“She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.
“When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
“As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.”
Onto the story:
*Obviously, some minor spoilers may be disclosed.*
I had a feeling I knew what I was getting into when I checked this book out of my library. I mean, just look at the synopsis. It’s pretty obvious that the Feyre/Tamlin romance is going to be pretty central to the story. Now, obviously this is one of my pet peeves, when a romance book pretends to be a different genre, but there were a few things about this romance that I didn’t particularly care for:
First, it’s your classic Twilight romance all over again. Tamlin is decades, if not centuries, older than Feyre, but does it matter? Of course not. He’s got the body of a late teen, so what does it matter about his mind? Then there’s the whole Tamlin needing to protect Feyre from everything. Because of course Feyre is strong and is practically the only reason her family survived their grand loss of fortune, but in the Fae world, she’s in way out of her depth.
And second, the romance didn’t really grow organically. I almost dropped the book because of it. Feyre kills Tamlin’s friend, but, rather than hate her guts as she hates his, he’s nice to her and takes care of her (and her family) and tries to make small talk with her to show he cares. Now, this is explained later in the novel, so I’m glad I allowed the story some time to explain itself, but just because Tamlin’s got a reason to be kind doesn’t mean Feyre does. It’s true, Feyre hates them at first, but she certainly seems to let go of that pretty quick. Not only does she let it go, but she goes on the opposite side of the spectrum and decides that her Fay captor she’s only known for a few months is someone to fall in love with. Sorry, guys, but this kind of reeks of Stockholm syndrome.
Maybe I wouldn’t have disliked this book so much if those were the only two problems I had with it. Unfortunately, though, I found the pace of the first half to be a bit too slow for my taste. It picked up in the second half, thankfully, so that the romance fell to the background, but still. It certainly wasn’t action-packed until the very, very end, and I gotta say… not too impressed with how it ended either. It was not bad, but it wasn’t great.
Then there’s the whole blaming of Feyre for plenty of things that weren’t her fault. Faerie magic makes Tamlin go crazy one night, so lock the doors, Feyre, and don’t come out. Oh, you came out and we had to rescue you from being attacked? You should’ve listened to us Feyre, how stupid of you. Then later, Feyre it’s your fault that Tamlin’s in this mess, because why didn’t you commit your feelings to him? Don’t you stupid humans fall in love real quick anyway? And I won’t even go into Feyre’s drinking of the wine in the last third of the book, because that’s just frustrating.
So what did I like about this book? The logic of the plot might have wobbled a bit in a few places, but overall it was pretty stable. The writing was, of course, pretty good (this is Sarah J. Maas we’re talking about here), although maybe a bit too choppy in some places. And I will argue that most of the characters were developed nicely. Their motivations, their actions, their hates and fears, all felt real enough to me, and I do believe every major character walked out of that book different than when they walked in.
In sum, although there were certainly a few things that I did not care for about this book, there was enough action and mystery to keep me from setting the book aside. The romance did nothing for me. There’s some elements of world-building, with what appears to be clearly-defined rules in terms of the Fae’s magic. The characters felt real enough. I’m giving it a three-star rating.
Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.