read, and I found the world to be fully immersive. I loved the juxtaposition of the opulence of Versailles and the poverty in some parts of Paris. I enjoyed seeing the differences in class of 18thcentury France, especially when, in Paris, the different classes lived so close to one another.

I Wish There Was More of...

I wish there had been more of the villain in this novel. When the villain was present in the book, they were perfectly creepy, and I just wanted more of that. I understand that the presence of the villain was always there, that they were working their master plan the whole time and our protagonist wasn’t particularly involved in it, and I also understand how that even ties into the themes that the book explores – for, if Camille wasn’t so addicted to her life in Versailles, perhaps she would have noticed the villain’s master plan a little earlier, but I just wish the villain had more page time. I could have done with more creepiness (this is a very odd thing to wish for, I know).

My Favourite Thing

Enchantée was nearly exactly what I was expecting, but to my delight, there were themes that took me by surprise. Throughout the book, Camille struggles to leave the life she creates in glitzy Versailles and return to her reality. Gambling is a massive feature of the court, and this struggle that Camille goes through regarding when to leave Versailles really enforces that interesting topic. Whether intended or not, Enchantée really does bring up some interesting questions about gambling and addiction. Rather than jumping into the head of an established addict we see it in a much more subtle and relatable way through Camille and many other characters, including her brother and her friends. Though Enchantée is a YA historical fantasy, there are definitely deeper underlying messages in it, making it perfect for both those who want to be entertained, and those who want something a little more complex.

All in all, Enchantée was worth all of my excitement for it. I loved when the words on the page faded away and opened the doors to the streets of Paris, the top of the Notre Dame, the tempting tables of the Palais-Royal and the superficial perfection of Versailles. I definitely recommend picking up Enchantée and delving into this world. Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for gifting me with a copy of Enchantée for review.

 

AUS Cover

Enchantee Aus/UK cover -- The Riverside Library

US Cover

Enchantee US cover -- The Riverside Library


BOOK DETAILS

TITLE: Enchantée

AUTHOR: Gita Trelease

PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan/Macmillan Children’s Books

AUS PUBLICATION DATE: 26/02/2019

RRP: AU$16.99

BLURB:

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians . . .

When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old Camille is left to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and presents herself at the court of Versailles, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life . . .

Want to read more reviews on Enchantée by Gita Trelease? Check out these bloggers!

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ENCHANTÉE REVIEW -- The Riverside Library

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REVIEW: The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

REVIEW_ The Enchanted Sonata -- The Riverside Library

I found The Enchanted Sonata when I was busy scrolling through NetGalley looking for my most anticipated reads of 2019 (I can be very impatient when it comes to books). As soon as I discovered it was a Nutcracker retelling, I had to request it. Kindly, the publisher sent me a digital copy, and by next morning, I was cuddled up in bed, completely immersed in the snowy, magical world.

What is it about?

The Enchanted Sonata is an intriguing retelling of the Nutcracker and the Pied Piper. It follows Clara as she is whisked into a magical world that she must save with the magic of music.

My Reading Experience

I think I owe The Enchanted Sonata all the credit for getting me into the Christmas mood this year. I’m usually somewhat of a Grinch who wants to love Christmas, but just can’t. I think that might be due to the lack of Christmas books in genres I love to read (hit me up if you have any Christmas book recs), but all that has changed this year thanks to this beautiful Nutcracker retelling. I managed to read this one in a few days, and it kept me interested the entire time. The Enchanted Sonata even got me into the most Northern Christmas mood I’ve ever been in, unfortunately now I really want a winter Christmas.

Things I Loved

As I mentioned before, aside from the cover, one of the key reasons I requested this book was because it is a Nutcracker retelling, and I love the Nutcracker. Thankfully, The Enchanted Sonata is very faithful to the story that I know, so it was well and truly a delight to read. Of course, it’s not just a rehashing of the story, the inclusion of a little Pied Piper retelling made the plot very intriguing. Though I did find it slightly predictable, I never found it boring, and I was always excited to continue on when I picked it up every night. 

Another thing I really loved about The Enchanted Sonata was the pacing in the beginning. I really appreciated that the book didn’t take too terribly long to get into. I personally hate books with slow beginnings, and for some strange reason, I thought this book would have a slow beginning, but it didn’t and I was absolutely delighted. The pacing was generally good throughout the whole book. Though there were a few moments that I thought it was slightly slow, it never slowed down enough for me to be dissatisfied with it, and as I mentioned before, I was constantly excited to continue on.

