Since its writing, A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) by Sarah J. Maas has become the blueprint for broody love interests with dark hair and some type of wings, shadows, or mysterious power. In 2020, when the pandemic made the world stop and TikTok took over the reading community, so did ACOTAR

Whether you’re new to the ACOTAR series or a longtime fan looking for a more in-depth dive into the story, here’s a reading guide to help you along the way. During my reread of the series, I mainly used my Bookly App to help me keep track of all the thoughts, details, and characters I wanted to remember. Check out everything I used during my reread, but feel free to use what works best for you! 

Reading Guide for the ACOTAR Series

🌹 Tabs/Sticky Notes: Mark the parts of the book that you want to remember so that you can easily go back later and write down details in a notebook. 

🌹 Notebook: Jot down quick thoughts whenever your phone isn’t nearby or when you don’t want to use it. 

🌹 Bookly App: You all know by now how much I love the Bookly App, especially the new features that make the users’ reading experience even better! I used the new Character feature a lot in this book, as there were soo many random characters who became super important later on. This feature will also help you during any future rereads of any of the books, mostly if you’re like me and sometimes forget all about the characters as soon as you close a book. 

Now grab your drink or snack of choice and let’s crack into the first book! 🤩

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses 🏰🌹📖

Book Synopsis

Inspired by Beauty and The Beast, A Court of Thorns and Roses introduces us to our leading lady, Feyre, who is hunting in the woods trying to find food for her family. She and her family became impoverished and since no one else in her family had made an effort to help, it was up to Feyre to carry that burden. While hunting, she kills what she thinks is a wolf, and on that night, a Fae comes to get retribution. Feyre has been whisked away to Prythian, the Fae territory north of the Mortal Lands because of her crimes. While Feyre is there she makes a dangerous discovery and goes on a journey that may just cost her her life. 🫣

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Neglect, mentioned SA, graphic violence


  • Feyre: Main protagonist and a mortal. She has golden brown hair and blue eyes.
  • Tamlin: Love interest of Feyre. High Lord of the Spring Court. He has blonde hair and green eyes.
  • Lucien: Tamlin’s friend and emissary. He is one of the many sons of the High Lord of the Autumn Court. He has red hair and one russet-colored eye, while the other is mechanical. 
  • Feyre’s Father: He was previously known as the Prince of Merchants. After ships went missing and their fortune was lost, debtors came and permanently injured his knee, keeping him from being able to work. The reader is never given his name.
  • Nesta: Feyre’s oldest sister and a mortal. She has golden brown hair and light blue eyes.
  • Elain (Eh-lane): Feyre’s second oldest sister and a mortal. She has golden brown hair and brown eyes.
  • Rhysand (Ree-sand): High Lord of the Night Court and an antagonist who works with Amarantha. He has black hair and blue eyes that appear violet.
  • Amarantha (Am-a-ran-tha): Main antagonist and a High Fae commander from Hybern. She has red hair and black eyes.

SETTING: Every ACOTAR book includes a map. 🗺️ I found myself flipping back to it whenever a location was referenced. Whenever I read a book with a map, I always tab the map so it is easier to flip to. Maps really help give the reader a bigger picture, especially in fantasy books! Below, I’ve listed important settings throughout this book. 

  • Spring Court: the Fae court just north of the wall that separates Prythian from the Mortal Lands. 
  • Mortal Lands: the lands just south of the wall that borders the Mortal Lands from Prythian, which the Spring Court borders. 
  • Under The Mountain: a mysterious and sacred mountain where Amarantha holds her court.

TIMELINE: ACOTAR lasts about 9-10 months, while Feyre’s time under the mountain is about 3 months. 

