Book Reviews

Winter Book Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them. I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations…Both love and hate are mirror versions of the same game – and you have to win. Why? Your heart and your ego. Trust me, I should know.”

The Hating Game

Sally Thorne’s debut novel has been popular in the romance world for quite some time now. I’ve read it a couple times in the past and very much enjoyed it! As always, the synopsis before the review:

Nemesis (n.)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

A classic enemies-to-lovers romance, The Hating Game sets the stage in ‘Bexley & Gamin’; a merged book publishing cooperation in which Lucy and Joshua work. Lucy Hutton is a quirky and unique character with Christina Lauren’s classicly written humor and eccentricities, and Sally Thorne’s own written touch of charisma. She’s a loyal worker for ‘Bexley Books’ and horrified with its recent merge. Joshua Templeman, a seemingly dull, arrogant, and introverted man feels the same way; originally from ‘Gamin publishing’. With the merge, Lucy and Joshua work beside each other in their officeand they absolutely hate it.

The book doesn’t fail to demonstrate just how much they don’t get along. From Lucy’s asinine variations of ‘IHATEJOSHUA4EV@’ as her desktop password to Joshua swearing he’d quit his job if Lucy became his bossand vice-versa. Not to mention that both of them are brawling over a newly opened promotion as a chief operating officer in the workplace. With this, their already aching tension strains even further as they both constantly attempt to thwart each other’s plans to impress the executive board. Nonetheless, I think the “fighting” was hilarious and have a hard time believing it is anything above banter despite how often the two passionately mention their loathing for each other. I do wish the hate was stronger, but if that means Sally Thorne has to dull down the comedy than I’m pretty content with how it is now.

“‘What are you imagining? Your expression is filthy.’

‘Strangling you. Bare hands.’ I can barely get the words out. I’m huskier than a phone-sex operator after a double shift.

‘So that’s your kink.’ His eyes are going dark.”

The Hating Game

Lucy and Joshua recognize their infatuation with each-other fairly early in the book, though it is relatively subtle and they are able to dismiss it to a certain degree. Lucy becomes friends with a co-worker Danny, and tells Joshua she is attracted to him out of spite. She finds herself confused about how she should hold herself around Joshua as her feelings for him become more and more prominent. Not to mention that he appears to be equally attracted to her after a particularly risqué kiss in the elevator. Her situation with Danny does become a conflict later on in the text, and Sally Thorne throws plenty of other challenges their way to test just how passionate they are. The book twists and turns as it progresses until the two finally learn to accept that their “hate” for each other isn’t hate at all, it’s love.

The book was delightfulhilarious as expected, and emotionally demanding as all romance should be. However, I found myself cringing at some parts that were meant to be sweet, instead of eliciting the endearing “awwww” like I should be. Lucy’s family owns a strawberry farm, leading to Joshua giving her the pet name “Shortcake” which isn’t as imaginative nor ingenious as he probably thinks it is. I found myself curling up every time I read that nickname and I do understand why others find it to be the most adorable thing, but it was pretty torturous for me. Moreover, there’s this clever lead up from the beginning of the book where Joshua explains the reason behind all these markings Lucy often sees him write on his planner. I know the scribbling is related to her the moment it is first mentioned; and when he finally elucidates it later on in the text, all the charm is lost for me.

When I closed the book after finishing it for the first time, I found an astonishing lack of satisfaction. The text didn’t have nearly as much closure as it could’ve. I had hope thinking there would be an epilogue, but was disappointed when I flipped the pages to find nothing but the customary acknowledgments and upcoming book spoilers. Lest you think that means it has a bitter endingit doesn’t. Lucy and Joshua’s relationship concludes as happy as it could be, I just desire to know how they move on from there.

The Hating Game is an exhilarating read for anyone who wants to take in a good romance. I was able to read this entire book in one sittingeveryone mourn for my back and was intrigued from beginning to end. The constant bickering between Lucy and Josh is my absolute favorite thing, pulling more giggles out of me than I’d like to admit. Sally Thorne’s witty dialogue and clever storytelling has everyone wanting more, and I most definitely see why.

