A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas *An ARC was provided by Penguin Random House & Bloomsbury Children's Books in exchange for an honest review.*

A Court of Thorns and Roses is, as I'm sure you've all heard, the first book in a new series by one of my all-time favorite authors, Sarah J. Maas. Needless to say, I needed to get this book in my life, as soon as possible, and while my hopes were pretty much sky high, this book managed to sink it's teeth *ahem* ;) into my very soul and hold on for dear life. Any moment that I wasn't reading this book was torture and I found myself dreaming about it at work, in the car, before falling asleep at night and pretty much everywhere in between.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is something of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but rest assured, it's wholly original in it's own right. Only the broader details of the classic tale remain, and the rest is a glorious mixture of survival, a swoon-worthy and deliciously slow-burn romance, the Fae and the discovery of an amazing new fantasy world. I was quickly swept away into the magical and terrifying wilderness that is the Fae realm and desperate to know every inch of it. There's an expansive estate, an enchanted (and haunted) forests, a starlight pool *swoon* and rainbow waterfalls. ♥ There are wickedly vile creatures lurking about, waiting to prey on the innocent, but most the most unnerving of all might just be the variety of Fae courts - like Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Night, Dawn, etc. - with their immortal powers and thirst for human blood. Except...except Tamlin, 'the beast' and Feyre's captor - the ruler of the Spring Court. He seems different, and though he's terrible to behold in beast form, he doesn't quite seem to share his people's hatred for humans...

Let's start things off with Feyre, our main character. Feyre is definitely a one of a kind heroine. She has a quiet resolve about her and her incredible inner strength won me over from the word go. She's a huntress, but she doesn't enjoy killing - she just does so to survive. She takes care of her family even though they seem unappreciative at best, and downright ungrateful at worst. Through it all, Feyre is selfless and makes sure everyone one is fed, clothed and does her best to keep the peace. She isn't as 'in your face' as some other heroines I've come across, but she left her mark in my heart all the same. I admired her devotion to her family, as well as her willingness to do whatever it takes to survive. Her honesty and snarkiness on through it all didn't hurt either ;)

Moving on to Tamlin. Sigh... Tamlin is... dangerous, tortured, powerful and beyond enigmatic. I enjoyed his awkwardness around Feyre at first, but what develops through the course of the book was better than anything I could have imagined. Tamlin is fiercely protective of his friends and his Court but he also has a lot of secrets, a complicated past and a whole mess of family issues. He was a mystery that I couldn't wait to unravel and with every layer we discovered through the story, came new reasons to feel for him, to swoon over him and to love him.

The romance between Feyre and Tamlin is luxuriously slow-burn. Maas really takes her time with them, allowing them to get to know each other, despite their prejudices against one another and their personal issues. There is a mutual respect for one another that develops first, followed by an appreciated and admiration for each other. When things finally cross over to attraction and affection, it's deliciously drawn out and hopelessly addictive. For someone like me, who rarely picks up a book for the ships alone, I was head over heels on board with this one! Despite the fantasy setting and the action/adventure which are central to the story, A Court of Thorns and Roses is, at it's core, a romance. And it's a phenomenal one at that. Words seriously can not express my glee over how Feyre and Tamlin won me over :D

Inevitably though, it's hard not to compare A Court of Thorns and Roses to SJM's other epic series: Throne of Glass though, and while some readers will no doubt prefer this steamy, dark fairytale retelling, I still prefer Celaena's fiercely epic, kick-ass escapades. Considering the fact I tend to read for the world-building, adventures and characters instead of the romance, that fact shouldn't be surprising though. That being said, ACOTAR definitely stands on it's own as an addictive and deliciously atmospheric romantic adventure. I can not wait to continue on with Feyre and Tamlin's story - especially considering that ending. Gah! Knowing Miss Maas, the sequels will no doubt be even more impressive than this one already was. Bottom line: A Court of Thorns and Roses is beyond promising as a debut to yet another innovative and addictive series for Sarah J. Maas. This woman is a goddess and I will forever read every single book she comes up with.

This review was previously featured on my blog: Photobucket