This series of books is referred to collectively by the acronym for the first book ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J Maas. I read books 1-5 in one go and then read the 6th a little while later but I’ve decided to review them altogether. The actual names of the books in the series are: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin, A Court of Frost and Starlight, and A Court of Silver Flames.
A sort of summary
The world: The fey realm is split between 7 courts, each ruled by their own high lords and the fey are divided from the humans by a wall. Across the sea is Hyeburn’s kingdom, isolated on it’s own island as they refused to sign the treaty of peace with the humans.
The first book opens with our protagonist Feyre, hunting in the woods in a desperate bid to keep her destitute father and two sisters fed. She shoots a large wolf, not realising that it was a fey, soon after one of his friends, Tamlin, comes to collect for his death, invoking a supposed clause in treaty drawn up between humans and fey hundreds of years ago, which demands either death or exile to the fey realm in exchange for the fey life she took. Feyre departs her rubbish life with her family to live on the fey’s estate with him but soon discovers there is more to this than she has been told. A curse has fallen over the fey lands, controlled by an evil fey queen who has created a court of horrors ‘under the mountain’- a formerly sacred territory hewn inside a mountain that sits between the borders of the high lord’s court’s. Her forced exile to these lands is a part of undoing this curse somehow, as is the growing romance between her and Tamlin but she discovers this all too late.
I cannot say more without spoiling the books but the plot from then follows how this Queen is part of a larger incursion that will threaten all the high lords and the fragile peace between the humans and the fey. We are introduced to another court and another love interest over the following books, as they seek to stop this incursion and save the humans as well as the high courts. The latest book in the series is set after this war has been resolved and follows the point of view of Feyre’s sister, Nesta, instead (can’t tell you how they get involved with plot without spoilers!).
Look, you know what, I know these books are not perfect but I absolutely loved them! The first book is a bit crap, the difference in the quality of writing between the first and second is astounding. If I had not had a friend who had read them first, who had told me that I’d have to stick with it past the first book, it would have really put me off.
I love love love the love stories in these books and the attempts to discuss important topics like consent and mental health are admirable, even if they aren’t perfectly executed. If you enjoy fantasy, I can 100% recommend these books, they were good fun, easy reading but interesting enough. They could do with some diversity, more LGBTQIA+ representation (a character comes out to Feyre later in the books but is not out-out) and a little less stereotypical portrayals of the feminine and masculine characters traits but I think some of that comes with trying to invoke traditntal romance novels vibes; doesn’t change the fact that it could have been modernised a little, however.
That being said, I especially loved the latest instalment, A Court of Silver Flames, as there was another jump in the quality of writing between the 5th and 6th book. It was an absolute pleasure to read from start to finis and I can’t wait for the next book. I’m definitely a convert to these books that I thought maybe would turn out to be a little overhyped by TikTok but are actually a nice read.