A wild new take on “Beauty and the Beast” in a world where humans and the faeries who once enslaved them live separated by a wall erected under Treaty.
Feyre keeps her once-great, now-impoverished family fed—but just barely—by hunting. On a desperate trip, she kills a large wolf that’s actually a fae, which she learns when a large beast tears into their cottage demanding the murderer. For retribution, he brings her to the faerie lands she grew up hating and fearing—with reason, as many dangerous faeries love tormenting humans. She learns truths and lies about faeries, who have been afflicted by a mysterious, magical blight. When not in beast form, Tamlin is beautiful, powerful, and one of the seven High Lords of faerie. Their romantic courtship sizzles with sexual tension before reaching a consensual consummation conveyed in appropriately brutish language (Tamlin is a shape-shifter, after all). Feyre knows the fae are keeping dangerous secrets from her, but by the time she finds out the truth it might be too late. In the end, it’s Feyre who must face nigh-impossible trials and cruel court games to save Tamlin. The plot is not without its occasional weak moments, most notably a late exposition dump and a too-easy final riddle. Nevertheless, the sexual tension and deadly action are well-supported by Maas’ expertly drawn, multidimensional characters and their nuanced interpersonal dynamics. A satisfying conclusion to the storyline leaves the door open for future books.
Sexy and romantic. (Fantasy. 14 & up)