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Series Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses – A series that changed the YA genre

It’s not often that I find myself struggling to find the words to describe a book. Often I can just bada-bing-bada-boom and come up with a review. Even when I first read this series I couldn’t quite put into words what I felt because I’d first read Throne of Glass, and ACOTAR was a whole different species.

ACOTAR was the first Young Adult series that I questioned for being YA. It seemed to be Adult, but at the same time, the age of the characters belonged in YA.

It was dark, gritty, and had sex scenes that I hadn’t even read in any Adult book. So how do we decide what belongs in YA?

All of a sudden, it made sense why there was a New Adult category.

Since the release of ACOTAR, I’ve been seeing a lot more New Adult books popping up, and rightfully so. New Adult finally has a place in the book world.

In honor of A Court of Silver Flames releasing, I decided to do a series review for books 1-3 of A Court of Thorns and Roses. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

๐ŸŒธ Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 1)
๐ŸŒธAuthor: Sarah J. Maas 
๐ŸŒธPublished: May 5th, 2015
๐ŸŒธGenre: YA, Romance, Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
๐ŸŒธ A non-major spoilers review.


โ€œDon’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.โ€

-Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses follows Feyre, a human who hunts to survive. When she sees a deer in the forest being hunted by a wolf, she has two choices: starve and let the wolf kill the deer, or kill the wolf and the deer and live. She chooses to live, but the wolf turns out to be fae, and for murdering him she’s dragged to the other side of the barrier into the land of the fae. She’ll find that her fae-masked captors are not as they appear and she’ll have to find a way to break an ancient curse or lose the one she loves forever.

Sarah J. Maas’s writing style is lyrical and pulls no punches.

Whether it was in TOG or ACOTAR, Maas’s writing drew me in and didn’t let me go. I found myself lost in her words, hours passing when it only seemed like a few minutes.

Some books I’ve read (many, in fact) have had phrases, words, or even plot points that made me sit back and just look at the book for a second. I’d lose my place, or my “reading mojo,” and find myself frustrated.

Not with ACOTAR.

Beautiful and captivating, I found myself drawn into the world and the characters.

We have Feyre, the main protagonist and the youngest of her family. Dedicated to her family because of a promise her mother made her make on her deathbed, she does all of the dirty work since they can’t be bothered to do it.

Feyre is a strong character. Maas could have made her the depressing, sad girl that cries about everything that she’s had to go through. Instead, she made her badass.

Being who she was, Feyre made her own path. She didn’t allow anyone or anything to control her destiny.

The characters are the driving force for the plot rather than the plot driving the characters.

Let me explain. Oftentimes in stories, especially High Fantasy, characters are often propelled to do things based on some prophecy or some external force.

Instead, ACOTAR’s (this goes for the rest of the series as well) plot is solely based on our character’s actions.

Their actions, their motivations, emotions, decisions…everything is explained and calculated. Even after rereading the series, I realized Maas gave us so many hints and foreshadowing for the rest of the series that it blew my mind.

ACOTAR is a story full of action and heartache that will make you think twice about the YA genre.
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Rating: 5 out of 5.

๐ŸŒธ Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (Book 2)
๐ŸŒธAuthor: Sarah J. Maas 
๐ŸŒธPublished: May 3rd, 2016
๐ŸŒธGenre: YA, Romance, Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
๐ŸŒธ A non-major spoilers review.


“And I realizedโ€”I realized how badly Iโ€™d been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom Iโ€™d been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.”

-Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

Feyre has undergone the trials that Amarantha set for her, but it’s cost her, even when she has gained the powers and lifespan of a High Fae. Haunted by the trials and tribulations she underwent in Under the Mountain, she is unable to escape her past. With her marriage to Tamlin coming up, she finds herself depressed and struck with nightmares. Split between Tamlin and Rhys, she’ll have to make the decision to harness her new gifts and heal or be swept into complacency and darkness.

A Court of Mist and Fury, by far, was the best book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre, depressed and lonely, had to fight her way out of her depression. On her wedding day, with Tamlin, the poor girl is freaking outโ€”but someone hears her pleas through their bond and rescues her on multiple occasions.

It gets to the point where Tamlin actually traps her in the Spring Court castle, and Rhys and Mor have to get her out. I was mortified.

Honestly, from the beginning I wasn’t a huge Tamlin fan. He seemed…off each time. Guess I was right all along.

Our new characters in ACOMAF are well-fleshed out and have room to grow.

We meet the Inner Circle of the Night Court: Mor, Cassian, Amren, and Azriel. Most importantly, we get to know Rhys. And wow.

The characterization in this book was absolutely stunning. There’s a reason why I rated this book 5 stars, and only this book in the ACOTAR series.

Also, can we talk about what a busybody the Suriel is? He’s the guy who comes around to spill the tea and then just leaves. Like, OMG. Why? Why do you do this?

We have so many complicated characters, and they’re all so amazing. I fell in love immediately.

โ€œHe thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.โ€

-Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury
What. A. Book. I wish I could spoil, but I’m trying to make this relatively spoil-free, but goodness. I loved ACOMAF with all my heart. It twisted it and twisted it until it was bleeding and I was crying.
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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

๐ŸŒธ Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (Book 3)
๐ŸŒธAuthor: Sarah J. Maasย 
๐ŸŒธPublished: May 2nd, 2017
๐ŸŒธGenre: YA, Romance, Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
๐ŸŒธ All the spoilers in this one. I couldn’t keep it contained.


โ€œRemember that you are a wolf. And you cannot be caged.โ€

-Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Wings and Ruin

Feyre has left the safety of the Night Court and her mate, Rhys, in order to infiltrate the Spring Court after what Tamlin did to her sisters. She looks for revenge but also to seek out his plans with Hybern while keeping up her ruse. Feyre must also decide which High Lords to trust in order to bring the King of Hybern down before he takes over the human worlds once and for all.

While ACOMAF sang, I found A Court of Wings and Ruin to be…lackluster.

The stakes don’t seem to be as high as compared to A Court of Mist and Fury. It was almost boring with how things played out. I’m really considering making a video based on this alone because it’s so annoying.

Because *spoiler*…

……………………

Everyone ends up just fine. Just like last book. And the book before that (for the most part).

What happened to the gore that was in ACOTAR? When you write high fantasy like this, you really need the stakes to be upped.

I’m not saying I like characters dying. Oh no, I hate it. But when none of the major characters in a book die or at least get seriously injured, it definitely insinuates strong plot armor.

How can we care about what will happen to these characters when we know that nothing seriously wrong will happen to them?

Sigh.

Feyre’s constant reminding the reader that Rhys wasn’t the bad guy, that it was always her choice, became tedious.

Girl, we get it. Rhys is the good guy, he’s always giving her the choice, as if this is the highest standard and not the bare minimum and she praises him just for that.

ALL. THE. TIME.

We get that he isn’t Tamlin, but we got that in ACOMAF and we got it when she demolished his kingdom. It just became so annoying that at some points I had to put it down and cringe.

But this wasn’t a bad book, despite my ranting. I actually quite enjoyed it.

The characters in ACOWAR grew so much, and others got the payback they deserved.

The growth these characters go through is astounding. Feyre’s relationship with Rhys is established, so the focus went onto the plot itself: defeating Hybern. Even though they call each other mates at least 100 times rather than using their…you know…names.

At this point, I’m so invested in the other characters that I became so desperate for a spinoff that it was heard by God and came in the form of A Court of Silver Flames. Yes, please.

A Court of Wings and Ruin brings an epic conclusion to Feyre’s point of view and I look forward to the spin-offs in the future.

*cough* A Court of Silver Flames *cough*

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