Is the A Court Of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) series by Sarah J. Maas any good? Is it worth reading?
So. Much. Sex. Not much plot.
Yes, I said it!
For me, the sex scenes got in the way of character development and plot, and seemed to just be fan service at times. While the content is young adult in maturity, the explicit, over-the-top sex scenes are unquestionably adult content.
In ACOTAR, nothing happens in the first two-thirds of the book as it largely focuses on the romance between Feyre and Tamlin. The plot doesn't pick up until the trials.
It is pure entertainment
Don’t expect to be challenged intellectually, this isn’t Hyperion by Dan Simmons. There are no philosophical ideas, challenging moral situations or anything similar.
The writing style is easy to read. It is basically cocaine but for female young adult readers; a guilty pleasure read.
In the end, there is a positive message around surviving trauma and rebuilding yourself, which I enjoyed.
Full of YA stereotypes and tropes.
Abusive boyfriend. Riches to rags. Muscles and mysterious man. Pretty-but-thinks-she-is-plain female protagonist. Some people enjoy reading these stereotypes, but if you like a fresh take on the genre, you won’t enjoy this series.
It annoyed me that Feyre's role in the first book is to sit back and be seduced, or be treated as a play-thing or sex object. I with there was more character development for her. However, by the second book, Feyre's vulnerability and flaws feel real, and her independence grows, which was nice to see.
Maas didn't really know what to do with Tamlin's character throughout the book — he lacked consistency, while Rhys was this dark-but-cheeky character in the first two books, who just became this perfectly handsome and bland Gary-Stu Rhys by the end of the third book. This seemed to be the trajectory for a lot of the characters—slowly loosing their spice as the book goes on and becoming bland cookie-cutter YA characters.
Diversity was Maas' afterthought—more of a "damn I forgot to add this", rather than carefully planned out.
Shipping characters together.
It is great series if you love shipping couples together, but also a little annoying because it seems to be desperate to pair EVERYONE off with someone. Can't a woman be happy without a love interest?
Repetitive adjectives and overused phrases throughout
Dishonourable mentions: "vulgar", "mate" and "prick"; it needed a better editor.
The first book is bland, but it gets better.
A Court of Mist and Fury is the darker, more mature older cousin to Sarah J Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses—feeling more like a new book rather than a sequel.
The third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, is genuinely nail-biting at times.
The world building expands, and the series starts to feel more like a high fantasy series, rather than a typical Young Adult novel