Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

Because all the monsters have been let out of their cages tonight, no matter what court they belong to. So I may roam wherever I wish until the dawn

A Court of Thorns and Roses

I had no idea what A Court of Thorns and Roses was about, but I liked the covers and knew there is a Hulu series in development. I added them to my list for fantasy this year and danced around them because of the hype.

Before you read further, if you like smut, romance, fantasy, and happy endings, this is a series for you. If you like fantasy but lean more toward political court drama, war, developed magic systems, etc— look elsewhere. I foolishly thought this was a series similar to A Song of Ice and Fire, so I was setting myself up for disappointment/confusion. I am not sure where that idea came from…probably the titles and my lack of research (as in none). Warning, this is a long post + there are slight spoilers.

Summary of the series

A Court of Thorns and Roses -Book one

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator, and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

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A Court of Mist and Fury -book two

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin -Book three

She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees, and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre but for her world as well.

As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.

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A Court of Frost and Starlight -Novella

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and, with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated—scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.

Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this wondrous tale of hope and promise picks up after A Court of Wings and Ruin and sets the stage for the thrilling events in future books.

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A Court of Silver Flames -Book four

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance and healing in each other’s arms.

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WHEW, that is a lot.

My thoughts:

I was pleasantly surprised and interested, but not satisfied with this smutty series. My main complaint is that there is a loophole for death for almost everyone in this story and the repetitive phrases, but I can live with that one. One of my pet peeves as a reader is escaping death with no serious consequence. EX: if you die and are brought back to life, I want you to lose all powers, hair color, abilities, memories, etc. I want the exchange for living to be drastic. The characters escaping death via magic were hard for me to get past. So much so, I am not sure I will finish the series when the other books are released (if there are more).

I went into ACOTAR with low expectations. I do not read romance often, or seek out smut. I have to disclose I did not know this was a smutty series. I thought ACOTAR was a YA series. I see the series displayed with other YA novels and assumed it was a political fantasy about princesses. ACOTAR seems to target YA readers but is NA. Pages Unbound discusses the issues of YA/NA confusion in their post, “Miscategorizing Adult books as YA.” It is worth the read. Let it be known, ACOTAR is not the worst thing younger readers could stumble upon. I imagine many will be reading the series when the tv show is released.

I read all of these books one cold rainy weekend on my kindle. The exact details of each book are lost to me, as I view this series as the weekend I did not sleep but instead read. Everything blurs together. When I reflect on these books I am hung up on book three, A Court of Wings and Ruin. Book one and two were fine, nothing majority upsetting happened and I was able to accept everything. Book three was a slight disappointment for me. I didn’t find what I was looking for until chapter 70. Chapter 70 through the end were my favorite chapters of the whole series, things were finally happening and shit hit the fan…or so I thought. By this point, I was tired of the sex. Why? I did not care anymore. We all know these characters are mates, great, I wanted to move on to the plot—WAR and consequences.

I was disappointed Rhysand did not die or at least come back with a lasting consequence. So much so, I did not want to finish the series. I wanted Feyre to overcome his death, be more powerful, and conquer the world ruling the Night Court in his honor. But that is a plot for a different type of story. I felt like there was this build-up for him to die but he didn’t stay dead. I was also ready to let go of Amren, but she came back too. *sigh*

I read A Court of Frost and Starlight but do not have a great view of the novella because Rhysand is still alive. It was a cute way to close Feyre and Rhysand’s perspectives. I was thrilled that A Court of Silver Flames featured Nesta, who is one of my favorite characters.

I love that Nesta wasn’t thrilled with her new fae life. I loved how difficult and nasty she became, right when you thought it couldn’t be possible, she was worse. Nesta’s reaction to her new life and the self-destructive cycle is realistic. A Court of Silver Flames explored the trauma and unhappiness Nesta had been carrying within herself. A Court of Silver Flames is a smutty story of healing. I appreciated Nesta’s view of their life, her love of reading, and her journey to love herself. Right when I was forgiving SJM for not killing Rhysand we are blessed with yet ANOTHER near-death experience. I am so annoyed by this, I do not think I can continue to read in this universe. WHY can’t major characters die? I would have loved for Nesta to have tried to save Feyre and the baby and fail. So now she has to raise the child? I don’t know, really anything other than another happy ending.

I am not begging SJM to kill off characters left and right, but I cannot continue to entertain the idea that magic can keep cheating death.

Overall, I enjoyed this series. Is it a perfect series? No. ACOTAR is a quick read. They are fun and enjoyable if you can look past the annoying escaping death situations. The plot moves quickly, the characters make you feel something (you love or hate them), and there are oodles of smutty scenes. There are a few things I did not like such as repetitive phrases (smutty and non-smutty), the use of words male/female/mate, escaping death, and the surprising success of everything done by Feyre. Regardless, I still gobbled up this series. ACOTAR is fun to read because of the fast plot that allows one to escape to the romantic fae/human world. It is one of those series you read once and might revisit for the pure ease of reading. I would easily consider ACOTAR a guilty pleasure read right under the Twilight Saga.

Should you read A Court of Thorns and Roses series?

This series is not for everyone. I would recommend it to an adventurous reader, but not to someone who might be easily offended by the erotic content.

If you enjoy fantasy romance, happy endings, smut, and love triangles look no further than the series A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Have you read ACOTAR? What are your thoughts on the series?

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