Feyre has been the only support for her family since her father's business collapsed. She undertakes the hunting, haggling, and money management to ensure they never go without, but when she mistakenly kills a faerie in his wolf form she must serve her punishment in its homeland, Prythian, under the watch of Tamlin, a mysterious High Fae.
I finally caved and started this series that is loved all over the book world and if you follow my Instagram you'll know, I absolutely fell in love with it! There is a reason it is famed as one of the best fantasy series in recent years. I will make this review as spoiler-free as possible but the reviews for the following books in the series will have spoilers for the previous books!
Entering a new fantasy world is always a little off-putting, trying to establish where you fit into it always slows my progress. A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) was slightly confusing to begin with, by focusing on the plot and characters Maas throws you straight into the world of Prythian and expects you to gather up the relevant world-building information as you go, which in the end, worked perfectly. Whilst I was asking the "but why?" question quite a lot in the first half I realised by getting on with the actual plot the pace was steady throughout, instead of a constant stop-start feeling whilst the narrative tries to give you the relevant history/background as to what has led to this particular habit of the world. You do have to put a lot of faith in Maas that she will explain what you're confused about... eventually.
Once the plot gets a bit clearer you will be hooked, Feyre's progression from the timid and scared female to the brave and underestimated warrior she needed to be was incredible to witness. Maas perfectly depicts how much that strong feeling of wanting to protect those who matter most can influence your actions and inner strength. Toward the end of the novel I worried that the plot would get tedious as it had been so strong up to the climactic scenes but it just kept delivering! Feyre undertakes trials to prove her worth and it initially felt like a plot lengthening device but each development just provided a new part of her character to discover and got the reader more engaged with her survival.
A Court of Thorns and Roses has easily become one my favourite fantasy openers for a series, but it doesn't come close to my favourite the series - that is still to come! Maas has been informally crowned the queen of fantasy writing, and I cannot disagree.
As a note, ACOTAR is often tagged as YA, I recommend you do not give this to an under 16 year old as whilst this novel is one of the more "tame" of the series, there are still scenes not appropriate for younger audiences!