Court of Thorns and Roses Left Me Feeling Prickly

*Warning! Avert your eyes if you’re a fan of this book!*

court of thorns and rosesSo I mentioned in my last post that Court of Thorns and Roses was my biggest disappointment of the year so far and I feel like I should explain why. In the past, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love Maas. So while this is in no way a criticism of her work in general, I did not end up being a fan of this book.

Ninety percent of that was down to the main character. Sure, I didn’t really connect to any of the other characters either- I mean  it didn’t make sense to me that any of the faerie characters could possibly warm to Feyre- considering that she killed their friend at the start of the book. Add to that the very unsympathetic cast of minor characters and I was pretty unimpressed. But worst of all was Feyre herself. I am not, and never have been, a fan of whiny characters- and to me she epitomised that. A huge amount of her narration was dedicated to whinging- about her circumstances, about her family, even about the fact that they didn’t like her for killing someone. I mean- seriously- how could she manage to see herself as the victim after she literally killed someone in cold blood? It’s pretty hard to sympathise with someone who directs so much self-pity towards themselves- especially when that self-pity is misplaced. And I know that sounds harsh (because it is harsh) but I really believe that there are better ways of making someone sympathetic than making them a total misery.

Now when I wasn’t groaning at the main character’s down-beat attitude, I found myself focusing on the inconsequential romance- which fell a little flat for me. As I said, I’m a fan of Maas. And after reading so much of her work I know she can do romance well. So why was I left shrugging my shoulders at it? Why didn’t I feel at all invested in a book that is primarily about a love affair? Well the answer to that is simple: the love triangle set up. By putting a love triangle at the centre of the book, before Tamlin had even had a chance to win over Feyre, let alone the reader, Maas introduced another contender for her affections. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this is to set up a love triangle in the next book- and because I knew a love triangle was endgame, I couldn’t really buy into the romance that was supposed to be taking place in this book. I felt like there was more work done in setting up a future romance, than focusing on the love the reader was supposed to be invested in right there and then.

My last major issue was the plot. As I said already, I didn’t get the fact that they could all be so sympathetic to a murderer- especially when said murderer felt so little compassion for them- and this was an issue the whole plot hinged on. Add to that the fact that huge chunks of the story really dragged and I was a bit bored with it all. And if that wasn’t enough, we had the whole bit under the mountain at the end, which felt like poorly constructed imitation of “faerie” lore. That whole structure was plonked in at the end and felt disjointed from the rest of the plot, and to be brutally honest, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t manage to get the answer to the riddle in under three seconds flat! Am I supposed to be sympathetic to a complete moron? (Again, this comes back to not liking Feyre much). I did like the catch 22 at the end (don’t worry, no spoilers) but she still did some highly questionable things as a character to get to that point, so I found I was too annoyed with her to be overly impressed.

Don’t get me wrong, there were still enjoyable aspects to the story, and the world building was solid, but overall I wasn’t even nearly as sold on it as other works by Maas. I do hope that the series can get better- I mean, while I enjoyed Throne of Glass, it wasn’t till Crown of Midnight that I fell in love with the series as a whole. So I definitely will be reading the next one- partly in hope that it gets better but mostly because I expect it will. (I think…)

Rating 2½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana  half-a-hand-drawn-banana

What did you think of this book? Did you like it more than me? Do you think I should persevere with this series? Let me know your thoughts!

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55 thoughts on “Court of Thorns and Roses Left Me Feeling Prickly

  1. vickgoodwin says:

    I had never read anything by Maas, and I had never read anything with faeries and so I liked it. I did get annoyed with her laying in bed feeling sorry for herself, but I didn’t know she knew he wasn’t a real wolf at the beginning so I thought she killed him out of self preservation.

    Since I am not well read in this genre, I was all about the story. I liked the under the mountain time, I found it intense and I did not figure out the riddle either. I am a simple woman lol Not a hero. lol

    I liked your review and I could see all your valid points. Maybe after I read more about Faeries and high Fae I will see that it wasn’t as inspiring and awesome as it came across to this newbie.

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    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ahh that’s fair- I have to say that the faeries in the book were one of the few things I was impressed with. Ah I realised that she did know- which made me unsympathetic.
      Ah that’s fair- I have read other books in the genre and read a lot of books about fairy tales and fairies- so the answer was fairly obvious to me! But I get where you’re coming from!
      Well- I’m definitely in the minority with this one, and there are lots of reasons to see merit in it- so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy it! My main issue was with the fact that I didn’t like the main character- had I liked her all my criticisms would’ve been fairly minor

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rainandcheese says:

    Haha I didn’t know there was a second novel until I finished this one. I think this is why I thoroughly enjoyed the book’s romance despite the hints of a third party crashing in.