Sally Throne’s latest book, 99 Percent Mine was published almost exactly a year ago; which I enjoyed as well! Her next book Second First Impressions is scheduled to publish September 29th this year, and many with me included can’t wait to gorge ourselves on the pages. Sally Thorne has already proved to be an amazing rom-com author, and I anticipate reading plenty more of her work in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Happy reading!

xoxo Byunzie

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Book Reviews

Fall Book Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

To start things off, this book was pretty decentand may or may not have changed some opinions of mine. I did have some uncertainty prior to reading this text; but now I’m bouncing in impatience for the second book of the series to release in June 2020. As always, here is the synopsis before I jump into things!

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

In the year of 1872, Celine Rousseau flees from Paris France to the American city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Concealing a dark secret of her own, she hopes for an escape when she is fortunately taken in by a convent along with a handful of girls from around the world. While the nuns of this convent seek out suitable matches for these girls so they can start new lives, they also confine them into a proper Christian lifestyle. Be as that may, Celine longs for the intoxicating and thrilling experience that awaits her within the rest of the parading city and it’s eccentric nightlife. When she receives the opportunity to partake in this, she is quickly tangled up in an otherworldly murder mystery; with new friendsor foes in the infamous group ‘La Cour des Lions’, that she is certain are inhuman. As much as she attempts to disassociate with them, she realizes there is a target on her back for the mysterious serial killer; and is determined to catch and kill the monster no matter the cost.

She is introduced to Pippa, a girl her age in the convent who wishes to marry off to any pleasant man and start a freeing and artistic lifestyle, that quickly becomes a selfless and caring close friend to Celine. With Pippa and other girls, she sells handmade goods to fund the convent as well as teach. While selling her hand-stitched handkerchiefs, she encounters a whimsical and lively woman named Odette, who recognizes her peculiar French styled embroidery. Having history in Paris and an interest in fashion as well, Odette and Celine easily get along. When Odette requests for Celine to create her a dress for the upcoming Masquerade Ball, nothing seems to go as lovely as expected from there.

She encounters a young man named Bastien (Sébastien), the arrogant and devilishly handsome leader of ‘La Cour des Lions’, an evidently supernatural group of individuals Celine quickly gets involved with afterwards. Oh gosh, do I love Bastien. He is such an entertaining character with unique roots that add much needed spice to his demeanor. Celine comes to have a certain disliking for him in the beginning of the text, as she first encounters him harming a man in an alleyway for unknown reasons. However, they grow on each other as the book continues, which ultimately blooms into a passionate romance. Nonetheless, they forbid each other from having such feelings, as being together would harm both their future goals and desireswhich really does ache my heart.

While Bastien was fresh and enjoable, I have mixed feelings about the main protagonist Celine. In the story, she constantly expresses her hate towards sexism and how she is only deemed to be useful for her physical attributes. I understand where Ahdieh is trying to go with this, Celine is trying to be displayed as a strong, independent, and witty character thirsty for authority and female powerhowever, I perceive it differently. While Celine so eagerly seems to want female equality, she takes advantage of her beauty to get what she wishes instead of outwitting the situation; which would better encourage and display woman’s power. Many other readers agree with me that she is extremely contradicting, which blurs my understanding of her as a person. This ultimately makes her a confusing and fairly annoying character to deal with when it comes down to it.

Fun fact: New Orleans is my favorite city. Otherworldly, lavish, and glamorous, the city is an amazingly unique setting I don’t see enough of. I can’t tell if I’m biased, or the world-building for this book didn’t give my favorite place justice. Some parts of the book were absolutely beautiful, especially describing vegetation and cuisine; but I still don’t receive enough details about the city itself. New Orlean’s French Quarterwhere most of the story takes placeis stunning; and when one picks such an elaborate and attractive setting, take the time to build it for the reader! It is delightful to read and feel like I’m actually in the world an author has created; being able to walk around and touch, taste, smell, and see. Not just the material aspects, life as well! I want to interact with others and the atmosphere around me, how wonderful does that sound? It doesn’t have to be insane imagery like what I’ve just went off on a tangent about; but it would be nice to have more, especially for such an amazing location.

