Author: Sarah J. Maas
Overall Rating: 5/5
Spicy Rating: 3/5
This book is what made me fall in love with the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. It was full of political intrigue, scheming, hard-fought battles, magic, monsters, and heartbreaking romance. I cried more than a few times while turning the pages of this novel, I ate, slept, and breathed it until I reached the last word. Very few books that I read get a five-star overall rating, and while this book is not perfect, it did earn that accolade. If you want to see the full list of books I’ve given a five-star overall rating you can visit the list here.
The book begins when Feyre returns to the Spring Court with Tamlin and Lucien, with Tamlin happy to have her back, and Lucien suspicious that Feyre is all that she seems. Meanwhile, Feyre is playing the part of the doting lover, all while poising the Spring court to fall in her act of vengeance against Tamlin for kidnapping her and nearly murdering her mate and family in the wake of his need for control. While she’s scheming she is also gathering information about Hybern’s plans to bring back with her to Velaris upon her escape. Unfortunately, her schemes leave the Spring court weak and open to invasion by Hybern and his forces and poison an ally that they may need in order to defeat the wicked king, an unexpected consequence of the short-sightedness of her act of revenge.
Rhysand and the inner circle have returned to Velaris to heal and to plan their next move in the war against Hybern and with them, they have brought Elain and Nesta, who were captured and forcibly made immortal by Hybern’s king in order to prove it could be done to the mortal queens including Briallyn, who was turned immortal but lost what she loved most to the cauldron, her youth. Elain is devastated to have been made Fae because she was in love with and engaged to a mortal who has a deep-seated hatred of the Fae and hunts them for sport. We learned at the end of A Court of Mist and Fury that Lucien is Elain’s mate and he is a hovering presence on the edge of her near-catatonia that cannot help her to heal from the damage sown by the Cauldron’s magic. Nesta and Elain have gifts that were given or taken from the Cauldron that may be vital in the rapidly approaching war.
Feyre has yet to fully realize her powers or herself and in the coming weeks, she trains not only in combat and magic but also learns how to fly with the wings she can conjure. She becomes almost mythic in her abilities, with her and Rhysand becoming the most powerful Fae and High Lord and Lady in the realm, but she does more than conjure her own powers in the war, she woos monsters so ancient that the world cannot remember their creation, things that are so wicked and powerful that the world quakes at their mention.
My favorite moments of the book were when Feyre finally took on the Ouroboros, though it was brief, and then when she finally defeated Hybern by controlling the cauldron because she did both of these things through her own sense of self and acceptance and not through her immortal powers.
The last fifty pages were so action-packed that I couldn’t put the book down even though I was crying and my stomach was growling because I was putting off eating so that I could know what happened next.
The death of Rhysand was what truly killed me and I felt like I was living through Feyre’s heartbreak. I was shocked that all of the high lords, including Tamlin, came forward to save him after her treachery at the beginning of the book in the Spring Court and her altercation with the Autumn Court High Lord during their political meeting about the upcoming war. It is because Tamlin came forward that I do believe that he actually loves Feyre still even after everything they have put each other through because only someone who loves someone else could put aside their own personal misery to not see the person they love be miserable too.
One complaint that I have heard from other members of the LGBTQ+ community who have read this novel is that they felt like Mor was forced to out herself by Feyre. I do not share that opinion and feel that she may have felt pressured by Feyre’s questions and the war that threatened to kill them all, but at the end of the day, Mor knew what she was going to tell Feyre but Feyre didn’t know what she was asking.
It does also aligns with the way that many members of the LGBTQ+ community’s coming-out experiences actually went (with the exclusion of war and impending death) because many straight friends don’t realize that the behaviors they’re questioning have anything to do with the person’s sexuality. Because of this, I think it makes members of the LGBTQ+ community who identified with this situation feel seen and that’s so incredibly important.
Whether or not this is something that upset you is entirely valid and I think both sides of this debate have a point and that it was worth discussing even if it is not an opinion that I personally share.
The A Court of Thorns and Roses Series can be ended here which gives you an action-packed romance with magic and political intrigue that I would argue is one of the best high fantasy series of this decade. If you truly loved the characters then you may enjoy the novella A Court of Frost and Starlight that follows this book, which feels a bit like a fan fiction Christmas special about the characters and centering on Rhysand and Feyre. It is then followed by A Court of Silver Flames which follows the romance of Nesta and Cassian, with more books to come according to author Sarah J. Maas.
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.
Buy the book here:
Half-price Books: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Thrift Books: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Better World Books: A Court of Wings and Ruin
If you can’t afford to purchase the book, consider subscriptions like Scribd which I reviewed here, or by visiting your local library or using the app Libby to borrow books from the library digitally on your own devices.