Book Review: “A Court of Thorns and Roses”

acourtofthornsandroses

RATED: 1.5/5

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

Let’s cut to the chase. There are so many things wrong with this book that I don’t even know where to begin. I can say that at least first of all, this book is not for young adults. Yes there’s a lot of graphic violence but also a lot of sexual tension and a little bit of sex. Truthfully, this girl could’ve been a grown woman and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story, except that it wouldn’t be in the young adult section of the book store.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is like one big Twilight, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Hunger Games mash up.

My biggest issue with this book is that nothing really makes much sense. I found it hard to believe a lot of things in it.
Why did Feyre not find it bizarre that because of some “treaty”, she had to live with the High Fae of the Spring Court? Wouldn’t there be a ton of other criminal human beings also living there with him if that were the case? Instead, it was all new to all of them and yet there were no questions asked, just constant escape on her mind.

Why did Feyre bother so much with her family? They were horrible and not worth caring for. I understand there was a “promise” she made to her mother before she died but even then, she explained that her mother wasn’t great either when she was alive, so why would she want to keep a promise to someone like that? She slaved away for her family and there was hardly any gratitude in return. Her sisters were selfish and her father may as well have died considering how miserable he was with his botched knee. The way her family was introduced at the start of the book portrayed them so negatively in my eyes, it never made any sense to me why she would be so desperate to get back to them and take care of them when she was able to live a luxurious life without having to work and being able to paint, because she killed a faerie.

Tamlin was a confusing character for me. I felt at times like he was literally just the beast from Beauty and the Beast. His attitude towards Feyre was confusing. One chapter they hate each other and the next chapter he’s like some cute Labrador puppy and they’re in some meadow hanging out in the sun and it’s all happy out of nowhere and they’re getting along so well. Then there was all this sexual tension that I just couldn’t buy. Honestly, I could tell they were supposed to end up together just by how it was being written, but characteristically I couldn’t see it. I mean damn, I shipped Feyre more with Lucien or Rhysand than Tamlin!

That leads me to my next point. The trials that Feyre had to undergo to “prove her love” is true and pure towards Tamlin proved anything but that. How does fighting a giant worm prove you love Tamlin? Doesn’t outsmarting it and killing it prove you are street smart? That doesn’t prove love. That doesn’t have anything to do with Tamlin. Even her second trial proved more about caring about Lucien than Tamlin.

Amarantha was so powerful and evil, and her whole backstory was not enough to justify it. One of my peeves about stories are when there is an evil person who is just… too evil, you know? It’s like she’s just being evil to be evil. There’s nothing really there to her character apart from some very petty revenge she should have gotten over decades ago. I also find it hard to believe that all of Prythian would have submitted to her so easily. If someone rules over a country the way she does, she would have caused a riot so fast that she would have been dead or other decades ago.

This one book could have been two separate books. The story of the blight/curse and then Feyre’s long ass story. Another peeve of mine is when a character has to explain everything instead of information being found out as the story progressed. I don’t know if that would have been possible for this book, but when Alis explained the entire bloody history of Prythian and the curse, etc. just, no! It’s not natural or realistic. It’s as if the author had written the whole backstory about the blight separate to the book, but then couldn’t find a way to integrate it into the story, so she just copied and pasted it into Alis’ mouth. And it was conveniently part of the curse that they weren’t physically able to tell Feyre any of this during the 49 years.

I don’t think I need to explain why I didn’t like the part where Feyre was dead, but then the High Lords all gathered around her body and dropped some golden kernels on her and she came back to life as a High Fae.

ACOTAR moved at an infuriatingly slow pace. A whole lot of nothing happened in the middle. There are about 200 pages worth of things that didn’t need to happen, or could’ve been written faster. For an illiterate girl, Feyre sure has a lot of descriptive eloquent thoughts.

