A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first in a new series by Sarah J Maas has it all- mystery, magic, romance (along with more than enough sexual tensions and steamy sex scenes) and plenty of violence.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is centered around a human girl by the name of Feyre, whose destitute family lives on the brink between the human world and that of the Fae. To Feyre, the Fae are a hated tale as old as time, yet not enough to scare her out of the forest, where she hunts to keep her family fed. However, when Feyre knowingly kills a Fae patrol (in the form of a wolf), she finds herself whisked away to the Spring Court of Prythian by the handsome Fae Lord, Tamlin. The Spring Court is ripe with mystery, intrigue and tension, which Feyre soon discovers to be centered around a mysterious “her”. Guided through Fae politics and life by Tamlin and Lucien, Feyre comes to love Prythian (and a certain handsome High Lord) and the freedom and release it offers her. Too soon, however, this brief illusion of safety and happiness is shattered, and Feyre finds herself plunged into the horrors Under the Mountain, a terrible court ruled by the self-proclaimed Fae Queen, Amarantha. Forced to compete in a series of grueling and torturous trials in order to save her friends, Feyre must make impossible decisions that will tear her far too human heart apart.
This book is everything readers of the Throne of Glass series could have hoped for when Sarah J Maas decided to delve into another YA High Fantasy novel. Its everything any readers could have hoped for from YA High Fantasy, to be honest with you. Too often, Young Adult Fantasy books shy away from becoming too “fantastical”, and they definitely shy away from the amount of sex and gore Sarah J Maas infuses her books with. A few specifics:
- The story of this novel is just convoluted enough that the reader can follow without much difficulty, but has enough twists and turns (how about that 3rd trial?!) that the reader finds themselves incapable of putting this book down.
- The characters, particularly Feyre, are exceptionally well fleshed out, and their motivations, emotions and decisions all feel very real and realistic, despite the fantasy setting of the story. One character I particularly enjoyed, and can’t wait to see more of in A Court of Mist and Fury is Rhysand- I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface of a far more complex character, who, like most of Maas’ characters, likely has far more convoluted motivations than Feyre understood. I’m starting A Court of Mist and Fury today, so I’ll see if I’m right about this soon enough!
- The sex! Let me tell you, Sarah J Maas has never been one to shy away from sex in her books, but A Court of Thorns and Roses takes it to a whole new (very descriptive) level. Maas doesnt pull any punches when describing Feyre and Tamlin’s budding romance, and some other steamy instances, and she definitely has no reservations about describing sexual encounters with plenty of detail (for this reason, I’d probably recommend this book to readers over 16 years of age!).
- This book also features (more than) its fair share of violence and gore. We’ve got High Fae killing dangerous Fae invading the Spring Court territory, we’ve got High Fae fighting High Fae, we’ve got torture, murder and Feyre’s brutal trials, to name a few. Feyre’s treatment, as a prisoner and human, Under the Mountain, is probably to most brutal, however the torture and murders of others Under the Mountain are not to be ignored (this is another reason I would recommend this book to a slightly older audience!).
A fantastic addition to the YA Fantasy genre, this book was a whirlwind of action and emotions that kept me up until late at night turning the pages, desperate to know how the story ended. A Court of Thorns and Roses, and indeed all of Sarah J Maas books, are well worth the read.