3.5 Stars – A Court Of Thorns And Roses
4.75 Stars – A Court Of Mist And Fury
4.5 Stars – A Court Of Wings And Ruin
3 Stars – A Court Of Frost And Starlight
So ACOTAR isn’t technically over with ACOSF (which should be ACOSAF but oh well) being released, and I think more are planned. But books 1 to 3.5 are Feyre and Rhysand’s story and are the books I have completed so far. Anyway, I though I’d review the series as a whole instead of individually since I binge read them and it is easy to review it with a larger perspective. This does mean that this review WILL contain SPOILERS for ALL of the books in the series so far.
Synopsis: Feyre harmed a fae, her punishment is to live with Tamlin in his world, the Faerie world. But there is a war brewing and Feyre must face the threat of Amarantha, and the darker more powerful forces behind her. Tackling Amarantha leaves her bound in a deal with Rhysand, the cruel dark prince of the Night Court, and Feyre must navigate his plans too.
CW/TW: abuse/imprisonment/drugging/trauma/depression/PTSD/sexual abuse – not graphic/emotional abuse/domestic abuse-emotional and physical/violence/death/others may be present.
Before I dive into the review I feel I should make my position in the ACOTAR fandom clear. Tamlin is indeed *a tool* and his fandom nickname Tamlin The Tool is well deserved (the rage is real) and I never shipped him with Feyre. Yes I am team Rhysand he is the best, and Feysand is the ultimate ship, yes I love him and yes I love them together. ACOTAR is extremely well loved, and I can see why I truly loved this series, but I often see it come under fire. The series is, by no means, perfect it could do with more diversity etc… However, I love it because it paints an incredibly raw and real picture of trauma/PTSD/Depression in the female and male characters, stemming for different traumatic experiences and for that it deseves all the love it gets. I also appreciate the realistic relationships, by this I mean that the first loves are not always The One.
Also, Note: I actually went into this series with NO SPOILERS – shocking right??
The Series kicks off with ACOTAR which I enjoyed and gave 3.5 stars but found it to be pretty standard in terms of fantasy, especially fae fantasy (though I did appreciate how Maas creates her own kind of fae while also balancing some traditional aspects of them). It does set up the world nicely and the explosive final quarter with Amarantha and the trials was thrilling, but up until then it was simply enjoyable but not amazing. I think Rhysand definitely made a big impact on the story, his scenes captured me much more than any with Tamlin – my gut instincts obviously knew what was up. Feyre was a force in book 1 despite being human and I loved her resilience and determination. Maas does write some very strong female characters and have them absolutely destroy the sexist views of some of the fae (**CoughcoughTamlincoughcough**).
However, something I appreciated was that despite Feyre being absolutely unbeatable, she is not immune to trauma – many a hero and heroine fall into this category of conveniently never weighed down. At the end of ACOTAR Feyre is physically and mentally broken by Amarantha and her cruelty (no thanks to The Tool) and in ACOMAF we see the effects of the trauma. If this wasn’t bad enough Tamlin The Tool is conveniently ignorant of her trauma, not wanting to deal with it and instead tries to keep Feyre ‘protected’ by confining her to the house – and when he is angry his powers let lose destroying the room, terrifying Feyre and sometimes harming her. This exacerbates all of Feyres symptoms of the trauma, which is also triggered by the colour red. There is a lot of raw realism in this part of the book – it hits hard and starts of subtle only to build up which is what makes it so heartbreakingly real.
ACOMAF was probably my favourite in the series, though ACOWAR was really really close. This one, book 2, deals with a lot more than book 1. Firstly, you have Tamlin and his neglect/abuse/toxicity towards Feyre and subsequent obsession with her (never have I wanted to jump into a book and throttle a character so badly). Secondly, you have Feyre and Rhysand’s bargain – that Feyre will spend a week a month with him at the mysterious Night Court. Thirdly, you have the Night Courts Inner Circle and Feyre’s slow healing. And Lastly, the brewing war that threatens all of them. So you can see why this book had me more enthralled. ACOMAF dives deeper into the world of Faeries and humans alike, fleshes out our loved and hated characters and introduces us to many more characters who quickly become favourites.
ACOMAF shows a slow healing process for Feyre’s trauma, interwoven with Rhysand’s own which is more subtle. One thing I loved about this element of the story was that the healing is slow and not done alone, Feyre has a support network that does it’s best to help her feel comfortable so she can heal, the importance of the support network is often forgotten and it is done so well in book 2 (and into book 3). Secondly, Feyre and Rhysand’s bargain, inked on Feyre’s skin, was excellently done, from busting into the Spring Court to helping Feyre maintain her independence all while keeping the tension and wit growing between the two characters. Thirdly, the larger plot of the new war brewing was complex and full of twists and turns.
The larger plot gives us insight into the the history and complexity of the Faerie world, we get a look at more creatures from our good friend the Suriel, to the Bone Carver, to The Weaver, each one building a bigger more solid picture of how well crafted the world is. We also get our first look at the Night Court, the real one, and Velaris. It is so richly and beautifully described that I desperately want to go there myself.
Next, this beautiful second installment gives us the glory that is the Inner Circle. Cas, Azriel, Mor, and Amren are just the best thing ever. From the mocking, competitions, and genuine love they all have for each other it is impossible not to love this bunch. Cas is hilarious and his joking around with Rhysand is incredibly funny and heart-warming, and Azriel is the sweetest spymaster ever, Mor is one of those characters you just live for and Amren is deadly but loyal (I love how she is termed The Tiny Ancient One). This crew is absolutely everything and makes this and book 3 so much better.
Finally we have the budding of Feysand, and the mating bond! Which, since it allows them to talk with their minds gives us some EXCELLENT scenes. Feysand together is just brilliant, the contrast with Tamlin, the genuine love and support and focus on choices is perfectly done and I love them.
ACOWAR, book 3, dives into the war itself, has Feyre as a spy in the Spring Court, and has Feysand breaking boundaries with our beautfiul High Lady of The Night Court owning the fae. We still get healing, the antics of the Inner circle and the pure love between Feysand, but we have the nitty gritty of another war here, and sacrifices are made. Feyre’s sisters are back in the picture and heartache is back on the table. Overall I loved book 3, which gives us more of what I loved in book 2, and the risks are high – though I liked the happier ending, making this series a great comfort read. Though, while temporary, I do not forgive THAT scene, you did not have to scare our hearts like that.
Feyre wrecking the Spring Court from the inside, and the wider war was really tense and shocking to watch play out and the resolution really ended Feysand’s story perfectly.
ACOFAS was a sweet novella, I liked seeing the normality of their lives and the sweetness of Feysand, it was an ok read, cute and heartwarming.
Overall, this is a great series with a phenomenal world, unique takes on the fae, excellent characters and realistic relationships. While not perfect it is a series I now love and is the perfect comfort read that will warm you heart everytime Rhysand mutters ‘Feyre, Darling‘.