So, this review was a little difficult to write. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to post it or not, because the overall experience I had with this book was negative. I didn’t want to end up posting a hate-filled rant instead of an actual review. But after letting it sit for a few days, I’ve been able put my thoughts together in a much better way.
The hype for this book is unreal, and it made me go into this it with very high expectations. Which I think kind of ruined the reading experience for me. I went into this book expecting to absolutely love it, and I didn’t. (Which seems to be a trend for my relationship with Sarah J. Maas books. *cough* Throne of Glass *cough*) But I can understand why people like this book, in theory. And don’t get me wrong, this book does have some very strong moments. But to me those moments are so few, and for the most part so very late in the story, that they can’t wholly save the it for me.
The biggest issue I had with this book was Feyre. As a character, she drove me crazy the entire time. Nothing she did made any sense to me. With the way she’s set up in the beginning of the story as this great, experienced hunter, and how she’s been taking care of her family single-handedly for years; she knows how to survive. But she would go and make these really dumb decisions and go purposefully put herself in danger. Out of what always felt like naivety, not bravery. And that doesn’t fit with how her character is supposed to be. She just felt very inconsistent, with her actions constantly contradicting themselves. And that was the most infuriating thing to read. I would find myself constantly saying “Why?” “Why are you doing that?” “WHY??”. Though, she was saved for me a little bit at the end of the book, when most of her decisions finally made sense. (Which, the end of the book is when it gets good anyway, in my opinion.)
Another problem I had was that I just wasn’t invested in the romance. Which, the romance is a very central part of the story. It’s an important part of this story. And I didn’t care about it all that much. To me it was very generic, very bland, very much instalove. And I just don’t like the whole instalove thing in books. I just didn’t buy it. (And for some reason I get the feeling that maybe we aren’t meant to buy into the whole Feyre/Tamlin romance. That could just be me, though.) Also, I didn’t love Tamlin as a character. I didn’t hate him; I don’t really feel any connection to him. He was just very meh to me. And there was something about him that just didn’t sit well with me. It’s mainly that he’s set up as very much the “nice guy” from the beginning, the guy is basically portrayed as a saint, but some of the things he did didn’t really fit with that. (I’m getting serious Adam from Shatter Me flashbacks with him.)
And then you compare that to a character like Rhysand. From the moment we meet him, we know he isn’t a “nice guy”. And his actions actually support that, yet he’s still this complex and interesting character with depth. And his interactions with Feyre felt real, and were something I really enjoyed. (I’m really having Shatter Me flashbacks right now, and I kind of like it.)
The other issues I had with the book were all pretty minor things. The Beauty and the Beast elements didn’t really work for me, it felt like it was a re-telling in the loosest of terms. Which is fine. And the fact that the first 80-85% of the novel was very slow, and nothing really happened, almost killed it for me. There were a few times where I really wanted to DNF the book. But the side characters, the ones we really got to see, saved it a little bit for me. They were one of the things I really liked about this book. (Lucien and Rhysand I’m looking at you.) Honestly, Lucien and Rhysand were the reason I kept reading. And I’m kind of glad that I did finish it, because that last 15-20% of the novel was when things started making sense. The end was when it really got interesting, it was when plot finally started going somewhere. It was when you really start to understand the story as a whole. (Also, Rhysand. I just really like Rhysand.) And it really set up a lot of things for the future books that have me interested. The ending alone has me interested in picking up the next book.
Overall, this was a very disappointing book. Though there were parts of it that I really did enjoy, they didn’t make up for the parts that I didn’t enjoy. But I’m not giving up on the series yet. I’m actually looking forward to picking up the next book because I can see the potential this series has. And I’m hoping that the future installments have a chance to really make up for the things that didn’t work for me in this one.