“A Court of Thorns and Roses” Dominates Fantasy Novel Industry

On Feb. 16, 2021, the latest Sarah J. Maas book for the “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series was released. Though I am late to reading these popular stories, I am now, respectively, obsessed. Though the series started in 2015, it still reigns as one of the most popular young adult fantasy books. I stumbled upon the series via word of mouth and for the longest time I did not see a reason to read another fantasy series; especially one that was five books long. However, I can now say with the utmost certainty that “A Court of Thorns and Roses’’ deserves all the attention and more.
Feyre, the main character of the first four novels, lives in the center of conflict between citizens of her home, the Human Realm, and the misunderstood Faerie Realm. Though the subject of fairies in novels may spark disinterest or “cringiness” in young adult readers, I found that I fell in love with characters who were fairy and human alike despite also being skeptical at first. The fae do not actually resemble traditional Tinker Bell-like fairies; instead they are described as resembling immortal humans who have elevated health and agility.

Though most fantasy young adult series’ scratch the surface regarding mental health issues of certain characters in their stories, the popular Sarah J. Maas series goes fully in depth with issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. Following the events unfolding in the first novel, Feyre is not only riddled with PTSD, but she is in the middle of a toxic relationship that leads to her spiraling into depression. Though Feyre becoming happy in the future seemed insurmountable to overcome at the beginning of the second novel, “A Court of Mist and Fury,” she begins to develop a relationship with another fae male named Rhysand who aids her in working through her PTSD, which I found deeply inspiring.

The introduction to Rhysand’s found family, the Inner Circle, puts “A Court of Mist and Fury” at the top of my list. Readers meet characters including Mor, Amren, Cassian and Azriel; Azriel, being my personal favorite character, who are all referred to as being in Rhsyand’s Inner Circle. When Feyre meets the Inner Circle she realizes that she shares similar trauma to all of the members, which aids her in managing her depression due to no longer feeling that she is struggling alone. Through the course of the next two novels, the characters face a war unfolding, as many fantasy novels go, however the following mental effects are not as unmanageable because all of the characters’ undying love and support towards each other.

The last novel published of the series, so far, was published last year in February with the title of “A Court of Silver Flames.” Though Feyre’s sisters, Elaine and Nesta, fought alongside her and the Inner Circle in the war, the sisters never touched on their own personal stories until now. With the main perspective of the last novel surrounding Nesta’s life following the war, readers experience a darker side of trauma and depression compared to Feyre; transitioning the novel into Adult-Fantasy compared to the previous Young-Adult Fantasy. Nesta’s process of navigating through her mental health is heart wrenching to read, especially for people who understand what she is going through, however, out of all of the characters, Nesta’s character development at the end of the novel is the most inspiring, with Nesta’s happy ending including her not only finding peace mentally but also finding love in one of the members of the Inner Circle.

Due to the worldwide praise and attention towards the series, Hulu is beginning to work with Sarah J. Mass in developing a TV series based on the popular novels. Fans all over the world, including myself, are beyond excited to see what producers will come up with. Although I have not found myself in a battle between magical creatures as of yet, I found the characters’ stories of getting through significant mental health issues following traumatic events deeply encouraging. For anyone who loves to read or struggles with finding the light at the end of the tunnel, “A Court of Thorns and Roses” will inspire you to keep going despite the challenges you are facing because things will always get better, and you may find love along the way.