Maas didn't disappoint. She painted another beautiful world even though it is shadowed. The main character Feyre and her family, as well as most of her town are living on little food in the midst of their winter. That is what led her even deeper into the woods, and closer to the border of the Fae world. The villagers live in fear of the Fae. They spend what little money they have on iron and on charms that claim to keep them away.
Feyre's family is pretty dysfunctional. Her dad is disabled and the only money he brings in is very little from the wood carvings he makes. Her sisters don't help hunt or prepare the food that Feyre brings in, and they complain a lot. Feyre feels the burden of caring for them because of a promise she made to her mother on her mom's deathbed to watch over them. I felt for her, and wished that she wasn't put in such hard situations even knowing that without these trials there would be no story.
On the day that would change nearly everything about her future, she was lined up to kill a deer who had desperately came south looking for food, when she spotted the wolf. She had the dilemma of killing the deer and risk the gigantic wolf coming for her, or killing the wolf who she couldn't put aside the thought that he was more than just a mere animal. But it was basically kill one or the other, and probably both and face possible death or kill neither and face almost certain death of starvation. From the synopsis we know that she kills the wolf, and that is the catalyst for the Fae coming after her, and taking her to their lands.
It was neat to get to see Feyre experience the Fae kingdom for the first time. The rumors that were true and the others that were only halfway so, and others outright wrong. It was hard for her to be in a new land of magic not knowing what to expect, and then there is the mystery of Tamlin. He brings her there, and provides for her in his estate, but says she can leave if she wants as long as she stays in the Fae world. There are the little things though, like he is straining to be kind to her, and Feyre finds out he is providing for her family since he knew that she was pretty much sole survivor. So I can understand how the hatred of his kind develops into falling for him. Because there is kindness to him, and he is different from some of the other Fae she encounters. And there is the fact that he spared her life to begin with instead of killing her for killing one of their kind as the law allowed.
She bides her time, and tries to learn as much about Tamlin, the kingdom, the blight that is affecting their magic and will one day spread. She is smart, listens and plans for all sorts of scenarios. Through this and Feyre and Tam getting to know each other, we discover the depth of their characters. They both show each other things they thought contrary to humans and fae respectively. The kindness in their hearts resulting from huge pain really helps to understand their actions.
I am a little concerned with the possibility of a love triangle in the next because of an alliance made and help found in the least likely places. But maybe it will turn out differently because the character surprised me in more way than one. I am hoping that there won't be because I adore the romance that develops between Feyre and Tam. It is hot and steamy, they have such attraction as well as the element of fate. Feyre had to prove so much with the way the last third of the book went, and it tested her physically and mentally.
There were a lot of unexpected twists both in character development, allies that were gained, as well as plot turns that I never expected coming. I didn't want to put this down, and I will for sure be continuing this series. The ending was well placed and it ended a major thread, and left a lot of others for anticipation.
Bottom Line: Wonderful start to a new series by a fantasy author I already loved. Surprising turns with great character building and one hot romance.