Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
There were a couple of layers to this story. The most obvious one is the Beauty and the Beast parallels: Feyre was ripped from her home and taken to the faerie lands the other side of the wall, to pay for the life she took. Then there's the romance; complicated, forbidden, desperate love. And then the fae element: the courts, high lords and magical royalty, the savage and ruthless determination, the immortality that brings false invincibility, and of course the evil. So much evil. The horror and the cruelty of the faerie courts was quite brutal and it definitely kept me on my toes, unsure who (if anyone) we could trust.
And it's even more complicated than that; their magic is dwindling, they all have masks permanently wielded to their faces and there is a mysterious "she" who strikes fear in everyone's heart. As much as I love a good dark romance, it is so much better when there's more substance to the story. And battling an evil faerie queen is just that!
I loved Feyre, I loved her flaws, her strength, her skills as a hunter and a provider for her family. She was just so complex and different, and Tamlin was an excellent partner for her. I totally swooned over Tamlin, he was strong and surprisingly sweet, hiding behind his mask - literally. And he was withdrawn, not wanting to put too much faith in Feyre, or put his heart on the line after so many years of hoping. There was also a great supporting cast, as well, from Feyre's family, especially her sisters, to members of Tamlin's court and household who help Feyre see the fae as something other than monsters.
I feel head over heels for this book; it had everything I love from a forbidden romance to a well-structured magical world. Maas has out done herself once again in her incredible world building and story telling, not to mention bringing new light to a favourite fairytale.
Published 5th May 2015 by Bloomsbury.