POLITICS: In this world, there are the Mortals and the Fae. There are different groups of Fae as well, the most important being the High Fae. The High Fae include any High Lords or people of importance within each court. There are 7 courts in total, as well as the Mortal Lands and The Middle. Each court is ruled by its own High Lord who has powers associated with the court they rule over. 👑

  • Prythian: The faerie kingdom which contains the 7 courts and The Middle. 
  • Spring Court: 1 of the 4 Seasonal Courts ruled over by Tamlin. It borders the Mortal Lands. 
  • Autumn Court: 1 of the 4 Seasonal Courts ruled over by Beron. 
  • Winter Court: 1 of the 4 Seasonal Courts ruled over by Kallias and borders The Middle.
  • Summer Court: 1 of the Seasonal Courts ruled over by Tarquin.
  • The Middle: where Under The Mountain is located. It is the territory that splits the Solar Courts from the Seasonal Courts and isn’t under any High Lords jurisdiction.
  • Dawn Court: 1 of 3 Solar Courts ruled over by Thesan and borders The Middle.
  • Day Court: 1 of the 3 Solar Courts ruled over by Helion and is in between the Night and Dawn courts.
  • Night Court: 1 of the 3 Solar Courts ruled over by Rhysand. The Night Court is bordered by the Day Court to the south. Not much is known about the Night Court.

MAGIC/RELIGIONS/FOLKLORE: As far as folklore goes, Fae/Faeries have Celtic and Germanic origins. In this world, Fae have all kinds of powers and come in many different forms. As I mentioned above, the High Lords have powers associated with their courts. There are humans called The Children of The Blessed who worship the Fae like gods. 

  • The Cauldron: A magical artifact where life comes from and creates life. 
  • Jurian’s Eye: A ring worn by Amarantha that contains the eye of a mortal man named Jurian who was killed by Amarantha in The War. 
  • Daemeti: What faeries who are able to control and infiltrate people’s minds are called. It isn’t so much a type of faeries; instead, it’s an ability only some faeries have. Rhysand is a Daemeti. 
  • Winnowing:  The ability of powerful fae to transport from one location to another. Lucien has this ability. 
  • Shape-shifting: The ability to change into a different form or many different forms. Tamlin is known for this ability.
  • Longevity: Fae are immortal, but they are not immune to death. They can still be killed, though it is difficult to do so.
  • Healing: Fae heal much faster than humans, making them more difficult to kill and able to survive injuries that would be fatal to a human.
  • Ash Wood: A type of wood that can keep a faerie from healing.

I rated ACOTAR ⭐4/5 stars. I liked the book and the story itself. I just found the writing to be a bit repetitive at times. But I will say that the writing greatly improves as the series goes on. 

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SPOILERS WARNING: The following contains spoilers for A Court of Mist and Fury; stop reading now if you do not want to be spoiled by major plot points and characters. 

2. A Court of Mist and Fury 🌠🐦‍⬛📖

Book Synopsis

We find Feyre 3 months after the events that occurred Under The Mountain. She is plagued with nightmares, and Tamlin, the male for whom she sacrificed everything, hasn’t been helpful. After Rhysand calls in the bargain that he and Feyre made Under The Mountain, Feyre finds herself whisked away from Tamlin and into the halls of the Night Court, a place that not many Fae have been to and returned to tell the tale. However, everything may not be the way it seems the longer she stays with Rhysand. And Feyre may just discover where she was meant to be all along. 😯

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Neglect, mentioned SA, graphic violence, depression

CHARACTERS: We are introduced to even more characters in ACOMAF, and many that were briefly discussed in ACOTAR are introduced more fully to the reader. I made sure to add these characters to the Bookly App so that I can keep track of them for later. I think creating a character map on paper could be useful, though, as you can draw arrows to indicate how each character connects to one another. 

  • Azriel: an Illyrian warrior known as the Shadowsinger. He is a member of Rhysand’s Inner Court and is considered Rhysand’s brother. He has black hair, tan skin, and brown eyes.
  • Cassian: an Illyrian warrior who is the general of Rhysand’s Illyrian armies. He is a member of Rhysand’s Inner Court and is considered Rhysand’s brother. He has shoulder-length black hair, tan skin, and brown eyes.
  • Amren: a powerful being of unknown origin and Rhysand’s second in command. She has short black hair and gray eyes that seem to move.
  • Morrigan: a distant cousin of Rhysand and a member of the inner court. She has blonde hair and brown eyes. 
  • Tarquin: the High Lord of the Summer Court. He is notably young, with white hair and turquoise eyes. 
  • Keir: Steward of the Court of Nightmares and Morrigan’s father. He resides in the Hewn City.
  • King of Hybern: the main antagonist of the series. He is only known as King of Hybern or ‘Hybern’. His full name is unknown to the reader.
  • Bone Carver: a being imprisoned inside The Prison. It appears differently to each person who looks at it. 
  • Ianthe: a high priestess and friend of Tamlin’s.

