Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses

This weeks book recommendation is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

I am sure you have gathered by now that I love a good fairy tale retelling and I love stories that have a little romance to them. I shy away from the full blown romance novel but I just don't think that a novel is very exciting if there isn't some sort of romantic relationship involved. This novel had both.

The story introduces us to a young woman named Feyre (pronounced Fay-ruh) whose family has fallen from financial grace. As the youngest of three daughters Feyre remembers very little of what it was like to not worry about where her next meal was coming from. But while her sisters spend every penny that they can get their hands on and their father spends most of his days sitting by the fire with his crippled leg, Feyre has taught herself to hunt. It is what keeps her family alive. It is also what leads her into a destiny that she never saw coming.

Feyre's family lives close to the wall that separates the Fae lands from the human world. Once the god like fae had ruled humans and kept them as their own personal slaves. But a war of rebellion forced the High Fae Lords to give up much of their territory and sign a treaty that prevents them from ever setting foot outside of their lands. At least that is what it is supposed to do.

One fateful day Feyre is out hunting and she comes upon a doe. The meat of the animal would feed her family for several weeks at least and she knows that she can sell the pelt in town for some extra coin. As she knocks the arrow she senses that she is not the only one that is hunting the doe. Looking into the surrounding forest she sees a large wolf. So large that there is only one possible thing that it can be. Fairie. Like most of her brethren Feyre has grown up hating the Fae. She barely hestitates before drawing the ash arrow, the only weapon against the fae that she possesses, and killing the large creature. Thus setting in motion the rest of the story.

Feyre is claimed by another Fairy. One who can transform into a beast. He comes because according the treaty any human who kills a Fae creature unprovoked must pay with their own life. But the strange fairy has no intention of killing Feyre. Instead he takes her back to his home at the Spring Court and there she will live out the rest of her days. Now Feyre is thrust into a world that she doesn't understand with a High Fae Lord who is both maddening and handsome. And all she can wonder is whether or not she has been taught wrong her whole life.

This novel is a wonderful retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale. Specifically I believe it is the version often called East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Like her other novels, several of which have been reviewed on the blog, Maas gives us a female heroine who is both likable and often times annoying. Now I know that sounds less than appealing but I think it humanizes the character in a way that makes her particularly relatable and extremely real. This is not an easy task in writing and I think that Maas does it wonderfully.

While I will say there are few moments where Feyre and her longing for the High Lord border on annoying Maas eventually realizes that it is time to move on with the story. She thrusts the reader right back into the action of the story and presents us with a great representation of what will one do to save the one that they love?

I recommend this retelling to anyone who is a fairy tale fan and also to anyone who likes a good old fashioned fantasy adventure story. Plus, when you finally meet the villain of the story they are absolutely terrifying. Enjoy my bookworms!