I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about 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 grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
This story is an interesting mash-up of a couple older stories—there are elements of Beauty & the Beast plus the old Tam Lin fairy tale. Please don’t go into this expecting anything too complex! I read it while stranded at home with a throat infection and it was the perfect antidote, easy to follow (or swallow?).
The first part of the tale, Feyre’s abduction & captivity in fairy lands, is very much a Beauty & the Beast tale, as she gets to know Tamlin and realizes that he is not the brute that she has anticipated. Once that is achieved, she is ready to take on the semi-impossible tasks that are set for her by the Queen, as in the old Tam Lin story. Feyre is very much a Mary Sue character, the strong one who has taken care of her mortal family, taught herself to hunt and to paint. That she could immediately paint well enough to impress the magically talented fae was pretty difficult to believe.
I did find that the heroine, Feyre, changed rather easily, suddenly, and conveniently. I enjoyed the tale despite that, but then I have a definite soft spot for the world of Fairy. Just once, however, I would like it if the big bad enemy could be a Fairy King instead of an evil Fairy Queen.
I’m surprised at the maturity of the themes explored in a young adult novel—it had been my impression that they didn’t usually explore sexuality explicitly, which Roses & Thorns definitely does. I am also left wondering at the ending and where there is left for the author to go with this tale. But, there seem to be 6 books planned in the series, so I will check out A Court of Mist and Fury in the near future to see what Tamlin and Feyre get up to next.