Blurb from Amazon:
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.
ACOTAR surely has to be one of my favourite books (so far) of the year- perhaps even one of my favourite books OF ALL TIME. I can’t begin to describe how much I loved the cross-referencing to ‘Beauty and the Beast’, and the inclusion of tricksy, beautiful, aloof Fae Folk. It felt new and engaging and I loved hearing about Tamlin’s luxurious palace where he, his friend Lucien (more on him later) and all his servants are forced to wear masks as the result of a spell. I also loved Feyre- she was hardly a damsel in distress, despite being manipulated, beaten up, and forced to endure horrendous trials in the evil Fairy Queen Amarantha’s court. Instead she was bold, daring, good in a fight and sure of herself and, eventually, her growing love for Tamlin. Tamlin himself felt a bit one-dimensional (a bit too romance-type,) but I loved his cocky, smart ambassador, Lucien (not just because of his red hair, good looks and fox mask!!!! FOX MASK!!!) and also Alis, Feyre’s kind-hearted, treebark-skinned maid.
Evil Amarantha too, although a little bit pantomine-dame at times, also felt sinister and calculating enough to run her own suitably-evil Faerie Court. At times I felt the pace dragged, and Feyre chafed a little bit too much against her new life of luxury with Tamlin and Lucien, though. It felt a little forced in places. particularly when they were so (mind-bogglingly) kind to her, a human who had killed one of their own. (Although the reason for that does get revealed later on! No spoilers!) I felt disappointed that, after naming the main hero Tamlin, there was absolutely no reference to the old folktale surrounding Tamlin. (At least, not one that was explicitly mentioned, although- SPOILER- he did become trapped by Aramantha.)
However, I really enjoyed how flawed and gentle Feyre was, beneath her strength and resilience- a skilled huntress she may be, but she is not so skilled in the warm, trickster ways of the heart. I liked how she thawed over time, and embraced her creative side. Some of the descriptions really just WORK, too: ACOTAR is often gripping, vivid, sensual and deft in its imagery. I really related to Feyre and her struggles, felt intrigued by Rhysand (no spoilers!) and absolutely fell in love with Lucien. I loved the idea of seven different Faerie Courts, each with their own politics and schemes. I can totally see why this novel already has such a huge fan following. If I’m honest, I’m head over heels for this series, which is a rare thing for me! I can’t wait to read ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ (the sequel) next!
Overall rating: 10 out of 10! Hurrah!!
Read if you enjoyed: ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas, ‘Lair of the Lion’ by Christine Feehan, ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter, and Melissa Marr’s ‘Wicked Lovely’ series. (For my review of Melissa Marr’s ‘Ink Exchange,’ please click here.)
Image credits: Image no. 1: czrenys, Images no. 2 and 3: glitteringspark, Image no. 4: rosiecalloway, all from Tumblr.