SETTING: I’ve listed below some important settings within the story; I’ll only add new settings not already covered in the previous guide. 

  • The Hewn City: Also known as the Court of Nightmares, Rhysand presides over the members of the other side of the Night Court. 
  • Velaris: Also known as The City of Starlight. Velaris is a city where Rhysand resides with his Inner Court. 
  • Adriata: The Capital of the Summer Court and where Tarquin resides. 
  • The Prison: Located on an island off the western coast of the Night Court, where monstrous creatures are kept and imprisoned. 
  • The Weaver’s Cottage: Located in The Middle and the home of The Weaver.

TIMELINE: ACOMAF is set over a 5-6 month period of time, 3 months after ACOTAR.

POLITICS: From ACOTAR we learn more about Prythian and the connections between each court. There was a war 500 years before the events of ACOTAR, and the war has left rippling effects on each court. Many of the High Lords are distrustful of each other. The Night Court and The Spring Court have the most contention between each other as Rhysand and Tamlin have both committed crimes against one another. 

  • Hybern: A faerie kingdom to the west of Prythian that fought against the mortals 500 years ago during The War. Ruled over by the King of Hybern.
  • Continent: The territory to the east of Prythian that has both mortal and faerie kingdoms. The Mortal Lands are ruled over by 6 mortal queens. 

Magic/Religions/Folklore: ACOMAF is inspired by the myth of Persephone and Hades. As a reader, you can see similarities between the two stories. We are introduced to even more of the magic system. I’ll leave out details because some of them contain pretty major spoilers to the storyline. World-building can get confusing in fantasy books, so I suggest jotting down notes on any magic system reveals as you read.

I rated this book ⭐ 4.5/5 stars and liked it so much more than ACOTAR. The writing was a lot better, and it was fun learning more about Sarah J. Maas’s world. 

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SPOILERS WARNING: The following contains spoilers for A Court of Wings and Ruin; stop reading now if you do not want to be spoiled by major plot points and characters.

3. A Court of Wings and Ruin ⚔️🦇📖

Book Synopsis

After the events in the last book, everything changes. Feyre now finds herself as Rhysand’s mate, and she also finds herself in enemy hands. Feyre infiltrates the Spring Court, determined to gather as much information about Hybern as she can before returning to her mate and her family. In a time of war, Feyre and Rhysand don’t know who to trust, and help may just come from the most unlikely of places. 👀

TRIGGER WARNING: PTSD, violence, mentions of SA

CHARACTERS: The characters below are all characters that I personally added to the Bookly App because I wanted to remember their significance for later. Not many of them are forgettable but some of the events surrounding them are.

  • Drakon: a Fae prince who belongs to the race of winged faeries called Seraphim. He fought for humans in The War and is mated and married to Myriam.
  • Myriam: an enslaved half-Fae who was gifted to Drakon by his betrothed. They fell in love some years later during The War. She is mated and married to Drakon. She was also the lover of Jurian.
  • Jurian: a mortal who was a general of the mortal armies during The War. He was responsible for Clythia’s (Amarantha’s sister) death and was tortured and killed by Amarantha. She kept his eye in her ring for 500 years to drive him mad.
  • Vassa: one of the mortal queens sold off to a sorcerer who enchanted her so that she turned into a firebird during the day.
  • Princess Brannagh: the King of Hybern’s niece. 
  • Prince Dagdan: the King of Hybern’s nephew.
  • Eris: a High Fae who is a member of the Autumn Court and Lucien’s oldest brother. He was betrothed to Mor at one point.
  • Graysen: a mortal that Elain is engaged to.
  • Thesan: High Lord of the Dawn Court.
  • Beron: High Lord of the Autumn Court and Lucien’s father.
  • Helion: High Lord of the Day Court.
  • Kallias: High Lord of the Autumn Court.
  • The Lady of the Autumn Court: Lucien’s mother who remains unnamed. She is married and mated to Beron.
  • Viviane: wife and mate of Kallias. She is friends with Mor.
  • Bryaxis: the creature that lives in the pit of the library in the Night Court. 

