Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
on May 3rd, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.
I initially rated A Court of Mist and Fury 4 stars but have since reached the conclusion that my rating was too generous. Albeit entertaining, this book just presents me with too many other aspects I struggle with. I’m hesitant with this review, as SJM – meaning her books, her marketing (Young Adult? You shitting me?), and her fandom – is probably a name that has sparked the most epic controversies in the book reviewer community in recent times. Please do not interpret my critique of her work as an attack against her as an author and a person, as this is in no way the purpose of a book review.
A Court of Mist and Fury is the much-anticipated sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses. For me, this series is complete and utter guilty pleasure material which I don’t take overly serious, I must say. However, I am happy to report, that this sequel holds some positive surprises. A Court of Thorns and Roses didn’t impress me that much, so my reasons for reading this were 1) Rhysand, 2) Rhysand, 3) Rhysand. As always, beware of minor spoilers (for this one as well as the earlier instalment).
As I write this, I am now perfectly calm. Though I have to tell you, that ending fucked with me in a very infuriating way. I wanted to throw my poor kindle across the room, not because the ending was bad (which might also have been a reason to harm one of my favourite electronic devices), but because it wrecked me.
Picture the following scenario earlier:
Mother enters room: “Nina, are you angry?”
Me: “What no why the fuck would I be angry I’M PERFECTLY FINE CAN’T YOU SEE”
*stomps off sputtering vile curses at stupid characters* (No Feyre, for once, it wasn’t you!)
Ok, now let’s do this. Last chance to back out before I spill my thoughts and feels.
A Court of Feels and Swoons
⚐ So, it’s no secret I was HERE FOR RHYSAND. Shocker, I know. Yes, I do have some reservations regarding his character development (see the next section for reference) but all I ever wanted was to get a glimpse behind that stone-faced mask he put on in ACOTAR. Rhysand is a fascinating character, besides being super-haaawt, that is. He’s equally strong-willed as he is vulnerable, he can be vicious but his core is good-hearted. He’s lead a harsh life and picked himself up countless times. To me, it made perfect sense that he was the medicine Feyre needed in her darkest times. And he’s obviously a shameless flirt.
**Side note** For those of you who’re interested in my response to “But Feyre killed and died for her love for Tamlin”: 1) Do we love whole-heartedly only once in our lives? No. 2) View Spoiler »Feyre offers the explanation that, in her earlier loneliness, she latched onto the first being who showed her affection. I’m not entirely convinced by this, I won’t lie, but let’s roll with it, shall we? « Hide Spoiler 3) View Spoiler »In my opinion, the fact that Feyre had to kill two faeries to save Tamlin sparked a lot of bottled up resentment on her part, which doomed their relationship. « Hide Spoiler[In my opinion, the fact that Feyre had to kill two faeries to save Tamlin sparked a lot of bottled up resentment on her part, which doomed their relationship. (hide spoiler)]
⚐ FEYSAND GIVE ME LIFE K? I unashamedly loved every minute of their banter, their adventures, and their passion for each other. I’d say the chemistry is mostly due to Rhysand being the lovable asshole he is, but that didn’t stop me from loving every minute of it. Sue me.
“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.”
Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”
⚐ Feyre I did not expect to respect as much as I did. Being at the Night Court apparently made her shed that cloak of stupidity she hid beneath in ACOTAR. With every step toward independence, Feyre grew on me. The dependent heroine who let herself be pushed around, who made reckless decisions, and who needed protection died Under the Mountain.
“I was not prey any longer, I decided as I eased up to that door.
And I was not a mouse.
I was a wolf.”
Although post-traumatic stress disorder presents itself in different forms, I believe SJM depicted trauma and grief adequately. Feyre is restless, suffers from nightmares and flashbacks and panic attacks when presented with trauma-related stimuli. The cage of darkness she finds herself trapped is was very believable, in my opinion, and her recovery is long and tiresome.
⚐ Prepare for the introduction of a wonderfully diverse new cast of interesting characters. And guess what? Though they are obviously all white and beautiful, they have intriguing backstories, and actually play a role in the plot. Hell to the yes. I can’t decide whom I liked best: Joyful Morrigan, cocky Cassian, brooding Azriel, or mysterious Amren. I love this crew of underdogs, outcasts, and badasses.
