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“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all,” Rhysand. –A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
by Sarah J. Maas
AR Test, Strong Female Character
In her quiet village, 19-year-old Feyre has become the sole provider for her family. After her father’s fortune was squandered, Feyre was forced to step up and take care of her father and two older sisters. Miles away from Feyre’s home, there is an invisible wall separating the human world from the faerie world, Prythian. This wall has been in place for hundreds of years under a treaty to keep humans and faeries segregated and safe from each other.
One day while hunting in the forest near the invisible wall, Feyre unknowingly shoots down a faerie that took the form of a large wolf. When a shapeshifting high fae bursts into her home to claim vengeance for his fallen soldier, Feyre is taken as payment for killing the faerie wolf and brought into the faerie world to serve for the remainder of her life. As Tamlin, her captor, takes her to the spring court, she begins to unravel the dark secrets hidden in the faerie world.
Feyre soon learns that Tamlin is the High Lord of the spring court and one of the most powerful faeries in Prythian. While living in Tamlin’s home, Feyre becomes more of a friend than a prisoner, then soon learns the treacherous pasts of the faerie courts, which includes the spring, summer, autumn, winter, day, and night court. While the spring court is filled with cursed masks, mystery predators, and a hidden tyrant terrorizing the faerie lands, Feyre must come to understand her new home and accept her growing feelings for Tamlin.
As Feyre’s feelings begin to soften for Tamlin, a mystery curse creeps closer to the spring court. When an evil tyrant takes Tamlin and his court from their home, it is up to Feyre to save her newfound home from the curse. Now Feyre must decide: does she go home to her father and sisters or go after Tamlin?
A Court of Thorns and Roses is full of twists and turns; Maas takes the readers to the fresh faerie world of Prythian and lays out the groundwork for a magical series filled with adventure and romance. Feyre must dive into the faerie world of deadly politics, deceit, and vengeance in this thrilling tale of fantasy, family, and love.
The novel focuses on setting up the fantasy world of Prythian, which is filled with fairies and mythical creatures, but it is also a true look at the power of family and survival. Feyre sacrifices herself, her dreams, and her safety every step of the way for her family, friends, and ultimately, for love. A Court of Thorns and Roses dives into a new universe of faeries and courts with rich, memorable characters. The story focuses on the characters’ relationships and how people from different worlds can come together to fight a common evil. A Court of Thorns and Roses shines a light on the most unlikely of people becoming friends in a divided world.
However, the politics of the faerie world and the different courts can get tiresome. Feyre compares every new character to how she could paint them, which becomes repetitive and unnecessary. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a slow burn, and it gets better as it goes on. As the story continues, this book is hard to put down and becomes a nail-biter. This story highlights the true strength of women through Feyre’s character, who becomes an unlikely hero in the faerie world. Feyre comes to the rescue of Tamlin, which reverses the generic “damsel in distress” trope readers have seen time and time again. Fans of Holly Black and Cassandra Clare will fall in love with Sarah J. Maas’s fantasy as she introduces the world of Prythian.
- Feyre discusses her two-year love affair with a boy from the village. She describes all of their encounters as “a rush of shedding clothes and shared breaths and tongues and teeth.”
- Tamlin and Feyre have an encounter in the hallway after Tamlin has been involved in a faerie ritual that makes him act more predatory than human. He ends up biting her, then “the bite lightened, and his tongue caressed the places his teeth had been. He didn’t move – he just remained in that spot, kissing my neck. Heat pounded in my head, and as he ground his body against me, a moan slipped past my lips.” Feyre’s moan causes Tamlin to come back to reality.
- Tamlin and Feyre have their first kiss. “He brushed his lips to mine – soft and warm. My hands went around his neck, pulling him closer, crushing myself against him. His hands roved my back, playing in my hair, grasping my waist, as if he couldn’t touch enough of me at once.”
- Tamlin and Feyre have sex for the first time. “We were a tangle of limbs and teeth, and I tore at his clothes, and then tore at his skin until I marked him down his back, his arms. His hands were devastatingly gentle on my hips as he slid down in between my thighs and feasted on me, stopping only after I shuddered and fractured. I was moaning his name when he sheathed himself inside me in a powerful, slow thrust that had me splintering around him.”
- Feyre kills a wolf, who has just killed a deer, and then skins the wolf. The wolf “didn’t try to dodge the arrow as it went clean through his wide yellow eye.” Feyre describes “wrapping the bloody side of his pelt around the doe’s death wound” before she takes it home with her.
- Feyre describes a memory of when thugs beat up her father for losing investment money. “That creditor and his thugs had burst into the cottage and smashed his knee again and again. I had stayed, begging and weeping through every scream of my father, every crunch of bone.”
- Feyre fights off the naga, or “faeries made of shadow and hate and rot.” She shoots one with her bow and arrow and it “struck home and blood sprayed.” Tamlin comes to help her and “shredded through his companion’s neck, flesh and blood ripped away.” The scene is described over two pages.
- An injured faerie comes to Tamlin’s home with “blood oozing from black velvety stumps on the faerie’s back . . . as if his wings had been sawed off.”
- Some faerie men try to attack Feyre and “herd and push me towards the line of trees” before Rhysand steps in to save her.
- Feyre sees the body of a girl, who had been mistaken for herself and tortured by Amarantha as a result. “Her skin was burned in places, her fingers were bent at odd angles, and garish red lines criss-crossed her naked body.”
- Rhysand is forced to “shatter the mind” of a traitor faerie and kills him with only his mind. “The faerie male’s eyes went wide – then glazed as he slumped to the floor. Blood leaked from his nose, from his ears, pooling on the floor.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Feyre talked too much because of “the wine she had at dinner.”
- Feyre drinks faerie wine and “it was like a million fireworks exploded inside me, filling my veins with starlight.” This makes her giddy and she dances a lot.
- Feyre is forced to drink magical faerie wine that makes her “memory a dark blur of wild music.” After she drinks the wine, she has no control over her actions and is forced to dance for hours in front of the faeries.
- Townspeople call the Children of the Blessed “faerie-loving whores.”
- Profanity is used occasionally. Profanity includes: shit, damn, and hell.
- On their journey into the faerie world, Tamlin uses magic to put Feyre to sleep and to “keep my limbs tucked in to prevent me going for my knife.”
- Feyre describes Tamlin changing from his beast form into his faerie form. “The beast plopped into the chair, and, in a flash of white light, turned into a golden-haired man.”
- Tamlin tells the story of the curse on his lands and the “blight that caused a magical surge during a masquerade ball forty-nine years ago” that left the spring court permanently stuck in masks.
- Feyre encounters an evil faerie creature in the forest called the Bogge. It gets inside her head and tries to make her look at it because “when you acknowledge it, that’s when it becomes real. That’s when it can kill you.”
- Another faerie creature tricks Feyre into seeing an apparition of her father “near the open gate, beckoning me to hurry.”
- Feyre traps a Suriel that has “a face that looked like it had been crafted from dried, weatherworn bone, its skin either forgotten or discarded, a lipless mouth and too-long teeth held by blackened gums, slitted holes for nostrils, and milky white eyes.”
- Feyre encounters a “giant worm, or what might have once been a worm had its front end not become an enormous mouth filled with ring after ring of razor-sharp teeth.”
- Feyre describes villagers “praying to the long-forgotten gods” to not encounter faeries on their hunts.
- Feyre and her sisters run into the “Children of the Blessed,” who are missionaries that worship the high fae as gods.
by Adeline Garren