A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas reviewA Court of Mist and Fury
Sarah J. Maas4.5 Stars

Finest Lizzy,

DROP EVERYTHING AND READ THIS BOOK. NO TIME FOR QUESTIONS GO GO GO.

But if you do somehow arrive at the ridiculous decision to read my critique instead of the book, fear not: this critique starts with a spoiler-free review—after a spoiler-full recap of the first book in the series, so beware of that if you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses yet—and you’ll be amply warned before you tread into A Court of Mist and Fury spoiler territory. You’re welcome.

Series Recap

You’ll recall I enjoyed but didn’t quite love the first book in this series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. Its story went thusly (in my words, not Maas’s):

Starving young human Feyre lives on the border between the mortal lands and the Faerie realm of Prythian, which is a super scary place full of things that find humans tasty.

It’s also home to Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, who (along with all his Spring Court people) has been cursed by the evil-invading-faerie-queen Amarantha. Only a human woman who hates and has killed fae but falls in love with Tamlin can break the curse. Once Tamlin’s free, he’ll have the power to kill Amarantha, thus freeing all of the fae in the seven Prythian courts from her tyrannical rule.

And oh hey, check it out, Feyre hates and has killed fae, and spends an inordinate amount of time near the wall separating the Spring Court from the mortal realm. Perfect!

So Tamlin does the Beauty and the Beast thing, giving Feyre a home in the Spring Court and (halfheartedly) attempting to woo her. But alas, approximately two seconds before she tells him she loves him, he decides to send her back to the mortal realm, thus dooming all of Prythian to rot under the Evil Amarantha’s reign because . . . plot?

Feyre chases Tamlin to Amarantha’s lair, where—with the secret help of gorgeous but cruel Rhysand, High Lord of the sadistic Night Court—she survives an incredible amount of abuse and trauma, simply because she somehow can’t solve the easiest riddle in the world. But she does finally solve it, thus breaking Tamlin’s curse and freeing Prythian from Amarantha’s clutches. And then Feyre dies.

But no worries, because the seven High Lords combine their magic and resurrect her as a High Fae. Now she’s gorgeous and magical! Oh, and she’s also bound to spend one week of every month (for the rest of her immortal life) in Rhysand’s Night Court, much to her and Tamlin’s dismay.

And now, A Court of Mist and Fury:

Synopsis

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 torn apart.

Spoiler-Free Review

There are so many things to praise about this book, I just can’t even.

  • Abuse and trauma (and the slow, terrible process of dealing them) are portrayed incredibly realistically. This is in small part due to the fact that the book is fairly long, allowing the characters space and time to be traumatized and (begin) to recover.
  • The size of the book also allows ample time to develop new characters and relationships, and I adore every moment of it.
  • The breadth and depth of emotion in this book are fantastic. Its characters experience all the feels, and so did I while reading it.
  • There’s a solid dose of feminist spirit in this book, hell yeah.
  • Rhysand was by far my favorite character of A Court of Thorns and Roses, so you can bet I’m delighted by the prominent role he plays in this book.
  • The book’s full of vivid, lovely descriptions that really bring the world to life, visually. We see more of Prythian than we did in A Court of Thorns and Roses, and every glimpse had a visual impact.

But there are also plenty of things that didn’t please me quite so well. So many, in fact, that I’m going to break this list down by category, so your precious brain doesn’t explode.

Reading Problems

  • I struggled to connect with the book for the first seventy pages or so; there wasn’t much going on, and I was initially frustrated and annoyed by Feyre.
  • Personally, I would’ve benefited from a brief recap of the final third of the prequel—you know, the part that traumatized Feyre so much, and established the tenor of her relationship with Rhysand. This might not be an issue for other readers, though.

Writing Problems

  • Sometimes the prose sounded overly dramatic and angsty (which I personally dislike), while other times it was so overwrought that it stopped making sense entirely—like the book was so caught up in a flowery turn of phrase that it forgot the point it was making in the first place, or didn’t realize the exact meaning of the words it was using. This resulted in many near-injuries from rolling my eyes so hard.
  • Pretty as the descriptions and visuals are, there’s shockingly little worldbuilding. We still don’t know, for instance, how the seven Prythian courts work and interact, details about the fae priestesses and what they do, and anything at all about the human realm and its six human queens. When the conflict and stakes are on as large a scale as they are in this book, you’d expect the worldbuilding to bring the scale to life—but nope. We don’t even learn enough about how the Night Court is run to make Rhysand’s rule of it feel convincing, and that’s a damn shame.

Plot Problems

  • The overarching plot is very straightforward, but too much of it is conducted off-screen by secondary characters. The book focuses more on Feyre’s emotional state than on the plot—and although I loved her character arc, and I enjoyed the actiony bits she was involved in, I wish she’d been a little bit more involved in the overarching plot stuff.
  • The climax feels a bit rushed, with an almost hilarious number of unexpected reveals and additional stakes thrown into the pot. I actually laughed out loud (in disbelief) more than once during the climactic scene, which isn’t the effect the book was going for.

