There is something I always find so magical about Sarah J. Maas' writing style.
I really enjoyed this. I was not quite expecting it to end up where it did, though I'm pleased with where it ended since I thought we were looking at a long cliffhanger-style ending and I was not exactly looking forward to that.
The characters were all rather glorious. I enjoyed the love story and the fact that, while there are multiple intriguing gentlemen, this is not a love triangle story (...yet?).
Now, on a bit of a tangent, I don't actually mind love triangles as much as I am supposed to. I understand many readers feel they are the bane of YA's existence or something, but hey, unless I hate the characters involved, I'm totally into the idea. They're overdone, for sure, but lots of tropes are, and if you're reading something that is not writing the characters well enough for you to be rooting for everyone a bit and is not twisting the love triangle trope at all, then I feel like the love triangle is not really the problem with the book, you know?
At any rate, I'm rooting for Feyre and Tamlin, and I enjoyed watching the interplay of the curses and the courts and the twisting of the two different fairy tales, once of which I was completely unfamiliar with before reading this. I love new fairy tales, and some of what I was surprised by was actually due to my lack of familiarity with the "Tam Lin" story.
Feyre herself was unusual for a "Belle" character in that reading was not her real passion. Yes, that is kind of a Disney characterization, but it is a common one to adopt, especially for writers retelling this story, given they can guarantee that their readers will relate. I liked that she did have a passion, though, and that she was able and willing to teach herself new things. She was stubborn, for sure, and occasionally stupid about it, but she managed to have just enough spunk that it wasn't annoying. I feel like Maas often manages this balance well with her female characters.
Tamlin is interesting, though I feel like he misses a few of the standard benchmarks for a "beast" character. I'm torn between finding that weird and annoying and finding it intriguing, however. I like him and I'm rooting for him, but he was not what I was expecting. Admittedly, he's also not quite what Feyre is expecting, and that is always an interesting dynamic.
Feyre's family managed to be annoying without feeling like caricatures, which is sometimes a tricky balance to manage. I can see why Feyre would want to take care of them, but at the same time I can see why she would want to get away from them.
Lucien is his own little burst of sunshine and charm and is probably best not explained, but experienced. He's the type of guy I love in fiction and would probably kill in reality, but that's what fiction is for, really.
The universe was intriguing. I can tell there is more story there (I am a sucker for that) than came up so far, and I love this history of a war and the whole backdrop of the court politics. I was hoping to see a bit more of it in this story, but I can tell it is there and hold out hope it will show up later down the line, given this is apparently the first book in a trilogy. I was left with a lot of questions, but they felt like they had answers somewhere, if that makes any sense. They just weren't answers that were readily apparent at this point.
I am very excited for the next book and I can't wait to see where things are going to go from here.