So, I continually keep seeing comparisons to ACOTAR which is crazy to me. They are nothing alike. Sarah J. Maas writes neo-pagan high fae "elf" fantasy with contemporary romantic lyrical writing and dialogue. While ACOTAR is fae fiction, it's not necessarily a fairy tale as it lacks myth origins. Rather, it's high fantasy. Margaret Rogerson wrote a fairy tale and kept to the original folklore of the "fair ones" who are made from earth, and embody life and death. While humanoid in glamour, they are actually monsters ... just like the tales of old. And, like a fairy tale, the focus is not on a "changing character" but on the "adventure" and "moral lesson." Think back on fairy tales you've read. Character arcs are not complex, right? Right. Rogerson's writing is classical in nature, too, reminiscent of the Age of Manners with story touches of Alice in Wonderland woven in for an extra layer of disturbia. And, yes, there is insta-love in AEoR, but that is the fairy tale way of romance.
ACOTAR - high fantasy, modern romance language
AEoR - fairy tale, classical romance writing
Now for the similarities: both Feyre and Isobel are painters and curse breakers. While they share this similarity in idea only, it's just that ... in idea only. Isobel's entire livelihood comes from painting portraits for the fair ones. And it's her paintings that both ruin and save her life, as well as ruin and save the lives of the fair ones. Feyre and Isobel both break a curse, but most fantasy and fairy tale stories contain this trope. It doesn't make them the same. The curse Isobel breaks is nothing like Feyre's hero moment.
If you've been hesitant to give this book a try because of the reviews, I encourage you to give it a whirl. Just remember to have "fairy tale" reader expectations, not ACOTAR ones.
LOVED this book. One of my favorites reads in 2017.