Character Problems

  • Several very intelligent characters become conveniently dumb at a crucial point in the plot, while I was literally (not literally) shouting at them to use their brains holy crap can’t they see what’s about to happen? No, they couldn’t. IT’S SO OBVIOUS, GUYS, WAKE UP. Ugh.
  • Some characters’ hidden agendas are revealed in the climax, but most of them aren’t really explained. (One character in particular was a catalyst of major plot developments, but I found their motivation deeply unconvincing.) As a result, these characters all appear cartoonishly flat—which, in a book that takes such care in developing real, complex people, is especially jarring. If I don’t get a satisfying explanations of their motivations in the next book, I’m going to be super grumpy.

Spoiler-Free Review Summation

This book is a devil for me to rate. Yeah, I just listed a ton of flaws, some of which I think are quite significant, but I truly loved the portrayal of Feyre’s trauma. My immediate, gut reaction was to give it four and a half stars, but I’m wavering now that I’ve had time to consider.

I guess that, for now, I’ll go with a cautious four and a half stars, and revisit that rating whenever I do get around to rereading the book. Don’t be terribly surprised if I drop it down to four stars sometime down the road.

But let’s be honest here: you’re not even reading this right now, because you (like approximately every other YA nerd out there) had the good sense to shut off your computer, load up on finger-food, and barricade yourself in your bedroom with this book. To which I say: good decision, I approve.

Spoilery Critique

Spoiler Rating: All the spoilers

W-Praise

Honestly, I don’t think it’s worth your time or mine to elaborate just slightly on the praise I listed in the spoiler-free review above. So here, have a few reviews that have already praised the book beautifully:

  • Diana @ Diana Prince Reviews offers a fantastic discussion of the book’s finer points, and its portrayal of abusive vs. healthy relationships.
  • The Bibliotheque writes beautifully about Rhysand and why everyone’s obsessed with him.

W-Criticism

And actually, I’m not going to elaborate on all of the criticisms I listed above, either. We’d be here forever if I did, and during that time you could’ve read or reread the book. I’ll just touch on a few issues and call it a day.

Purple Prose:
THE LOLS

Let me give you a quick example of a slightly purple paragraph. (Note I said slightly purple; this is probably the least purple example I could offer, and I chose it because it’s also one of the shortest.) In this scene, Rhysand (who, FYI, has wings) is flying Feyre to the House of Wind, one of his seats of power as High Lord of the Night Court. Yes, this is a direct quote:

The air was chill,  but no wind other than a gentle breeze brushed my face—even as we soared with magnificent precision for the House of Wind.

“Magnificent precision”? Yes, coasting in a fairly straight line is an awe-inspiring accomplishment for someone who’s been flying for several centuries.

This is one of those cases in which the book seems to prioritize the tone and atmosphere its words create (in this case, wonderment and a sense of Rhysand’s awesomeness) over the meaning of its words. Here, its words are implying that a powerful immortal who’s been flying for centuries deserves a god-damn standing ovation for flying in a straight line, which undermines the whole “this dude’s a magnificent badass” message.

So I loled.

Obvious Plot Twists:
WAIT NO COME ON GUYS OPEN YOUR EYES

All of Prythian believes Rhysand and his Night Court to be the pinnacle of sadism and cruelty, but the Night Court has a couple well-kept secrets: Rhysand’s actually a great guy, and he rules the Night Court from a beautiful (secret, not-evil) city full of lovely (secret, not-evil) citizens. The city is Velaris, and the fact of its secrecy has protected it from war and hardship for thousands of years.

But war’s looming again, because the Evil Fae King of Hybern has plans to conquer the world and redecorate it with everyone’s entrails. Rhysand and company need to get their hands on a magical book that will vastly diminish the Evil King’s power—and half of that book is in the possession of the six (Fae-hating) human queens. So Rhysand reaches out to the queens, explaining how evil the Evil King is, and begging for the book. The queens dither, and dawdle, and finally say, “Look, as far as we know, you’re super fucking evil. How can we trust you? Prove that you’re not the pinnacle of sadism and cruelty that the entire world believes you to be.”

And the only way for Rhysand to prove that he’s actually a decent guy, and that the Night Court isn’t pure evil, is to show the queens the beauty and peace of perfection of Velaris.

If he chooses to keep Velaris a secret, he’ll protect it from war, but doom the rest of the world; if he reveals Velaris’s existence to the queens, he’ll save the world but risk Velaris’s safety. Being the good guy that he is, he chooses option B.

The human queens listen to Rhysand talk about Velaris, observe the city through a magic ball, nod to each other, then spit in Rhysand’s face and leave. “Thanks for the info, you evil bastard,” they sneer on their way out. “Like we’d ever actually give a monster like you that precious magical book. WE WERE JUST PLAYING ON YOUR HOPES ALL ALONG, SUCKER.”

