A/N: Because this is a review of a sequel, I will be making a few references back to book one. If you haven’t read the first book, this may mean some things could be spoiled for you, though I will try to be vague where possible. Thank you for your understanding!
A Court of Mist and Fury
By Sarah J. Maas
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.
While I can’t even begin to express how much I loved this book, let me start off by saying that the summary does nothing to reveal the depth and beauty of this sequel to Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses. From the beginning readers are on an emotional rollercoaster as Feyre attempts to reconcile her new life and what she has done to get there. The emotions and feelings are in no way overdone or suffocating as readers will be all too familiar with the circumstances that brought Feyre to her current situation. The feelings come off exactly as I would expect given everything Feyre endured to save Tamlin’s people from Amarantha’s rule.
When we last saw Feyre, she was recovering from her stand-off with Amarantha under the Mountain. Going into this sequel, I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I was leery of both Tamlin (for his actions, or rather lack thereof, during the trials) and Rhysand (because we knew so little of him, and all of it through the eyes of the reluctant Feyre). A few pages in, however, all of that changed (my reasons why will be detailed in the Spoiler Zone below). All I can say is that some of my absolute favorite scenes took place in the Night Court and Rhysand became my favorite character after Feyre herself. Before I get into the characters, however, I want to cover Maas’s world itself.
With fantasy, world-building can either be a blessing or a curse: it can either be well done or it can be so overdone that it falls into the realm of painful and, for lack of a better word, corny. Maas’s books definitely falls into the first category, in my opinion. As a huge fan of series like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, the world-building aspect of A Court of Thorns and Roses and, especially, A Court of Mist and Fury are a major part of the attraction. In fact, one of the things I love most about A Court of Mist and Fury was the on-point world-building Maas presented readers. While, yes, we got a lot of background information in the first one, I feel like there was so much more done with the history, culture, geography, and characters of Feyre’s world in the sequel. It made for such an in-depth read and gave such body to an already well-loved story.
Early on in the book, readers learn more and more about many of the the other Fae courts in Feyre’s world, including the Courts of Summer and, of course, Night. We are even given more insight into Feyre’s old home, the mortal lands, both south of The Wall and on the Continent. Maas pays so much attention to detail and gives such a rich tapestry of information without overwhelming the reader. The reader learns as Feyre learns and we are never given too much to swallow nor are we fed anything that is, even for a fantasy novel, too unbelievable. It’s because of this that Maas has become cemented onto my list of favorite authors.
One of the major themes of this book was Feyre having to come to terms with her life post-Amarantha and everything that came with it. There are many changes in her life that she is working to adapt to or overcome. Among these things are guilt over several events that occurred in the first book, the change in who she is and how that affects her place in this new world post-Amarantha, and finally, a stark change in her relationship with Tamlin. As I mentioned before, I didn’t feel in the slightest that any of the emotion Maas put into the book was overdone or unwarranted. To add to the inner and emotional conflict, her deal with Rhysand comes into play and, initially, seems to put a strain on Feyre’s life. In truth, it may be the thing that saves her.
As I mentioned before, my stance on Rhysand changed dramatically in this book. I went from deep skepticism to deep admiration over the course of the novel. We learn various pieces of information that show why Rhysand is the way he is and it leads to a deeper understanding of him and many of the events of the first book that we had initially seen only through Feyre’s eyes. Let me clarify and say that Rhysand is not a perfect character; far from it, actually. Like Feyre, he is deeply flawed but that is part of the beauty of his characterization.
A Court of Mist and Fury introduces us to several new and fantastic characters from the Night Court. These characters are Rhysand’s friends, part of his Inner Circle, at the mysterious Night Court: Morrigan, Cassian, Azriel, and Amren. Amren, Rhysand’s Second in Command and political adviser is the biggest mystery of the four new faces. There is much we don’t know about her. She is snarky, sharp, and unnervingly powerful. I have a sneaking feeling that she is going to be a major, major power player in the coming books! Just as feisty but less mysterious is Morrigan, Rhysand’s cousin and the Overseer of the Courts of Nightmares and Dreams. Mor is the first ally Feyre willingly makes during her visits to the Night Court. Cassian, General Commander of the Night Court’s armies, is one of the most powerful Illyrians in history. Great power aside, he was a great character too, always game for a laugh but ready to protect those he cared about. And finally there is the quiet shadowsinger Azriel, Rhysand’s Spymaster and another extraordinarily powerful Illyrian. Conveying a certain intensity, Azriel was a character you knew you shouldn’t mess with. Though Azriel was my favorite of Rhysand’s Inner Circle, the four new additions as a group were the cherry on top of an already great reading experience! With sequels, authors will obviously need to introduce new characters to keep the story fresh, but I feel that Maas did an especially great job with her choices. As with Rhysand, the foursome were well-written, likable characters with flaws.