The murder mystery itself was pretty okay. If one is looking for a solid mystery book, this might not be sufficient enough. Yes, I was curious and begging to know the answers to all my questions like any good mystery, but when I finally received them it didn’t feel complete. While the book is responding to my pondering, it also raises more questions that never seem to be answered. I see how this could be Ahdieh’s attempt at keeping the reader on their toes so they beg for the next bookI just feel she didn’t give enough for a satisfying read, even if left on a cliffhanger of the sorts.

Regardless, I still have hope for this new series! The setting and world is wonderful, all that’s needed is more clarity. I hope that Celine grows to be more consistent and compelling in the next book this coming Summer!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hello bookworms! I’m proud to announce I started a Bookstagram! Follow me on Instagram @Byunziereads for pictures of my books, snippets of my life, and blog polls/updates!

Happy reading!

xoxo byunzie

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Book Reviews

Fall Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Another book review for ACOTAR! Now, this book… oh my goodness it is one of the most beloved on my bookshelf. I’ve read this book around 7 times over, engrossed and joyous all the way through every time! This review might be longer than others because it gets me quite excited, however let’s start slow with the synopsis:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Feyre’s journey from human to fae reaches it’s conclusion after A Court of Thorns and Roses. She now returns to spring court comfortable in the faerie realms of Prythian. However, she has a new power within her, reborn from the high lords in every court, she bears their abilities. Feyre comes to have difficulty handling her newfound strength, the weight within her crackles with achinguntamed and unknown.

Believing the worst is over, Feyre Archeron and her lover Tamlin are to be married after their relationship bloomed in the first book. Feyre however, has fear flickering within her as she and Tamlin begin the ceremony, and begins to beg for a way out of it. Miraculously, Rhysand appears to take Feyre away to The Night Court before vows are taken place, as apart of a bargain and bond for saving her life under the mountain. The Night Court’s hidden city, Velaris, becomes an escape for Feyre as Tamlin grows to be unbearably overprotective after Amarantha’s reign and fails to treat her as an equal. Feyre’s bond with Rhysand that was gained under the mountain appears to be less horrible than she presumed; as he teaches her to control her newfound strength as well as reading. However, a new terror creeps into both the fae and human worlds; war with Hybern is imminent, the kingdom that sent Amarantha as an emissary to torment Prythian previously. The King of Hybern wants to invade both human and fae lands for absolute control with the assistance of The Cauldron, a sacred and powerful relic fae acclaim somewhat religiously. The Courts wish to cease this at once, and Feyre trains to constrain her powers, hoping to become a weapon in saving her mortal world.

In A Court of Thorns and Roses I found that I didn’t connect to the characters nearly as much as this book. Sarah J. Maas did a wonderful job creating a world that stays with one long after they’ve closed the covers! I’ve grown much too emotionally attached to the characters, they linger in in me and the minds of many because of the unique personalities and stories Maas has weaved within them. Rhysand (also known as Rhys) is most definitely my favorite character (still one of my favorite characters of all time). Even with his smaller appearance in the first book, he struck me with much curiosity, pleasantly surprising me in this book with a personality so different while seemingly staying true to his demeanor under the mountain. While I admire the characters and how they have developed from A Court of Thorns and Roses, many new characters are also introduced, making Prythian so much larger and material than it seemed before.

The story overall was addicting, something new on every page leading up to the fight everyone has been waiting for in the third and final book in the trilogy, A Court of Wings and Ruin. “Bridge” books I call them, books that build up the beginning to reach the end. They tend to be the least admired in any series, as conflict almost never happens in a satisfying way since the climax usually occurs in the following text. However, here it is entertaining through and through, as well as the romance—oh god the romance—within it, making it my favorite book in the trilogy (and one of my favorite books everlasting).