Oh, but one of the queens does believe Rhysand, and secretly leaves the book tucked under her chair where the other queens couldn’t see, along with a note saying (in short): DON’T TRUST THE OTHER QUEENS, THEY’RE CONNIVING BITCHES WITH PLOTS UP EVERY SLEEVE.

Now, what do you think our merry Night Court band do next? Here’s what I was expecting:

  • Someone says, “Beware the queens? What could they possibly do to us? Humans wouldn’t dare attack Velaris.”
  • Someone replies, “Yeah, it’s not like they’re in league with the Evil King of Hybern, after all, ha ha.”
  • A moment of silence while that sinks in, and everyone reexamines everything the queens have said and done.
  • Someone else says, “Oh, shit. What if the queens are in league with the Evil King of Hybern?”
  • Rhysand immediately devises a Just In Case The Queens Are In League With The Evil King Of Hybern plan to protect Velaris.

What actually happens? This:

  • Someone says, “Hey, we got the book! Awesome!”
  • They take the book to Velaris, and try to decipher it.
  • Rhysand leaves Velaris, taking his immense magical power and elite fighting skills with him—despite the fact that he knows the King of Hybern magically tracks his movements, and will instantly know that Velaris is without its High Lord’s protection.
  • The Evil King of Hybern attacks Velaris while Rhysand is gone.
  • TONS OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION IN BEAUTIFUL VELARIS.

Meanwhile, I was flabbergasted that none of them—Rhysand especially—even considered the possibility that the ancient, super-powerful, super-cunning King of Hybern might’ve conned or lured or threatened the queens (or even just one queen!) onto his side.

Aaargh.

Feyre’s Freedom:
HOW ABOUT THAT MATING BOND

This book focuses heavily on Feyre’s right to freedom (of all kinds), and her struggle to attain it. She frees herself, with difficulty, from an abusive relationship with Tamlin, from the damaging expectations and demands of the people around her, from the downward spiral of her depression and PTSD, as well as the more immediately dangerous traps cast by antagonists and enemies. This book is about freedom in a big way.

So, uh. Why did the book have to throw in her mating bond with Rhysand?

Fae, we’re told, do marry—but the truly lucky ones have soulmates, who are their equal in every way. The mating bond isn’t a choice; it snaps into place of its own accord, and can’t be undone. And it’s not just between people in love, either; Rhysand’s parents had a mating bond, even though they didn’t particularly like each other.

Rhysand and Feyre’s mating bond was established years before Feyre even entered Prythian in the first book. Which, just to be super clear, is years before they even met for the first time.

Did the mating bond prevent Feyre from falling in some kind of love with Tamlin? No. Did Rhysand (who knew about the mating bond) try to prevent Feyre from staying with (and even almost marrying) Tamlin? No. But the bond’s existence ensures that she’s permanently and intimately bound to Rhysand, for eternity. Without her consent or even (at first—for years) her knowledge.

I mean, it’s a relief she and Rhysand fell so deeply in love; her life could’ve royally sucked if they ended up hating each other. And it could still end up sucking, if they have a falling out and decide to separate. Sorry, Feyre; guess you better hope you guys get along for the rest of eternity.

There’s something about this you have a soulmate against your will thing that just makes me look at the book’s whole freedom is of the utmost importance message a little sideways.

Simplistic Characterizations:
TAMLIN VS RHYSAND

Rhysand made a great foil for Tamlin, and really highlighted (for both the reader and Feyre) Tamlin’s flaws and how abusive her relationship with him was. Rhysand is attentive, supportive, level-headed, not domineering, not sexist; Tamlin, meanwhile, is an asshole.

But, frankly, I think the dichotomy went too far; Tamlin had no redeeming qualities, and Rhysand had no flaws. Neither character was as complex as they could’ve been, and I was left disappointed in both.

(The same criticism of Rhysand can be applied to his posse and Velaris. His posse are all wonderful people with too-few [if any? I can’t think of any] flaws, and Velaris is basically heaven: everything and everyone is lovely. I would’ve liked a dash more realism all around.)

(Not to say I don’t love Rhysand, of course. Don’t be silly.)

Tamlin’s Motivations:
I STILL DON’T GET YOU, DUDE

You might recall that I was completely fucking baffled when, in the first book, Tamlin sent Feyre back to the human realm when she was seconds away from breaking his curse and enabling him to destroy Amarantha and free all of Prythian. The only motivation I could come up with for him was “because the plot is more exciting this way,” which is literally the worst motivation a character can have.

Tamlin’s decisions and actions in this book also made no sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s neat that Tamlin is consistent in his behavior in both books: in each, he prioritizes Feyre’s (temporary) safety over the lives and safety of everyone in both Prythian and the mortal lands. “Oh, protecting Feyre means dooming literally everybody else in the world?” Tamlin says. “SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN.” I appreciate that kind of consistency in his character, and that his decision in the second book will have even more awful and widespread repercussions than his similar decision in the first book.