⚐ While I think a major part of the plot evolves around the romance, I was positively surprised by the play of politics, the scheming, and the tons of heart-racing action in this sequel. Furthermore, the plot covers a larger part of Prythian, which presented the excellent opportunity for more world-building and SJM did not let it go to waste.
⚐ Books that evoke emotions tend to get higher ratings from me. The spectrum reached from compassion to outbursts of rage. I was honestly taken aback when, at one point, I got all misty-eyed. Some of Feyre’s depressive episodes – bordering on suicidality – really got to me, which rarely happens to me in YA/NA literature.
⚐Tamlin getting his ass handed to him by Rhysand was like Christmas and Easter falling onto the same day, and deserves a bullet point of its own. It’s not up for discussion.
A Court of Snarls and Curses
(Prepare for the gifs)
⚑ Was I pissed how SJM twisted and shaped everything to make Tamlin look bad and Rhysand look good? If her Throne of Glass series is anything to go by, this stunt was to be expected. I honestly don’t take SJM’s work seriously enough to give a shit, especially since Tamlin was a bowl of cardboard broth in ACOTAR. SJM walked a narrow line with the widening gap between Feyre and Tamlin. At first, I thought the combination of Tamlin’s earlier overprotectiveness and his trauma, which heightened that trait, was feasible. However, later in the book, it becomes clear that SJM’s intent had always been to make Tamlin look like the King of Possessive Bastards (more on that later). What did piss me off to no end was her portrayal of Lucien, one of my favourite supporting protagonists in ACOTAR. Stop raking Lucien’s name through the mud along with Tamlin’s, dammit! He is innocent. I am NOT okay with this. The infectious disease called ‘jackassitis’ has apparently spread across the whole Spring Court, and I’m just… I can’t even.
⚑ Whether SJM made her characters go OOC or whether she had masterfully hidden their true personalities behind masks in the previous instalment we’ll never know. (It’s SJM. She writes whatever sells, so…), While I had no problem with how SJM used Feyre and Rhysand to depict a healthy relationship and how Rhysand wasn’t the asshole SJM made him be in ACOTAR, I did miss some of his cunningness, his air of darkness, and his grey morals. (It was visible in the beginning but then slowly faded away). Also, let’s be real for a moment: No matter how chill you are as a love interest, you don’t let your girl walk headfirst into danger several times. Moreover, somehow Rhysand is the only High Lord who’s concerned with the impending threat of the King of Hybern invading Prythian. P-leeease.
⚑ I was astounded by how SJM could mash up an otherwise engaging plot with some of the most ridiculous twists I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, another prime example features Lucien: View Spoiler »Elain had just been turned Fae when Lucien blurted “You’re my mate!” and I couldn’t help myself but burst into hysterical giggles. They have NO HISTORY whatsoever. « Hide Spoiler. The randomness of said scene is out of this world. Kudos to you, SJM.
⚑ The ending was equally shocking as it was vicious, bordering on insanity. This is where my control snapped and resulted in my pissy first reaction. View Spoiler »So, Tamlin is apparently so far gone in his craziness that he was willing to strike a bargain with the mutual enemy to all rival courts, the King of Hybern. GET THE FUCK OUT. Look, SJM didn’t just make him possessive and overprotective and suppressive, she MADE HIM FUCKING STUPID. Now, if anything was OOC and made me want to throw my kindle across the room, it was THAT. « Hide Spoiler[So, Tamlin is apparently so far gone in his craziness that he was willing to strike a bargain with the mutual enemy to all rival courts, the King of Hybern. GET THE FUCK OUT. Look, SJM didn’t just make him possessive and overprotective and suppressive, she MADE HIM FUCKING STUPID. Now, if anything was OOC and made me want to throw my kindle across the room, it was THAT. (hide spoiler)]
⚑ SJM cannot write good sex scenes, I’m sorry. The flirtations are steamy but the actual sex is dampened down with an excess of strange wording and repulsive exaggerations (“Branding” and “trembling mountains”, just NO). She tries too hard.
My overall conclusion is that 1) Yes, it is better than A Court of Thorns and Roses (even though it’s still SJM and therefore trashy and tropy to me), and 2) Yes, we get 80% Rhysand in this book (bye bye Tamlin), and 3) No, I cannot wait to see where the next instalment takes us (probably everything will have been a lie and we’ll be starting from scratch. It’s SJM, after all).