Review | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

acotarTitle: A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Read: 1st – 7th January 2017
Genre: fantasy
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

A Court of Thorns and Roses tells the story of Feyre, a young woman who innocently kills a wolf whilst hunting in the woods and pays the price for it when a rather beastly creature comes knocking on her door (almost literally) to demand payback for the killing of one of his brothers. The wolf was actually a Fae and Fae don’t take too kindly to humans, or so says the history of the world in which humans were subjugated and Fae constantly lurk, threatening this unsteady peace treaty. Feyre is taken prisoner by the Fae Lord, Tamlin, and forced to return with him to live in his magical court in a land that is lethal to humans. But her feelings towards Tamlin change from loathing to passion as she finds herself sinking deeper into the Fae world, and discovers that everything she has seen there is not quite as it seems.

Disclaimer: I invite you to read my rating and decide for yourself whether you want to read a review from a person who decidedly did not get on with Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses. In fact, I wouldn’t call this a review, it’s more of a rambling rant.

To sum up my feelings towards ACOTAR, I will take a leaf from the book of Jeff Winger in the TV show Community “To me, religion is like Paul Rudd. I see the appeal, and I would never take it away from anyone… but I would also never stand in line for it.” (Although, lbr, Paul Rudd is great, you get my point, right?) I would never try to take ACOTAR away from anyone who enjoyed it but I would never stand in line for the next book’s release. I would also like to review all the problems I had with it so that people who didn’t like it don’t feel alone like I did until I went on Goodreads. Also, there are spoilers everywhere in this review, seriously, this is your only warning, do not read if you haven’t finished the book. This lengthy disclaimer aside… let us return to this rant/review…

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Bout of Books 18 | Daily Updates

As you might have seen from my sign-up post yesterday, I’m participating in this week’s Bout of Books readathon! If you’re at all interested in my TBR, you can find it in my sign-up post – otherwise, this post will be for my daily updates so I’ll be updating regularly with the daily challenges and my reading progress over the next few days.

Day One

9.00 am – Welp, it’s Monday, it’s a Bank Holiday (which means I’m not in work), so that seems like the perfect time to kick off the readathon for me! My parents kindly brought me back to Liverpool last night and they are leaving this morning so I’ve now got nothing else planned for my day other than unpacking, tidying, washing, and reading. Liz is at work today too so there’s no one else in the house – definitely all conducive to me getting wrapped in a blanket with a book and not moving for a good few hours. We’ll see though, since I slept terribly last night and I don’t know how long I’ll last before crashing tonight (especially since I’m back at work tomorrow and so not looking forward to that).

11.00am – I forgot to mention that, since I couldn’t sleep until like 5am, I did a little bit of reading in bed via the Kindle app on my phone. However, I’ve already deviated from my TBR (quelle surprise), as I’m reading Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and RosesI’ve heard this novel/series is better than the Throne of Glass series (I’ve got stuck on Heir of Fire twice now), although I’ve also watched/read a lot of reviews which have started to put me off her writing so I’m going into this a bit warily.

One thing that is bugging me is something that Paige from Enchantology pointed out during her reading of Empire of Storms (Disclaimer: please, I implore you, do not read ahead if you wish to continue to enjoy Maas’ writing happily, because once you notice this, you can’t not notice it, and it’s already affected my reading of it)

… Sarah J. Maas loves lists of three, to the point of her over-using them and the writing feels clunky and a tad sloppy, if I’m honest. Case in point:

“focus on surviving the week, the day, the hour ahead”
“strange folk spotted in the area, tall and eerie and deadly”
“border towns left in splinters and bones and ashes”
“shapes down on paper or canvas or cottage walls”
“those times were hungry and empty and sometimes cruel”
“most of them small and sickly and hidden”

All those examples are all within the first five pages of the book. I mean, editing is your friend, right? Is she being paid by the word? Because, really, I don’t think all of them are strictly necessary (and, yes, that’s rich coming from me). In fact, I also now see why her books are so unnecessarily long. Yeah, I said it. I’m trying to reserve judgement, though, since I’m only 35% of the way through, but that little quirk of her writing style is really starting to bug me.

