Book Review – A Court of Thorns and Roses

Written By: Sarah J. Maas

Final Overall Rating: 5.6/10

Rating: 6 out of 10.

First of all, this review is purely derived from my own personal opinion. If you disagree, let me know in the comments; I am always up for a good discussion or to answer questions. 

Recommend Yes or No:

If you like fantasy, yes, go for it. Is it a great book? No. Is it a fun story? Yes. I enjoyed Maas’ story, but that was where my enjoyment of this popular book ended. Her character cast and development is weak, her writing is repetitive, some of her sentences made no sense or connection, and I took issue with one of her tropes in particular. The story and characters needed more depth – and if it had been allowed depth needed, it would have had the potential to be a great book.

(Spoilers Below – Read at your own peril!)

Writing Style: 4/10

Maas writes this book in first person and past tense. In this fairyland fantasy we read the book from Feyre’s limited perspective. I found Maas’ writing style to be a bit odd. Some of her sentence and chapter work is beautiful and some of it is just downright confusing. 

When I read, my mind portrays the words on paper as a very vivid movie. I literally watch the book in my head – my “mind movie” being more vivid than watching most television screens. There is movement and color and audio and expressions. However, when an author has inconsistent characters, flawed story arches or confusing sentences the movie part of my reading experience is interrupted and I am pulled back to the reality of ink and paper and life. As a result, I HATE these inconsistencies and interruptions – sadly there were many in ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses). 

An example of a sentence that did not make sense is when Tamlin says, “You can’t write, yet you learned to hunt, to survive. How (Maas, 106)?” Okay, so I get that Maas needed Feyre not to be able to read in order for the climax at the end of the book to work. But what in the Cauldron does reading have to do with teaching yourself to use a bow and arrow??? It doesn’t. One has nothing to do with the other. People in history learned to survive well before they learned to read. So this connection and point that she is desperately trying to highlight makes absolutely no sense. This example is just one of many scenes and sentences that were nonsensical. 

Next up is Maas’ repetition. If I never hear the words paint, painting, primal, male, female, growl, and feral again, it will be too soon. Maas has the entirety of the English language at her disposal, and yet, she CHOOSES to use the same words and descriptions over and over and over again. Another example of repetition was her describing Feyre’s spine chills – human bodies are capable of so much feeling and so many physical responses, yet once again, Maas CHOOSES to describe spine chills. I feel like this is something Maas’ editor should have caught – I blame the editor more than Maas honestly.

On a final note for writing style, I was disturbed by another author once again using and popularizing the toxic bad-boy trope. Literature is so impactful for young minds, and I wish we as a society would move away from deifying toxic men and women. There are good people in the world, yet women and men aren’t always attracted to them, because media tells us that only a bad boy or bad girl can be attractive. I understand that in the next book the plot and characters shift (which I also have issue with but will discuss that in A Court of Mist and Fury’s book review) and details are revealed that help to flip the roles of the male love interests – making Tamlin the bad guy and Rysand the good guy. But for coffee’s sake, why are we still writing books that encourage people to feel like they can or have to “fix” their broken lover? It is not your job to fix someone else. You only need worry about fixing and working on yourself. 

Story: 7/10

I did like Maas’ story. I thought it was fun and I enjoyed exploring the creatures and landscape of Prythian. I also loved certain details – like how the entire Spring Court has masks stuck onto their faces due to Amarantha’s magical subjugation of the Fae kingdoms. It echoed Beauty and the Beast but still felt original. 

Character Development: 6/10

I will be honest, I struggled with rating this section, because I enjoyed the character development of the male leads (Tamlin, Lucien, and Rysand), however Feyre’s (the protagonist) development is nothing short of weak. Feyre is stubborn for stubbornness’s sake and she is whiny (two of my least favorite character traits). Within the first few pages of this book I wrote: Feyre is a co-dependent Cinderella with a hero complex spliced with martyrdom tendencies. I still feel that stands true. Honestly, Feyre is almost as annoying as Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby… almost.  

In order to better understand Maas’ main 4 characters I organized them into their appropriate archetype: Feyre is The Rebel, Tamlinn is The Ruler, Lucien is The Joker with a redemption arch, and Rysand is The Seductress. In my works cited, you can find the article I used to categorize these characters! 

Fun Facts about Maas:

  1. Maas wrote the Throne of Glass series… and she started it when she was just sixteen!
  2. Her books are published in 35 languages – quite the impressive feat.
  3. Maas has a degree in Creative Writing but has a minor in Religious Studies.
  4. You can find her Instagram @therealsjmaas.

Favorite Quote from 

“Because I’d want someone to hold my hand until the end, and awhile after that. That’s something everyone deserves, human or faerie (Maas, 153).”

Final Takeaways: 

Don’t let fear stop you from loving, because you never know when it will be too late to tell someone how you feel.      

Works Cited: 

Maas, Sarah J. A Court of Thorns and Roses. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015. Print.

Reedsyblog. “12 Character Archetypes Every Writer Should Already Know.” https://blog.reedsy.com/12-common-character-archetypes-every-writer-should-already-know/. 2018. 

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