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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and [parenting magazine] (https://store.focusonthefamily.com/singleitem/checkout/donation/item/goaa-thriving "magazine"). It is the third book in the "A Court of Thorns and Roses” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Feyre was married in secret to Rhysand and is now High Lady of the Night Court. She returns as a spy to the Spring Court with Tamlin, pretending that she had been brainwashed into staying with Rhysand in the Night Court for all those months. Secretly, Feyre is seething with anger and plots revenge.

Tamlin agreed that in exchange for Hybern’s help in getting Feyre back from Rhysand, he would open the Spring Court’s lands to Hybern’s invading forces. Jurian, the human commander who was resurrected by the magic Cauldron, along with two royals from Hybern, arrive in the Spring Court to inspect the magical wall separating the human and Fey lands.

In Spring, Feyre is revered as the Cursebreaker, the one who ended Amarantha’s vicious rule over Prythian. Feyre sows distrust throughout Tamlin’s court and undermines the high priestess, Ianthe. Feyre argues with Tamlin, purposely inciting his temper, and when he causes the room to explode, Feyre doesn’t shield her body. Tamlin’s court sees Feyre’s cuts and bruises, caused by flying debris. They begin to hate Tamlin for his abuse. She also incites Tamlin’s jealously by confiding in Lucien, Tamlin’s best friend.

Feyre accompanies Jurian and the Hybern royals to the wall to check for holes in the magical barrier. The royals reveal that they are looking for places they can use the Cauldron to destroy the wall, allowing Hybern to capture human lands and enslave the people. With this information, Feyre is ready to leave Spring Court and return to the Night Court.

In the woods, she finds Ianthe sexually assaulting Lucien. Instead of leaving as she had planned, Feyre stops to help Lucien. Feyre breaks into Ianthe’s mind and compels the priestess to stop, but the Hybern royals find her and reveal that they have been poisoning Feyre for weeks. Feyre and Lucien fight and kill the royals, but her physical and magical strength is sapped from the poison. She agrees to take Lucien with her to the Night Court.

They travel through the Autumn and Winter lands, where Lucien’s brothers find and try to kill them, but Azriel and Cassian of the Night Court rescue them. Back in the Night Court, Feyre is reunited with Rhysand and overjoyed to see her friends have healed from the confrontation they had with the king of Hybern. Her sisters, who were forced into the Cauldron and transformed into High Fae, are angry, depressed and cold to Feyre.

Elain speaks strangely of things that haven’t happened yet, and Nesta possess an otherworldly presence that none can understand. The Cauldron has made Elain a seer, while Nesta went into the Cauldron and stole death from it. Since Hybern intends to put the Cauldron in a weak spot in the wall to destroy it, Feyre asks Nesta to use her connection to the Cauldron to patch the holes in the wall. Nesta and Amren search for useful spells in a book of magic.

Since Prythian’s armies are much smaller that Hybern’s, Feyre asks monsters for help. The Bone Carver is an ancient being of death that wandered into the world, along with his sister the Weaver. Feyre asks him to fight alongside them in the war, and he agrees, but only if she can fetch the magical Ouroboros Mirror for him. The mirror forces a person to see your true self. Those who have tried to take it have been driven mad.

The Carver will need a Fae body to leave his prison. Another creature, Bryaxis, agrees to leave its prison in a pit to help fight the upcoming war. Elain sees a vision of a mortal queen who is cursed to turn into a firebird every night. Lucien volunteers to go find the queen and ask for her help in the upcoming war.

Rhysand calls a meeting of all the high lords, but before they convene, Hybern attacks the Summer Court. The Night Court goes to help and finds a slaughter in progress. Feyre and Morrigan fight through all the soldiers they encounter, while Rhysand tries to reach the king, who uses magic and illusion to evade capture. Hybern withdraws and the fighting ends, but the casualty count is high. Hybern’s forces are considerably larger than Prythian’s, and all the Fae courts must be united for them to stand a chance against so large an enemy.

The meeting of the high lords is held in the Dawn Court, a neutral territory. All the lords participate, including Beron from the Autumn Court and Tamlin. Both verbally attack Feyre and Rhysand, accusing them of working with Hybern. Tamlin is particularly bitter about Feyre’s betrayal. Her plotting left his court in shambles. As a result, the Spring Court has been taken over by Hybern, and its people were forced to flee to other courts. Nesta’s connection to the Cauldron makes her ill with a sense of foreboding, just before a huge wave of power sweeps across the land and the Cauldron brings down the wall.

The high lords, except for Beron and Tamlin, pledge to work together against Hybern, and they all leave for their respective courts. Feyre and her family travel to the human lands to warn them of the coming threat. Elain glamours herself to look human so she can plead with her fiancé to take as many people as possible into his father’s fortress.