HOWEVER. This consistency will only truly work for me if it’s built on a sturdy foundation of reasonable motivation. And, based on what I’ve seen of Tamlin so far, I do not believe he’d choose to prioritize Feyre’s temporary safety like this—especially because he knows that Feyre’s safety would, indeed, only be temporary. When he sent Feyre back to the human realm in the first book, he knew that Amarantha would soon break down the wall separating the fae lands from the humans, and every human would be doomed. In this book, he signs Feyre up to serve under the Evil King of Hybern during his bloody conquest of Prythian and the world beyond. In neither of these cases is Feyre’s safety guaranteed.

You know what WOULD guarantee her safety? Letting her break his curse and killing Amarantha in the first book; refusing to ally with the Evil King of Hybern in the second book.

Yes, you can argue that he’s obsessed with her, and that watching her endure torture and death at the end of the first book has pushed him over the edge—and I do think that’s a fantastic direction for the series to take his character in. But that still doesn’t (for me) adequately explain his actions in the first book, when he wasn’t obsessed with her.

It just feels that, at this point in the series, Tamlin’s actions are interesting and make for a great story, but are built on a broken, or flawed, or hollow foundation. I’m the type of reader who needs solid foundations/motivations to really believe in the characters’ actions, especially when those actions significantly affect the plot.

All that said, we don’t get to see much of Tamlin in this book, and it’s entirely possible that there just wasn’t time or space to elaborate on his motivations in a natural, realistic way. He’s going to be much more present in the third book; my fingers are crossed that we get to finally uncover his motivations then, and that they make sense.

W-AddtlNotes

Spoiler Rating: All the spoilers

Just out of curiosity, did anyone else feel a deep and growing panic when you learned that Rhysand has to use his magic regularly or else he’ll literally go insane? Because, uh. That seems like super important information to see dropped—especially since Feyre is now High Lady of the Night Court, and can step in to take over Rhysand’s duties if he goes insane (and possibly has to be mercy-killed?) in a later book.

But then, I mistook other things as foreshadowing in this book (I was convinced that Azriel was a traitor, whoops), and was very wrong. Hopefully this wasn’t hinting at things to come either. *Sweats.*

W-InClosing

Even if you didn’t enjoy its prequel, I’d highly recommend you give this book a go. Maas is taking both Feyre’s character and the plot in amazing directions, and (if the steady improvement of her writing is any indication) this series is going to be stellar.

And yes, I have already pre-ordered the third in the series, and I’m counting the days until I’ve got it tight in my greedy hands.

Hugs,

Liam


56 thoughts on “A Court of Mist and Fury

  1. Great review!!! I still haven’t written mine lol 😂 But you definitely summarized my points about the prose. It got annoying after a while. Usually I like to not be thinking of the writing while I’m reading and focus instead on the story, but sometimes I’d just sit there and be like “what?” Also, totally agree about Tamlin’s character! I don’t understand his motivation at all! I never did all throughout ACOMAF and I’m not sure if there is a clear motivation cause it feels more like a convenient plot point to get Feyre to “get to know” Rhysand. Speaking of that, the mating bond????? I don’t like that thing. It undermines everything Feyre is fighting for. There’s a difference between the idea of a soul mate and a mating bond. What do you think about the whole Elaine and Lucien thing? Also, Lucien’s character….is it just me or does he not make much sense either in this book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you!

      Yeah, it took me a while to write mine, too. You can do it! Pom poms.

      “Usually I like to not be thinking of the writing while I’m reading and focus instead on the story, but sometimes I’d just sit there and be like ‘what?'”

      EXACTLY. You said it perfectly. I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this way (but I’m also sorry to hear you felt this way, if that makes sense).

      And oh my goodness, I’m so glad someone else is frustrated by Tamlin’s unclear motivation. I was starting to think I was missing something that everyone else got.

      “There’s a difference between the idea of a soul mate and a mating bond.”

      So true. And wouldn’t it be neat if a book allowed for the possibility of multiple soulmates? So, like, who you end up with might depend on who you meet first–or if your first soulmate dies, you aren’t doomed to an eternity alone, because you might run into one or five or ten more people who can fit that soulmate slot?

      Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of the Elaine/Lucien thing, but I’m curious to see where it goes. That was one of the (several) major eye-rolling moments in the climax for me!

      And heck yes, you’re totally right; Lucien in this book was strikingly different from the Lucien of the first book. Here’s hoping we’re shown why in book three!

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment! It’s such a relief to be able to complain with someone who totally relates. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic review! Well, fantastic spoiler-free review, haha! I did not dare look past it because I haven’t read the first book and I avoid spoilers anyway. I am not sure I want to give Maas a new chance with this series. I think I’ll wait to see if I’m disappointed in the other one. But good points to her for portraying trauma and its recovery in a good way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay, I’m glad the spoiler-free part was coherent! 😁

      Yeah, I don’t blame you for putting this series off for a while. Though I’m willing to bet that, however ToG ends, this series will be a significant improvement–just because her writing really is improving by leaps and bounds. By the time she finishes this series, I fully expect her to be a master storyteller. (At least, I damn well hope so. It’d be a tragedy if her ability plateaus before then; she’s showing a lot of promise!)

