Almost everything has a cost. In our daily routines, we are forced to make sacrifices that we think “benefit the greater good.” Whether it's giving up time to watch a new episode of your favorite show on television to study for an upcoming test, or leaving your loved ones to find a better job abroad, life is a forever-winding maze with both happy and sad times we are forced to endure. In A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas tells a thrilling and impactful story about how a girl gives up everything in order to protect her village and family. Hunting in the woods, Feyre accidently kills a faerie, a legendary creature, mistaken for a wolf. Under the supposed “Treaty” forged between faerie and human, Feyre is forced to leave her family in exchange for killing the wolf. Luckily, after being abducted, the faeries unexpectedly show Feyre comfort instead of aggression, and she quickly makes herself at home in their lands. However, a new threat rises- a “civil war” between the faeries, a conflict that Feyre herself is forced to resolve in order to save her friends and family.

The first scene that the theme of sacrifice is developed is Andras’ death. In order to break his curse and save his people, faerie-lord Tamlin is forced to find a human willing to marry him, so he sends out Andras, one of his closest friends, as hunting bait in the human world in order to lure and capture a human. A harsh choice with only one correct answer- in order to guarantee the future of his kingdom, he needs to kill his best friend. It’s sad, but also intriguing. Logically, it's obvious and makes absolute sense- sacrifice one to save many. Yet we hesitate, the more we spend time and bond with something, it becomes harder to accept losing it. And because of human nature, we can’t do anything to prevent it. One of the struggles that we face is letting emotions and past memories fog our sight, making it harder to see what the right, moral decision is.

The theme of sacrifice is further extended with Feyre sacrificing herself for the safety of her family. To protect her family from the wrath of the faeries, Feyre, unwillingly, goes with the abductor, never to see her village again. From that point on, Feyre starts to have hallucinations of her father, wanting her to return home. This reminds me of a book I read in middle school- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, where Katniss volunteers herself to fight in the arena to protect her sister. This made me realize that as we age, we are further burdened with duties and responsibilities that we must fulfill. We start as children, with all our resources given to us, slowly pushed and encouraged to achieve our dreams. Soon they become young adults, with mild chores such as taking care of the younger ones and studying to excel in school. Once they reach adulthood, we are forced to sacrifice time for ourselves to raise a family, which usually means working somewhere all day to earn money. Although challenging, we must realize that it takes sacrifices, especially sacrificing something we enjoy, in order to make a better future for everyone.

The last scene where the theme of sacrifice stands out would be Feyre’s execution Tamlin, and three other innocent faeries. Feyre has finally conquered Amarantha’s two trials, but in order to save her friends and the entirety of the kingdom, she is forced to slaughter three randomly chosen citizens and Tamlin, her lover. The idea of sacrifice is challenged the most in this scene, as after Feyre and the rest of the inhabitants of this magical land are free, Feyre soon realizes that she’ll have nothing to live for- her family and lover gone. Although traumatic, it’s only for the greater good- sacrifice a few lives to prevent extinction. With this, we learn that tragedy is an unavoidable aspect of our lives. For example, even today we have soldiers fighting and suffering on the front lines to protect others consisting of people they don’t even know. Because tragedy is unavoidable, the only thing we can do is embrace the privileges and positive things that we have.

In A Court of Thorns and Roses, the unavoidable tragedy of sacrifice is showcased. In everyday life, it is important to realize that we must always choose the answer that makes a better future for ourselves and everyone, no matter how harsh the sorrows of the present. This novel was very different than what I normally read (way too mushy), but in the end, I had no regrets choosing it. I highly recommend you try it out. That being said, would do you think? If you think differently, let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading!

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