Feyre and Rhysand’s growing relationship struck me incredibly hard right on my ticker in the first book (for I never seem to agree with shipping the main protagonist with their set love interest, my heart always says otherwise). In A Court of Thorns and Roses, Tamlin and Feyre much resemble the tale The Beauty and the Best, whereas her with Rhysand seem to be the myth of Hades and Persephone (not to mention Feyre’s last name Archeron is a river in the Greek underworld! “The River of Woe”). I very much enjoyed the dynamic between them both under the mountain, and I’m exceedingly happy to see how their hatred evolves into something greater (sometimes my heart can forsee the future?). This might be the sole reason I have this book as my best-loved, I’m obsessed with watching love bloom; whether that be from friendship—or loathing.

While the romance is ever so enticing, it is not the only focus in the book. Feyre comes to meet all of Rhysand’s ‘Inner Circle’, a group of both his friends and close associates in the Night Court and Court of Dreams (aka Velaris).

“The Court of Dreams.
The people who knew that there was a price, and one worth paying, for that dream. The bastard-born warriors, the Illyrian half breed, the monster trapped in a beautiful body, the dreamer born into a court of nightmares…And the huntress with an artist’s soul.”

A Court of Mist and Fury

As malicious power creeps upon Prythian, Feyre agrees to aid the Inner Circle in retaining peace and hopefully reconcile the relationship between human and fae. Feyre’s feelings about the seemingly temporary alliance with the the night fae is apprehensive and ambivalent at first. Nonetheless, as time passes she learns to not only accept, but enjoy the group’s company; appreciating them as friends along with a majority of the Night Court and it’s City of Starlight, Velaris. She gains an especially close companionship with Rhysand’s cousin, third-in-command, and overseer of both the Court of Nightmares and Court of Dreams, Morrigan (better known as Mor). The Inner Circle consists of both Mor and Rhysand, as well as three others equally as interesting: Cassian, the general commander of the Night Court’s armies; a warrior who fights as if like a dance; Azriel, Rhysand’s shadowslinger (a fae with the predisposition to have heightened senses and the ability to move through shadow) and spymaster; and last but not least, Amren, an immortal otherworldly beast contained in a high-fae body. Feyre’s relationship with all these characters is amazingly strong, and they develop to have such a deep love for each other that one would have a hard time believing regarding the first book.

Feyre’s long-absent sisters Elain and Nesta also make an important appearance in A Court of Mist and Fury, assisting the Inner Circle in connecting with the human world. This is particularly interesting as both the siblings have a certain loathing and fear for faeries, the species in which Feyre has become. Tamlin held his word; Elain and Nesta now live on a large estate, indulging in a more than comfortable lifestyle. Feyre believes they have no memory of her being seized from them, and seem to think she is safe and sojourning elsewhere in human realms. When Feyre realizes this is not entirely true, a void between her and her sisters grow creating a detrimental and distant relationship between them. Elain and Nesta have a larger role in this book, but it is meager compared to their predominant roles in the third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin.

Feyre’s coming to power is a slow, but rewarding process. She learns to master her abilities in this text, where they appear full fledged in the following one. When I thought she couldn’t become any stronger willed than how A Court of Thorns and Roses concluded, I was proven wrong. I’m always afraid when a writer gives their protagonist such all-powerful capability. When a character is too strong it tends to dull down the story and it’s conflicts. However, Feyre’s heart remains human even as a fae; she has her weaknesses which inevitably slow her down, but that’s what I believe makes her such a compelling character. I feel conflicted about her demeanor and its origin in the previous book, but her strength and reason in this book is clear, and I absolutely love it.

This book is known to be one of Sarah J. Maas’ best pieces, and it most definitely lives up to it’s hype. The perfect dosage of both passionate romance and exhilarating action, A Court of Mist and Fury is an addicting and captivating read; sure to bury a special place in any readers memory.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Happy reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

xoxo Byunzie

Book Reviews

Fall Book Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Hello! Today I will be reviewing The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. I had an absolute blast reading this book and I can’t wait to share my thoughts! But first, here’s the synopsis:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

One can tell by reading the synopsis that this book is indeed a romance (because I can’t get enough), and the romance trope is quite clear in it as well. The ‘fake marriage turned to love’ is a common favorite, however I’m not really as interested as others seem to be with this trope. When I picked up this book it didn’t spark too much for me, but I had heard a lot of good things about the text before I even laid my eyes on the synopsis. Christina Lauren is also an author I love dearly because of her writing and it’s witty and bubbly humor, always making her novels extremely enjoyable to read, so I decided to give it a try—and I have mixed thoughts.

A majority of the story is set in the romantic and tropical island of Maui, where the main protagonist Olive Torres and her seemingly much hated acquaintance, Ethan, vacate to. They travel to Hawaii together in place of Olive’s sister Ami, and her husband Dane. Of course, they don’t plan on spending any time together once they’re there; they despise each other, but Maui is a place that can most definitely change people. It doesn’t help that there’s only one bed in their hotel, or that all the special activity packages and discounts are designed for couples only. The situation makes it so easy for any two people to fall in love—which is exactly what happens. The time the book spends in Maui is wonderful; Olive and Ethan are adorable together, addicting me to all the activities they do with a slight slow burn at the edges.

The book is mostly set in Olive’s point of view, whereas the epilogue is told in Ethan’s point of view. I always take pleasure being in the main protagonist’s mind as Cristina Lauren always makes it a fun experience, but Ethan’s point of view was an interesting fresh breath of air at the end of the text.

The book is especially great because when Ethan and Olive banter they always allude to modern fandoms and entertainment. A geeky and nerdy protagonist is always something Lauren pulls of so well, I can’t ever get enough. However, I do have issues with the reason behind why they hate each other so much. Spoiler, its a huge misunderstanding over cheese curds that happened many years in the past. This causes Olive to have issues over her body and diet, leading to her strong dislike for Ethan, which in anger and confusion, he returns back to her. Miscommunication is one of my least favorite tropes, it’s quite frustrating since this whole issue could be resolved with one conversation. They do ultimately have this conversation near the end of the novel, but they could have enjoyed themselves so much more if it happened beforehand. The relationship they have is antagonistic and cheeky for a bulk of the book; and since the reader finds out why they detest each other so early in the pages, it makes it hard to believe how their loathing for each other is so strong.

Nevertheless, the story came to be really surprising as the book continued! A plot twist I would’ve never expected accumulates throughout it, leading to quite a big conflict after both the characters leave Maui. Obviously this is presented to test the relationship between Olive and Ethan, and it made the book much more entertaining; yet I still have concerns with it. I love Ethan and Olive’s family, but they all seem to perceive her as pessimistic and cynical, whereas I have a hard time seeing that. I feel like the character I’m reading is different from who she is supposed to be. Olive is treated unreasonably because of how characters see her, and it angers me on her behalf knowing that the people she love see her in this way.

What furthermore ticked me off was how they decided to apologize to Olive after the conflict was resolved. The way she is treated is completely unacceptable and I feel she needs more than some ‘grand gesture’ or one time apology for it to seem fair. The making of amends was not nearly as satisfying as I was hoping for, which ultimately ruined everything from when Olive and Ethan left Maui to the end of the book for me. Olive deserves more, she deserves better, after going through some pretty shitty treatment; and it wasn’t given to her. Many feel that the book should’ve just ended with the two leaving Maui and I sympathize with them. I adore what Olive and Ethan went through in their Hawaiian vacation, but their love just didn’t feel the same afterwards.

