A Court of Thorns and Roses (Unabridged)
by Sarah J. Maas
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When 19-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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin - and his world - forever.
Sarah Maas clearly has a gift for storytelling. The characterization is wonderful. The story (and its sequels) is/are compelling. The world building is good. Writing my review based solely on what the book is would be mostly positive.
My major qualm has to do with the love scenes, the F word and more specifically how this book is marketed. This is exactly the type of book I would’ve picked out as a fourteen year old. I was a voracious reader and although my mom tried to keep a mildly assessing eye on what I read (vetoing only one book choice ever, btw), she wasn’t able to keep up with the sheer volume. I say that because although I’ve seen this book marked New Adult in one bookstore and one website, most places consider it YA, including iTunes which has it under Kids and YA. At fourteen I would not have been ready for the content of this book. And I would’ve read it anyway, because it’s that good. I just think there needs to be a warning for parents that this book and the sequels have (lots) of explicit content.
Which brings me to my next point. How the love scenes (have to call them that because I don’t know what iTunes will censor) are written. Going to be honest here. Sometimes, especially in the second book, it feels like the author got drunk to write the scene. The writing style actually changes. It becomes less literary. Which is weird, because even in the scenes of battle which I’m reading in the third book right now, the carnage is poetic in spite of the horror. But these scenes consist of an over abundance of the F word and in the second book the word ‘mate’ is used about twenty times in two pages. It’s almost as if the author is trying to get the message across that making love is the most brutal thing you can do. Which perhaps in some ways it is, but it is also beautiful. And that message kind of gets lost. Also, the message from my high school sophomore lit teacher has never left me: if you are constantly using obscenities to say something, work on your vocabulary.