Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Maybe it's because I can see influences beyond the norm for YA fantasy, influences from sources I loved as a kid, like Lloyd Alexander and Andre Norton, that I really enjoy Sarah Maas' work. I find it easy to read, though not exactly simplistic, and entertaining in a blockbuster sort of way.
Feyre wasn't exactly a character I could relate to, and I found myself annoyed at her maybe more than I should have, but I understood her motivations, mostly, for being as confrontational as she was--fear--and as sometimes willfully dense as she could be--her behavior of Fire Night, I can only assume, was a product of her desire for Tamlin.
Tamlin's an inoffensive character, and if you think that's weak praise, you haven't read much romance, LOL! I found myself gravitating towards Lucien, I adored his snark, and the way that he actually seemed to build a relationship with Feyre. I loved the use of the different fairies, and the use of the Beauty and the Beast themes was well-handled--I especially liked why she returned home, and how her sisters were handled; it was really different for a BatB retelling. And the last hundred and fifty pages take on more themes from the myth that inspired the BatB fairy tale: Eros and Psyche, with Feyre having to prove her love through a series of tasks, and being made immortal at the end of it. Spoiler.
And yet it was that last hundred and fifty pages, that take place in the kingdom of Under the Mountain (aka Hades) that lost the book that star/half a star. I like Rhysand. I'm going to put that out there right now. He grew on me. But Maas has a problem, and that problem is her waning interest in her main male characters. In defense of Throne of Glass, it at least took a few books before it happened, where here it takes, oh, about three hundred pages. I just wanted more of Tam and Lucien, and much, much less of this character I was still getting my bearings with. And my resistance to him is also why I'm not rushing to pick up the second book, honestly.
All in all, though, a truly enjoyable book, and a new take on Beauty and the Beast, a notable one in a sea of BatB retellings.