As you can imagine, a lot of things happened in this book that I would LOVE to be able to discuss outright, but because I don’t want to really spoil this book (or its predecessor) for new readers, I’ll leave that to my spoiler zone. I will say this though: the ending left me more than wanting more. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book for days after I finished! I have been dying to read the next one and cannot wait until it is published. Be prepared though: it ended in such a way that I wanted to throw the book at the wall (in a good way – I swear) because I knew that I’d have to wait. Very few books have made me feel that way (and I’m not a violent person) but wow – I promise you will not be disappointed with this book.
WARNING: You are now entering the Spoiler Zone!
Okay I have GOT to talk about Tamlin. I know I had my reservations about him at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses but WOW I was not expecting this. I can honestly say that after the first couple of chapters, I had absolutely zero love for his character. I mean, I understand, I guess, the feeling of needing to protect Feyre, but in case he didn’t notice, SHE just saved HIM and everyone in Prythian. She hardly needs to be permanently locked up or treated like a fragile, porcelain doll. When Rhysand showed up to the wedding and told Feyre it was time for her to hold up her end of their bargain and go with him, I let out a massive sigh of relief. To be fair, I wasn’t quite pleased to see Rhysand either, since the end of ACOTAR leaves you really wondering where he stands in the grand scheme of everything but I was happy to see her leave the Spring Court, even if only for a week at a time (initially).
As for the Night Court (excepting the Court of Nightmares, of course) I was in love! After being warned off of it by ACOTAR’s characters, I was just as suspicious as Feyre but, like her, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the characters and the night life. And Velaris, the City of Starlight, was depicted so wonderfully that if the books ever go to the large or small screen, I will fear for the adaptation’s portrayal of it like I did with Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade, Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley. If you don’t capture the right essence and personality of a fictional place, then even the most gorgeous and intricate of sets will fall flat and any parts of the film involving that place will lose their intended meaning. Either way, Velaris was wonderful and I hope we get to see a lot more of it in future books!
I’ll admit that at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses I was super confused by that tell-tale look Rhysand gave her but while I waited for A Court of Mist and Fury, I started to wonder if they bonded and Feyre was just too inexperienced to realize it. I actually liked that Rhysand kept it from her. He could have been a jerk and held it over her head or used it to his favor but he didn’t. He let her, well he intended for her, to come to the realization on her own and make the decision on her own. He didn’t pull a Tamlin and force her to do anything. That made me love him even more.
That brings me to two final things: the battle of Velaris and that made-me-want-to-throw-my-book-against-the-wall ending. First the battle.
With Feyre spending much of the book working to master the new powers that her making gave her, I figured that there would be a big fight at the end where she would end up using a lot of these new powers. Even though I expected it, I still loved the battle and thought it was so well-written and perfectly-paced. As I read I could imagine the battle unfolding before my eyes and that’s when you know you are absorbed in an intense scene.
Finally, and I’m sure those of you who have read the book were waiting for this, I really need to make peace with that ending. That damned ending! Seriously though! I spent the last forty pages or so with my mouth hanging wide open. First her sisters getting forced to change into Fae, which is sad enough since they weren’t even sure they’d live, but then Feyre had to go back with freaking Tamlin?!? I mean, I understand why she did it but jeez. I hope he doesn’t force her to marry him, especially since he thinks that any bond she had with Rhysand was broken when the bargain she and Rhysand forged was reversed. I cannot wait to see what she has up her sleeve.
I can tell you now I will be up at dawn to get the next book! Seriously. I can’t wait!!!
You are now leaving the Spoiler Zone!!
I hope you enjoyed the review and if you haven’t read the book(s) yet, go do it!! They are amazing!