My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
The sole provider for her poverty stricken family, Feyre kills a wolf while hunting in the woods near her home. When a powerful beast-like creature arrives seeking retribution, Feyre is forced to go with him to Prythian, the land of the dangerous and treacherous Fae of legend. As Feyre comes to know the fae warrior, Tamlin High Lord of the Spring Court, her feelings for him change from animosity to friendship to passion. However, a malignant threat looms over Tamlin’s court and Feyre will have to use all of her wits and skills to protect the new home and love she has found.
Wonderful storytelling and excellent character development. Unfortunately, these are marred by the overly descriptive passages throughout the first 2/3s of the book. These have a detrimental effect on the pacing and make it difficult for the reader to wade through the chaff to get to the wheat. Thankfully, the story picks up toward the end, and the last 25% make it all worthwhile.
In terms of the world building, Maas has constructed a vibrant, complex and compelling world comprised of parallel human and faerie lands. Whether it be the familial and social intricacies of life in Feyre’s village, or the politics, machinations and dangers of the fae courts, the people and places add energy and nuance to the plot.
Feyre is a difficult heroine to like at first mainly due to her prejudiced hostility toward the fae (however justified it may be) and her prickly nature. She also exhibits several TSTL moments throughout that put a pall on her character. That said, she does mature and grow as the story progresses and one cannot help but admire her strength, resilience and courage in the face of adversity.
Tamlin is a problematic hero as he is a Beta in Alpha clothing. While his beast form and warrior persona suggest a strong and powerful male, he is, in fact, sweet and caring with an overt sense of honor and chivalry. Although this appears to make him the perfect match for Feyre, it actually has the opposite affect as he comes across as boring and unexciting.
In contrast, the third side of the ubiquitous love triangle, Rhysand, is far more compelling. His dark and tortured soul together with his sarcastic wit and moral ambiguity appeals to my preference for bad boy heroes with hearts of gold. Given the events at the end of the book, it will be interesting to see how his relationship with Feyre develops.
This book also has one of the most vile, malevolent, malicious and sadistic villains that I’ve encountered since Lord Voldemort.
On a final note, although many have classified this book as YA, for me, the age of the heroine, the violence and the sex scenes, which are borderline explicit, all indicate that it is more of an adult than a teen book.
In sum, a good story with intriguing characters and I will continue with the next installment when it comes out next month.