      You can rest assured I’ll blaze on with this series and report back to you if it’s worth your time or not. Salutes.

      Like

  3. One, THANK YOU for featuring my post here (I am a woman in love and my beautiful words for Rhysand just reflect my true feelings – and I am a bit cheesy ehem).

    Two, eeeeeexcellent review! stands up clapping I generally agree with every point (even when you point out that Rhys is not that perfect, I forgive you for opening my eyes by the way).

    Three, I’d like to talk about Tamlin. Because I feel like there are way too many posts focusing on what a d**k he was and what an abussive relationship standard he created for Feyre (including my post), but there are not nearly enough posts and reviews saying things like “Hey, wait up, he might have his reasons”. As you say, we barely see him in book #2… But now that I have put a few months between me and my Rhysand-feelings, well, I think we don’t give Tam enough credit. He is not the best character, and I don’t condone his abbusive behaviour, HOWEVER, I think there must be a WHY. I’d be surprised if he is not suffering PTSD, for instance… What I don’t approve of now is the way Maas made him the ultimate villain. And damn if she is not a brilliant author, because she fooled me into automatically hating him.
    Ah, well, I just hope we learn more of him in the next book. Or at least enough to find the reasons behind why he acts the way he does…

    and ACOWAR better have a lot of Rhys time, otherwise the internet is gonna be piiiiiissed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for writing such a brilliant post for me to share! 😁

      Aw, thank you so much!

      I totally agree, it’d be great to see more discussion of Tamlin’s motivations and mental/emotional state. I do think you’re onto something with his potential PTSD; the way he curls up at the foot of Feyre’s bed in his beast-form at night, and is plagued by nightmares seems to be a good indication of that. It’ll be neat to see how that’s developed further in the next book!

      But yeah, him being the ultimate villain feels like a bit of a let-down.

      Oh man, I can’t even imagine the fury that’d erupt if Rhys is largely absent from ACOWAR. Hopefully Maas only puts him in as much as the story requires, though; I’d rather hear the howls of wrathful Rhys-deprived fans than see Rhys shoved into the story at weird times just to placate those fans.

      Can’t wait to hear what you think of ACOWAR! =D

      Liked by 1 person

  4. THIS BOOK IS GOOD? I’ve had this series on my TBR for the longest time but after loosing interest in Throne of Glass, I kept thinking about whether to give this one a chance or not and then decided on NOT hahaha. But now that I’ve read your review I might reconsider because I trust your opinion and know how hard you call out BS. So, I’m settlin on MAYBE now.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a freakin awesome review, and you have highlighted so many of the awesome things and not-so-awesome things that really stood out in both books. I don’t know many people who are massive fans of ACOTAR…I kind of just took it for what it was, but felt a bit meh. If someone asked me what the book was about, I really can only remember the last part where Feyre is under the mountain.

    I LOVED ACOMAF however I did feel that the perfect characters were too perfect, and the flawed characters were too flawed. Like, all of a sudden Rhysand could do no wrong whatsoever…and neither could Feyre for that matter. It would have been good if there was something that made them a bit more realistic.

    I CAN’T WAIT until ACOWAR comes out…so excited!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you! 😊

      Not gonna lie: I think you and I were destined to fangirl/complain together. Do you plan to read ACOWAR (which for some reason I just called “A Court of the War of the Roses” as I was typing the initialism out, what the hell) as soon as it’s published, or will you wait a bit for the fans’ squealing to die down? Because I need your review of it in my life right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yes I think we were too. When I was reading your review, it was like everything I was thinking in my own head lol. Welll…you know what, I will probably go out and buy it straight away. I don’t want people spoiling it for me, and I will get waaaay too impatient. I can’t wait to see your review of ACOWAR either (lol love the war of the roses!)!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This book was just amazing, but I definitely admit that many of the flaws you brought up were rather accurate. I’ve always been a huge fan of Rhysand ever since he appeared in ACOTAR, so you bet I was delighted when he and Feyre ended up being soul mates in this one. I have this horrible feeling that Tamlin will get a chance to redeem himself in the upcoming novels, which I personally don’t want happening, EVER, because Feysand is truly my ultimate OTP. I just loved the Night Court in general. Velaris was so beautiful, and all of Rhyand’s Inner Circle was lovable and highly entertaining.
    Can’t wait for A Court of Wing and Ruin! I have no idea how I’m going to wait until May 2017, though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, it’d be interesting if Tamlin did get a chance to redeem himself–but yeah, I think it’d be unrealistic and awful if, in so doing, he “wins” Feyre back. Surely Maas wouldn’t have Feyre go back to the guy who was never a healthy fit for her in the first place? (Unless, oh god, Rhys dies, and Feyre and Tamlin go through a bunch of stuff together after he redeems himself, and they do work out a healthy relationship despite their history. I DO NOT WANT THIS. Maybe in a different book with different characters, but not here where it’d hurt beloved Rhys.)

