A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (ACOTAR #2)
Pages: 640 (Kindle edition)
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 3rd 2016)
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, Fairytale Retelling, High Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Goodreads summary: 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.
You’d think that I’d make my first blog review something a little less controversial – but I’ve always been honest with my opinions, even if it goes against the grain. And believe me, no one was more surprised than myself when I finished this book and couldn’t give it more than a 3.5 stars.
In short, my enjoyment of a book relies heavily on how I react to the characters – especially the MC. Unfortunately in this instance, I just couldn’t bring myself to accept Feyre, despite understanding that she has literally been through hell and back and that she’s trying to cope with it as best as she can.
Things I enjoyed:
- Feyre’s character development
- The secondary characters (namely Amren, Mor, Cassian, Azriel and Nesta)
- The pacing, world building and the plot in general
- The exploration of an abusive vs. healthy relationship
Aaaand things I didn’t enjoy quite so much:
- Feyre’s tantrums
- Feyre’s personality in general (you’re probably seeing a theme here…)
Most of the things I want to discuss are, at best, mildly spoilery, so I’ve hidden them behind a break. If you’ve read the book and are curious why I didn’t give it a raving 5 stars like everyone else, feel free to read ahead 😉
I think there’d be few people who could read this book and not agree that Sarah J. Maas did a wonderful job exploring abusive relationships and highlighting that just because someone was right for you at one stage in your life, there is no shame in accepting that you don’t fit together the same way anymore. I loved that Feyre had the strength to recognise this and walk away. Not only did Maas point out markers for emotional abuse (I don’t think I can stress enough just how important this is, considering how hard it is to recognise) she did a fantastic job juxtaposing Feyre’s relationships with Tamlin and Rhysand to highlight to readers what a healthy relationship looks like.
I feel pretty smug about the fact that I loved Rhysand from the first book, and I just knew there was more to his character than his ‘evil High Lord’ facade. I know some readers found Rhysand’s character development a little too convenient, but I had no such thoughts. The motives behind his actions made sense to me, because they matched with my own theories when I was reading ACOTAR.
Among Rhysand’s many wonderful traits (who knew he was secretly a feminist all this time?) my favourite thing about him is that right from the start, he let Feyre make her own decisions. He never made assumptions on her behalf and he saw her as his equal throughout the entire book.
I’m not saying that Feyre wasn’t loyal, clever and brave, nor am I ignoring the fact that she underwent amazing character development (I mean she basically went from being a submissive trophy wife in training to a kickass master of all elements) but I also need to point out that at times she was cruel, arrogant and even childish.
“Perhaps I don’t know what I want, but at least I don’t hide what I am behind a mask. What about letting your friends see your real face? But maybe it’s easier not to. Because what if you did let someone in? And what if they saw everything, and still walked away? Who could blame them—who would want to bother with that sort of mess?”
Rhys was open and honest with Feyre, and she threw it all back in his face. She doesn’t even offer him a proper apology – she almost bites his head off as soon as she suspects that he used his absence to punish her (which he didn’t, by the way.) I understand that Feyre is dealing with depression and PTSD, but that doesn’t give her a free pass to say whatever she wants to people, nor should it be used as a justification for her actions.
There are also many times she acted petty and childish – she withholds her true feelings from Rhys until she’s pretty much forced to give him a yes/no answer, yet she was unjustly possessive of him on their trip to the Summer Court. She sulked every time Rhys so much as batted an eyelash at Cresseida, but when he asked her, she couldn’t admit that she wanted him.
Upon discovering that Rhys is her mate, she lashes out at him, refuses to hear his side of the story, and accuses him of taking away her choices when in actual fact he was doing the complete opposite. Do you know what Feyre would’ve done if Rhys had told her of their bond right from the start? She would’ve felt caged in and helpless, just as she did with Tamlin – so Rhys let her make that decision herself, and Feyre was too blinded by her anger to see that. I get that Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin broke her in so many ways – but what I can’t forgive is that she recognised that she overreacted and then she mopes around for days, waiting for Rhys to come to her.
Sarah J. Maas ended ACOMAF with her signature epic finale – there were so many unexpected twists that I think I stopped breathing for about 50 pages! Despite the fact that I couldn’t connect with Feyre or reconcile myself with
some most of her actions, I’m still excited to see how the story develops and where the next book will take us.
Thanks for reading! Much Love,