Like some other recent releases, this is probably one of the most hyped books we will get this year. Sarah J. Maas rocks out with her Throne of Glass series, so this separate novel was promoted like crazy. I won't like, I was pretty skeptical. I waited until after the book had been released and had a respectable number of reviews before deciding to buy it. In some of the reviews, the story was compared to Beauty and the Beast and/or the story of Hades and Persephone. I'll just go ahead and throw it out there that I don't like fairytale retellings. I haven't read Cinder or any of the likes because I really just don't like retellings. It's just one of those things. But because I love SJM and Angela read and loved the book so much, I figured I'd give it a shot.
I actually really, really liked this book. As I was reading, I didn't find myself comparing it to other stories as you might in a normal retelling because the plot and characters are SO unique. Feyre is one of those characters who is super relatable because of the struggles she has faced in her life. Basically, her life has sucked. She has been given the D end of every stick because of this bogus promise she made to her mom on her deathbed. When things start getting crazy after Feyre kills a Fae wolf and one of the Fae's friends comes to claim the person who took his life. From there she gets whisked away to the land of Fae and has to spend the rest of her life living with this guy as punishment. She is very realistic in the way that she worries about her family, but also selfishly worries that no one will remember her. That tugged on my heart strings because I think it is a fear of pretty much everyone that they will die or disappear and no one will even remember they existed.
You can kind of guess where the story is going to go right from the bat (as far as the romance). You know that Tamlin is going to be her love interest, so there is no spoilers there. The love story is SO sweet. What these two do for each other is breathtaking, and I will absolutely add it to my list of best love stories. There is a part of the book where everything is laid out on the table by a different character and everything is explained..... and it was just beautiful. The sacrifices that are made and decisions that are made really show what true love is.
The book dragged on a bit during the middle, but I get it. During the meaty part of the book, there is a lot of relationship building so it is a necessary thing. Once you get over the hump of the slow parts, things start going crazy. Whatever you think is going to happen, just go ahead and throw it out the window. The direction that SJM takes it was completely not even on the realm of anything that I could have possible thought when I started the book. I kept asking Angela questions and trying to get her to give me spoilers, but everything that I asked or predicted that was going to happen was immediately shot down. I saw why once I got close to end. I really liked how I had NO idea how it was going to end.
One of the best things about ACOTAR is the sub-characters. Lucien, Alis, Nesta, and so many others really took things to the next level. They added so much depth to the story and really made the picture of their world feel complete. There was one character in particular that I didn't care for that I know a lot of people liked which is Rhys. I just didn't like his part of the story. I like him as a character and I really hope he has more about him if there is a sequel. I just didn't like how SJM incorporated him into Feyre's life, and I feel like it could have been left out of the book and been fine. I think having him there and how everything goes down at the end, it left me with more questions than answers for the big picture.
That brings me to the ending... I love the HEA, but things sort of just end. Leading up its like BANG BANG BANG ACTION ACTION ACTION then the big thing happens and everyone is like "k it's over bye!" It was just kind of an odd ending, especially the last paragraph that deals with Rhys. Again, I think this is going to be a series instead of a standalone so I'm sure things will make more since in the sequel. I was just super into it and read like 300pages in two hours and was completely absorbed in the story and then it just.... ended. I was just left feeling like "oh...... ok. That's cool, I guess."
Overall, this is an excellent book. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of high fantasy or if you just love SJM's writing in general. This book was no exception to her beautiful writing. You'll find yourself on the edge of your seat at times, wanting to go jump in the shower during the scandy times, swooning over the hotties, and yelling at the book when the plot takes an unexpected twist. While it isn't one of my absolute favorites that I have read this year, the love story is one of my favorites. I would recommend reading it for Feyre and Tamlin's love story alone. It'll have you swooning all over the place. Hearts hearts hearts.