I was most impressed with the writing. It was beautiful. I could really picture everything, from the description of different kinds of magic, to even the way a person can have a hundred different kinds of smiles (Amarantha). Truthfully, it may have been part of the problem the book moved so slowly. There was one part that went on for 3 pages where Feyre was describing music that she could hear playing somewhere in the distance. Like I get it, there’s music playing and it reminds you of Tamlin from that night of festivities. The only reason I finished reading this book was because I bought it (I try not to leave unfinished books on my shelf) and because there was so much hype around this trilogy that I was hoping the story would get better, but it was a mess. If I had borrowed this from the library I would have stopped about 100 pages in.
Finishing this book was actually quite a relief because of how long it dragged on.

I feel terrible for leaving such a scathing review. There were a lot of issues with the story and so much of it was not believable but weirdly enough, I didn’t hate it as much as I thought. If the writing wasn’t so good, this would’ve had no stars and maybe not even a review because I would not have bothered finishing it.

Sarah J. Maas sure knows her way around words, but the story had a lot of holes that needed filling. Who knows, maybe the next two books make the story better (though sequels rarely are) but I think I’m going to give this series a miss and move on to faster-paced things.

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The Hipster and The Books

I’m not the avid reader people seem to assume I am, but I believe I read more often than the average teenager. What the hell is an ‘average teenager’? There are always labels to disconnect you from ‘average’, isn’t there? Okay, let’s just ignore that tangent.

So people think I’m always reading, though when I think about it, I didn’t read very many books in 2012, and I usually only read during my breaks between semesters. But what else can you do once you’ve been shoved into the ‘nerd’ and ‘hipster’ category? I don’t love or hate my labels – they’re just labels and it can’t be helped because this world is sometimes shitty to human beings.

Anyway, I started off this blog to start reviewing books/movies/music/etc. and I haven’t been doing that. Mostly because I never stick to anything, I’m lazy and also because I’m ‘busy’ with uptight college tasks.

So I thought I should just write a snippet about each of the books I read in 2012. Also, spoilers, hello.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Four or five years ago, this big shot book store guy came to our school to talk to us about books and he mentioned this one, when it was newly released. It sounded fucking awesome so I made a mental note to read it. Five years later, I still hadn’t read it and the movie came out. After I watched the movie, I was so mind blown about how crazy good I thought it was, because I had no real idea what it was about exactly. So I got the trilogy straight away and the first one was better than I expected. I thought it would be written a little ‘Twilight-y’, but it was much better. Suzanne Collins has a real talent for casually mentioning something in one page and letting that one small detail mean shit goes down twenty pages later, e.g. Many things Haymitch, Peeta or Cinna say becomes some really important detail in the long run.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Goddamn. That was a good book. This was my favourite of the trilogy. The first one might have been my favourite if I didn’t already know what was going to happen. So when they went back into the games in this book, I went all ghetto *click click* dayum this book yo. The main problem I have, because I am just terrible at comprehending things, is the whole ending with the wire and the tree and the force field. I’ve read it twice now and I still don’t know what the hell happened there. Well, I know what happened about Beetee trying to break through the force field and everything, but I still don’t know what their supposed plan was meant to be, originally. I kind of do, but there are just pieces missing that I don’t understand. But anyway, it was a good book. I think I got through this one quicker than the first.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Aggggggghhhhhhhh. I don’t know. It took me a while to read this, and I was kind of over it. The whole ‘I am the mockingjay’ thing ruined it for me. The whole war thing. I don’t really like war books, and this one didn’t really work for me. I don’t even remember what happened. Except for camera crew following Katniss around while she makes motivational speeches to the rebels. The existence of District 13 was a good twist, but I didn’t like District 13 – they were too Silversun (shitty sci-fi TV show) to me. I can’t even remember how it ended except that Prim died and that was just CRUEL.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

