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“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying beast arrives demanding retribution. Forced into a treacherous magical land she knows nothing about, aside from legends and small tales, Feyre discovers her captor is not truly a beast. Rather, one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.
At least, he’s not a beast all the time.
As Feyre learns to adapt to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from cold hostility to a burning passion that tears its way through every life she’s been told about the dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the fae lands. An ancient and wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin – and his world – forever.
I would just like to preface this review by saying that I am a bit biased. I went into this book with a lot of spoilers and had already formed some thoughts about some characters. Having read the whole series, this book feels even worse when I think back on it. So please do take my opinions with a grain of salt.
Thoughts on the Plot
This book makes no damn sense.
I said what I said.
This book claims to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it is absolutely not. It takes the themes from Beauty and the Beast but forgets to add anything to the plot.
My biggest issue with the plot is that it gives the reader so little, it just makes absolutely no sense.
Alongside the plot not giving us enough, there is not nearly enough foreshadowing. Where Belle is thrown into a dungy castle with an angry beast, Feyre is thrown into a life of luxury compared to her life previously. I.e. where she and her family were constantly on the brink of starvation.
There is a lot of romance in this book, it definitely fits well into the ‘romantasy’ genre. This book could also be considered character-driven, but everything comes to Feyre way too easily and she is too naive to truly understand the gravity of her situation.
The world-building is also incredibly underwhelming in this book. I found myself wanting to know more about the other courts. The world-building seems to come second to the sliver of plot we get so I can let it go.
My biggest gripe with this book goes back to what I said earlier about the lack of foreshadowing. Literally, nothing makes sense until about the last 20% of this book. This is such as shame because this book would have been better if it had just made sense.
This book makes me want to curse.
There were so many instances I considered DNF-ing this book. But I decided to stick with it because 1) of how popular it is, 2) I wanted to meet another certain High Lord, and 3) I did enjoy some of the side characters (Alis and Lucien).
Thoughts on the Characters
As I mentioned, Feyre is a bit ridiculous. I understand she is 19 but she is the perfect example of acting out of pure delusion.
She is constantly warned against things, does said things, and then everything is fine and so she learns nothing.
Another annoying character trait that bothered me, is that Tamlin is not actually a beast. He’s more of a handsome fae High Lord whose claws occasionally come out when he is angry.
One of my reasons for not DNF-ing was the side characters. I genuinely enjoyed Lucien’s snark and Alis’s sweet moments while also being completely honest when no one else would be with Feyre.
The villain, Amarantha, doesn’t make much sense but also somehow works as the villain. She is utterly ruthless in the pursuit of getting what she wants. I found myself so angry and annoyed with her, which then led to relief because finally, this book made me feel something!
(This is a half-truth because Nesta really pissed me off in the beginning of the book too.)
One thing I really did not like, was Sarah J Maas using Rhys as a way to villainize Tamlin. After reading the rest of the series, Rhys is not nearly as perfect as we think him to be and Tamlin is not nearly as bad as he is portrayed. Though I do still hate Tamlin lol please don’t think this is a pro-Tamlin space.
There is a lot more to the complex history between the two. Feyre just becomes an easy pawn in the beginning.
(Also can we just talk about the irony, I suppose, of it being a retelling where Belle loves books and reading and Feyre can’t even read. Like wtf.)
Alright, well now that I have taken this book outside and lit it on fire, here are some aspects I enjoyed.
Lucien and Alis not treating Feyre like a fragile little human and telling her how it is.
What Tamlin did for Feyre’s family is why I struggle to see him as a villain. Because I would have left them all to rot.
Rhys was very intriguing in this book and his appearance made me absolutely giddy.
This book started one way (confusing and boring) and ended up in a different direction (oddly fascinating).
I did also quite enjoy that this book had far more NA elements than YA elements. There is a bit of spice and it adds nicely to the romance element.
Overall, I feel super conflicted about this book. I have changed my rating at least a dozen times. At first, I gave this book 3.75 stars and then I will remember something and get mad and drop it down to 2 stars, and then some time would pass and I will say it’s a solid 3 stars.
I wanted way more from this book. It overpromised and underdelivered. I wanted it to make more sense right out of the gate.
That stupid fucking treaty was the worst thing I had ever read about in my life. And Tamlin sent Feyre home when he was so close to breaking the curse.
Girl. I. Cannot.
I could spend a lot of time talking about all of the reasons why I strongly dislike this book. However, it does have its positive attributes and I do think it is important to read this book if you are considering getting into the ACOTAR series.
With that being said, this is by far my least favorite book in this series. If I ever did a re-read, I would start with the second, A Court of Mist and Fury.
All in all, this book gets 3 out of 5 stars from me. But please note, that is absolutely subject to change based on factors like the day, my mood, what I am reading, and how much I’ve thought about this book.