      Reading about Velaris and the Inner Circle was so cozy and happy and warm-feeling. It’ll be interesting to see how Feyre reacts to being back in the Spring Court, away from the home she’s made for herself in lovely Velaris!

      The wait is going to be killer, that’s for sure. Think you’ll grab and review ACOWAR as soon as it’s available, or do you tend to wait a few weeks or months to see how a new book gets rated?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my gosh, I would be devastated if Sarah J. Maas decided to kill Rhys… I don’t know how I’d recover from that, it’s truly a frightening thought.
        Ahh I usually do wait to see how a new book is rated before picking it up, but not if it’s part of a series or from an author I know I’ll love. I plan on getting ACOWAR the day it’s released – there’s no way I could wait any longer! How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I’m going to just pretend it never occurred to me. The horror is real.

        That’s a great plan! I pre-ordered mine on Amazon, because it was a great deal ($8), but I don’t know if that means it’ll ship the day it’s released. Looks like you’ll be getting your copy first; be sure to let me know when you get it, so I can be appropriately jealous until my copy arrives!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. How amazing is it that you enjoy this but trashed the other series? I’ve figured out the answer to all of the books (that I know of) in which you enjoy: THERE IS MORE SEXY TIMES. Also, biscotti AND tea? If that ain’t Liam, I don’t even know what is.

    Can’t say I’ll ever read this (notwithstanding it’s brick-like status) that I’d rather go read other fantastical worlds instead. But I also fear that there is a possibility so I’ve refrained from reading about the unicorn’s fur-hair that is your actual spoiler critique. But this is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey now, I’ll stand by my claim that my appreciation of this book after my horrified amazement of Throne of Glass is just a testament to Maas’s ever-improving writing abilities. If her books have been getting sexier as time goes by, that’s totally a coincidence, I swear. 😄

      Life isn’t worth living without biscotti and tea. And this enormous mug of coffee that’s mostly sugar and cream that you can’t see but is approximately half the size of my face. I know how to live.

      There are definitely better-crafted and better-written fantasies out there that you’d enjoy a lot more, but I approve your caution with my spoilers just in case. 😄

      Like

  8. When I read this book, I loved it so hard (I mean just compare this beautiful thing to ACOTAR, this book hit the railings and further) I think I didn’t take into account all of its flaws but this review hits it on so perfectly, I love it! This review is just so accurate and so hilarious to read ALL THE THUMBS UP I can’t wait for the release of ACOWAR (WHICH MAY I PLEASE SCREAM BECAUSE I AM SO AFRAID OF THE LAST INITIALS SPELLING OUT WAR) and I can’t wait to read all your feels on it! Hopefully the book will be just as amazing or even more! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaaah, thank you so much! I’m blushing so hard, I can’t even tell you.😊

      It’s so easy to not register or care about flaws when a book really grabs you by the feels, like this one does. Which is a sign of a great book, if you ask me!

      Ahaha, since you pointed it out, I’ve been mentally reading ACOWAR as “A Court of WAAAAR” (https://youtu.be/_WefwhnZB10?t=8m55s).

      Honestly, though, I’m looking forward to all hell breaking loose whenever the war starts. ACOMAF was a great Feyre-focused book, but I want to see the focus shift outward, and those world-wide stakes actually realized. It’s gonna be awesome. 😄

      (But wait, my heart’s not ready for anyone to die, I take it back, no war.)

      How quickly will you be writing your review on ACOWAAAR? Please don’t take terribly long, I need your thoughts on it asap.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. AWWW you’re welcome! Haha it definitely is! Reading this review I was nodding yes to so much critiquing but the book had me so head over heels and I loved it and I couldn’t see it! AHAHAHA (WARRR).

        Its going to keep me at the edge of my seat begging for more and I’m so excited! I agree, seeing how the rest of the world is going to take the toll is going to be so amazing but YESSS, if anyone dies then hell will break loose HERE, I don’t know what I’m going to do (but no one is safe)! 😛

        Once I read the ACOWAAAR, some evil supernatural monsters are going to have to fight me to keep me from typing up my review as fast as possible and getting it out to talk/fangirl/cry/scream with people! I will be crazily eyeing all the posts for your ACOWAAAR review because I NEED THAT SINCE THREE YEARS AGO and I can’t wait to discuss it all with you!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t read any books by this extremely popular author, but your spoiler-free review was fantastic. Definitely insightful and brilliantly explained. Love the praise you’re giving for this book. 😀

    Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lashaan! That really means a lot. 😊

      Do you think you’ll try Maas’s books anytime soon, or is your TBR already overloaded? (Or are you waiting to see if she can conclude a series to her fans’ satisfaction? That’s totally reasonable, too.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t really thought of reading any of her books for now, especially cause the books I want to read have a much more priority for me. But hey, maybe I’ll end up trying out this series some day. 😛

        Lashaan

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Great review!! I haven’t read this book, or any of Sarah J. Maas’s other books, but they’ve been on my TBR. What you had to say about her writing style being a bit too flowery or filled with unnecessary description is something I’ve often seen in other reviews of her books, and I think that’s why I’ve been putting her off. I’m all for artsy prose, but if it doesn’t feel necessary or gets too out of hand I start to feel like its wasting my time. But! Obviously you really did enjoy this book, so I look forward to giving Mass’s books a try soon.