It has been a long time since I read that, but I do remember vaguely reviewing this in my TFiOS review. I was half and half on this one. I’ve read most of John Green’s books, and I’ve always been a little iffy (oh, the irony) about the way he writes. He uses capital letters a little too excessively for shouting, which feels too casual for a book, in my opinion, and it sounds like all the characters in the book sound the same – the way they talk. Also, the protagonists’ love interests seem to be very similar to each other, except that in TFiOS, he was a boy with one leg, but still a hard to read, unpredictable, unique-minded being (it’s 2a.m. I have English is not being gooder words). So all in all, I somehow found this book, and Paper Towns, to be quite similar to each other, but I still like this one more than Paper Towns. I despised the love interest from that book since the beginning.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite what I said above, I really did thoroughly enjoy this book. So much that it is now one of my favourites. This book made me decide to start highlighting phrases in my novels because there were so many things in this book that I agreed/disagreed with or simply thought was interesting, so I had to read it again. I also have a whole long ass review on this book already.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I never finished reading this because I just got caught up in doing other things after my first sem break and another book must have come along while this one fell to the wayside. Let me just say this – I read somewhere in the book that this was written for a niece or what have you named Alice. And I really can’t imagine a child reading this. The plot, absolutely, but the way it was written… takes a lot out of you. There are lots of words and not a lot of paragraphs!

The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara

Well, I enjoyed the film so much that when I found this book at Vinnies for $2, it’s a given. I haven’t finished this one either (there are a lot of books on my shelf which I’ve never finished reading) but it’s still on my list. I’m determined to finish reading it. I really do want to learn the details of his adventures, because I find it annoying when I see teens wearing his face on their shirts and they don’t know who he is. After all he’s done, to end up just being a fashion statement.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

I haven’t finished this one either, and I won’t make excuses for this one. I just don’t like it. It’s not for me, this book (did I just have a Yoda moment there?). I remember I even started reading this in 2011 during my ‘omg penguin classics are the way to go’ phase and I still have about a third or maybe even half of it to go. As soon as I finished reading Fahrenheit 451, I put it down and picked up Lolita. I got really excited because the writing style was entirely different. It was so fancy and proper and all uppity, for lack of a better word. I actually liked reading it right up until they started staying in hotel after hotel and I was just thinking, ‘Is something new going to happen?’ And eventually I just lost interest. What’s really sick about this book is that the guy (I don’t even remember his name) seems less of a vulgar pedophile because he writes so well. And that is an extraordinary achievement, so kudos, Nabokov.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This one I actually finished reading! Admittedly, I didn’t always know what was going on in the book. I should just super glue myself to young adult fiction. I don’t do well with these kinds of books, but I think it was okay. I couldn’t go into detail about this because I have no real opinion of it and it seems I read it so long ago. I read that last sentence and it sucks that I have no opinion of it. Clearly, I read this while unconscious and I need to read it again for real. I’m excited for the film, though I’m still a tad unsure about Tobey Maguire. But I love watching worlds and characters in books coming to life on the screen. The constant adaptations from book to movie is often shunned and complained about, but I think it’s amazing to see it coming together outside of your imagination. Don’t you think, old sport? 😉

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Did you know this book was published in 1999?! But thanks to the hipsters of this generation it became popular enough to become a movie! Hurrah, hipsters! A friend told me about this book about two or three years ago, and all I remember her saying was how messed up it was and that I should read it, so I made a mental note to read it, and I never did and the movie came out. I do genuinely mean to read these books I make mental notes of, but I just never get around to doing it in the end. And all the books I’m supposed to have read just turn into movies, so I watch the movie and that convinces me one final time to go and read the book.
Anyway, right now this is probably one of my favourite books. Actually, no. I watched the movie first, and I liked the movie better. I just think the book was much more depressing. And I get that he was pretty mentally and emotionally unstable, but did he really have to cry that often? Sometimes it’s hard to read because of the way it’s written – it’s an epistolary novel. And the way Charlie writes sounds like his voice is… pathetic? Like sad and mopey. Kind of the way Eeyore sounds. But the reason I love this book and movie so much is because of Charlie’s friends and Charlie himself. It doesn’t seem to make sense based on everything else I said. But Charlie in the film version is just so alike me it’s unreal. I actually think he’s just a better version of me. A more honest version. I love him so much, because he really is such a wallflower – someones who exists and observes and makes very little impact. Though by the end, his impact was made.
I think I was just very relieved that there is this kind of person. Not necessarily that this kind of person exists, because he doesn’t, but that Stephen Chbosky can create such a character who is so much like me, so I’m not crazy, I’m not this average mixture of all things and definitive of nothing in particular. That I still want to do all the teenagery things in life but I’m so much of a wallflower that I can never find the opportunity to do so.
Charlie’s friends, Sam and Patrick, are the absolute epitome of the kind of friends I dream of having. This group of misfits who don’t give a shit about high school cliques but still do all the teenagery things like drinking, smoking, doing drugs, partying, and aren’t worried of embarrassing themselves and are just all over carefree and always happy. They are exactly the kind of people who don’t exist within a 1000km radius of me. I like to think of them as ‘movie friends’ because I can just imagine looking over at them from across the lunch room and they’re laughing and someone throws food at someone and the other playfully hits one and just looks too Hollywood movie staged, to be real. I feel like these kinds of people don’t exist.
Also, this book gave me a pretty sick list of music and books to get into. I’m currently obsessed with The Smiths song, Asleep, which by the way, I never really understood the hype about The Smiths. There are only about five or so songs that I love from them; everything else sounds like someone trying to be poetic and philosophical, and just added a random melody with no real song structure to it. Sorry, Morrissey! But other than that, yes! I really love that song! I’m also now reading Catcher in the Rye, thanks to this book. I’ve read some of the books on that list, but I kind of just want to read ALL OF THEM.