When Graysen sees Elain, he knows she is Fae and rejects her. Jurian is also there to warn the humans about the war. He is not the enemy, but instead has been spying on Hybern, working to undermine the king and save the humans. He tells Rhys that Tamlin went back to Hybern and betrayed the high lords, and Hybern is planning to attack the Summer Court again.

Using Jurian’s information, the Fae ambush Hybern. There is a bloody battle, but these soldiers don’t make up the bulk of Hybern’s army. Feyre goes to ask a magical creature, the Suriel, if it can see where the king of Hybern and the rest of his army are hiding. The Suriel tells her that the Cauldron cloaks the king’s location, but Nesta, with her connection to the Cauldron, can find both.

The Suriel also tells Feyre that Amren and a spell in the book of magic are the key to winning the war. Ianthe finds Feyre and kills the Suriel. She pursues Feyre through the woods, and Feyre traps the priestess and her soldiers inside the Weaver’s cottage, where the monster eats them. Helion finds Feyre in the forest and takes her back to the war camp. Nesta opens a link between herself and the Cauldron and finds its location, but the link goes both ways and the Cauldron sees their location, too. In the night, Elain is kidnapped and taken to Hybern’s camp.

Feyre dons Ianthe’s appearance to sneak into Hybern’s camp to rescue her sister. She receives help from Jurian and Azriel, and as she flees with Elain, the king sends his hounds to attack. Tamlin, who has been secretly working against Hybern from the inside, shapeshifts into a lion and saves their lives, allowing them to escape.

Feyre retrieves the Ouroborus Mirror, and the Bone Carver pledges his help. As both sides prepare for battle, the Bone Carver, the Weaver and Bryaxis join the front lines. Surprisingly, Beron, Tamlin and Graysen’s armies join the battle against Hybern.

Feyre’s father and Lucien found the firebird queen, and her army joins the fight. The armies of Miryam and Drakon, Fae who fought in the last war and have been in hiding ever since, come to Prythian’s aid as well. Even with the additional help, the fight does not go well for the human-Fae army. The Cauldron destroys the Bone Carver and many of the Night Court’s army.

Nesta amasses her power as a distraction for the king, while Amren and Feyre go to the Cauldron to nullify its power, which Amren said they could do. Feyre touches the Cauldron, and its magic traps her. Amren goes into the object. Amren lied to Feyre. The spell isn’t to nullify the power in the object. Amren uses it to unbind herself from the body she is trapped in.

Nesta and Cassian face off against Hybern. The king has captured Nesta’s father and kills him. As the king is about to kill Nesta and Cassian, Elain comes from behind and stabs him in the neck. Nesta ends the king’s life by beheading him.

Despite the king’s death, the battle rages on. Amren transforms into her true self, a winged, haloed creature of blinding light. She unleashes fire and brimstone on her enemies before burning out. The Cauldron is broken and starts to pull everything into its nothingness.

Feyre tries to fix it before it destroys their world. She uses a spell, but her power is not strong enough. Rhysand gives her his power, and in doing so, knowingly gives his life. The Cauldron is fixed, but Feyre is distraught and demands that the other high lords resurrect him, like they did for her. They all do, including Tamlin, and Rhysand is brought back to life. When Rhysand died, he saw Amren in the Cauldron and asks if she wants to come back. She did and is given a resurrected High Fae body.

After the battle, Feyre, Nesta and Elain burn their father’s body and pray for him to enter the afterlife. Feyre asks Miryam and Drakon to hide the Cauldron on their island. Vassa, the firebird queen, asks Feyre to work on a spell that can break her curse. Feyre calls a meeting to discuss a new treaty between humans and Fae before she, her friends and family return to Velaris and the Night Court.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

The Fae worship the Mother and the Cauldron. They believe that before Fae or humans existed, there was a Cauldron, an object of immense power that contained all magic, and the world was born in it. The Cauldron can raise the dead and remake humans into High Fae. Feyre prays to the Mother, asking her to guide her dead father as he enters the afterlife.

Before the Fae took Prythian, there were other beings who were worshiped as gods. The Bone Carver, the Weaver and Bryaxis were among them. Amren is also a being from another world. In her old world, Amren was a messenger and a soldier-assassin for a wrathful god who ruled a young world. Upon the orders of her ruler, she and her brothers and sisters had laid waste to twin cities on a plain when a rip appeared in the sky.

Amren was curious, even though others of her kind who felt anything or placed their needs first were punished. She went through the rip in the sky and ended up in this world. When Amren goes hunting for enemy soldiers in Velaris, people paint their thresholds in lamb’s blood as an offering to her. When the Cauldron unbinds Amren's Fae body so she can be her true self, she is light and fire with big, burning wings and a crown of glowing light floating above her hair. She rains down fire and brimstone on Hybern’s army, ending the war.

Authority Roles

Feyre's father loves his daughters and is regretful for the years that he did not provide enough for them. After they are taken across the wall, he finds Vassa, the cursed queen, and negotiates for her aid and army to go to Prythian.

Helion, High Lord of the Day Court, had an affair with Lucien’s mother. Helion is Lucien’s father but neither knows. Beron, High Lord of the Autumn Court, suspects that Lucien isn’t his son and that may be the reason he hates Lucien. Beron is physically and verbally abusive to his wife and sons. Eris, heir to the Autumn Court, is plotting to depose his father. Morrigan has a poor relationship with her parents. Her father, Keir, is petty and spiteful.

Profanity/Violence

The much-used profanity includes: the f-word, s---, b--ch, c--kwhore, h---, pr--ck, d--ned, b—tard and d--n. Swearing includes Mother above, gods and thank the Mother. The violence, blood and gore depicted in the novel are graphic.

Feyre confronts Tamlin about partnering with Hybern, and he erupts in rage, his power destroying the room around them. Feyre purposely does not put up a shield and is hurt by flying debris. She stops her body from healing so Tamlin’s court can see the cuts and bruises covering her body.

Feyre forces Ianthe to use a rock and smash her own hand, breaking the bones. Twin royals from Hybern hunt savagely kill human teens who try to cross the wall into Fae territory. Feyre and Lucien fight the twins and kill them, beheading one of them. Another pair of Hybern royals attacks Feyre and Nesta in Velaris. Feyre makes a deal with the monster Bryaxis, and it kills the two royals.

On the way to the Night Court, Feyre and Lucien encounter his brothers, and they fight. Azriel and Cassian find the group and fight Lucien’s brothers. Hybern attacks the Summer Court, and the Night Court goes to help. When they arrive, the Summer Court is being slaughtered. Morrigan and Feyre fight their way through the palace and streets, killing soldiers from Hybern. The attack is bloody, and soldiers from both sides and civilians die.

The king of Hybern kills Feyre’s father by breaking his neck, and Nesta and Elain kill the king by stabbing and beheading him. Cassian and Azriel sustain several injuries. Feyre and Rhysand are stabbed and mauled, while stabbing and mauling others. There are several battles, and all are brutal and bloody. Rhysand gives his life to remake the Cauldron, but the high lords resurrect him by giving a bit of their magic to him.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

The sex depicted is graphic and explicit and the conversations about sex are crude. Feyre and Rhysand have sex several times. The acts are described in detail, including oral sex. When they are not having sex, the banter between them is sexually graphic. Feyre and Rhysand are mated and display animalistic behavior to each other including purring and running their talons against each other. Additionally, both have wings with erogenous zones, which are stimulated during sex.

Lucien and Elaine are also mates, but Elaine is still in love with her human fiancé, Graysen, and is too emotionally fragile to pursue a relationship with Lucien. When Elaine goes to warn Graysen of the upcoming war, he is disgusted that she has been turned to high Fae and rejects her. There are other characters who are mated also. Cassian longs for Nesta, and while she is initially cold to him, she begins to treat him more warmly. Amren and Varian have sex in the war camp.

One of the high lords brings his female mate to the meeting; another is accompanied by his male lover. In a meeting of the high lords, Tamlin and Eris make vulgar sexual remarks to Rhysand, Feyre and Morrigan. Azriel beats Eris to defend Morrigan’s honor. That night, she has sex with Helios. Helios, who favors both males and female together in his bed, invites both Morrigan and Cassian to have sex with him, but Cassian refuses. Morrigan accepts so Azriel will know that she is still not interested in him.

Later, Morrigan tells Feyre that she knows Azriel is in love with her, but she prefers women and doesn’t return his feelings. She has sex with men so no one will know her secret. Hundreds of years before, she was in love with a human queen but gave her up before the wall was built. Rhysand asks Feyre if she wants another man in their bed, and she is aroused by the suggestion.

Helios had a lengthy affair with Lucien’s mother, resulting in Lucien’s birth. While Beron suspects that Lucien isn’t his son, neither Helios nor Lucien is aware they are related. Azriel tells Feyre a story from the old war about seraphim, a species of Fae, who saved her commander’s life and was rewarded by marrying her female lover.

Rhys tells Feyre that he agreed to become Amarantha’s lover so she wouldn’t suspect that he was plotting against her. He still experiences nightmares about being forced to have sex with her. Other high lords accuse Rhys of colluding with Amarantha because they were lovers.

After Feyre left, Tamlin refused to complete the spring rite of having sex with a female Fae in the sacred cave, so Lucien was forced to do it with Ianthe, a woman he loathed. Ianthe has sexually assaulted many men in her past. Feyre sees Lucien struggling in the woods with magical shackles binding him while Ianthe unbuttons his pants. Feyre breaks into Ianthe’s mind to stop her. Feyre also looks inside the mind of a human boy and sees that he is a male prostitute.

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Alcohol: Characters drink alcohol and get drunk.

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Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

15 and up

Author

Sarah J. Maas

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Bloomsbury Children’s Books, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing

Released

On Video

Year Published

2017

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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