    I also really like what you had to say about your rating- I find that sometimes as I’m writing a review for a book I discover I actually had more problems with it than I originally thought, or I may realize I appreciate it more than I did the moment I finished it, once I’ve had some time to reflect. Ratings can be so tricky! Most of the time I go with my gut- even if a book isn’t perfect, if it seems to really give me that special overwhelming 5 star feeling, I have to go with it. Or alternatively, there are books I’ve given 4 stars that I love more than many 5 star books, but had to rate them down because of certain technicalities I couldn’t ignore. But it’s fun to pick books apart, and it’s so interesting how a rating for a book can change with a reread!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to find a YA TBR shelf without Maas’s name on it somewhere!

      I don’t blame you for putting off her books, though. I deeply did NOT enjoy Throne of Glass, and I’m glad I waited until ACOTAR to really give her a shot. Her writing style (including the ridiculous purpleness) is improving, though. I struggled a great deal less with this book than I did with Throne of Glass, thank god.

      “Ratings can be so tricky!”

      HECK YES. It’s such a relief to hear you describe your struggle, because the struggle is real (and not mentioned nearly often enough). Hopefully you don’t have this problem too often, though.

      And three cheers for the joy of picking books apart! You’re a reviewer after my own heart. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s so interesting how opinions on these books vary! It’s kind of making me want to read one of her books more now, so I can finally weigh in. We’ll see…
        Usually I don’t have too much trouble rating books, but there are always those those few troublesome ones that really make me think. Which of course is part of the fun, as you said. I usually enjoy writing reviews for books that give me more to critique, anyway. I mean, I will never complain about reading a 5 star book, but sometimes when I sit down to write the review I feel as if I’m just writing “IT WAS GREAT!” over and over again, hah. I hope you don’t have too many rating struggles either!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, it can be hard to resist picking up books with widely varying ratings. It’s almost like, I don’t know, getting a chance at wearing the Sorting Hat: “Which group will I be sorted into, I MUST KNOW.”

        Ha! You said it perfectly: it’s more engaging and enjoyable to write books you can actually discuss in-depth. I love finding people who feel the same way. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  11. hahaha ok- I get the message!! I will read this book!! I loved how balanced your review is- I had a lot of problems with the first one- but in general I’ve heard this is an improvement! I can see a lot of the issues you had with world-building, pacing and the prose are very typical of Maas- but all things I can live with if the book comes together in the end- and it sounds like it does! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, if you read this book and hate it, I might have to retire from the Internet in shame.

      The climax is admittedly a bit of a mess, but the state of the story at the end (and the lead-in to the third book) is fantastic. Maybe you’re better off waiting until closer to May before picking this book up, though, so you can have ACOWAR on-hand afterward?

      Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I briefly glanced through the spoiler free section because I like going into sequels not knowing much, but seeing that you enjoyed this definitely gives me a lot more hope for this book. I was NOT a fan of the first one at all so I’ve been putting this off forever. I’ll definitely have to try and get to it next year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad I’ve started doing the spoiler-free section, let me tell you, even if people are still inclined to skim them. Thank you for taking the time to do that! It means a lot. ❤

      Yeah, ACOTAR has serious, head-bashing-into-walls flaws, and I wasn’t expecting ACOMAF to be such an improvement. (Still very flawed, but not so terribly.) I 100% agree with your unpopular opinion of ACOTAR!

      But I hope you do give this one a try–though I wouldn’t blame you for waiting until after reviews of ACOWAR start rolling in. This book is a cinder block, and if the writing/plotting/characters take a nosedive in book three, I’d hate to have had a part in convincing you to waste your time on the series.

      If necessary, I’m willing to nobly sacrifice myself and my time, reading ahead of you, vaguely and nonspoilerishly warning of the dangers to come. 😉

      Like

  13. First of all, I don’t know why I never stumbled across your blog before because your review is FANTASTIC! I laughed so hard, so you probably my new favorite reviewer 😛 Secondly, I did enjoy ACOMAF, despite all its flaws that you listed above and some other things I have on my mind haha I agree that Maas handled Feyre’s character development really, really well in here. Everything developed in a perfect pace and I adore it. However, I didn’t get some of the others’ character development. Just like you said, it’s weird that Rhysand turned out to be a total saint just to make Tamlin look like the real bad guy. I disagree, because despite all his over protectiveness and everything, Tamlin has his own great quality, so it’s a bit sad to see everything so black and white </3 and I agree that sometimes the prose gets too flowery and romantic, but I was fine with the world building 🙂

    However, I was a bit confused with the plot. Yes, we were so focused on Feyre’s emotional state but there’s so many other things going on as well and it kind of… wandered. I had a conversation on twitter with some other bloggers about it and we thought this series kinda took a strange turn, considering the first book only focused on the romance. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like it because I do 😛 and I agree, some things felt rushed!