Okay, so maybe Perks should have been in a different post altogether. Oops!

Extract from my private journal – Thanks to The Fault in Our Stars

I was in the middle of reading The Fault in Our Stars today (technically yesterday, let’s not get into that), when I read about Hazel’s mum explaining to her child when she was younger the reason the sky was blue: “Cuz.”

Then started one of those moments where you sub-consciously continued reading without comprehending, and then staring blankly out the window, because you’re lost in your own thoughts. So I put the book down momentarily, dug out my hand-written journal which I hadn’t written in for months, and wrote this:

1.18p.m. Sat, 11th Aug ’12

When I have kids (if ever) and they ask me why the sky is blue and the grass is green, I want to tell them this:
“I don’t know. They just are. They’re some of the things that don’t need an explanation if you can just appreciate them for what they are.”

And I hope to God that resonates within them for the rest of their lives. That you don’t always need answers to everything; sometimes it’s good to just wonder.

Amateur Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

*Please note that when I call them “Amateur Reviews”, they’re not technically reviews, they are actually just my scattered thoughts on the subject at hand.
**This also contains juicy spoilers you may or may not want to read.

Being a college student, I tend to spend most of my time eating, sleeping, engaging in easy entertainment, and going to class in the city that is an hour or so away. Despite the fact that I waste all hours of the day doing things I shouldn’t be doing, I insist that I cannot indulge in reading a book at home because there is always college work to be done. In saying that, my one hour train ride to the city four days a week has become my reading time, since my train ride is the inbetween of having to do work at home, and having to do work at college – there aren’t many productive things for me to do on a train except read. So there was no excuse. Suffice to say, reading The Fault in Our Stars during a disruptive hour to and from the city felt too disjointed for me, especially for a book as engaging as this one. In fact, I was often on the verge of missing my stop.
After a few days of reading it only on the train, I got impatient and it was finally Saturday until I decided I was going to sit down at home, in my bed, and read it. Unsurprisingly, I finished it in the one sitting, and now here I am, talking about it, because I don’t know what else to do.

It has been approximately five and a half hours since I finished reading The Fault in Our Stars (abv. TFiOS), and I think it’s safe to say, I am currently suffering from what I call Post-Good-Book Depression. I’m sure it is common among other readers, when you finish reading a book and you don’t know what to do with your life. I have been self-diagnosed with this illness, considering I spent the last five hours catching up on Nerdfighteria, watching vlogbrothers videos of the events surrounding the making and release of the book, and wishing I had pre-ordered a copy for January 10th this year so I could get a signed hardcopy of the book. That last part was especially saddening to me, because I never really considered myself a nerdfighter – I didn’t watch ALL the vlogs(!) – but I did know about the release of TFiOS at the same time as other nerdfighters. If I cared about John Green’s books then, as much as I do now, I most definitely would have pre-ordered for a signed copy. But I didn’t. Moving on.

