Note: We deviated from our original book schedule because Eden has spent the last week moving from Virginia to Florida and Jenn was traveling the East Coast. Only Caitlynn had time to sit down and read the book for the week so we thought instead of skipping our Saturday discussion that we would discuss A Court of Thorns and Roses this Saturday and then talk A Court of Mist and Fury in our first podcast (coming soon!).
Now. To the good stuff.
Synopsis: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.
When nineteen-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. – Goodreads, A Court of Thorns and Roses
Eden: ACOTAR was a book I liked but didn’t love. I understand why this is now that I’ve read the second book, and, actually, I have a new appreciation for the first book after reading the second book. There were issues I had with the ACOTAR and I discuss them below but I think Maas is just that author that can create a message so strong that even when I’m not crazy about the book I can still see the bigger story being built and that was very much the case for ACOTAR.
Jenn: I had mixed feelings about this book. I did not like the first half of the book as I was reading it. I was frustrated and did not like the characters. However, the second half of the book was amazing. Maas set up this book in the perfect way. Though, I did not appreciate the first half of the book while I read it the first time it all came together in the perfect way in the end. This wasn’t my favorite book. I actually gave it a 3.5/5 stars. It was a great set up for ACoMaF. On it’s own? I wasn’t in love.
Caitlynn: I was such a fan of ACOTAR from the get-go. I fell right into Maas’ trap of loving Tamlin and not seeing the error of my ways! Honestly, I read this book and ACOMAF together so my rating was a little skewed. Thinking back, I remember thinking I would give ACOTAR a 4/5 but I ended up giving it a 5/5 because everything was so necessary to continue the story it was a job well done, that’s for sure.
DISCUSSION & SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses and plan to read it, it would be best not to read anymore.
Jenn: I was not a huge fan of the beginning of A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Caitlynn: I will continually say A Court of Thrones and Roses throughout this discussion.
Jenn: Same. But I didn’t like it at first because the rapey/Stockholm syndrome vibe really creeped me out a lot. I started to like it more once they got under the mountain because it wasn’t just about Feyre and her kidnapper. We got a lot more interesting characters.
Caitlynn: I loved Lucian.
Jenn: I liked Lucian a lot. I wanted her to hook up with him the entire time they were in Spring Court.
Eden: I really don’t like Lucian. I actually thought he was really boring. I liked neither Tamlin nor Lucian.
Jenn: I wanted Feyre to get with Lucian just to get her away from Tamlin.
Eden: Was anybody else uncomfortable during the Calanmai scene?
Caitlynn: I’m actually not sure why she included that in the book.
Jenn: I think it showed Tamlin’s character. Prior to that point you were like, well maybe he’s just like a super jealous guy and he’s just really reserved person.
Caitlynn: I literally just thought he was a crazy jealous person.
Eden: My thing with Tamlin was that I thought he was scary. He’s the kind of guy that would scare me because he’s always threatening.
Jenn: He’s always controlling.
Eden: There’s a moment — and this goes into the controlling stuff — where he’s like sit, andFeyre’s just like no and he’s like you can either sit or I can force you to sit. To me that’s just flat-out terrifying.
Caitlynn: I felt like he was supposed to be like that because he was trying to be that way because he didn’t want to allow himself to like her.
Jenn: I think Maas did a good job toeing that line. Like, do we just see him as somebody that just has to be strict over his governing body? Is this showing that he’s trying to be a strong leader and that he has to enforce certain rules or is it really that he’s just this crazy person? Toward the end of the book you see his reaction to everything at the court Under the Mountain you realize that it’s less of him being a good leader and actually he just has an incredibly controlling personality. He’s like a toddler walking around with a toy in his hands that somebody else wants and he doesn’t even want them to look at it.
Eden: I think that’s what makes him a scary character because she falls in “love” with him because she’s never had the safety and security that he essentially gives her. While he’s a scary character he still gives her a level of safety she’s never experienced. Like, for the first time in years she’s eating regularly, she’s warm, safe and her families safe. So I think it’s easy in this book to go, “he’s a good guy because she wouldn’t fall in love with him if he wasn’t a good guy.”
Jenn: Yeah because her life was better but that doesn’t mean it’s a good life.
Eden: Exactly and I like that because it gives you this underlying idea of abuse doesn’t only happen to people who have nothing . Abuse can happen in any way — whether it’s physical, mental or verbal — and in any household. Maas just does such a good job with that.
Jenn: It’s a testament to her first time getting any recognition. She’s always been in the background, she always put everybody else before her. It all of a sudden becomes very much about her and you see moments of clarity from her where she’s questioning, “Wait, what am I actually giving up for this life?”
Eden: Yeah! And I think Under the Mountain is easily the best part of that book and she says at one point, “Am I actually willing to give up my life for this guy that doesn’t even look at me anymore, doesn’t even talk to me or even better attempt to save me.”
Eden Cont.: Also, I loved the Under the Mountain part because we finally saw who Feyre is actually supposed to be.
Jenn: And Rhys was so charming. I felt like I was supposed to hate him at those parts but I couldn’t.
**Tangent about how to pronounce Rhys’s name**
Caitlynn: I just loved how she showed both sides with Rhys. You saw her initial meeting with him and then later on he’s sitting at her cell crying like, “What comes next.”
Jenn: It’s such a signifier because Tamlin didn’t show anything to her. He slowly unveiled sides of him that weren’t necessarily to best but he still tried to put his best foot forward. Rhys from the get go was very honest about who he was and what was going on and he wasn’t trying to sugarcoat what was happening. It was just like this is life and I think that’s what made me like him that much more.
Eden: Also, Rhys went out on a branch and saved her.
Caitlynn: On a very, very small, tiny branch.
Eden: Tamlin could have. Realistically he could, but Rhys was willing to give up his safety to help her.
Jenn: And Rhys wasn’t getting anything out of it. Like he did it because it was the right thing to do. Whereas if Tamlin did it it was because he was sleeping with her.
Eden: I mean Rhys did stipulate one week a month but he even says he knows it’ll drive Tamlin crazy.
Caitlynn: “You could have negotiated for anything,” is what I think he said.
Eden: Exactly. I think Rhys was just a great character because you see underneath of what you see of him Under the Mountain is that he’s this really complex, interesting character. He made Feyre a more interesting character.