This first book of a new series by Maas begins with a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and then weaves a more complex tale of Fae politics into the mix.
Feyre, 19, hunts to keep her family alive ever since her father lost his fortune and her mother died. Her two nasty sisters don’t contribute at all, but Feyre made a death-bed vow to her mother that she would take care of the family. As the story begins, Feyre is about to kill a doe when she sees a wolf competing for the kill, and she kills the wolf first. Back home, a giant beast arrives, lets her know the wolf was a Fae, and demands her life in exchange. Feyre leaves with the beast, determined to escape so she can fulfill her promise to her mother.
Once at the Faerie Spring Court however, Feyre gets to know the beast called Tamlin in his human form, and comes to love him. But she learns all is not well in Faerie Land, with a spell holding them all in thrall, and the “good” fae losing more and more control to evil forces.
Feyre wants to help, but she is no match for the powers of the wicked Queen Amarantha. Nevertheless, Amarantha decides to let Feyre try, and gives her some seemingly impossible tasks to perform. It’s pretty much a given, however, that she won’t survive.
Discussion: There is lots to love about this new series, including some very handsome Fae males, lots of high-tension obstacles for both the humans and the Fae, parties with Faerie wine and dancing, and some very non-young-adult sex scenes. (I would not necessarily call this book young adult, although that is indeed where my library classified it. I guess “young adults” these days are more sophisticated than they were when I was one.)
There is a map in the front, and a very welcome pronunciation guide in the back.
Evaluation: In spite of all the common tropes, the love triangles, and the dei ex machina, I find Maas a very entertaining writer. There is much endearing about her characters and most of them have a great deal of moral nuance. I can’t wait for the next installment.
Published by Bloomsbury, 2015