In my opinion, romance is so much more enjoyable when the lovers are at the peak of their relationship when the text concludes. However, The Unhoneymooners ended worse than it could’ve been. I crave more reconciliation and security in Olive’s relationships with Ethan and her family. I took pleasure in a majority of the book, but it failed to satisfy me even with the epilogues attempt to.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Happy reading!

xoxo Byunzie

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Book Reviews

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

Hiya! Today I’m here to review the first book in the ongoing series fans have deemed as “ACOTAR”; an acronym of the first book that represents the entirety of the collection thus far. I’ve also found that some readers call it the “A Court” series as they all start with that similar phrase, but I will stick with ACOTAR as that seems to be more well known. Before I share my thoughts and opinions here is the description:

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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it…or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

This is the first book I’ve read by Sarah J. Maas, I find that this particular story is similar to the well-known fairytale: The Beauty and The Beast, and other books in the series have footing in various classic stories as well.

The story recounts the life of Feyre in her point of view, a young adult human taken from life with her impoverish family by a faerie she and her society deem as an equality to the devil. While she lives in this unfamiliar world she grows to fall deeply in love with the creature that took her, an immortal faerie named Tamlinand pushes her body and soul to save the faeries she once hated from a seemingly indestructible blight. Throughout the book, the new world she is taken to tests all she knows as well as both her strengths and weaknesses; evolving her into a brave, interminably determined, and passionate being. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a remarkable story of friendship, love, sacrifice, and un-quantifiable passion.

The story is set in the fantastical lands of Prythian, a continent that is composed of seven fae-ruled regions called “courts” with unique environments and miraculous powers based off seasonal or solar segments. They border human lands, where a large wall splits and isolates the fae and mortal worlds. A faerie is a concept that is known well throughout the Fantasy genre, the malicious and mischievous fairy counterpart. Faeries are supernatural beings, generally conceived as having a diminutive human form with pointed ears possessing magical powers. In ACOTAR, faeries are the size of humans, if not larger, and possess magic based on the court they originated from. I’ve come to really enjoy the world Sarah J. Maas has built, where the beings of Prythian fascinate me with the way they converse and live. In the fantasy genre, world building is such an important factor to creating a compelling story. I personally enjoy a world that seems outlandish and extraterrestrial compared to my own, and Sarah J. Maas executes that beautifully with a mosaic of both enchanted, and human components.

Map of Prythian printed within all ACOTAR books

The book incorporates a slow burn, type of romance (my favorite kind) that itches the reader to crave and beg for more intimacy. Feyre starts the story bearing a certain loathing, and hate for Tamlin based on various common rumors humans have for faeries. As she bides in his manor, she grows closer to him and his kind. Her relationship with Tamlin cultivates into a lustful and intrepid passion, which is the kindling for her fiery endurance necessary to save Prythian. I do not connect too emotionally with the dynamic between them, I feel that too little has happened in between Feyre’s original and final affection for it to seem believable. It makes me question if Feyre’s feelings are real, or if Tamlin truly is her lifelong lover. No matter what the answers to my questions may be, the sexual tension in the text is intoxicating. The book is categorized as “Teen fiction”, I know many disagree with this because sex is written in detail just as much as everything else is. Sarah J. Maas’ writing does not diminish when it comes to particularly intimate and romantic scenes, and personally I do not mind it. Passion and love are important factors driving the plot, it further helps me as the reader understand Ferye’s emotions and motives that decide how she carries herself throughout the book. The sex is not decisive enough for one to feel that they must read it to understand the story, however. I could easily skip over these occasional moments and still have plenty of compelling text to read, while completely understanding the story and emotionally connecting to the characters.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first in a series of books I read back to back, my mind committed to the pages. It is not my favorite piece from the series, but there was never a dull moment where I felt un-entertainedthe pages overflowing with emotions that make me feel joyous and sorrowful, guilty and proud, and however suspenseful without ever faulting on satisfaction. I recommend this to all fantasy and romance readers that would like a compelling and captivating read!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Happy reading!

xoxo Byunzie

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