A Court of Thorns and Roses was so hyped that I wanted to read it for that reason alone… but I was also so intrigued by the idea of the fae being mixed with a beauty and the beast retelling… the two seemed MADE to go together… Yet I found myself LOVING and HATING the book at the same time… so what details do I want to talk about? Come see (it’s more positive than you’d think!)…
Tea Party Gossip is a new feature where I talk spoilers after reviewing a book. These thoughts can be about things I love or am confused about or curious… or even a mix of all three! It can be about characters, themes, plot points, villains, how I related to the characters, writing techniques, the sky is the limit! I want to discuss them in depth and get other readers opinions too!
The Masked Curse
Underneath everything Feyre is told about WHY she is being taken to the Spring Court is a fantastical tale then even if told straight out she may have not believed. While I thought HOW we learned of these events could have been better developed (this is the writer in me!) The reader in me LOVED that nothing we were told was true! I really enjoyed the fact that there was no treaty. no blight and that there was NO WAY Feyre EVER could have just killed a fae shaped into a wolf but that he had sacrificed himself to try to break the curse.
As Feyre (and we) learn more and more about Tamlin and his estate she comes to understand about the courts and there is this build up to the idea of the masked ball being the vehicle to apply the curse to Tamlin’s court. Really a masked ball has little to do with the story of beauty and the beast but it FITS SO WELL! I think that has to do with the fact that courts bring to mind the dancing and music to be found in the animated version of the story and that courts meshes so well with the idea of fae! Plus masks are an intriguing way to remind of the curse without being obvious about why they are wearing them…
While I would have enjoyed the book more if the mystery element had been better executed… to where Feyre is given clues and must put them together to learn of the curse herself, nevertheless this is an excellent look at how to put together the IDEA!
The Pretty Beast
One thing that didn’t ring true for me is that Tamlin was never a beast in the sense of the curse from beauty and the beast. In fact I hazard to say it was obvious Tamlin was perfect under his mask from just glancing at him… much like it was obvious Lucien was NOT perfect under his mask. Hence the masks weren’t enough to represent the curse especially for Tamlin who embodies his entire court. I didn’t need him to be a big hairy man like in the movies but something more than the light allusion through the shapeshifting.
While I really loved the shapeshifting and the direction that could have taken the story it wasn’t taken far enough (and in fact became a contrived detail because it was NEVER used in the story)! I thought it was cool the way he stormed in to take Feyre in his beast form and that he was the only one of his court who could shapeshift, but that had NO connection to the curse… that was something he did as the high lord. How much cooler would it have been for her to fall for this stag version of him?!
“His beast form is a horse sized creature with a bear-like body that moved with a feline fluidity, a distinctively lupine head, and massive elk-like antlers. But lion or hound or elk, there was no doubting the damage his black, dagger-like claws and yellow fangs could inflict.”
This would have demanded more creativity in the plot (a PLUS to me as a reader!) and caused some of the more stereotypical events to need more development. What stood in the way of a more beastly Tamlin though was the desire to include SEX in the story.
Now I’m not saying axe sex because its sex but it makes a lot MORE sense for Feyre to fall for a REAL BEAST and be denied the physical expression of it with Tamlin. (Especially since it was shown she was a woman NOT afraid to share her body’s appetites!) She could have met his human form some other way and realize him for who he really is (this could have been part of the mystery)! This could have created a fascinating dynamic with Lucien or it could have been something Rhysand uses against her later…
It would have been MEGA AWKWARD to have sex with a horse sized creature, not to mention yuck! So the sex would have had to go as there was NO OTHER time is would have worked. That DOES mess up though the idea she has sex and leaves without saying I love you, etc. And that would have had to be developed more or you would have had to go with the more innocent missing/checking up on her family and staying too long, not realizing there was a deadline to the curse.
I can see where the author would rather compromise on the beast part as the sex and lack of an ‘I love you’ was obviously a major element she wanted to include. These touches to modernize the fairy tale were a big draw for those readers who LOVED the book so that choice worked in the larger scheme of things. As a writer myself though I would have gone the creative path! (But that’s just me!)
A Stone Heart
The stone heart was a great hidden manifestation of the curse. I didn’t really see that it effected HOW Tamlin acted… He still loved his court and did everything he could to protect them… like search for the human woman to break the curse as well as fight the fae dropped on his borders. Still Amarantha is clever and savvy to have tricked the high lords into allowing her to take over… so it stands to reason she’d have a back up plan to keep the human woman from winning if such was found.
There is a twisted sense of rightness to Amarantha’s hatred of love. I can certainly relate to some scumbag using and abusing one of my siblings… I can’t even imagine if they were tortured and killed too… Compounded by the fact your dead sister was of superior speed and reflexes and SHOULDN’T have died due to that fact. I can see where you would blame love… it certainly can’t be the victim’s fault!
I really appreciated the fact there were all sorts of themes connected to Amarantha’s backstory that can be applied to the real world. Amarantha has a hatred for cross race relationships which while not as frowned upon as in the past are still something people get hot and bothered about, particularly from the minority view. (Are fae a minority here or the humans!?)
I particularly enjoyed the fact that for all her games, curses and machinations Amarantha truly believed humans were scum… Otherwise why play fair and give the riddle? She truly believed it was love that killed her sister and that humans were incapable of feeling it truly. It was only one step farther for her to believe Tamlin should physically belong to her. This paired quite well with the sexualized modern take on the fairy tale.
Did you enjoy the elements I mentioned that modernized the fairy tale? Or do you prefer the more innocent rendition?
Did you miss Tamlin’s more beastly form? Would you have enjoyed his beast form included more in the plot?
Was Amarantha a strong villain to you? Would you have enjoyed Fayre putting together clues about the curse herself?
Thanks for reading XOXO
If you missed it, check out my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses!!