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Is The A Court Of Thorns And Roses Series Spicy? A Spoiler-Free Guide

"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas is one of the most popular fantasy series on shelves today — but is it "spicy?" (Translation: are there a lot of sex scenes throughout the books?) Yes, there are — and a few enterprising Redditors have even gone so far as to map out where they take place in the books.

In one thread on the busy "A Court of Thorns and Roses" subreddit — titled r/acotar, utilizing a popular acronym for the series — u/gooseinthegraveyard asked for specifics as to where all the "spicy" scenes are, and fellow Redditor and fan u/AutisticMe5584 obliged, including page numbers for each "spicy" scene. Conversely, u/acnhamaranth asked, on a different thread, for the same information so that they could plan to skim or skip over those sections; after all, it's not everybody's cup of tea ... and similarly, u/Sleepy__gorl created their own chapter names (as they note later in the thread, the book doesn't have chapters per se, but they added some "key words" to help others out). 

Then there's a thread by u/donteatpancakes where the title really says it all: "So I started reading ACOTAR because I was promised smut. I'm almost half way through it. WHERE IS IT." Luckily, u/dwarf_sunflower is happy to oblige, writing, "There's some coming your way, but trust us when we say book 2 ['A Court of Mist and Fury'] is the goat. But for smut, book 5 ['A Court of Silver Flames']."

What is A Court of Thorns and Roses about?

Okay, let's back up for a moment — what is "A Court of Thorns and Roses" even about, and why is it so "spicy?" The series begins when Feyre, a huntress who's just 19 years old, takes down a wolf in the woods near her home ... only to be confronted by a mysterious creature that tells her she must pay for its slaughter. That creature turns out to be a handsome male faerie named Tamlin, who whisks Feyre away to his native land of Prythian — where she joins the Spring Court and starts falling for Tamlin, a High Lord of Prythian who seems to good to be true.

As Feyre learns in the following books, Tamlin may well be too good to be true — and she finds her feelings for him complicated by both the terrible trials of Amarantha (where she has to commit horrific acts to keep Tamlin and Prythian safe) and Rhysand, the High Lord of the darker Night Court, who helped Feyre keep the peace in Prythian. Without getting too far into spoiler territory, suffice to say that between Tamlin, Rhysand, Feyre, and other characters we won't even mention here (because again, spoilers), there are plenty of sex scenes in "A Court of Thorns and Roses." Unfortunately, that's led to some ... controversies over the series' risqué content.

A Court of Thorns and Roses has stirred up controversies for a number of reasons

Due to some of the "spicy" content found in "A Court of Thorns and Roses," it's become another target in the censorship wars being waged across the United States. In 2023, the series became one of many scanned by ChatGPT in a Mason City, Iowa school district, and subsequently banned for depicting sexual acts; the use of the artificial intelligence technology ended up making headlines all over the world. 

The following year, Rutherford County libraries in Tennessee removed several books without making any sort of public statement; ultimately, a group fighting censorship called the Rutherford County Library Alliance announced that alongside all five books in "A Court of Thorns and Roses," books by author Casey McQuiston — who writes queer romance novels with sexual content like the extraordinarily popular "Red, White & Royal Blue," which got a film adaptation in 2023 — were pulled from shelves, and as of this writing, there are still efforts being made to return them to their shelves. Ultimately, yes, these books do feature "spicy," explicit scenes ... between consenting adults who may or may not be faeries, but no, they're probably not appropriate for younger audiences. "A Court of Thorns and Roses" is pretty steamy and definitely for older audiences, but censorship is likely a step too far.

You can buy "A Court of Thorns and Roses" wherever books are sold, or check out the copies from your local library — if you want to see just how spicy they are for yourself.