The actual story itself though? It’s entertaining enough. I’m not the hugest fan of first-person narrators so… Feyre is starting to irritate me a little tiny bit, but I really do want to give this book a proper chance since so many people do love this series! I’ll report back…

3.00pm – Well, I’ve showered, got dressed, put on one load of laundry, blog hopped a little and read some. I’m at 43% of A Court of Thorns and Roses… but I’ve also started a list of bug bears I have with this book and it’s already one side of A4 and getting longer with each chapter I read. So… um… yeah, that might make for an interesting review once I finish it. Sorry/not sorry!

5.00pm – Whoops, I just fell into a booktube hole for like 2 hours and didn’t read a thing. But I was still thinking about books, which is half the battle… right? riGHT? Ugh, yes, I know, I’m going back to reading now, will sneak in an hour or two more before I think about what to cook for tea.

Daily Challenge: Introduce Yourself #insixwords

The challenge is simple: introduce yourself on Twitter, Instagram, or on this post using six words, no more, no less. Use the hashtags #boutofbooks and #insixwords so we can learn all about you.

BONUS: Share a picture of your smiling face or your bookshelves! (You can learn a lot about a person from their bookshelves!)

 Ravenclaw bibliophile. Coffee lover. Cynical romantic.

room(My bookshelves, when I first moved into this room – they’re a lot less tidy now!)


Day Two

2.00pm – First day back at work of 2017 and wow is it a struggle. Nothing is particularly busy but it’s just an adjustment after more than a week of blissful nothing-ness! As far as reading goes, I didn’t get up early as I had (foolishly) planned in my own head, and I didn’t read on the train so I have only been able to sneak in a quick 20 minutes at lunchtime whilst I gobbled down a sandwich and grapes. I managed a couple more chapters of A Court of Thorns and Roses in that time and, if I’m honest, I’m still having major problems with it. However, I’m at about 60% and I can’t believe it’s taken 60% of this book for the deed to be done between certain characters… I won’t say any more but I’m sure you know what I’m insinuating. I’m really hoping to read a little on the train journey home and then sneak in an hour or two before teatime tonight. We shall see!

5.00pm – I decided to listen to an audiobook I had checked out from my library via Overdrive so I’ve listened to a little of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on my walk to the train station and train home. Again, not a book on my TBR… I seem to be struggling to actually read books from my set stack – something I’m not surprised about tbh, it always happens.

5.30pm – Just arrived home and snapped my photo for the daily challenge. Now I know I should get straight to reading but a quick check of my emails turned up one from Netflix which told me the first episode of Shadowhunters season 2 is available now… no, bad Emma, bad, don’t watch the trash show, read your TBR instead! (spoiler alert: I’m probs gonna watch the trash show tonight)

8.30pm – Sooo I made bolognese and fell into another booktube hole whilst cooking it. It happens, ok. Come on Emma, read, read, don’t turn on Netflix. Do Not Do It. DO NOT.

11.30pm – I turned on Netflix.

Daily Challenge: 2017 in a Picture

Share your goals/plans/etc. for 2017 with your fellow #boutofbooks-ers. These could be book goals, life goals, or goals for ANYTHING you’re looking to tackle in 2017. Take a picture of the books you plan on reading this year! Share a vision board of what you’re trying to accomplish! Use the hashtags #BoB2017Goals and #boutofbooks and let us cheer you on!

Everything in this represents one of My 2017 Resolutions:
1. to blog more regularly (calendar)
2. to plan out reviews more thoughtfully (journal)
3. to read more classics (Brideshead Revisited/Hard Times)
4. to finish series I’ve started (The Raven King)
5. to continue series I love that have books to come this year (The Mime Order).

Day Three

9.00am – After once again not getting up early to read (who was I kidding thinking I might possibly do that?!) I managed to sneak in a chapter or so of Goblet of Fire via audiobook whilst I was getting dressed etc. this morning so I feel a little better knowing I’m heading to work with some (if not a lot) of reading done already. I’m at about 10% of it now which, considering what a behemoth this book is, isn’t too shabby at all.

