Feyre lives a hard life; the sole breadwinner within her once affluent family she must provide for her sisters and care for her crippled Father. Whilst hunting for food, Feyre kills a a faerie that she believed was a wolf and is dragged from her home, her life as payment for the one she took. Taken across the wall that divides the mortal and fey worlds, she must live out her days within the spring court.
Let me start by saying this book is the literary equivalent of marmite: it’s either love it or hate it. And I can sympathise with both of those views.
This is a loose re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. I must emphasise the word loose because the beast, Tamlin, is far from grotesque. He has the power to transform into a beast, but if you’re expecting love despite ugliness, you’ll be disappointed. This is an attraction based entirely on lust.
Feyre can’t help but be compared to Celaena Sardothien (from Sarah J. Maas’ other series, Throne of Glass) and she does fall a little short. She’s a character with good intentions and her family’s well-being is always at the heart of her actions. Unfortunately, she’s just a little bit dense; she falls into traps that Celaena never would. That said, I did root for her a lot, I just didn’t love her. She may grow on me with time.
“A life for a life–but what if the life offered as payment meant losing three others?”
I liked that the book has a very neat divide between two distinctly different stories. The change in tone felt very natural and the ending was quite satisfying. My warning would be that there is insta-love by the bucket load here and if that turns you off then avoid this at all costs. It’s also important to note that this is at the older end of the YA spectrum and has some adult content.
The book is certainly addicting (I read it in three sittings), which is a difficult thing to achieve. There are a lot of likeable characters and only a minor slump towards the halfway point. I liked that there was a lot of classic Maas’ snark and sarcasm to keep the tone light but though the descriptions were often beautiful, any mentions of art or Feyre’s interest in painting I found extremely boring.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but also acknowledge that there are a few flaws that are hard to overlook. The ending left a few delicious loose strands of intrigue that will leave many desperate for the next installment. If you like Maas’ other works, then I doubt this will disappoint, but it’s definitely dividing opinion for a reason.