Things I Didn’t Love

For some reason, I feel like this book was super short, but I just looked on Goodreads and it’s listed as 375 pages long, so it’s by no means a short book, however, for the length, I felt like the characters were quite underdeveloped. I really wanted to learn more about them, and dig deeper into their psyches. I feel like I didn’t form a really tight connection with them, and I also wish the plot was just a little bit deeper and more complex. Having said that, I understand this is probably more of a light, happy read, and a deeper plot is probably not what the author was aiming for.

My Favourite Thing

All in all, The Enchanted Sonata is an enchanting read, and that’s what I enjoyed most. The world is immersive and magical, it’s like reading a Disney movie. I wish the book would open a magical portal and suck me in, just so I could roam the snowy streets, and maybe spend an inordinate amount of time at Polichinelle’s Candy Emporium. The Enchanted Sonata is everything I could have asked for at this time of year, and I’ll probably end up rereading it closer to Christmas. But for now? I think I’ll go and get myself some candy canes and dig out that Nutcracker candle I have tucked away in a box somewhere. 

Star Rating

I gave The Enchanted Sonata four out of five stars. 

If you have any Christmas book recommendations, please drop them in the comments below. Thank you!

Mikaela | The Riverside Library

QUICK REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

QUICK REVIEW_ Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I don’t know about you, but I hear about Laini Taylor’s books all over the place. People tell me left, right and centre that I’ve never read anything like her works before. I like a good, unique story, so Daughter of Smoke and Bone went straight on my TBR, along with Strange the Dreamer. I’m pleased to say I now know that there’s nothing quite like a book by Laini Taylor.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone follows Karou, a talented art student most days, but somedays, she’s a messenger for the devil. Until one day, angels arrive to turn her world upside down (full blurb below).

By the time I finally found a beat-up paperback of Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the library, I’d had it on my TBR for ages. I was so delighted when I finally found a copy, I went home and started reading it straight away. Come the next day, I was done.

What I Liked

The World Building

Everyone always talks about Laini Taylor’s writing style, and it’s nice to finally understand the hype. Though there were moments when I felt it was a little overdone (more on that later), Taylor’s writing was quite exquisite, and it had an incredible impact on the way I enjoyed her world. Somehow, the snowy streets of Prague felt real to me, I had to grab another blanket to put on my bed while reading. No matter if it was realistic or fantastical the settings were so well painted, the book was entirely immersive.

The Premise

I loved the tension between the angels and the devils in this book, mostly because it turned the traditional tension on its head, making the devils not so bad, and the angels not so good (granted, the story is told from the devil’s side). In fact, there were a lot of classic tropes that were masterfully twisted in this novel, adding a very intriguing layer to it.  

What I Didn’t Like

Karou and Akiva’s Relationship

I understand that Karou and Akiva had history, but that’s not something I gathered in the beginning. Yes, Karou and Akiva had a special connection, but that something so common in books that I paid it no mind – usually a special connection is the universe telling two characters they’re destined for each other, but not the characters weirdly feeling that there might be more to their tale. Perhaps because I’m desensitized to this special connection trope, I felt that Akiva and Karou fell in love just a little too quickly – yes, the dreaded insta-love. Because of that, I really wasn’t on board with their relationship. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of the book I was, and I love the characters individually, as well as their interactions with one another, but throughout most of the book, I just wished they’d slow down, get to know each other more, and let me see the chemistry there.

Sometimes too much description

Though I mentioned before that I did enjoy Laini Taylor’s writing style, I did find that there were moments when the world was so beautifully described that I had absolutely no idea what anything looked like. I have this weird reading thing, if a book is underdescribed, then in my head it exists as some strange dark void, like I’m in the character’s head and they’re walking through life with their eyes closed – oddly, moments in Daughter of Smoke and Bone that were exquisitely described had the same effect on me. This is likely just a personal quirk, but it did get a little frustrating in parts.

My Favourite Thing

It was hard to pick a favourite thing about this novel, because I loved so many aspects, but I think my favourite was the novel’s protagonist, Karou. Though there were some moments where she made some decisions I wished she hadn’t, I loved how well-rounded and quirky she was. Not only that, she was strong and stubborn – exactly the type that could lead a revolution, if that’s where the series is going.

