No mortal would dare venture beyond the borders of their world to Prythian, a forbidden kingdom of faeries. But Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill, and when she spots a deer being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. Killing the predator comes at a price though – her life, or her freedom.
Dragged to Prythian, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, the faerie lands becomes an even more dangerous place.
Oh my god, just give the sequel right now!!! This brilliant take on the Beauty and the Beast fairy-tale had me swooning, walking around in a daze when I wasn’t reading it, and really feeling exhilarated about the world that Maas brought to life. I guess, in some ways, it did remind me of Wicked Lovely, too – with the courts, the power struggles, the passion and the darkness. Wicked Lovely is, in fact, my favorite fae series, followed by Iron Fey, and this one just swooped in and got position two. Sorry, Ash, but Rhysand is way hotter! Even if he has questionable morals.
So, we have this classic Feyre (the Beauty) taken away by Tamlin (the Beast) as payment for a crime – only, here it is Feyre killing a fae. Yep, she is not here because of her father’s mistakes (not directly) but because she chooses to go rather than let her family suffer. While there, she risks life and limb to find a loophole out of the deal, a way back, until she realizes there is none and settles into her life. All the classic elements, with Maas’ own personal flavor, right until her being sent back, and she realizing she loves him. Oh, and the curse, too – nearly the same, but now the whole world is dependent on it. But who wants true love declarations to break a curse? Feyre fights for her Tamlin – engaging in three dangerous and life-threatening tasks to challenge Amarantha for the claim to Tamlin. The ending, well, isn’t entirely unpredictable, but magical enough to blow you away. I’m more interested in her mental state at the start of the next, something Maas loves to explore in her characters.
World-building – everything and nothing Fae. There is a bit of what is usually expected in Fae books, but also a different kind of humanity conferred on them. They care for their courts; so much so that they will give up their freedoms. The courts have vicious politics, but that’s all to come more firsthand in the next one, I suppose. Feyre is the bright shining star in this book – and at first, I thought she might be like Celaena, but she is a very differently constructed character. She has had to grow older quickly, bearing the responsibility of a family on herself, and that similarity is what draws her to Tamlin, and I am guessing, Rhysand. She is also fierce, but has layers of humility, and an occasional lack of self-worth. Tamlin is so adorable at first, with his awkward attempts to flatter and woo her, and she wary of him at every turn, until that spark appears and my, does it heat up quickly! He is very alpha male (ugh!)about it, though, so I’m not that invested in it. I do love their romance, but I can’t help feel that the bond between Rhysand and Feyre will mean much more in future books. Right now, I just wait and wait for the next one, in continuous torment.