The book series of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is a fantasy trilogy driven by an interesting plot and strong female leads, but to what extent?
Book one: A Court of Thorns and Roses
The first book in the trilogy was promoted as a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale.
Feyre Archeron, the protagonist, tries to save her family from dying of hunger and puts herself at risk whenever she goes on the hunt for food. She kills a wolf for its meat and trades it’s fur for money to save them from starving for a few weeks.
Her family is then visited by a messenger who captures Feyre for the murder of a faerie, the wolf, and claims that she must pay for her crime by coming with him to a different realm where Fae and magic exist.
Sounds like a pretty good setup for a fantasy novel, huh? Maas’ writing style is undoubtedly engaging and her voice sets her apart from most writers. However, many of the elements she uses throughout the series made the plot ring all too familiar at times.
The Hunger Games and Divergent series, by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth, respectively, are comparable to this first book. Feyre is basically a hybrid of Katniss and Tris — she takes part in the common theme of being forced into an unwanted circumstance and fighting the system.
While that may sound appealing to die-hard fans of the young and new adult fiction genres, it may be a disservice to readers who are looking for a fresh perspective within this genre.
Book two: A Court of Mist and Fury
A common trend in the young adult fiction genre are retellings of fairy tales. Perhaps Maas was influenced by the positive reception that she received with this first book along with her Throne of Glass series, but that she came out with an even better second book.
The second installment in the series took an intense turn. This is the book that will make you believe in true love, which is a huge contrast from the first book
Maas successfully incorporates relatable real life topics such as traumatic events and the difference between an abusive romantic relationship versus a healthy one.
Even better, the romantic relationship between Feyre and Rhysand is riveting, but it isn’t the only focal point in the book. Instead, the main topic is the characters’ growth through the trials they face, and that’s what made it an interesting read.
Book three: A Court of Wings and Ruin
The last book in the series reads like a forced attempt to wrap up loose ends from the first and second book. Maas was not as engaging in her writing in this one as in the first two books. There are only so many times you can tolerate reading the word “mate” and the other cringe-worthy expressions used repeatedly.
Seriously, why write down that the character made a “vulgar gesture” instead of simply saying raised their middle finger at someone?
The hype surrounding the book is attached to copious amounts of sex scenes, matched with a number of fights and battles. This Isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but too much of something can seem like compensating for the series’ shortcomings.
From magic to feminism, representation, romance, war and more — this series was simply trying to do it all. This may have led to the lacklustre happy ending full of cliche lines.
While the books were enjoyable from the start to the middle, the ending felt too convenient and at times forced. It was a series with a highly anticipated finale, but it has turned into a trilogy that collects dust in the back of the bookshelf.
Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor
Photo: Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor