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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A Court of Thorn and Roses revisits the Beauty and the Beast theme and may encourage readers to explore other variations. Strong overtones of Celtic mythology, particularly the tale of shape-shifting Tam Lin and his human lover, may inspire some to delve deeper into that material.
Maintain selfless dedication to duty, even when your loved ones are ungrateful. True love, skill, and huge self-control overcome many obstacles. Try to do the right thing even when all your choices are bad.
Positive Role Models
Feyre, Tamlin, and his scarred, loyal friend Lucien are conscientious and loyal and make many sacrifices for one another. Faerie Alis is a faithful servant to Tamlin, as are his friends who willingly give their lives to help save their country.
Violence & Scariness
Killing, mutilation, and gore -- of faeries, humans, and other species -- are a constant presence and vividly described, as when a faerie's wings are hacked off or another's head is impaled in the garden. Characters are sometimes forced to kill against their will; sometimes they do it enthusiastically. There's also strong sexual menace: One character becomes the lackey and sex slave of an evil queen to save his kingdom from a worse fate; Feyre is menaced by characters intent on raping and killing her and in other scenes is beaten until her bones fracture. The royals and courtiers of the various faerie Courts have a long history of deadly intrigue that often runs to wiping out all their relatives.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Though the heated descriptions are usually more titillating than graphic, sex is a big part of the story, and it's not just the attraction between Feyre and Tamlin. As the story begins, Feyre's friends-with-benefits relationship with a village boy is ending; Tamlin, being immortal, has had many lovers. A character must play the starring role in a fertility rite, having ritual sex to ensure the year's crops.
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Multiple uses of crude language, including "s--t," "balls," "damn," and "hell," most often as "go to hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Despite many warnings not to drink faerie wine, Feyre does on several occasions, including a long period where she gets drunk every night when her captor forces her to attend parties with him.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first volume of a romantic fantasy trilogy by bestselling Throne of Glass author Sarah J. Maas. It's an imaginative, violent retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with gory battles, gruesome injuries, and violent death, plus lots of romantic longing, raging passion, and sex-drenched menace. Several characters, including protagonist Feyre and the cursed faerie lord Tamlin, show great courage and selflessness in trying to protect innocent lives and face impossible ethical dilemmas, including sending their loved ones to their doom. They don't always choose well, but they try to make things right as best they can. Recurring strong language includes "s--t," "damn," and "hell."
Is It Any Good?
Both bodices and bodies are ripped to shreds early and often in this sexy, violent, magic-steeped page-turner. Narrator/protagonist Feyre may sometime bog things down in internal hand-wringing, and an occasional anachronistic howler creeps into the dialogue. But, as the dark, romantic, Beauty and the Beast-based saga unfolds, bestselling author Sarah J. Maas reveals complex characters, puts them in impossible situations, and sets up plenty of developments in future volumes.
Along the way, there's a lot of sexual tension and release, with plenty of overheated description, such as: "His bite lightened, and his tongue caressed the place his teeth had been. He didn't move -- he just remained in that spot, kissing my neck. Intently, territorially, lazily. Heat pounded between my legs, and as he ground his body against me, against every aching spot, a moan slipped past my lips."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.