1.45pm – Just got back from dinner and I got through a few more chapters of A Court of Thorns and Roses whilst I was eating. The big reveal (I presume) just happened, about the nature of the curse and what the deal is with Amarantha etc. etc. – I still find the pacing of stuff in this book a little odd, I don’t know if that’s my personal problem or something other people feel. Only time will tell, I guess, since I should really wait until I’ve finished the story to start criticising its pacing.

11.00pm – My bullet journal came this afternoon so clearly I’ve just accidentally spent hours looking up bullet journal blogs and designing what I need in mine. It happens, ok?!

Daily Challenge: Book to Movie

Have a book you think would make an excellent movie? Now’s your chance to share it! Go as big or as simple as you want. Share fanart, casting choices, or just a book or series you think would be OUTSTANDING on the big screen. Use the hashtags #BoBBookToMovie and #boutofbooks to share your picks!

Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman

adored this book as a pre-teen. It features the idea of ‘talismans’ which allow individuals to travel back to an alternate-universe 16th century Italy, called Talia. These individuals are often unhappy or unhealthy in their lives now. The first book in the series, City of Masks, sees a very ill teenage boy named Lucien be given a marbeled notebook as a gift, fall asleep holding it, and wake up in Bellezza, Talia’s equivalent of a Renaissance-era Venice, a city state ruled by a beautiful and imperious Duchessa. He is a Stravagante, a traveller between worlds, and to be one is a dangerous thing – there are some in Talia (cough the Medicis, I mean uh the di Chimicis) who would try to steal his talisman and power for themselves, to disastrous consequences for Lucien. Whenever a Stravagante is “awake” in this alternate world, they appear to be sleeping in our world, which is all well and good until Lucien’s parents find his seemingly comatose body and he is rushed into hospital, with him remaining blissfully unaware as he wanders the streets of Bellezza.

I think this book would make an amazing film, it’s so visually suggestive and the fantastical storyline at its heart makes for an exciting narrative. It has time travel and assassins and political intrigue and body doubles and a quasi-scientific magic system and all the good stuff that would make for such a thrilling film! It also has sequels so, you know, commercial potential for a franchise.

Whilst reading the book, I’d already fancast some of its principal characters. However, since I read it some 10 years ago, it’s possible quite a few of these actors are now too old to play these characters! But, for the sake of this challenge, I’m going to pretend am a time-traveller too (ha!) and just tell you my fancast for City of Masks’ principal characters (and, yes, some have a few options because I’m indecisive):

Rodolfo Rossi – Jeremy Irons (forever and always)
Silvia, Duchessa of Bellezza  – Kate Beckinsale/Sofia Vergara
Arianna Gasparini – Hayley Atwell
Lucien (I struggle with) – Andrew Garfield/Tom Sturridge, please and thanks
Guido – Eddie Redmayne (always)

Day Four

9.15am – I listened to about an hour of Goblet of Fire getting ready/on the way to work this morning, so that’s definitely some good audiobook progress. As previously, I plan to read a few more chapters of A Court of Thorns and Roses when I have my dinner break.

1.45pm – I’ve read a few more chapters of ACOTAR. One thing I will say, because I’m so frustrated with this book right now: if the answer to Amarantha’s riddle turns out to be what I instantly thought it was (a thing that Feyre can’t puzzle out despite the fact she’s fucking FEELING IT right now and thought about this very fact only moments before the riddle), this book is not even getting 3 stars, it’s getting 2, regardless of whether or not the last 25% of it manages to somehow redeem the first 75%.

Daily Challenge: Book Spine Poetry

A perennial favorite is back! Go hunting through your books and unleash your inner poet! Use the titles of your chosen books to create a poem. Snap a picture of your creation and share it with the hashtags #BookSpinePoetryBoB and #boutofbooks.

Falling kingdoms – vicious, soulless, heartless.
The madness underneath these vicious masks, the darkest minds.

Now is the time…

The girl who played with fire,
An ember in the ashes,
Daughter of smoke and bone,
The One. 

Day Five

As you can see… I didn’t do much today, to the point where it was pointless to update throughout the day. Basically, same story as yesterday, I listened to some Goblet of Fire during my train journey and whilst on the treadmill at the gym (yep, you read that right, the gym, ugh). I’m also still making my way through A Court of Thorns and Roses and I just can’t believe this last 25% is the last 25% – the pacing of this book is so off.

