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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Azevedo

Experiencing the Magic of A Court of Thorns and Roses

Despite the unbearable heat, summer is splendid because it’s a time for relaxation and indulging in activities one is often too busy for during school; for me, it’s reading. Fantasy and romance novels hold a special place in my heart, as they offer hours of excitement and an escape from reality. There’s nothing like an exhilarating novel and a steaming mug of rich coffee to make life more magical, if only for a few hours.

An enthralling and beautifully crafted novel, Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses greatly surpassed my expectations as a reader by enchanting me with its action, romance, and intricate world-building. When I read it for the first time this summer, I never expected to adore it as much as I did because it seemed overhyped, which is commonplace with many titillating romance novels. Thankfully, A Court of Thorns and Roses is not your average shoddy, melodramatic romance novel you can find at your nearest drugstore; it doesn’t overly rely on its inherent sensuality to captivate readers, and its multifaceted plot, complex characters, and powerful themes are a testament to this truth.

The story follows Feyre Archeron, a 19-year-old huntress who abhors faeries for the harm they’ve caused her people. While hunting one day, Feyre fatally shoots an enormous wolf she suspects is a faerie with an ash arrow, a weapon lethal to the Fae. The following night, a faerie in the form of a fearsome golden beast viciously destroys the entrance of Feyre’s family’s dilapidated cottage, seeking retribution for the wolf’s death, whom the beast reveals is a Fae sentry named Andras. Instead of killing her outright, the beast gives Feyre a choice: die or follow him to the faerie realm of Prythian, never to return; she chooses the latter.

Upon arrival, the beast takes Feyre to the Spring Court, one of Prythian’s seven courts. She learns the beast is Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court, and that he and his people permanently wear masquerade disguises because of a mysterious blight creeping through Prythian. Although Feyre is initially determined to escape, she soon grows accustomed to the Spring Court and befriends Alis, her lady-in-waiting, and Lucien, Tamlin’s emissary and best friend. Over time, romantic and sexual attraction blossoms between Feyre and Tamlin.

The blight in Prythian makes life increasingly dangerous, and after a menacing visit from Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court, Tamlin sends Feyre back to the Mortal Lands to ensure her safety. However, she returns to the Spring Court to help Tamlin combat the blight, only to find it wrecked and deserted, except for Alis, who acquaints Feyre with the situation; Amarantha, the self-proclaimed High Queen of Prythian, is the blight and has imprisoned Tamlin and Lucien along with six of Prythian’s courts in Under the Mountain, her infernal court.

Because she loves Tamlin deeply, Feyre ventures to Under the Mountain to save him and Prythian’s captive inhabitants. Amarantha imprisons, humiliates, and tortures Feyre considerably, forcing her to complete three tasks or solve a riddle to save Tamlin. Even though she breaks the curse and becomes one of the High Fae with the High Lords’ help, Feyre must confront the trauma she endured in Under the Mountain to heal from it.

I couldn’t help but notice and applaud Feyre’s character evolution as I read A Court of Thorns and Roses. Toward the beginning, Feyre unreservedly accepts society’s preconceptions about the Fae and allows them to cloud her judgment. Such an attitude prevents her from seeing the individual beneath Andras’ lupine form and drives her to slay him without hesitation. Living in Prythian and falling in love with Tamlin compels Feyre to confront her misconceptions about faeries and question her hatred of them.

A notable turning point in her growth occurs in chapter 17 when she witnesses a blue faerie suffering from having his wings mutilated by a certain “she.” Appalled by the faerie’s agony, Feyre is overwhelmed with compassion and refuses to leave his side, holding his hand until he passes peacefully. The faerie’s tragic death profoundly impacts Feyre because it transforms her contempt into understanding. For the first time, Feyre sees faeries as individuals deserving of dignity and feels genuine remorse for ruthlessly murdering Andras.

Undergoing Amarantha’s grueling trials in Under the Mountain also forever changed Feyre; they challenged her physical and mental limits and helped her discover her inner strength and power as a woman warrior willing to move heaven and earth for the man she loves. She learns to trust herself and her abilities, and this newfound confidence carries over into other areas of her life. Feyre’s growth in A Court of Thorns and Roses is a testament to her resilience, courage, and determination. She faces adversity head-on and emerges stronger and wiser for it.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a fantastic novel that offers readers an escape into a world brimming with magic. Maas’s masterful storytelling and world-building made the book an enthralling read that kept me turning the pages until the end. Feyre’s character evolution is particularly noteworthy, and her journey from a prejudiced huntress to a mighty warrior is inspiring and empowering. If you’re looking for a gripping and well-crafted novel that will transport you to another world, A Court of Thorns and Roses is worth a read.

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