SETTING: The only setting in this story is Prythian itself. Although there was a lot of traveling due to the ongoing war, it was useful to keep track of the movements of the armies on the map provided in the book itself. 

TiIMELINE: The ACOWAR events occur two months after the ACOMAF events.

POLITICS: As in the previous books, politics remains an important part of the plot and becomes increasingly contentious as the ongoing conflict between Hybern continues. I suggest writing down any details about the politics of this story and why certain High Lords are hesitant to ally with one another. ⚔️

MAGIC/RELIGION/FOLKLORE: Heavy fairy tale themes are still present within this book as the series continues. I’ve listed below some important parts of the magic system that may be worth remembering. 

  • Ouroboros: the Mirror of Beginnings and Endings. It shows the user who they truly are.
  • Book of Breathings: a book created to nullify the Cauldron’s power.
  • Scrying: use of divination to discover hidden knowledge and/or future events.
  • The Killing Power: the power that is within the Illyrians Siphons.
  • Spell Cleaving: the ability to break curses and spells.
  • Faebane: also known as Bloodbane, it can neutralize a Fae’s powers, leaving them defenseless.
  • Seer: name given to those who have the ability to see the future. 

This is the end of the main trilogy for the ACOTAR series. Sarah J. Maas has continued the series, but after A Court of Frost and Starlight, Feyre will no longer be our leading lady. 😭

I personally loved this book. I liked how everything wrapped up nicely and I think the quality of writing is the best in this book. I rated it ⭐ 5/5 stars

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SPOILERS WARNING: The following contains spoilers for A Court of Frost and Starlight; stop reading now if you do not want to be spoiled by major plot points and characters. 

4. A Court of Frost and Starlight ❄️🌃📖

Note: I won’t be writing a very in-depth guide to this book since it is just a novella and doesn’t contain any super major plot points to the ACOTAR series.

Book Synopsis

It is winter in the Night Court, and Feyre and Rhysand are busy rebuilding it after the war. Feyre celebrates her 21st birthday and her first Solstice as High Lady with her friends and family. However, she soon realizes that even though the war is over, the scars still run deep, and it’ll take a lot to heal Prythian as a whole. 🤧

CHARACTERS: There aren’t many new characters, but I have listed a few below. At this point in the series, we know all the main contenders and most of their stories. If you left room in your character maps like I did, you’ll find that most of the characters have a ton of information about them.

  • Devlon: An Illyrian war-lord.
  • Varian: Prince of Adriata and Amren’s lover.
  • Ressian: A faerie who resides in the Rainbow, the artist district of Velaris.

SETTING: This novella’s setting is mainly in Velaris, but there are some scenes in the Spring Court and in the lands in the Night Court, where the Illyrian war bands reside.

TIMELINE: ACOFAS occurs during winter solstice, approximately 4-5 months after the war. 

POLITICS: Relations between the Spring Court are extremely precarious after the events of the previous books. There is also some contention within the Illyrian war bands about the events in the war. 

⭐ I liked this book overall. I wish it was a bit more smutty since it was the last we’d see from Feyre’s perspective, but hey, a girl can dream. 🤭

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SPOILERS WARNING: The following contains spoilers for A Court of Silver Flames; stop reading now if you do not want to be spoiled by major plot points and characters. 