Star Rating

I gave Daughter of Smoke and Bone 4.75 out of 5 stars. Usually, I deduct half a star for insta-love, but because I know this wasn’t insta-love, but it still read a little like it, I’m only deducting a quarter (we round it up for Goodreads and the picture below).

Blurb:

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

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REVIEW: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury Review -- The Riverside Library

The sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses took me by surprise, even when I was already expecting something better than the original, I wasn’t expecting anything to hit quite so close to home.  I read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series after they were recommended to me by a friend at university. She spent a decent half hour before lab class gushing over the second in the series, assuring me of something I’d never found to be true – that the sequel was better than the original. Of course, I had to read them. If you haven’t read my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, head on over and give it a read.

About

Following the events of A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre has been impacted in a severe mental, and emotional way – and Tamlin is no help at all. Locked in the Spring Court manor house for her own safety, Feyre needs out, but when that escape comes, she’s in for a ride of surprises.

Review

If I thought I devoured A Court of Thorns and Roses quickly, I had another think coming. Weighing in at a hefty 626 pages, A Court of Mist and Fury is no small book, but I couldn’t put it down – I had it read in a day. And in the end, my heart was reduced to mush.

Flaws

You all know that I like to start my reviews off with the flaws, in the structure of things it means the flaws are sandwiched in the middle and the review ends on a high note, not a low one. Having said that, there aren’t many flaws for me to discuss in this book – but of course, I found a few.

Lack of Diversity

As with my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, it must be noted that some members of marginalised communities have objected to the portrayal of (and lack of) LGBTQ+ and people of colour in these books. Although the problematic representation is not unique to this series it’s important to be aware of these issues. As I’m not a POC or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I can’t personally speak on this issue, but there are many great discussion on this topic throughout the bookish community.

Erotica

I’m not the worlds biggest fan of erotica. To be honest, I prefer if books don’t have it. I understand that relationships are integral to the plot of A Court of Mist and Fury, but I personally prefer a leave-it-to-your-imagination fade-to-black kind of scene. Having said this, including erotica by no means makes the book bad, it’s just a personal preference.

Problematic Aspects of Relationships

This is something that’s brought up a lot in the discussion of A Court of Thorns and Roses as a whole. There are, without a doubt, problematic relationships (hello, Tamlin – more on that later), and some relationships do have problematic aspects. There are events that take place in A Court of Thorns and Roses between Rhysand and Feyre that are totally not healthy and not okay. In A Court of Mist and Fury, these events are explored and explained, and I personally can understand the reasons for some character actions, but some readers may have difficulty.

Highlights

A Court of Mist and Fury has a tremendous amount of highlights for me, so, for the sake of this reveiw, I’m going to choose my top three highlights from the book, and my overall favourite thing.

The Treatment of Tamlin

Readers who adored Tamlin in the first book may be in for a nasty shock during A Court of Mist and Fury, but I was in for a surprise delight. I never liked Tamlin. I thought he was controlling, domineering, and wildly insecure. As I said in my A Court of Thorns and Roses review:

Tamlin’s controlling tendencies were disguised as legitimate concerns for human Feyre’s safety in a world of stronger, magical Fae. I would have rather seen Tamlin encourage Feyre to grow and to equip her with knowledge, instead of locking her in his charming mansion and hoping she’ll be okay with it.

Tamlin reminded me of so many YA love interests whose behaviour is rarely ever called out in the book for being so controlling and domineering. Maas plays on this so well in A Court of Mist and Fury having easily drawn you to Tamlin in the first book, knowing you’re desensitised to this behaviour, and fully aware you’ll accept Tamlin and Feyre together, then in the sequel, she slowly begins to show exactly what is wrong with Tamlin’s actions and treatment of Feyre. Though I pity Tamlin, somewhat, I was thrilled to see this turn of events.

Characters

A Court of Mist and Fury is filled with brand new characters, and the banter between friends is by far some of the most realistic dialogue I’ve come across in books recently. There’s something about the way that Maas writes these characters, despite being physically perfect and evidently too good to be true, they feel real. They are complex, flawed and always striving to see past their dark pasts and forge a future filled with hope. They each have their flaws, and they know it – this makes them far more loveable, and relatable.

Pacing

Where A Court of Thorns and Roses was predominantly character driven, A Court of Mist and Fury manages to find a perfect balance of plot and person. I couldn’t find a single dull moment during the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed the speed at which events unfolded and progressed, yet I didn’t feel as though the character’s individual arcs were in any way dwarfed or cast aside by the plot. I was very impressed.

