5 out of 5 Thorny Stars
This is my second read of this book. And man did it hold up. Especially the “third act” – it was even better the 2nd time around. I’ve been in the worst reading slump, and I gotta admit, this review is mostly from my Goodreads with a little bit of updating, but hey, I finished a book in June! Whoop!
Our main character is Feyre (Fay-ruh – I love it when they put in a pronunciation guide!) who lives with her evil stepsisters… no, that’s the wrong fairytale. Her sisters are crap, though, and her dad, who lost his fortune and now, it’s down to Feyre, the only one who will do anything but bemoan her fate. She’s very Katniss, going out and getting food for them despite the dangers of the woods, and never getting any appreciation. I found that hard to swallow, and it was hard to get into the first part of the book. It just was too depressing. However, she has to decide wether to let this enormous wolf get her prey, a deer, or let her family go hungry. She shoots and kills the wolf, only to find out it wasn’t a wolf.
In this land, there are fairies. They used to rule the world with an iron fist, enslaving and brutalizing humans. Even now, after a centuries long truce, they sometimes come through the wall and kill or carry off humans. Feyre hates them with a passion. But she didn’t know that when you killed one, your life was forfeit. You could be killed or go and live in their land, Prythian. She finds out when the massive, horned wolf breaks down her door. For once in his miserable life, her father jumps up and begs her to save herself. He doesn’t want to see her die. So she goes with the beast, who it turns out is a shapeshifter called Tamlin. It doesn’t hurt that when in man form, he’s a total hottie. He takes her to his estate in the Spring Court. There, we meet Lucien, who I couldn’t help but like, despite the sometimes cruel snark he gives her. The land is suffering under a disease they call the blight that is interfering with their magic, the strangest sign of which is the masks that the Spring Court are unable to take off – a sort of backlash of magic gone wrong.
Once they get to Tamlin’s lands, I really got into the story. I just loved it! All the scary beasties and perpetual danger! Maas does a great job describing the beautiful surroundings (something I felt lacked in the Throne of Glass series at times) And watching Feyre’s snark go up against Lucien’s is fun – Tamlin at first is the strong, silent type. But for some reason, Lucien is encouraging him to be with her and to befriend her. She starts to get the feeling that there is more going on than they have told her – well, what little they have told her. The fairies are slippery and tricksy. You have to watch what you say, and what bargains you make. But soon, the three get past the human/fairie differences. There are a lot of things Feyre has wrong about them and their history with humans. There’s also a lot of great character development. Feyre isn’t a well-read, court educated girl – she’s rough and illiterate, insecure about her place and the treatment her family gave her. The fairies, especially Lucien, aren’t above throwing that in her face. So there’s a lot of swirling emotions, on both sides. I mean, she did kill their friend. I felt like they took that in stride, in a way, for all of Lucien’s cruel barbs.
There is a whole 2nd act that I did not see coming. It was so amazing and I can’t breathe a word, because spoilers! If you know the Beauty and the Beast story (who doesn’t) it could have been very predictable – but it really wasn’t. I was looking for some things, and even when they finally happened, it wasn’t like OOOH! Here it is!! but that’s not a bad kind of predictable. If that makes any sense at all! I loved this. I’m going on to the 2nd book today!!