A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is a loose retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, but with a much darker twist. When Feyre slays a wolf in the forest she believes she has merely procured the means to help her family survive the harsh winter; until a faerie shows up demanding retribution from Feyre for the death of the wolf which was actually a faerie in disguise. The people of Feyre’s land have long held an uneasy alliance with the High Fae, but now Feyre is given a choice; die or live out the rest of her life with the faerie Tamlin.
Feyre soon learns that although at first glance the faerie realms seem prosperous and beautiful, the various courts are at war with each other and all are threatened by various dangerous creatures controlled by a psychopathic High Fae. As her connection and attraction to Tamlin grows, Feyre’s life is increasingly placed at risk.
Maas’s story clearly owes a lot of inspiration to myth and fairy tales, but influences from recent YA series such as the Hunger Games are also clear. Feyre is a skilled hunter who provides, and sacrifices, for her family. She is a strong protagonist who is willing to go to great lengths to protect those she loves.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first time I have encountered the genre classification of New Adult. New Adult books are targeted slightly older than traditional YA, more for 18-21 year olds. A Court of Thorns and Roses is slightly more graphic and violent than many YA books, but it should still be suitable for older high school students. Overall, A Court of Thorns and Roses is an action-packed and romantic fantasy adventure.