(5/5 ⭐️) 🥀 "Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don't feel anything at all.” 🌹 This heart-pounding Beauty and the Beast inspired romance swept me off my feet and I still haven’t recovered.
Sometimes, being strong is the only option. Feyre’s family was reduced to poverty when their father’s merchant line failed. Now, Feyre’s family looks to her for their survival. As a result, she’s a self-taught hunter with a strong, independent personality. The winter months are the harshest, so when a wolf comes between Feyre and her prey, she doesn’t think twice about killing it. It’s that, or allow the beast to take her meat and starve. What she doesn’t know is that the wolf is one of the fae, frightening creatures who haunt the forest and kill humans for sport, or so everyone believes. For her crime, Feyre is dragged into the magical fairie kingdom of Prythian to the Spring Court, where she must live out the remainder of her days. However, her captor isn’t the cold-hearted monster she expected, and his unremovable jeweled mask begins to spark questions. When Feyre discovers an ancient curse threatening Tamlin, his court, and all the other courts, she must fight to break the curse or lose him and her life in the process.
I adore beauty and the beast retellings. I‘m especially drawn to the hate-to-love trope with all the passion and fire it entails. This book has tons of romance with high stakes. There were places where my heart was pounding and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The world building was done really well too. SJM gave just enough away to aid the story along its path.
SJM’s writing is compelling. Her style and prose make even the most mundane things enjoyable, such as her excessive descriptions of Feyre’s paintings. While the first few chapters started off at a slower pace than I expected, I soon came to appreciate the time she took to build the world, the character, and set the stage. The pace increased as the story went along to the point where I was inhaling the worlds. I finished this book in 1.5 days which is saying a lot for me—well above my average.
While there were many aspects that were Beauty and the Beast-esqe, I applaud SJM for adding so much creativity and so many fresh ideas to the mix. In your typical story, Beauty must break the curse simply by telling her prince she loves him. Here, that doesn’t happen. [Spoiler alert] Here, Feyre fails to break the curse by failing to tell Tamlin she loves him in time. Because of this mistake, she must go to extreme measures, subjecting herself to physical torment, and even killing innocents, to bring down the wicked queen who placed her curse upon the land. In the end, it is her love for Tamlin that gives her the strength to survive through all of this. It was beautifully done.
Feyre’s character herself is no Mary-Jane. While she has a hunter’s mindset and excellent instincts, she’s not perfect. She makes mistakes, sometimes big ones. She’s got to fight through these things throughout the story. The other characters are intriguing too. The one I found most surprising was Rhysand. He starts off as a total ass, but as the story reaches its climax, we see that he has a heart; he proves it by the end. In terms of overall character growth with Feyre, I admit (and maybe I totally missed it) that I didn’t see a drastic character arc for her. Her flaws weren’t really apparent to me, and she didn’t exactly fix those flaws by the end, or if she did, I missed it. However, she did undergo a change in the sense that she did not love Tamlin in the beginning, but loved him enough to make sacrifices by the end.
This has been my favorite read of 2020 so far. How the heck did I let myself wait so long to read it? I’m not mad though. I won’t have to wait for the books to come out before diving into the rest of the series. I’m in awe of SJM and her writing style is my bread and butter. It’s taking self control to keep myself from diving straight into ACOMAF. If you love Beauty and the Beast, and/or high stakes fantasy-romance, and/or hate-to-love tropes, you will LOVE this story. Go read it! Now!