    I enjoyed the under the mountain bit so much. If the whole book was as interesting as that bit, I think I could love-love this book. The whole thing felt like Maas is making up stuff along the way and the story comes off rocky and chunky as you said. ACOMAF is better and worse in a lot of ways but if you want a solid plot, I’m afraid this series fails tremendously in that part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ahh that’s fair enough- maybe if I’d put it out of my mind and hadn’t thought the second he turned up that he was what it meant by “court of mists and fury” then I’d have enjoyed it more. I think a lot more happened in that bit, but I was far too irritated with her not getting the very obvious riddle to like it. Yeah definitely. Well that’s good at least

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  3. Diana Prince Reviews says:

    Man, did I hate this book. Literally the only reason I would recommend this book is so they can have some sort of backstory into A Court of Mist and Fury, because it is better in every single way. (Okay, except for Feyre. Did you read New Moon, the sequel to Twilight? Feyre pulls a Bella for a good 50% of this book. But it’s okay because everything that isn’t her is incredible.)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kat Impossible says:

    You are definitely not the first one to dislike ACOTAR, I’ve had a couple friends even DNF it. I, personally, did very much enjoy it. It wasn’t flawless, but I adored Lucien and Rhys from book one. I was actually never a massive Tamlin fan hahaha and that sort of paid off in ACOMAF. I thought that the second book took everything and just turned the world upside down. I was annoyed with Feyre being so con-Fae as well sometimes in the first book, but generally I could get the sentiment. It was drilled into her her entire life that they were bad after all. Still, I have a feeling you will be able to sympathise with her more in book 2.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. fridaysandbooks says:

    I really enjoyed ACOTAR, however, ACOMAF is like a million times better 😉 I think I was so caught up in the writing that I didn’t notice all the little annoying things you described until reading the second one, because it’s massively different. And don’t worry about love triangles. There is definitely not one in this series 😉 And Fayee does basically a 180 an is totally different. So I hope you’ll enjoy the second book much more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    People have some strong opinions on this book.

    I still haven’t read any Sarah J. Maas. I know everybody loves her, but the sound of these books puts me off her writing. From what I’ve read, this book sounds like everything that I hate distilled into a single novel. Add to that some pretty serious sounding consent issues and it really makes me want to just avoid her completely.

    That said, I’m sure the hype will win me over eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nicola Alter says:

    I was also disappointed by this book, but for slightly different reasons I think. I agree the romance was flat, but I didn’t dislike the main character as much as you did – not at the start anyway. However what drove me insane was the plot – everything felt contrived and convenient toward the end and characters were making illogical decisions.

    In particular, I didn’t like that the elaborate curse that requires Tamlin to fall in love with a human girl who killed a faerie (plus a bunch of other random clauses I’ve forgotten), because it doesn’t feel like a curse anyone would logically think up and put on someone – it feels like a curse engineered to exactly suit what the author wants to happen in the plot… a kind of contrived last-minute insertion to try to tie things together. Plus the fact Feyre doesn’t tell Tamlin she loves him for some silly reason felt like a blatant set up… which made me annoyed at everything that followed because it all stemmed from that. Also it has one of my pet hates in YA romances, which is a situation where the love interest is so “noble” (or really, just stupid) that he tells the protagonist to leave him (in spite of the fact it means the evil lady will win and all his friends will probably die) and to go somewhere where she’ll be “safe” – when inevitably she is not going to be safe there and is probably a sitting duck. I always lose respect for the characters when this happens and feel like everything is just a convenient set up.

    Like you said, there were enjoyable aspects so I still gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, but it’s definitely no Throne of Glass and I was underwhelmed. I won’t be reading the sequels… unless perhaps if you read them and tell me everything has suddenly gotten way better and I should give them a chance!

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yes! I did have problems with the plot too to be honest!! And I agree they made so many illogical decisions just to force the plot in a certain direction :/ Yes exactly the curse was especially stupid :/ I didn’t get why they would go through with it- because there was no way he could love someone that killed his friend- it was too much of a catch 22. Yeah exactly that was dumb. In the original story, it makes so much more sense, cos she’s not running from something, she’s running to someone (her family). haha yes- I will definitely let you know when I get to it (though I’m not exactly in a rush)

      Like

  8. daleydowning says:

    I couldn’t get into this book either… The premise was good, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales… But the writing did not deliver… And sadly there wasn’t much new or really clever… And I found the main character to be rather unsympathetic, and/or confusing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bailey @ Fictional Fox says:

    I was left feeling really iffy about this book as well. I rated it higher and I couldn’t deny that Maas was an excellent writer but I also had a lot of issues with it. HOWEVER, I was totally happy with ACOMAF. Everything I didn’t like about the first book was a million times better in the sequel. It was so good that I told my hubby that he just read it, and just skip the first one and that I’d fill him in. So if you’re not totally against continuing on with the series, I’d recommend giving ACOMAF a shot!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Codie says:

    I was never all that excited to read ACOTR. It never really drew me, but now I’m really not interested. I really DISLIKE woe-is-me protagonist, especially those that victimize themselves over things that’s so clearly they’re fault. Plus, teen romance is so taxing. Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Marian says:

    Your post pretty much sums up exactly how I felt about this book. I read it earlier on the year and was super disappointed by it. It was Feyre whining (like you said) and the non-existent plot that really let this book down for me. I think I was expecting too much. 😕

    I do have say that even though I was hesitant to pick up the next book, it’s leaps and bounds better than ACOTAR. I’d definitely recommend you continue on. Just like ToG the second book was the one that sold me on the series and I can’t wait for book 3. 😆

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