THIS BOOK. Oh my god, Sarah J Mass is a storytelling goddess.
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.
Wow, just wow. How did I not read this book earlier?
Feyre is one of my new favorite characters. She was spunky and fierce, but she wasn’t the heart-of-stone assassin that Celaena was. I loved that though she knew how to hunt, she actually hated it Though she was physically strong, it didn’t define her character. I loved her artsy side, and her love/hate relationship with her appreciation for beauty.
Tamalin is just…wow. He’s badass, no question. His awkward flirting was hilarious, and though he did have the usual brooding male characteristics, it was clear that he had a genuine reason for being gloomy and serious. I loved the moments when we got to see him be light-hearted, but I also deeply understood why he was melancholy most of the time.
Tamalin and Feyre’s romance is perfection. It goes from awkward hatred to slow burn appreciation to OMG they’re in love at exactly the right speed. By the middle of the book I was dying for them to get together. I love that their relationship was both emotionally complex and, well, steamy (because WOW). (Seriously, just a warning, ACOTAR has some intense scenes for a YA book.)
For a book dominated by romance, it did a good job of avoiding classic pitfalls. I was so afraid when Lucien and Tamalin were introduced that there was going to be a love triangle, but it never turned into that at all, and I loved it. Seeing Feyre develop a platonic friendship with Lucien was almost as important to the plot and to her character as her love for Tamalin, and it was a nice deviation from the usual YA “males = love interests” mold.
The most amazing part about ACOTAR is the fairytale nature of it. I’ve read a lot of fairy tale retellings this year, and most of them use the original story’s plot but lose the tone of the story. On the other hand, ACOTAR was simultaneously a classically YA story and a fairy tale.
Things kept happening and I would stop and say, “OMG that’s so fairytale“…and then I realized that was the point. ACOTAR managed to give fairy tale plot devices new life, balancing cheesy unbelievable-ness (is that a word?) with YA plot drama. And even though the plot was clearly rooted in Beauty and the Beast, I was still surprised by the plot twists and reveals.
Out of all the retellings I’ve read this year, ACOTAR is the first one to mesh the addictive quality of YA books with the mood of a fairytale. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy books with a heavy dose of romance and incredible characters.