Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy YA
First Published: 2015
Page Count: 416
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Note: Book 1 of the trilogy
The book hits high note after high note and will leave the reader begging for book two.
*Characters *Love Story *Unique Retelling
“Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.” Feyre is desperate to find food for her sisters and father as the sun sets on another frigid winter day. However, when she chances upon a wolf, it’s death at her hand brings the wrath of a fearsome beast to her family’s doorstep. As payment for the wolf’s death, Feyre must join the beast, who turns out to be an immortal faerie named Tamlin, and reside with him on his estate in his mythical faerie realm for the end of her days. Terrible evil is growing in these lands that could affect the human world and while Feyre tries to uncover what that evil is, her heart might also start to warm towards her handsome captor.
I’m going to try to reign in all of my emotions and freakish excitement to get words down on this page about how great this book is. It’s easier said then done when you’re fresh off of finishing this story. I had initially heard this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I’d seen it all over the internet. You know me; if it’s a fairytale retelling I’m there, even if it took me some time for me to buy it. Those elements of the original fairytale are present: imprisonment with a beast-like creature who has a soft side, a magical castle as the heroine’s prison, a heroine who is separated from her impoverished family, etc. But then the novel starts to slowly pull away from that foundation and become completely its own tale. Usually I would disapprove of a retelling that strays too far from the original, but this book does it so well! By the end, you don’t even associate it with Beauty and the Beast and that’s ok! Better then ok! It may start out feeling like a retelling but by the end, those elements merely feel like a coincidence and Maas’s story stands up on its own.
Since I had nothing bad to say about the book I’m going to use this paragraph, which is usually dedicated to a book’s low points, to keep gushing about it. The strongest element for me in the book were the characters. I loved them all and that is very rare for me. Feyre is tough and beautiful, but very flawed in ways that greatly affect her story. Her captor, the noble Thamlin, is the epitome of class, power, and otherworldly attractiveness. Their relationship takes every twist and turn that I could ever want an author give me if said author wanted to make me squirm, shiver, or squeal with delight over their interactions. It’s as if Maas could read my mind and know exactly how to write my ideal fictional courtship. She’s my fantasy young adult author soul sister. However, Tamlin’s friend and emissary Lucien, as well as other characters, add another interesting dimension to the story. It is impressive that she wrote such a great romance but even more impressive that the other pieces of Maas’s plot are just as engaging.
I doubt I will read a better book in 2016. It’s bold and brash to say but this story tears my mental checklist of what makes a great story to shreds. But then I’m reminded that the sequel comes out this May and if Maas can continue the fantastic storytelling in book two, that book just might blow this one out of the water. I feel sorry for my “to read” list; nothing looks like it can come even close. Sorry, not sorry.