Columnist shares her love for the series A Court of Thorns and Roses.
BY JOURNALISM II STUDENT GIA STELLA, ’24.
Beauty and the Beast is a classic fairy tale that many of us know. It’s the story where the beast falls in love with Belle, but what if Beauty and the Beast was darker and had a little more magic? What if Beauty and the Beast had faeries and other creatures of the sort? A Court of Thorns and Roses is an ongoing series by Sarah J. Maas with currently four main books and one novella. While it may just seem like a Beauty and the Beast retelling, the whole series is a rollercoaster of emotions and you never know what or who is bad or good, keeping you on the edge of your seat.
In the first two books in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, we meet our main female protagonist, Feyre Archeron. The wall, near where Feyre lives, is what separates the faerie lands called Prythian, which are where all the faerie courts are. Its description makes it easy to understand and visualize. Throughout the books, you see Feyre learn about herself and Prythian while dealing with hardships and traumatic experiences. These books were the slowest for me to read because it took a while to get super action packed but it’s worth the wait.
The next book continues almost right after the big plot twist that ended the last book, which had completely surprised me the first time I read it. This book is my personal favorite because it has beautiful quotes written smoothly throughout. We see a war happen that was only briefly mentioned in the first book. As a result of the war, we see Feyre change as a character. I wasn’t able to put it down and read the hundreds of pages in one sitting.
The third book was the saddest book, and for that reason it is my second favorite. I love sad and heartbreaking plot twists, which this book delivers. The author knows how to pull your heartstrings in the worst and best way possible. The war continues on in the book, but with a new enemy from the second book. In this book, Feyre really begins to step into herself and feel confident with the person she has become. She learns how to finally get over some of the trauma she’s endured and when she has an episode she can healthily cope with it. She deals with depression, PTSD, extreme guilt and much much more. The most common and healthy coping mechanism that she uses is painting. She’s always loved painting, even in the first two books, so I’m always happy to read about her painting.
The fourth novel is also the first adult-rated one in the series; the others were rated as young adult. A Court of Silver Flames is primarily about Feyres’s older sister, Nesta. We see Nesta start dealing with her trauma such as PTSD, but this time we see her starting off coping in an unhealthy way, but throughout the book she learns and drops those unhealthy habits and learns to cope in a healthy manner. We see her cold exterior begin to break down. We also see her finally accept her feelings towards her soulmate. Throughout the book, Nesta finally builds friendships, connections and relationships that she has needed since day one. It shows how strong she is and how tough she is to break. It was well written, and I had a few hard times reading it because of how much I could relate to Nesta at times.
All of the books are written so well, while making sure to keep the readers engaged with the plot and the characters. Maas does a great job at little bits of foreshadowing you won’t catch unless you reread the series. All of these books deal incredibly well with mental health and how to cope with it, which I feel is even more important now than ever because people are dealing with post-COVID-19 depressive episodes. I know personally that I cope through reading, and being able to read a book that has characters who also are coping makes it a much more enjoyable read. I do wish it had more diversity, but other than that, it’s a great read. You won’t want to put it down and it’ll keep you awake at night just to read a little more. Though the series isn’t perfect, it’s still a new classic you should read over the summer if you want to try something new or if you are a longtime lover of fantasy.