Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J Maas
Release Date ~ May 5, 2015
Bloomsbury Children's
ISBN13: 9781619634442
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

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

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Sarah J Maas stole the attention of readers everywhere when Throne of Glass came out, and I was one of the  many eagerly awaiting to see what her next series would be like. A Court of Thorns and Roses shares some similarities with Throne of Glass, but manages to stand on its own merits.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a captivating story, with a fairy-tale feel to it with a mature perspective to it.

  1. A rich fae mythology:

    I loved that Sarah J Maas looked to traditional, older mythology for the fae in her books - these aren't the nice, little faeries that people tend to think of now. I liked that this was a darker story, with complex creatures - not all fae are the same, and there was plenty of variety and differences among them. This really added to the setting and the story, since so much of the book takes place in their lands.
  2. Engrossing characters:

    Not only is Feyre a fantastic protagonist, but the secondary characters are also remarkable in their own ways. Feyre's sisters were some of the most surprising characters to me, as they showed remarkable development despite my expectations and how little page space they were given in the story. And on top of that, many of the fae have important roles and are shown to be complex characters with their own motivations and personalities. No one is one-dimensional. Importantly, partially as a result of the depth of these characters, their relationships with one another are similarly complex.
  3. A high-stakes story:

    This is a book with a high level of maturity (for many reasons), but especially because of how intense the plot is and how much Feyre risks. Her life is very much in danger (at many points) but the stakes are even higher than that - there's a deeply emotional aspect to the story, as well. The plot moves along quickly and it will readily engage readers, but it's the type of story where you really need to prepare yourself - there are no easy solutions.
This is the type of book I would recommend to older or more mature readers, as its content is not appropriate for all readers nor will all readers appreciate it (it's fairly graphic, with respect to sexuality and violence). 

Sarah J Maas' writing is as spectacular as ever and her creativity is showcased through a rich world and developed story. It's precisely the type of book that will leave us all anxiously awaiting the next book in the series! Readers who enjoyed Sarah J Maas' other books are sure to appreciate her newest release.


Waiting on Wednesday {49}

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly meme where we can share a book that we are so excited for and are anxiously awaiting their upcoming release!

This week my WoW pick is...

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
Release Date ~ August 18, 2015

First of all - hello, you pretty cover, you. Nothing draws me in like a great cover and I'm a fan of the design on this one. Simple, yet intriguing! It's so different from what I'm used to seeing.

Second of all, I tend to appreciate books about class struggles and I love a good fantasy. Kate Elliott is a very experienced author, so I'm very curious to see what her newest release will bring!

Anyone else as excited for Court of Fives as I am? Can you survive the looooong wait until August? Or are you more excited about a different book this week? 


Book Review: Saint Anything

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Release Date ~ May 5, 2015
Viking Juvenile ~ Penguin Random House
ISBN13: 9780451474704
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

It is no secret that I'm a long-time fan of Sarah Dessen; I have often shared my love and great appreciation for her books (with some fangirling involved).

I love that Sarah Dessen has her own style of books - whenever I pick up one of her books to read, I feel like I'm wrapping myself in an old, comfortable blanket. And yet, her books never stop leaving an impression on me. Saint Anything was no exception to this for many reasons.

  1. An uncommon perspective:

    The main character in Saint Anything is Sydney whose older brother is currently in prison after he is convicted of drunk driving which left a teenage boy paralyzed. I have more often read books where the main character is injured in a similar type of incident, or they have a friend or family member who is the victim. So it was very interesting to read about how the offender's family was impacted by such an event, and to see how Sydney struggles to come to terms with these events and her relationship with her family.
  2. Heartwarming relationships:

    Sydney's new friendship, which begins in Saint Anything, was one of my favourite parts of the book. I love to read about strong non-romantic relationships, particularly when we can read about two female friends who truly care for each other and actively work to build one another up. That is rarer to read about in a book than I would like, so I was thrilled to see it here. I was also touched by how the Chatham family bonded together in general, and to see how well they tried to care for their family and friends.
  3. A realistic story:

    I usually enjoy fantasy books, but I always love how Sarah Dessen grounds her books in reality. Saint Anything is a story which is easy to relate to with characters that remind me of myself and of people I know. The resolution of the book isn't very surprising, but it is satisfying. It's also filled with just enough hope - the difficulties in life aren't glossed over, but it isn't unnecessarily pessimistic. 
But I really need to emphasize that despite the actions of Sydney's brother, this isn't the most thrilling book. It's engrossing and enjoyable, but readers looking for a fast-paced story likely won't be satisfied with Saint Anything. 

Saint Anything is a quiet sort of book - it isn't a busy, thrilling type which will grab everyone's attention. But it is touching and thoughtful and it offers a different perspective from the stories we may be used to reading. Moreover, it offers an important story which will hopefully leave readers with something to think about as they encounter the same types of peoples and stories in real life.

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