The A Court of Thorns and Roses Series has rapidly become one of the most well-known high fantasy series of this generation.
The A Court of Thorns and Roses Series takes place in the realm of Prythian, which is separated into the mortal and Fae lands by a wall that has been there since the last war nearly 500 years before. It’s told from the perspectives of three sisters, Feyre, Elain, and Nesta, with the first three books, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin, and the novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight being told from Feyre’s perspective.
In this initial trilogy, Feyre is the only thing keeping her family from starvation when she wanders into the woods near the wall and hunts for game that might be able to feed them. When she kills a large wolf in the woods she comes to find out that this wolf was really a Fae male who had shapeshifted into the animal form of a wolf and after killing him she is coerced into coming with the High Lord of the Spring Court, Tamlin, on the threat of if she doesn’t he will take one of her other family members instead.
The first books are a Beauty and the Beast meets Hades and Persephone retelling with love, heartbreak, and betrayal. She is forced to make devastating decisions in order to save the man she loves and the entire realm of Prythian from the clutches of Amarantha and then from the clutches of her King, the King of Hybern.
After Feyre’s trilogy and the prolonged epilogue that is A Court of Frost and Starlight is the fourth book which is told from Nesta’s perspective, A Court of Silver Flames. After suffering from unimaginable trauma she is in a devastated place mentally and in her fear and vulnerability, she turns to anger and lashes out at the people close to her. She’s pushed to the limit to decide whether she can be vulnerable and love someone after all that she has suffered and lost.
The books are filled with impressive magical feats, terrifying monsters, ancient secrets and treasures, and love that is imperfect and for all the happiness there is also heartbreak and betrayal.
I would recommend the first three books to anyone who wants to read an action-packed high fantasy romance novel. While these three books are technically young adult, I consider the level of sexual content to be more adult than young adult and the later books including A Court of Silver Flames are explicitly new adult novels with a number of graphic scenes.
If you don’t love the characters after the first three books and like how A Court of Wings and Ruin concludes the novels then I recommend stopping there. If you are interested in reading the entire series then after the first three books you need to read the novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight, which bridges A Court of Wings and Ruin to Nesta’s book, A Court of Silver Flames, which is currently the fourth and last book in the series.
A Court of Frost and Starlight reads more like a fan-fiction Christmas special that gives a glimpse after the conclusion into Feyre’s love life, and her future.
A Court of Silver Flames was one of my least favorite works from Sarah J. Maas and while I enjoyed reading about Nesta I felt that the plot was sorely lacking.
It remains to be seen whether the series will improve in future books in the series, but at the moment I think that the initial trilogy of A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin are stronger on their own than when read as the entire series.
Sarah J. Maas has said that she intends to write four more books following A Court of Silver Flames though she has not announced who will be the protagonist of each of these books.
If you enjoyed the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series you might also enjoy the Throne of Glass Series, the Crescent City Series, the From Blood and Ash Trilogy, The Folk of the Air Trilogy (also known as the Cruel Prince Trilogy), the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, and its follow-up the Six of Crows Duology, the Serpent and Dove Trilogy, and The Shadows Between Us.