I’ll first start out with a brief description of the world this series takes place in. The first thing is that the world itself is hugely different from our own. The continent is separated by a wall; this wall was put up after a human-fae war as a last resort to separate the races from each other and stop the violence. On one side are humans who are mostly poor, and hungry. On the other is the world of the Fae, ruled over by High Lords who can harness the power of their courts and wield it at will; the Fae are much better off than the humans, and before the wall went up they used to prey on them.
Our MC is Feyre who, when the book begins, is hunting for her family so they can have food. She fears that she is too close to the wall that separates human and fae-kind, but she decides it is worth the risk, especially since she has an arrow that she believes can kill faerie. After hours of hunting she sees a doe. She follows the doe through the forest and is about to shoot it when she notices a pair of eyes on the other side of the clearing staring right at her. The wolf goes for the doe, staring her down with eyes that seem to have more-than-animal knowledge in his eyes. Feyre barely hesitates, even realizing the wolf is probably faerie, she shoots him in the heart and then in the eye. She skins the wolf, takes the doe and heads home.
One day later, while having dinner with her family, a beast with a bear-like body, wolf head and elk horns slams through her front door and demands who killed the wolf. Clearly, this type of creature shouldn’t exist and at the very least shouldn’t be speaking so this creature was a Fae. Feyre begs him to spare her family and that she will pay the cost, whatever it is.
“Let me make this clear for you, girl: you can either come live at my home in Prythian- offer your life for the wolf’s in that way- or you can walk outside right now and be shredded to ribbons. Your choice.”
She agrees to go with him to Prythian to live out the rest of her existence in what she believes will be slavery. But after they arrive at his estate (the Spring Court) she is gifted with nice clothes and her own bedroom and warm running water, and Tamlin (that is the name of the creature) tells her she can go wherever she wants but she should stay on the property if she doesn’t want something to kill her.
A lot of book afterwards is basically her life at court, how she is warming up to Tamlin and his close friend Lucien, learning court procedures and holiday traditions. She grows to have feelings for Tamlin, but not long after she is sent back home at Tamlin’s orders so she is protected from a threat he will not tell her about, but that has been hinted at throughout the book. But after spending a few days back in the human world, she simply cannot stand it anymore and decides to go back and face the danger with him; only he isn’t there, and Feyre learns what the danger was and that only she has the power to stop it. So she sets out on a journey to save the first love she ever had.
–The first 15-20% of the book was pretty boring, mainly because it was super info-dumpy.
–Her family was effectively kicked to the side when she went over the wall. She had some scenes where she mentioned them and that she was missing them but she never tried to do anything about it.
–The only real action happened near the very end of the book
–The masks were just weird and unnecessary, like they literally had no place in the story and didn’t add anything to it.
–I loved the slow build to the romance. I found myself saying “FINALLY!” irl when they actually made it to this part of the book. The tension was real.
–The different species of Fae that we were introduced to (although not many, still super interesting)
–That Lucien got a little rebellious and would help her do things (SOMETIMES) that he knew Tamlin wouldn’t like.
–That we learned about Lucien’s background
–FEYRE HAS A SPINE. She’s not some cowardly damsel to be saved, she’s actually doing the saving (near the end).
I personally thought this book was fantastic. There was huge character development in this book and having read ACOMAF and ACOWAR I know that this character development continues. The ending of the book could have been very tragic, but it definitely sets up hugely for the next book. That being said it IS the first book in the series, and I definitely see how some people thought the first like 50% was boring (not that I agree, but I understand it). I would definitely recommend this book, even with my complaints it’s a five-star read.