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

Alexis: Read 4/27/19

Spoilers Below!

While I have some mixed feelings about A Court of Thorns and Roses, overall, it was a 4 star read for me.

So, here’s the book in a nutshell: It starts out as The Hunger Games, then turns into Beauty and the Beast, and finally turns into Twilight.

I’ll start with what I loved about the book. While Maas writes the occasional cheesy and cringey line, I enjoyed her writing style overall. I love the way she describes color, and I was impressed by the landscape she painted in the beginning of the book. I related to Feyre in the beginning of the book the way I related to Katniss: she’s a girl turned hard from trying to survive, and I sympathized with her.

I found Tamlin an interesting character because of his role as a host and protector of his manor and land, because of his drive and sense of honor. His shapeshifting was written well. And I liked Lucien the most; he had the most vibrant personality of all the characters.

Once the plot picked up, I enjoyed the action-packed third section of the book. I think Maas’ writing shines the most when she writes action scenes. I also enjoyed (finally) learning about the political and historical backstories of the world.

I also liked the romance. The middle section of the book was very slow-paced, so Feyre and Tamlin’s budding romance didn’t feel too rushed or insta-love.

As for what I didn’t love about the book, my biggest issue was that most of the important backstory/plot points weren’t revealed until 250 pages in. Yep. 250 pages. Even the synopsis of the book includes the curse, which Feyre doesn’t know about until, again, 250 pages in. Here’s the thing: everyone knows the basis of Beauty and The Beast. So the main, mysterious plot of the most of the book wasn’t so mysterious, because this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. If Maas had switched it up a little more, the reveals would have been more interesting.

I also had issue with some of the characters. I didn’t have any issue with Feyre, though I found her name annoying because I had to remind myself how to pronounce it. I’m also not a fan of Tamlin’s name; it just sounds like the name of a modern five-year-old boy. But that’s just personal preference. I wanted Tamlin to have more of a stand-out personality, especially since he doesn’t have much of a role in the latter half of the book. Rhysand has more personality than Tamlin, and unfortunately, I have a feeling a love-triangle is going to make an appearance in the next book.  

As for the ending, I guessed it about halfway through the book. There were too many similarities to Twilight, and I knew human-Feyre wouldn’t make it too much further in the series.

Overall, this was a fun and engaging read. Though the middle was a little slow, it allowed time to get to know the characters better. I enjoyed the final section of the book the best, despite the Twilighty ending. I’m definitely going to continue the series, as I tend to like the first book in a series the least!

VERDICT: 4 stars

Review: Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor is the first installment in a series about Morrigan Crow, who was born on Eventine, the unluckiest day. Morrigan is cursed to die on midnight of her eleventh birthday. Morrigan is blamed for every misfortune in the town, and she’s kept at arm’s length from everyone, including her family. Before the clock can strike midnight on Eventide, she’s swept away to a magical land called Nevermoor by an equally magical man, Jupiter North. Jupiter prepares Morrigan to compete in four trials that, if she’s successful, will grant her entrance into the legendary Wundrous Society.  

Before reading this, I’d heard Nevermoor compared to Harry Potter, and this is true in a lot of ways (although let’s be honest, nothing can ever truly compare). Nevermoor feels like a mix of The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Goblet of Fire, because of Morrigan’s introduction to magic at age 11, and the trials being like a less deadly Triwizard Tournament. The magic system is difficult to summarize. It feels more eclectic than The Wizarding World. I’ve also heard Nevermoor called a mix of Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland, which I’d call accurate. We also know that there is going to be a special magic school down the line. Jupiter is also a very Dumbledore-y character, as her mentor, and someone who is obviously keeping secrets from Harry. I mean, Morrigan.

Moving on from Harry Potter!

Townsend is a great writer. Nevermoor is fantastically and colorfully written. It’s clever, hilarious, and by far the most creative fantasy I’ve read in a long time. It has great worldbuilding, but still leaves much more to be explored in later books.

I love Morrigan as a character, which is one of the reasons Nevermoor is so compulsively readable. Before Nevermoor, she has never known love. She has been shamed and ostracized by her family for her entire life. She just wants a place to belong. As I mentioned before, It did get a little annoying that Jupiter keeps her in the dark for so much of the book (ahem, Dumbledore) but I understand why that this needs to happen plot-wise. The villains are sufficiently creepy and well-developed, as are the quirky host of characters in the Hotel, and Morrigan’s two close friends, Hawthorne and Jack.

Despite the fact that it’s middle grade, Nevermoor tackles dark themes, such as abuse and death. There’s also a lot of commentary for adults that I never would have picked up on as a kid, such as the discussion of illegal immigration. There’s a scene on page 428 when the Wunderground is experiencing technical difficulties that mirror the MTA subway delay announcements so much that they had me cracking up.

Most importantly, Nevermoor is filled with memorable magic and a story that I can’t wait to keep reading! My one concern is that it’s going to be difficult for the following books in the series to live up to the standard of book number one!

VERDICT: 4.5 out of 5 books