5. A Court of Silver Flames 🔥🏹📖

Book Synopsis

After being forced into the cauldron and becoming a High Fae, Nesta has been struggling to put it lightly. She can’t seem to heal after the events of the war and her behavior reaches a breaking point. Feyre and the Inner Court take matters into their own hands, dishing Nesta out an ultimatum. Either get yourself together or get out. Left to her own devices for too long, Nesta pushes back but eventually relents. Nesta now has to spend her time in the House of Wind to train with Cassian and work in the library with the high priestesses. But the longer Nesta trains and works, she starts to discover herself and the strength that she’s always had. 💪

CHARACTERS: This book includes some old and some new characters. I found myself using the character feature on the Bookly App a lot to keep track. Here are some important characters listed below.

  • Emerie: an Illyrian female whose wings were clipped when she was younger per an ancient Illyrian custom. She now owns her father’s shop after he died in the war. Emerie is friends with Gwyn and Nesta.
  • Gwyneth: a priestess who works in the library within the House of Wind. She is Emerie and Nesta’s friend. She was attacked during Hybern’s invasions of the temples within the Night Court. 
  • Clotho: is a high priestess who works in the library within the House of Wind. Her hands were critically injured, so she had to write with an enchanted pen. 
  • Koschei: a Death god who is secluded in his lake on the continent. He is the lord who trapped Vassa in her fire-bird form. He is one of the main antagonists.
  • Briallyn: one of the mortal queens. The King of Hybern put her into the Cauldron to become immortal. She was turned immortal, but the Cauldron took away her youth because of what Nesta took from it. Because of this, she despises Nesta. She is one of the main antagonists.

SETTING: Set throughout the Night Court. Here are a few of the main settings. 

  • House of Wind: Rhysand and Feyre’s formal home within Velaris.
  • The River House: the home that Rhysand and Feyre currently reside in. It was once a great manor home that was destroyed when Hybern forces invaded Velaris
  • Windhaven Camp: a war camp located within Illyria. It is presided over by Devlon, a war band leader.
  • Ramiel: the sacred mountain that symbolizes the Night Court and is where the Illyrian Blood Rite occurs.

TIMELINE: Set approximately 6-7 months after the war and occurs about 14 months after that.

POLITICS: After the war, relations between the Night Court and the Illyrians have been frayed. Many believed that certain warriors were put on the front lines as a punishment for questioning Azriel, Rhysand, and Cassian. Cassian is working to help relations. Also, we discover that Eris from the Autumn Court has become even more of an ally to try to soothe tensions and pass on information. Lucien continues to be an emissary to the Night Court and is actively trying to soothe old wounds with Tamlin. 

MAGIC/RELIGION/FOLKLORE: There are many allusions to both Russian and Norse folklore. Koschei is known as Koshchei the Deathless in Russian folklore; he is a villain who faces many heroes in Slavic Folklore. The Valkyries were a group of Norse female warriors who rode pegasus and they would guide souls into Valhalla. Below are some new parts of the magic system revealed. 

  • Dread Trove: a collection of items of immense power, only three of which we know have survived.
  • Magic Swords: magic swords imbued with power from the Cauldron.
  • Daglans: an ancient race of near-gods and monsters.

I ended up rating ACOSF 3.5/5 stars

Bookly Infographic

And there you have it, folks! That is the end of my reading guide for the entire ACOTAR series. It’s obviously a very long guide so thank you for sticking with me through it all! I hope all of you enjoyed reading this series, and I’ll see you on the next one! 

This reading guide was written by our Bookly Pro Reader, The Rose Post 💙

Looking for some more bookish inspo? 

If you want some more tips & tricks on how to read other series, check out our guides for The Poppy War Trilogy and The Priory of the Orange Tree. Remember to take notes while reading so that you won’t miss out on any detail, character, or setting you encounter throughout the story. 

Don’t Forget to Keep Track of Your Reading Progress With Bookly

Whether you track your reading progress and notes in a spreadsheet, journal, notebook, or app, just remember to do it! 

Bookly makes it easy to track your progress and can help keep you accountable, track books, and improve your reading habits. 😎

And don’t forget that Bloo, your reading assistant, will always be by your side and help you improve! 💖

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