The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Check out our latest issue

#BookTok Review: ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ introduces sophistication to fantasy genre

Clara Martinez
With 1.9 billion views under its TikTok hashtag, “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas is one of the most popular books circulating the For You page. The first novel of a five book series, “A Court of Thorns and Roses” narrates the story of 19-year-old Feyre when she is kidnapped and taken to the faerie realm Prythian.

As my column enters its second month of life and hence, my second month of searching for novels on BookTok, I could no longer ignore the videos most frequently popping up on my For You page. Thus, I quickly became overwhelmed by the flood of reviews, fan art and point-of-view videos for one book in particular. 

“A Court of Thorns and Roses,” referred to by fans as “ACOTAR,” has amassed one of the biggest fan bases on TikTok: 1.9 billion views under #acotar. Truly outstanding in its widespread reach, this fantasy romance series written by Sarah J. Maas has only gained traction since its publication in 2015. 

Set in a world where superhuman faeries and mortals live side by side, Feyre is a 19-year-old human struggling to provide for her impoverished family. Hence, she regularly hunts for food in the desolate woods that divide the two realms since familial survival depends on the carcass she brings in that day. 

Used with permission from Bloomsbury USA Childrens

The story commences on a particularly bleak winter day when Feyre spots a deer running from a wolf. The desperate need to provide for her family forces Feyre to kill the wolf, her only competition in the race for the deer’s flesh. She nocks her arrow and strikes the wolf, oblivious that this kill would come at the cost of her mortal life.

Abducted from her family and home in the woods  then taken to the magical kingdom of Prythian, Feyre discovers the cost of unknowingly killing a faerie. 

Her captor Tamlin’s identity is kept secret by a bejewelled mask. Soon, Tamlin’s watchful eyes over Feyre shift from her safety in the treacherous faerie realm to hiding the real reason behind her kidnapping. As a result, she must break the ancient curse placed on Prythian while simultaneously protecting her heightening relationship with Tamlin in the process. 

Quite frankly, when I first heard the plot summary of this book on TikTok, I expected a more simplistic novel bearing resemblance to other popular fantasy books among the likes of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Six of Crows.” On the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised by the rich specificity that truly brought this book to life. “Court of Thorns and Roses” is distinctly different from other young adult series as it contains a maturity few fantasy novels achieve.

This book is remarkably fast-paced, ideal for pulling readers out of a reading slump. Moreover, the novel certainly ticks all of the boxes for a young adult fantasy bestseller: strong protagonists, a mythical world and an interspecies romance.

The relationship between Feyre and Tamlin was just disturbing enough in their unique mortal-faerie dynamic to spur curiosity and intrigue. Their romance is the heartbeat of the book and manages to enrich the story. 

Through my strife in familiarizing myself with the young adult section of the library away from the safe comfort of Dickens, I have arrived at the conclusion that many viral BookTok novels utilize romance as a distraction for a weak plot, as I have mentioned before in this column. The saddest part is the pride with which teenage readers consume these pages filled with superficial romance and label it as literature. However, readers are undoubtedly safe from this phenomenon with “A Court of Thorns and Roses.” Reading it following other BookTok novels is like coming up for air.

Characters within the novel are complex, showcasing relatability that ultimately enhances the story without appearing overly transparent.

Characters within the novel are complex, showcasing relatability that ultimately enhances the story without appearing overly transparent. This is a quality often amiss among bookshelves filled with fantasy fiction that often lack the realism of literary novels.

As a bonus, readers enjoy the few comforts of life knowing that the series is continuing. In fact, there are currently four sequels following the first book: “A Court of Mist and Fury,” “A Court of Wings and Ruin,” “A Court of Frost and Starlight” and “A Court of Silver Flames.”

Although the Tiktok mania “A Court of Thorns and Roses” has garnered is nothing short of exceptional, the novel really does merit this attention with its extraordinary nuance and ability to captivate any audience.

Read more #BookTok reviews here:

Clara Martinez
Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Clara Martinez
Clara Martinez, Editor-in-Chief
Clara Martinez (’24) is the Editor-in-Chief for The Standard. She began journalism as an editor of the Middle School newspaper The Scroll and joined The Standard in Grade 9. Martinez is drawn to investigative news stories and profiles, although she does enjoy producing the occasional broadcast or photo gallery. In or out of the newsroom, she can always be found with a pocket-sized notebook and pen in hand.

Comments (0)

All The Standard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *