A fairy realm of cruelty and deception

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas is a fantasy novel which is shown on bookselling sites as adult but which I think has many characteristics of Young Adult fiction. Our heroine Feyre, for example, is a young woman from an outcaste family who sets out on a quest to save a man and a society she has come to love. There are reminders of a number of successful Young Adult books in the writing and also fairytales – this book is a reworking of the Beauty and the Beast story. I was about half way through this book and finding it over-predictable when I read a comment about it somewhere on social media from someone else also finding the start of the book uninspiring. One of the answers to the comment suggested carrying on because the story improved. I am glad that I took this advice because the end of the story was significantly better than the beginning and I am now looking to read the second book in the series.

Feyre hunts to get food for her family who have fallen on hard times. They are living at a below subsistence level and the rest of the family are ungrateful to Feyre for her efforts but she persists because she made a promise to her dying mother. She kills a wolf and finds herself forced to live out the rest of her life across the divide and in the realm of fairy because the animal she killed was really a fairy creature in disguise. The fairy world is cruel and deceptive and her host is grotesque because a spell on him and his followers means that they have retained the masks which they wore for a ball. Feyre discovers that everything she thought that she knew was wrong and that only she can release those she has come to care about from their fate.

The first part of the book sets the story up and then in the second part the author causes the reader, and Feyre, to rethink their opinions on virtually everything. People are not what they seem and humans have more power than they thought. I liked the way that the story unfolded at this point and thought that the author did a good job in helping us see things differently. There turned out to be a lot more depth in this story than I first thought and I encourage a possibly hesitant reader to persevere.

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