Overall favourite thing – PTSD Representation

This was likely the most surprising aspect of A Court of Mist and Fury, one I never knew I needed until it was there. If you don’t know (which you probably don’t), I live with PTSD. I won’t go into the details, because this is a book review and I don’t owe anyone my story,  but I can tell you this, Sarah J Maas does a fantastic job at PTSD representation. Of course, everybody’s PTSD manifests in different ways, and Feyre’s is very different to mine, but one thing I appreciated incredibly was that Feyre’s PTSD didn’t go away, it didn’t heal itself, and it always reared its head when she needed it least. There is no magical cure. It lingers. Even if it’s potency is decreased by time, it comes back. Maas described the lonelinesses, the suffocation and the fear of the condition so well, I was blown away. It’s not something I ever expected to find in a romance/fantasy novel.
When my friend told me that A Court of Mist and Fury would blow my socks off, I didn’t believe her, but now I know I should have. I thoroughly enjoyed the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Overall Rating

I gave A Court of Mist and Fury a full five stars. It was hands down my favourite read of 2016.


Official Blurb:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

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REVIEW: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

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It’s hard to spend a decent period of time on YA bookstagram and avoid encountering A Court of Thorns and Roses or any one of its sequels – A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin and A Court of Frost and Starlight. I read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series before I discovered bookstagram, after they were recommended to me by a friend at university. She spent a decent half hour before lab class gushing over the second in the series, assuring me of something I’d never found to be true – that the sequel was better than the original. Of course, I had to read them.

About

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling, following Feyre, the daughter of a merchant who has fallen on tough times. After accidentally hunting and killing a shape-shifting Fae male she is whisked away to the Spring Court, where she learns of a dangerous enemy threatening the Fae.

Review

I first read A Court of Thorns and Roses before the third in the series, A Court of Wings and Ruin was released. After borrowing the first two novels from the library, I sat down one night and devoured them, like I hadn’t devoured anything since The Hunger Games in high school (I read all the Hunger Games books in one night while I was reduced to lying on my bed trying to ignore the awful stinging of a bull ant that lasted all night). While A Court of Thorns and Roses was an entertaining and relatively quick read, I intentionally sped through it to the sequel, because I was promised to be in awe.

Flaws

A Court of Thorns and Roses has peculiar pacing. It’s relatively character driven for the first two-thirds of the novel, which can often feel like it’s moving at a slow pace. Though marketed as a young adult fantasy, A Court of Thorns and Roses is heavy on the romance, which I didn’t mind, even though I’m not particularly fond of romance, but it’s something I make a point to avoid, so in a way it was almost refreshing, and definitely a novelty.
I did have some issues with the romance, however – the main love interest, Tamlin, exhibited some problematic behaviour that’s all too familiar in the YA world. Tamlin’s controlling tendencies were disguised as legitimate concerns for human Feyre’s safety in a world of stronger, magical Fae. I would have rather seen Tamlin encourage Feyre to grow and to equip her with knowledge, instead of locking her in his charming mansion and hoping she’ll be okay with it.
Also, it must be noted that some members of marginalised communities have objected to the portrayal of (and lack of) LGBTQ+ and people of colour in these books. Although the problematic representation is not unique to A Court of Thorns and Roses it’s important to be aware of these issues. As I’m not a POC or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I can’t personally speak on this issue, but there are many great discussion on this topic throughout the bookish community.

Highlights

A major highlight of A Court of Thorns and Roses was the purely entertaining nature of the book. I think this is one of my favourite things about fantasy novels, especially when they’re well done, though they might provide commentary on the world, and have moral and ethical worth, they are, at their core, fantastical, entertaining stories. I found it easy to get lost in the world of Fae, and the few Beauty and the Beast elements that popped their head out here and there were refreshing and enchanting. Mass writes villains in a decadent and enthralling way, they’re dangerous, witty, and awful – best of all, they know it.
Throughout A Court of Thorns and Roses I spied a few things that I hope will be explored in the rest of the series, some characters I once thought ill of seem to be more morally grey than I first assumed, and I feel like there’s a whole, deep backstory that’s itching to weave its way into the narrative. Overall, I felt that A Court of Thorns and Roses was a solid beginning, laying an intriguing foundation for a promising series.

Overall Rating

I gave A Court of Thorns and Roses 3.75 out of 5 stars.
3.5 stars


Official Blurb:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

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Mikaela | The Riverside Library
 
 
 

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