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A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first book in Sarah J. Maas’s new adult book series of the same name. It appeared on the New York Times bestseller list when it was released in 2015, and has been optioned by Hulu for a television series adaptation.
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My search for universal truths and a deeper understanding of what makes certain stories bestsellers (and I’m not talking about number crunching here) began with vampire fiction. I’m not done with the fang boys yet, but I’ve branched out.
Over the past year, I’ve been fascinated by booktok, the book worms’ corner of tiktok that has become such a powerhouse that even the poshest of book shops now feature whole booktok sections. And you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one Sarah J. Maas title or two in there. But why is she so successful? Or, more specifically, what can we learn about storytelling that sells from reading her books?
I picked up ACOTAR because it was the hashtag that kept coming up. I didn’t know at the time that it was her second fantasy series. Normally, I’m a chronological release reader, but we shall have to make do. So, before we get into the book and start dating the characters – what do we know about this book and/or the series?
Hand made map of Prythian based on the original in Sarah J. Maas’s ACOTAR books. Made by LandOfScrolls on Etsy. Click on the image for a non-affiliate link to their shop.
Set in the fairylands of Prythian, that looks suspiciously like Great Britain, and the island of Hybern (Ireland), and the Mortal Lands (south of England + France) this is a story about a world divided between humans and fae. A great war between the two races ended when six human queens rallied together and proposed a peace treaty that both sides, largely, have honoured ever since.
The story is centred around Feyre Archeron, a 19-year-old young woman who’s the main breadwinner in her family. The Archerons used to be a wealthy merchant family, but the father failed somehow and when the story begins the family have lived in abject poverty for about a decade.
Hunting for food on a cold winter’s day, Feyre kills a wolf that’s really a fae and, as a punishment for breaking the peace treaty, she’s brought to Prythian to live out the rest of her life there. Don’t ask, I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it.
What else? Well, as I mentioned before, this is the first of five titles (with more coming) in the A Court of Thorns and Roses, aka ACOTAR, series:
– A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015)
– A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)
– A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017)
– A Court of Frost and Starlight (2018)
– A Court of Silver Flames (2021)
As of 2021, Maas has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide, and her books have been translated into 37 languages according to her publisher, Bloomsbury.
There is, of course, more to the storyline than just a murder and a life sentence. We’re promised an “epic love story,” fierce struggles and some kind of reality check when Feyra has to come to terms with the fact that everything she thought she knew is a lie.
Furthermore, ACOTAR is supposed to be a retelling of, or perhaps just inspired by, a number of great fairytales, legends and more modern titles.
I’m still hoping to find that special story with a kickass female MC and great character development. Maybe this murdering huntress is the one I’ve been holding out for? We shall see.
Right, Fae it is. Fingers crossed Feyra Archeron will sweep me off my feet as we proceed to Stage 2 and take her out for a group date. Please, book fairy gods, don’t let me be disappointed again…
Have you read the books? Love them? Hate them? Slide into the comments below, or hit me up through one of the options in my linktree and Let’s Talk.
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Disclaimer: As We Write (AWW) is an independent, blog owned by Evalena Styf. AWW is not affiliated with Sarah J. Maas, the ACOTAR series, Bloomsbury Publishing or any other production or broadcast entities associated with Sarah J Maas or any titles mentioned.
Photo, Graphics, Audio and Video: Photos of A Court of Thorns and Roses or any other titles discussed in this post are either screenshots or downloads of promotional pictures released by the Publisher(s). Any other pictures are licensed by CanvaPro unless another source is mentioned. Any audio/video clips used in this post are strictly for commentary purposes. This falls under Fair Use/Fair Dealing according to US/UK copyright laws.
Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of an imaginary pirate ship, a weaver of stories, and a certified pain in the arse. She spends most of her days daydreaming and writing fantasy, smut and painfully crappy poems.
Named after a delicate little flower that grows in mossy, Swedish pine forests, and a fiery fallen angel, she takes great pleasure in everything that tickles the senses and adds a sprinkle of magic and spice to our world.