Nick Ginther's Blog

Thoughts on A Court of Thorns and Roses

Spoilers below for A Court of Thorns and Roses books 1-4 :)

In this post I will lay out my unstructured thoughts about the first 4 books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I haven’t read A Court of Silver Flames yet since the nice orange paperback that goes with my wifes set of paperbacks hasn’t been released yet. However, since the 5th book starts the Nesta arc, this is a good point to give my thoughts on the Feyre arc. Also I'm writing this about 2 months after finishing the first book, so my memory on all the events may not be super great.

First of all, I'll admit I kind of had to force myself through the first book. There was nothing super wrong with it, but I don't usually read fantasy or YA, and this series is very much both of those things. One thing I love in any fantasy story is the power system, and that's not really the focus of this series at this point. It's all about Feyre navigating this scary new world as puny human in the face of demi-gods and demons. And that's fine and necessary, but it really didn't draw me in as much as the macho training-arc filled, power blasting anime fights later on in the series. That being said, once things got to Under the Mountain, I was hooked. The horror aspects of Under the Mountain are one of my favorite parts of the whole series. I love Feyre's viewpoint as a tiny miserable human against the worst of the worst of the faeries and torture and drugged up cult of Dionysus-like monster-galas. There's also the part where she kills a giant worm and brutally murders two innocent faeries. This part makes up for the tragic characters of Feyre's entire family and Tamlin's awful gaslight faerieboss gatekeep attitude. The part where Feyre dies and comes back to life through the power of friendship and love is cliche but it worked for me. This book was good, but if I didn't already own the second book, I might not have continued.

The second book is where I got hooked. I love Rhys. I want a Rhys tattoo on my forehead. The way Rhys treats Feyre is so refreshing coming from master manipulater Tamlin. This is the one where Feyre finally finds a person who actually likes and cares for her, which is relieving after the first book where Feyre is surrounded by ops. Great expansion of the world and lore. World-spanning quest to retrieve the sacred artefacts. What does this book not have besides good sex scenes? Maybe this is a consequence of SJM being British but why do the words busybody and prick and simpering and watery bowels appear so much? But for real this book slaps and I have nothing more to say about it.

The third book is a great continuation of the second book and it may be my favorite out of the first 3. Feyre comes into her own as the High Lady and Rhys continues being the best. I will admit that Rhys doesn't really have any flaws or that much texture as a character, but his backstory is interesting and he treats people right so I love him. The battle scenes are exciting and we get to see my favorite part: all the powers going off. Amren's power was so built up over the rest of the series and I was so hyped to see her finally unleash the beast. Feyre finally becomes the Avatar in this one, so watching her do her thing was also nice. And every time Rhys was described as "turning the enemy forces into mist" I couldn't help at smile at my adorable murderous war god :). In the end the good guys win, the bad guys lose, bada bing bada boom.

And the fourth book, the Christmas episode of the series, is my real favorite. I love books and movies where nothing happens, and in this book exactly one thing of consequence happens. The characters that just got mauled and dragged through the mud get to relax and have some wine and share some presents :). If you don't like that then do you also spit on Santa when you see him sitting on his throne in the local mall? Do you tell children that ice cream has a lot of calories and is not great for them? The Cassian-Nesta courting ritual comes to an apex here that will surely be neatly resolved in the 5th book, but I'm honestly still not sold on a whole Nesta book. Well I am sold in the fact that I have the pretty orange paperback on pre-order at my local bookstore, and does any other type of sell really matter at that point?

Overall, I enjoyed my time with these characters. While it didn't make me think about life or politics or how the world could be a better/worse place, not every story has to do that. And maybe there's something there to say about oppression or how the oppressed can create their own structures of oppression yada yada but this is not a deep dive and I am not MLA citing sources.