A Court Of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆
Plot: Feyre is a huntress.
She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price…
Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feeling for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been told about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.
Feyre must find a way to break a spell, or lose her heart forever.
I was very prepared to not read this book at all. The Throne of Glass series, to me, is average at best. I know that’s an unpopular opinion, especially when I look back on it nostalgically. But then I remember how I felt when actually reading it, and it wasn’t the fangirly reactions that everyone else had.
So, when I heard from friends that this book was just fantasy New Adult, I wanted to avoid it so badly. But you gotta form your opinions, and this one I was determined I would finish.
For a good chunk of this book, I was pleasantly surprised, not because it was fantastic, but because it wasn’t awful. Yes, the plot was kind of bland and things were very loosely weaved together. Things seemed all too convenient and cushy for Feyre, considering she’d just murdered someone and this was her punishment. You murder a fae and your punishment is actually a reward, apparently. But I did want to read on; I was curious about the land of Prythian and Tamlin’s Spring Court. I mean, when I say curious I mean I wanted to be there, but we won’t get into that. While I was reading this section, I found it dwindled on but I just didn’t understand what people didn’t like about it, it’s completely harmless!
And then this book KICKS INTO GEAR.
So some terrible stuff happens, which I won’t spoil for you, but a new character is introduced who I already know about because he is now everyone’s fictional boyfriend; Rhysand, High Fae of the Night Court. Now, I again was pleasantly surprised; I don’t hate him. He’s actually a very deep and interesting character.
He’s also the fucking worst.
He is one of the most abusive, misogynistic arseholes I’ve ever come across, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as his actions are portrayed as villainous. Abusive, horrible characters shouldn’t not be in fiction; they’re flawed and interesting to read and they need to be portrayed as a bad person. However, you have to make sure that the reader understands that this behaviour is bad and inexcusable, of course it’s bad, and the writer knows this, right?
Rhysand is a very clear example of romanticizing an abusive relationship. Feyre, from the minute he treats her like a sex slave doll, finds excuses as to why he treats her this way, and apparently it’s no fault of his. “He’s actually helping me, secretly.” “He’s doing it because he cares.” “Oh, he didn’t mean it that way, I was interpreting it wrong.” “I mean, he didn’t ask for much. He could have demanded I’d be his sex slave for the rest of my life when he only asked for one week a month for the rest of my life. Really, he was doing me a solid.” ??????????????????
It’s shit like this that is toxic, and I’m guessing Sarah J. Maas must do something freaking incredible to make Rhysand a good person in the next book, because how the Hell can you not forget him a) twisting Feyre’s already broken arm, b) DRUGGING HER, c) licking her face, d) invading her personal space, e) non-consensual touching, f) publicly humiliating her, g) forcing her to be his SEX SLAVE.
I still think Rhysand is a very well written character. I enjoyed chapters which included him, and was shocked by the things he did (which I guess I’m supposed to be). But excusing his behaviour because he’s “handsome” and “alluring” is literally the reason why Ted Bundy got away with so many murders.
I’ve been told by trusted sources that A Court Of Mist And Fury is more enjoyable, and Rhysand becomes more sympathetic, so I’m buying it anyway because I’m a sucker for consumerism.