This book, in comparison to the other other books John Green has written, is in a league entirely of its own. The first book I read by John Green was Paper Towns, and literally hours before I read TFiOS, I read Looking For Alaska. I’ll be honest. In Paper Towns, I mostly disliked a lot of things in it, like the hourly countdown that seemed a little too dramatic and kind of out of place for the book, or the rather sad obsession the main guy (I don’t even remember his name) had over Margot Roth Spiegelman, and Margot Roth Spiegelman herself. I did not like her at all, which made the idea of going on a wild goose chase after her not very appealing to me. In fact, I don’t think I liked any of the characters in the book, yet somehow I sort of enjoyed reading it. I guess because Green went with the “right” (in my opinion) ending, as opposed to the “happy” ending.
I enjoyed Looking For Alaska a lot more than I did Paper Towns, though I kind of want to write a separate post about that book. Haha! But still, to me, both of those books lacked something that I couldn’t put my finger on. It was like I was hyper-aware there was someone sitting behind a computer, typing it. I didn’t really care that much for the characters that were in pursuit (maybe because they were both these complex, independent pixie-like teenage girls who were super hot, yet an intellectual and into literature, and hard to please).

With TFiOS, it was different. Yes, she was also an intellectual and very much into literature and then some; the meaning of life, death, the universe, et cetera. But she was not really the blatantly strong, independent, unpredictable girl. She was blunt. She says it like it is. And it stands out especially in her case, when everyone is stepping around the fact that she is going to die. She sees the world in an entirely different and wonderful way to everyone else, and I actually admire it.
Even Augustus Waters. I believe he played the equivalent of the unpredicatble pixie-girl that is present in Green’s other books, except that he was not at all like that. Yes, he was the love interest of the main character, and yes, he was unpredictable. But he was not really unattainable, nor was he an intolerable character (in my opinion). In fact, I pretty much felt so strong a sadness to what he became, that I actually felt emotionally numb. I was just so sad, that his personality was so brilliantly portrayed and then he turned into this thing made of cancer, and all his characteristics were gone. I was numb!

Not to mention all the wonderful sentences and passages I know I’m going to see circulating tumblr and whatnot. It was so thought-provoking. She often explained things I also thought about the world. The horribly blunt reality of the world. The way people see sick people, even how funerals are for living people, and then there are the things she notices people say which I also recognise are rather ridiculous, and the whole thing about human existence, the universe demands to be noticed but we also demand the universe to notice us, the fear of oblivion…

In fact, all these Deep and Meaningful Thoughts made me dig up my hand-written journal and made me write thoughtful things in there that were so unlike my “Today this happened” sort of entries. (And actually, I’ll post another extract from my journal after this one, that was a result of being in the middle of reading TFiOS!)

I had this weird feeling the book was going to end the way An Imperial Affliction did – in the middle of a sentence. Except that the happenings of the other characters in the book would be explained somehow – whether by being resolved before she died, or some crummy author’s note or something at the end of the novel. But thank goodness it didn’t end that way.

Okay, I’ve decided to resign to sleep. It has actually taken me an hour an a half to write this post – without distractions – because I’m so scatterbrained about this book. There is so much I want to say about it, but now that I’ve come to talk about it, I don’t know what to write. The ideas really only come about as I’m reading the book, when I’m not interested in putting it down. Also, I have this problem with being able to fully comprehend things, especially when they are as complex as this book, so it definitely needs a reread. And though I hate marking in books or messing them up in general (all the books on my shelf look untouched), I think this one needs underlining – everything that means anything to me. There will be so much.

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to read another young adult book without thinking, “Eh, it’s all story and no thought.” Because that’s how it is with most young adult books. Sure they often have lessons that come out of their stories, but when am I ever going to read another book again, that was an easy a read as TFiOS, and as thought provoking as Fahrenheit 451?

I rate The Fault In Our Stars: ★★★★☆ (<- half a star!)
It only loses half a star because it’s making me depressed, as though I have lost someone myself!)