Friday, May 1, 2015

DNF: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah J. Maas
Read: Attempted in April 2015
May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's
Source: Bloomsbury (THANK YOU!)
Category: YA, Fae, Beauty and the Beast retelling, 

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1 (of 3)
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound 

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling 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 grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

To my deep disappointment, I'm going to be the lonely black sheep on this book. I've made it to 50%, and I am not sure if I can continue reading without increasing frustration. If I'm not able to get into a story by this point, I usually don't have any hope. As of now I'm marking A Court of Thorns and Roses DNF, which hurts a lot, because I wanted to love it. But alas, it wasn't meant to be :(. 

Some specific notes:

1) The first half of this book reads very much like a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and like many of them, the pacing is slow. I LOVE Beauty and the Beast, which is another reason I've been so sad that this hasn't been working for me. The slowness isn't often an issue for me, but that compounded by the fact that I struggled all along to connect to these characters, made it hard for me to get through the first half of the book. 

2) In the place of Belle we have Feyre, and though I can see objectively why readers like her character, I've not been able to connect with her at all. She's read very much like the a typical New Adult heroine, exactly the type I actively avoid. And one reason I stay away from NA these days. I tried to change my feelings towards her, but I never quite managed it. Although her character does make sense for the life she's faced - past traumas and holding together her useless family entirely by herself - she reads like a type to me, stubborn, closed off, unwilling to accept any help or advice or to listen to anyone. She also spent much of the first half overly obsessed with a promise she made to her dying mother to protect her father and sisters, and it was hard for me to understand her continued commitment to her useless family (thankfully, her focus on that does lessen by mid book). I really wanted to like Feyre, but I don't think I can keep reading without that happening. 

3) Tamlin was growly and demanding, as well as frustrating in his refusal to reveal clear information to Feyre, but still, I was intrigued by him through most of the first half. However, a big faery event happens around the midpoint, which I think is supposed to be the turning point in his relationship with Feyre - (spoiler) it's a moment when Feyre and Tamlin acknowledge their feelings for each other, it's also supposed to be a really sexy scene (end spoiler) -  but instead, the whole thing made me uncomfortable and completely creeped out. On several levels, it just isn't the type of thing that works for me At All. I was starting to really like Tamlin before that but after it, I'm just not feeling this romance any more. The more I think about this part, the less I like it. But I realize I'm way way in the minority on that feeling. 

4) Many people who have already read this book have warned me about the second half, including the introduction of another guy. Some have warned me about the possibility of a love triangle to come in future books. Others say no way to the triangle, and all of that is playing on my nerves. I really need to feel confident in my feelings about Feyre and her relationship with Tamlin to continue to enjoy the story. That isn't happening thus far. I'm not sure I could deal with the uncertainty of a looming triangle on top of struggling to connect to the MC and the main romance. I will admit to reading the end of the book, and while some things about it made me feel better, other aspects greatly worried me. 

5) I've tried to step away from this story for a while and see if I could go back into it refreshed, but so far, I can't read more than a page or two without needing to put it down again. All that is to say: at this point I'm going to put this book on hold until the next one is released. I need to get a better sense of where the romance and storyline is going before diving back in again. If it doesn't delve into triangle territory, I might try to start over from the beginning and see if I can connect in better to it.

I'm usually not this upset about DNFing or not liking a story, but I really, really am with this one! I've been feeling terrible about it for a few weeks now. It seems like something I should love and I know that many do, but I'm thinking that this book and this author may not be for me, sadly. I'm hugely grateful to Bloomsbury for giving me an opportunity to read this galley. THANK YOU!

Love Triangle Factor: Main romance has just started up by this point. Undecided on future of it. From what I've read there's at least a 50/50 chance of a love triangle happening. 
Cliffhanger Scale: Book one of three. I did read the end, and it was fairly settled, though with two more books to come, that doesn't mean much. 

For those of you Maas fans out there, I'd love to know if you think I should still give the Throne of Glass series a shot? Am I going to like it more than this? 


  1. Oh no! That's too bad :/ Everyone is raving about how awesome ACOTAR is but I'm now worried about the mc since I also stepped away from NA heroines because of how they usually are.
    Still, I will check this book out, I LOVED Throne of Glass ( tho I haven't had the time to read the other books *whoops*).
    Maybe when the sequel comes out, you will give it another try and you'll end up enjoying it better. It has happened to me before. ;)

    Melissa @ The Reader and the Chef

  2. Oh no! That's too bad :/ Everyone is raving about how awesome ACOTAR is but I'm now worried about the mc since I also stepped away from NA heroines because of how they usually are.
    Still, I will check this book out, I LOVED Throne of Glass ( tho I haven't had the time to read the other books *whoops*).
    Maybe when the sequel comes out, you will give it another try and you'll end up enjoying it better. It has happened to me before. ;)

    Melissa @ The Reader and the Chef

  3. I can totally understand where you are coming from on ACOTAR. I had trouble with the first 100 pages but then I was immersed and loved the remainder. It did feel like it could go into a love triangle to me and I never ever read NA so it seemed less 'been done before' to me. I can totally understand each of your points and see it from your point of view. I think you are making the right call putting it aside for now and waiting to hear about book 2. I do think you would like Throne of glass more...though I'm not sure you'll love it. I am so bad at predicting what others will like but it does have a different feel to me than ACOTAR. If you give it a shot let me know!

