I received this book for free from Bloomsbury Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Sarah J. Maas
Published May, 2016 by Bloomsbury
Provided by: Bloomsbury Australia
Genres: Faeries, Fantasy
Purchase: The Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia
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Feyre is immortal.
After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people - nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.
As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand's dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.
She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.
Spoilers in the full review. A Court of Mist and Fury was incredible 624 pages of story-telling. Just like the first book, I couldn’t put it down, even if it was practically double the size. The world in which Sarah J. Maas has crafted within this series remains to be one of my favourites, with A Court of Thorns and Roses still being more to my tastes than the Throne of Glass series. All that being said, however, I did have a few gripes with the second instalment in this series.
“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.” – Feyre
Yes, I gave this book five-stars even though I had some major problems with A Court of Mist and Fury. Why? Well, because it was just damn enjoyable. Sarah J. Maas’s descriptive voice and incredible plot-pacing kept me hooked even if I didn’t agree with some of her choices in terms of character progression. Yes, I felt as if A Court of Thorns and Roses was rendered completely useless apart from the Under the Mountain scenes, and yes – I felt that Feyre’s relationship with Rhysand was a complete cop out at times… but hell, I couldn’t put this book down.
A Court of Mist and Fury sets the stage for Prythian’s ‘bigger battle’. Amarantha and the plot of book one was merely a taster of what was to come. Amarantha’s king, the King of Hybern, is the real nemesis and the only way to put a stop to him is with the cauldron that supposedly created the world. Feyre, bound by Rhysand’s bargain to spend a week of every month at his side, is drawn into the fight against Hybern and must learn to manage the powers she’s inherited from each of the High Lords of Prythian.
Having been a major Tamlin fan in A Court of Thorns and Roses, I cannot believe that he was merely swapped out for another romantic interest in true Sarah J. Maas fashion. To be honest, I was kind of expecting that she would do a Dorian-Chaol-Rowan (a la Throne of Glass), but I wasn’t expecting Tamlin to be rendered into a villain so easily, with every one of his actions written to purely turn the reader against him. I absolutely adored Tamlin in the first book, and I enjoyed his relationship with Feyre – to see it merely explained away as something of a mistake was ludicrous to me. Feyre’s relationship slate was wiped clean and I found it hard to believe that the incredibly strong feelings that we were shown in book one were meant to be written off. I’ll have to re-read the first book to really see if any hints of Tamlin’s personality in A Court of Mist and Fury were present, but I honestly don’t remember Tamlin being anything like he was in book two. It was probably my biggest disappointment with A Court of Mist and Fury.
As for Rhysand, now that he had been put into Tamlin’s place, his edge was completely gone. Every bad deed in A Court of Thorns and Roses was explained away, with Rhysand being this pure, wholly-good guy the entire time. To be honest it was a little boring… Rhysand became this too-perfect, wishy-washy love interest that I liked but never really loved. Everything he did for Feyre was contrasted with Tamlin’s actions and he had no flaws.
“My mate. Death incarnate. Night triumphant.”
Feyre became a severe ‘special-snowflake’ – she was able to do everything and was as powerful as Rhysand, ‘most powerful High Lord’. Though Rhysand was meant to be this all-powerful creature, it was always Feyre who was saving his skin at the last minute. While I do appreciate that Feyre had changed so much internally after the trials of Under the Mountain (I liked the way in which her suffering was handled after the fact), what I didn’t appreciate was that she had become the answer to every little problem in Prythian. She’s as powerful as Rhysand? Check. She’s desired by everyone? Check. She’s the only one who can unmake the cauldron? Check.
All that noted, I still wasn’t able to hate this book. I loved the ride… I loved the new characters and the re-appearance of old ones. Sarah J. Maas wrote some incredibly creepy scenes (the weaver, the bone carver, etc) and her world-building is incredibly fascinating. I loved seeing the Night and Summer Courts and learning more about the other places in Prythian, and I loved learning the backstories of characters old and new.
The romance with Rhysand, while it wasn’t what I wanted, was still incredibly steamy. The development between the two moved at a pace which I liked and although it culminated in them being ‘mates’ (something I suspected at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses) I never disliked them as a pairing, even though I worshipped Tamlin/Feyre from the start. With the romance in mind, I cannot believe that Bloomsbury is publishing this in their children’s section. The sex scenes in A Court of Mist and Fury are way more descriptive than they were in the first book, and even those were quite mature.
“There are different kinds of darkness,” Rhys said. I kept my eyes shut. “There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful.” I pictured each. “There is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.”
The ending was a bit anti-climactic for me. Our warring courts are reunited and Feyre has to make some big decisions. We finally meet the King of Hybern and though some pretty nasty stuff goes down, he simply lets Rhysand and his friends go at the end. If he’s planning to take over Prythian, wouldn’t eliminating the ‘most powerful High Lord’ be beneficial, agreement or no? The King lost a few evil points in this scene for me.
As for Feyre, back in the Spring Court, I hope that Sarah J. Maas works a bit more humanity back into Tamlin and Lucien for the next instalment, rather than have Feyre be utterly repulsed by them. I cannot believe that characters we were meant to love in book one have been twisted into things that Feyre is utterly repulsed by.
While I’m not entirely happy with what went down in this book, I still loved it… books like these remind me why I love reading so much.