Daily Challenge: If You Like This, Try This

Since we all love recommending books, here’s your chance to share the love. Example: If you like paranormal romance with bloodthirsty vikings, try Shelly Laurenston’s Call of Crows series. Make sure you use the hashtags #BoBIfYouLikeThis and #boutofbooks on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, so we can see your recs.

Day Six

12.00pm – After a gorgeous breakfast at The Tavern I am now happy and full and planning to do nothing more than sit in the living room in a blanket and read. If I don’t finish A Court of Thorns and Roses soon I’m going to scream. I should also probably get a few blog posts written ready for next week because I sense it’s gonna be a busy one at work. Let’s do this.

2.30pm – Halle-fucking-lujah, I’ve finished A Court of Thorns and Roses. What I thought about it? Well, I think you might have guessed but, a quick review is thus:

I would have given this book one star, but Rhys and Lucien earned it another one. Great concept which was ruined completely by inconsistent and lazy writing.

Yep, I think that about covers it. Here’s to better books, let’s move on!


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March TBR

I don’t do well with TBRs – for proof see any posts allegedly labelled Monthly TBR which were not ever read in that specified month, and in fact probably are still on my bookshelves untouched to this very day. However, every so often I get on a roll with a series of books and I feel the need to hoover up every word of the currently published books as I can, before the next inevitable book is released. In moments like this, then, TBRs are vaguely feasible for every the most impulsive of readers, of which I am one. So… March TBR… let’s do it, let’s play the fun game of seeing how many of these I have actually read come 1st April. It’ll be a surprise for all if I have read even half of these as intended.

marchtbr1

1. Crown of Midnight – Sarah J. Maas (x)
I re-read Throne of Glass in February in preparation for finally breaking out the rest of the series, since it has been sitting on my bookshelf for far too long looking pretty and untouched. The general consensus seems to be that even if Throne of Glass was just a so-so book, try the second novel in the series as it picks up and develops tenfold compared to its predecessor. I’m hoping that’s the case since I enjoyed Throne of Glass but I do have a bugbear or two.

2. Heir of Fire – Sarah J. Maas (x)
If I’m enjoying Crown of Midnight, I’ll be trying to capitalise on that roll
and continue onwards with the series into the third book: Heir of Fire.

3. Queen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas (x)
See above for reasoning.

4. The Assassin’s Blade – Sarah J. Maas (x)
Not sure if I’m really too fussed if I don’t get around to this book right away since it’s a bind-up of novellas which, I believe, follow Celaena right up until the events of Throne of Glass. It’s not that I’m not interested in that (quite the contrary), but I’m just not a huge fan of prequel novellas since they seem a bit redundant and, if I’m brutally honest, basically only written for the sake of money. I hope this isn’t the case with this lot but we’ll see.

marchtbr2

5. Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare (x)
I read Clockwork Angel in February and found myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, especially given my rocky experience with Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series in the past (I’ve never been able to even finish City of Bones because I got so annoyed with it), but I’m giving the Infernal Devices a go because the Victorian London setting seems much more my speed. In fact, you might start to notice something of a theme of sorts in that vein…

6. Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare (x)
See above

7. Soulless – Gail Carriger (x)
That theme I mentioned? Hopefully you’ve spotted it by this point. I’ve read Soulless previously when I borrowed it from my local library whilst on vacation from university. Because vacation ended and I moved back into university I didn’t ever pursue the book series further but I really should have since I found it, as I believe I termed it in my review, “a jolly good romp”. When I’m in the mood for a fun and light read, this is probably what I’ll pick up since I’ve now bought used copies of the entire series – there’s that theme I mentioned.

8. Changeless – Gail Carriger (x)
See above.

9. Blameless – Gail Carriger (x)
You know the drill.

marchtbr3

10. The Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman (x)
Someone described this as Regency meets X-Men which, I mean, how could you pass up something like that? I pre-ordered this book specially because of that blurb but I still haven’t touched it since I got it. So I should probably/definitely correct that grievous error – see, I am already comfortable with the vernacular one might expect in such a novel.