  4. Ah, so sorry, Lauren! I hope it doesn't turn into a triangle and you can go and finish this series someday in the future! I can 100% see your reasoning behind the dnf and tbh also about the black sheep thing, because EVERYONE is raving about this book and it sucks so much to be on the other side of it. You managed to portray your thoughts in a beautiful way though, as always. I hope whatever you're reading right now is the most amazing! Also, congrats on the 800 GFC followers, my love! <3

  5. Aww, I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you. I probably won't be reading it either, but we'll see what people say when the second one comes out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Oh no…how disappointing to hear this, I just pre-ordered this in hardback! :( Oh well, hopefully I'll love it. ~Pam

  7. I haven't read this yet but I sorry you didn't like. The Throne of Glass series is my hands down favorite so SJ can do no wrong in my eyes. However, since you have an aversion to love triangles you might not like it since there is one. I think you'd be missing out on an awesome series tho as the love triangle dissolves

  8. Ah, that's really too bad! I was really hoping there'd be no love triangle ): Sometimes there's just those books that no matter how perfect it sounds for you, it just doesn't work, definitely don't feel bad about that!

    Thanks for the review, Lauren!

  9. I know it's terrible to dislike books you're excited about, but this review has me feeling relieved because I personally just posted a DNF review of it this week also. I don't have the same problems as you do about love triangles, though I find it ridiculous that they'd introduce one so late into the book. But I did find Feyre to be absolutely closed-off and I was unable to find a connection to her at all. Add in her inexplicable dedication to that promise for her, as you call them, USELESS family, and none of her characterization worked for me. You are so right about her being the typical NA heroine. I hadn't even thought of that. What this reminded me of, though, was YA paranormal romance right around the time everyone was riding the Twilight wave. And none of that is appealing to me either.

    We can be black sheep together.

    Pretty Deadly Reviews

  10. A stubborn, closed off heroine who is unwilling to accept help would annoy the heck out of me, too. I can see why you'd have difficulty with this story. Sorry this didn't work out for you, Lauren. I don't blame you for making it a DNF because life is too short to be wasting it on a frustrating read. Great honest review. :)

  11. So bummed you were so upset to DNF this one! I understand your wariness of the possible triangle. And I would say it's definitely NOT a love triangle because it's not like she is ever considering both as a love interest but if you're sensitive to any interactions with another guy then yes, there will be issues. I wouldn't call it a triangle but I can see where there would be some frustrations with certain situations!!
    The stubbornness does usually bother me but I really grew to appreciate Feyre!
    I'm so upset that this keeps getting labeled as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It definitely resembles some fairy tales but it's much more of a very loose adaption with just pieces of the original story as inspiration. I think people are getting let down because they expect and actual retelling and it's really more of an original story. That's how I was with Cruel Beauty! I expected a retelling and it really let me down.
    So sorry this one didn't work for you! I honestly think that ToG is very similar, especially in terms of the personality of the heroine... But it's also very different once you get into the second and third books. Hard to say!

  12. Aw, heartbreak :( I'm so so sorry that you had to DNF this book Lauren. This makes me SO SAD :'( But I also very much understand. And I love love love your DNF review. Thank you for sharing all your amazing thoughts :D And omg. All of these things would annoy me too. And omg. You didn't like the sexy scene that "everyone" else LOVED? Omg. Now I'm all kinds of worried about this book, lol :) I was already unsure, because of the triangle thingy, now I'm worried even more. Sigh. Especially since I DNFed her first book, back before it was released :( but yeah. Hoping to love this, even so. But now not reading it yet, hih. Thank you for sharing sweet girl. <3

  13. Oh man. :( I'm so scared to read this! But I'm also curious to compare notes with you...
    I so want to like a Sarah Maas book, but maybe she won't be for us.. I'm still really worried about the possible future love triangle.
    I'll let you know my thoughts when I get to reading it!

  14. I enjoyed this one more than you but I totally understand your reasons for the DNF. It just wasn't quite what I expected and there were some bumpy bits that didn't float my boat. I'm really hoping there's no triangle in the future! But I felt this way about SJM's other series -- it took me a couple of books.

  15. Sorry this book didn’t work for you, Lauren. I think you made a right decision to wait until the next book is released.


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