A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a young adult fantasy / romance by Sarah Maas. The story opens with the central character, Feyre, out hunting. It is winter, her family is hungry, and she has tracked her game deep into the wilderness, near the border of the land of the fairies. There is no love lost between people and the fairies, as the fairies used to enslave people until there was a great war that divided the lands. Just as Feyre is about to kill her game she realizes that she is not the only one hunting. An unusually large wolf is also stalking her prey. Rather than go home empty handed, she shoots and kills the wolf. However, that was no ordinary wolf, it was a shape changed fairy. Feyre is told that she has broken the treaty that brought an end to the war, and for her crime, she must leave her home and go to the land of the fairies.
World building is well done. We know enough to follow the story and we learn more just as Feyre does, but things are not always as they seem. There are curses, magical pacts, and a back-story that Feyre must discover and navigate. There were also some unanticipated plot twists that showed just how cleverly the story had been constructed.
An occasional feature of teen romances is an ongoing internal dialog, an angst: does he love me, is this right, this will never work out, and so on … which isn’t really my cup of tea. At times I felt like the story was moving slowly because of this, but realize that is my bias. It is the first book in a series and readers at the library raved about it so I gave it a try. The second volume, A Court of Mist and Fury, was published in 2016, and so is eligible for 2017 Hugo consideration. Maas is a good writer and I’m looking forward to book 2.