11. The Establishment and How They Get Away With It – Owen Jones (x)
In my wildly hopeful 2016 Bookish Resolutions post, I mentioned a desire to read more non-fiction this year. I figured since I seem to be making good on another resolution mentioned there (to catch-up with/finish more series I’ve previously begun) I might as well call March ‘the month of actually paying attention to my resolutions’ – or, at least, I would do if that wasn’t a mouthful of a title. Speaking of titles, this book by Owen Jones has a title that immediately appeals to my political interests so perhaps I can make good on my read more non-fiction resolution and start this in March. (I have read 4 non-fiction/memoir books already this year so technically I’m good until April but I don’t want to get into this habit of blitzing non-fiction one month and then abandoning thought of it for the next three months, so I’d prefer to stick to at least one book every month.)


As you can see, the majority of these books rely on me getting on a roll with a series I’ve started, and that roll not stopping for the entirety of the month. So we’ll see how that goes, shall we? You and I both.

What books are you planning to read in March? Have you read any of those I’m planning to read this month? Comment below!

 

Teaser Tuesday | 1st March

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme created at A Daily Rhythm. Its simplicity greatly appeals to me since all that you need to do is grab your current read, open to a random page and share two “teaser” sentences, being careful about spoilers.

This week I am reading the follow-up to last week’s teaser book, the second book in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series: Crown of Midnight. I’m excited to continue on with this series since I’m told by most that the series, if anything, improves with each book. This is something which I’m glad to hear since I enjoyed Throne of Glass enough but I could see so much more potential in it that wasn’t unlocked. (I gave the series the benefit of doubt and amused that all of these points would be addressed in the subsequent books – or at least I hope so since I bought the rest of them!)

As this is the second book, I’m going to bypass giving a synopsis of Crown of Midnight since it could ruin the first book for those who haven’t read it. (But if you would like one, you can find the synopsis on Goodreads here) Likewise I really tried to find a teaser that wouldn’t spoil Throne of Glass but that’s rather tricky, so I decided on sharing the opening lines of Crown of Midnight, which I don’t think entirely ruin the first book past what you could assume  anyway given there are four books currently published in this series.

“The shutters swinging in the storm winds were the only sign of her entry. No one had noticed her scaling the garden wall of the darkened manor house, and with the thunder and the gusting wind off the nearby sea, no one heard her as she shimmied up the drainpipe, swung onto the windowsill, and slithered into the second-floor hallway.”


Do you have a Teaser Tuesday? Please do share/comment below!

 

Teaser Tuesday | 23rd February

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme created at A Daily Rhythm that I discovered via Heather from Bits & Books. Its simplicity greatly appeals to me since all that you need to do is grab your current read, open to a random page and share two “teaser” sentences, being careful about spoilers of course!

This week I’m re-reading Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass, the first book in her Throne of Glass series, as I intend to finally get around to reading the next books in the series, having enjoyed the first some months ago. Maybe I will really get onto a roll with the series and catch up with all the currently published books in the next couple of months.

For those who have somehow managed to miss the hype about the series, Throne of Glass tells the story of Celaena Sardothien who, when the book opens, is an eighteen-year-old girl serving a life sentence in the mines of Endovier. Why? Because she was an assassin who made the mistake of getting caught.

The tale really begins when Captain of the Guard Chaol Westfall arrives at the mines suddenly to offer Celaena a surprising deal – if she will stand as Prince Dorian’s candidate in a contest to the death to find the King’s next Champion (read: Assassin), then she will also win her freedom from the life sentence in Endovier. The only catch? She must fight against the kingdom’s most brutish thieves and deadly assassins in a series of challenges – and survive them all.

The quote I chose for my teaser dispels the initial notion held by the court that such a young and unassuming girl couldn’t possibly be a serious contender in the competition, let alone a threat to anyone else involved. For that reason alone, I love this quote:

“She found herself torn between the hunting daggers and a lovely rapier with an ornate bell-guard.
She could cut out his heart from a safe distance with that.” (p. 81)


Do you have a Teaser Tuesday? Please do share/comment below!