This YA series by Sarah J. Maas follows Feyre, a young woman who is responsible for keeping her father and sisters alive after their family is forced into poverty. She lives in a world where humans and fae are separated by a wall erected after a great war hundreds of years ago to free the humans from enslavment to the fae. When one of Feyre’s hunting trips results in her killing a Fae warrior who is wandering the woods in the form of wolf, her life changes forever. The fae’s leige lord comes and demands her life in exchange for the dead fae’s, but allows her to the opportunity to live with him at his manor for the rest of her life rather than be killed. In the hopes that she can somehow escape, Feyre accepts.
The first book “A Court of Thorns and Roses” is a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” with a beauty character that can kick some butt when she needs to. The story includes an invasion from foreign fae on the horizon, and a lot of political intrigue. While the plot moves really slowly for about the first two thirds or so of the book, things get really exciting and fast paced in the final chapters when Feyre must go Under the Mountain to save the ones she loves, and this final portion got me really excited to read the second book.
In the second book, “A Court of Mist and Fury”, things move in a whole new direction when Feyre *spoiler alert* must learn to use the new powers she acquired at the end of the first book and ends up leaving for a new fae court. The macguffin for this book is quite interesting, and the new characters that are introduced are actually a lot more fun to get to know than the supporting cast of the first book in the series. This book was better in most ways, but I unfortunately didn’t care for the ending.
While I enjoy the plot about the impending fae invasion, mostly like the characters, and the romance element is a bit corny but alright, the second book makes some turns toward the end that I didn’t care for. Specifically, Feyre’s romance with a particular fae high lord had been moving along organically and seemed to be developing at a natural pace, but in the final chapters of the second book was accelerated unexpectedly in a way that felt a bit forced. I also felt that some of the story decisions weakened the significance and meaning the relationship would have had if it had continued to develop normally. For me that ruined a pretty significant part of the story and really has me questioning whether I want to read the third book or not.
Overall, the “Court of Thorns and Roses” series is so far enjoyable overall but probably not one I would recommend, except to those who are big fans of fairy-tale retellings in the case of the first book. I give it 3/5 stars.