Goodreads Summary: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
“I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”
Living a world where the rich do little to help the starving poor in the dead of winter, and people live in fear of cruel faeries living right over the wall in Prythian, Feyre has spent her entire life hating the fey. Naturally, she never expected to find herself living at the mercy of the aforementioned faeries in their lands.
The story opens with Feyre (Fey-ruh), a badass 19 year old who must hunt to keep her useless father and superficial sisters alive. When she sees a deer pursued by a wolf in the woods, she kills both, only to learn that the wolf was actually a faerie. As punishment, she must come to live in the Spring Court of Prythian with Tamlin, a high fey.
I absolutely loved the world building in this story. The seven different faerie courts are explained, as well as how they all fit into Prythian and the south where the mortals live. There are several different species of faeries described, and they all have unique abilities. As someone who loves faerie lore, I loved this story, and felt that Mass really did justice to traditional legends (can’t touch iron, can’t lie, very tricky, etc), while still adding her own unique touches to differentiate this book.
I enjoyed the supporting characters and felt that they were very well developed. First, there’s Feyre’s apathetic family, easy to hate in the beginning. But Mass soon shows that all is not as simple as it seems, and familial bonds run deep. Then there’s Lucian, Tamlin’s friend and a member of the Spring Court. He seems to resent Feyre at first, but it’s clear that he is more than just a cruel faery–I loved him by the end!
The story is very heavily based on romance. There are sex scenes that definitely show ACOTAR is targeted towards older teens, but they are not too explicit. I think that given the reputation faeries have as being dark and trickery, they were not unexpected in this book and fit the overall tone. And I absolutely love Tamlin! I ship him and Feyre so hard!
I did, however, sense a love triangle forming, and I’m really annoyed by that. I don’t understand why so many YA authors feel the need to include them; they usually leave me feeling unsatisfied. For that, I’m taking off .5 stars from my review.
At first, the premise felt a bit strange and contrived. Feyre kills a faerie, a trusted friend and member of the Spring Court, and as “punishment” she gets to live out her days in extreme luxury and splendor, eating off of literal gold plates with the friends of the faerie she killed? However, that is all part of the mysteriousness of the book, a signal that all is not as simple as it seems, and I was satisfied that it was explained/resolved later in the book.
Finally, I loved how ACOTAR is a Beauty and the Beast retelling! I’m a huge fan of retellings, and I loved this one! The similarities were fairly subtle, but if you’re familiar with the original you should be able to catch them.
The ending was completely original and amazing! I completely did not anticipate how it was going to end, but I was very satisfied. I can’t wait to read the sequel!
4.5 out of 5 rose red stars
You can also read my review on Goodreads here.