    I’m sorry I rambled but I think you won’t mind hahaha I’m also really looking forward for the third book! But ohhh I don’t really like the title 😂😂😂

    Like

  14. It’s funny, we have the opposite situation with two Maas series 🙂 – you mentioned you are reluctant to continue the ToG series, and I’m reluctant to continue this one! I read your spoiler-free review since I might (small might!) continue this series at some point. I wasn’t thrilled by the first book so hadn’t been planning to, but I see you also weren’t entirely convinced by it and enjoyed this one so perhaps I should reconsider…

    The trouble is this: “Several very intelligent characters become conveniently dumb at a crucial point in the plot, while I was literally (not literally) shouting at them to use their brains holy crap can’t they see what’s about to happen?” is one of my pet hates in books so I don’t know if I could look past it… It happened at a few crucial points in the first book and that was the main reason for my dislike, even though I started out loving the story and the main character. But I see there are also plenty of great things about it too (and I did find ToG got better and better) so maybe I should give it a go… one day…

    I guess you know the feeling if you have the same thing with Throne of Glass!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Put us together, and we might make one very enthusiastic Maas fan (or critic, depending)!

      I was admittedly infuriated by how nonsensical the second half of ACOTAR seemed to be; I rated it too generously, giving it 3.5 stars. Oh, well.

      Frankly, the two things most likely to lead to my death are (a) faulty or absent character motivations and (b) characters behaving in ridiculous ways just for the sake of plot. Those were the reasons I raged against ACOTAR, too. High fives. Fortunately, ACOMAF has less of that going on—but it’s still there, and it still pissed me off.

      So, yeah. I would wholly support your decision not to continue this series, even though such a great portrayal of trauma is remarkable and rare in YA.

      And here’s hoping Maas’s plotting/writing ability continues to improve, so those dumb plot moments disappear entirely from her books! God, that’d be great. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yes, high fives on the faulty character motivations and ridiculous behaviour for the sake of plot! Your review perfectly expressed that feeling I have of wanting to yell at characters to use their brains.

        I’m encouraged to know ACOMAF has less of that though – perhaps like you said things will improve and maybe by the third book there will be none (fingers crossed!). I feel like there are less of those moments in ToG, but perhaps I am blinded by all the other things I like about that series. And if that’s true, perhaps there’s hope for me with ACOMAF if I find enough other things to like about it too. So maybe once I’ve finished the ToG series I’ll give this one another try.

        And if the two series do end up free of annoying plot moments, who knows, maybe we’ll both end up being ‘complete’ enthusiastic Maas fans after all 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  15. wow – thats a very in depth review 🙂 But I’m glad you enjoyed it. This book really captivated me and I loved all the twists and turns… and the romance of course. However I agree that I was a little lost in the beginning, it took me serval chapters to remember who was who, what happened and yeah…. Freyre was quite depressing, but of course everything clicked into place and once Rhys appeared, everything picked up pretty quick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, thank you! 🙂

      There’s so much to love about this book, that’s for sure. I’m glad you loved it, too!

      Oh, whew, it’s a relief to know I’m not the only one who didn’t connect with the story right away. You’re right, Rhys’s appearance brightened things up considerably. Here’s hoping he’s not entirely absent from book three!

      Like

  16. applause that was a beautiful review! I definitely agree with the points of criticism you made bUT I mean…I LOVED THE BOOK ENTIERLY. I’m also very glad to not be the only one who didn’t enjoy ACOTAR as much everyone else…

    Feyre’s character arc was great to read, but she still really irks me 😅? It’s extremely easy for me to fall in love with the main character but now I’m just here for more Rhys and his inner circle (no shame)! Hopefully, we get some explanations in ACOWAR–especially since SJM said: ‘everyone gets a chance at redemption.’ I still don’t know how Tamlin will come back from that but as long as he’s not with Feyre, I’m fine. He had to have SOME OTHER ulterior motive besides Feyre…

    Like

  17. WOW!! I actually expected you to get much snarkier towards this one! But hey, no matter, I’m happy for ya!
    Actually though..I really despised this book. Like, my despisedness grows each day. I found Feyre to be an idiot, Rhysand to be disgusting(but at least he’s better than Tamlin ugh), and the plot to be, wellllll, nonexistent. I felt like SJM centered the entire story around Feyre+Rhysand romance, all of which was boring and bile-inducing to me (whoops).
    BUT I AM HAPPY YOU LIKE IT!! You’re review is a critically clear delight ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? I was expecting to be snarkier, too! There are so many, many things to complain about in this book, but I’m just so blown away by the trauma/recovery aspect that I couldn’t lower my star rating much.

      I fully agree that Feyre can be/is very dumb, and that there’s pretty much zero plot. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m even going to like this book whenever I reread it; I might be joining you in the Not A Fan club.

      But oooh, I’d love to hear more about why you found Rhysand disgusting! If you have the time to go into it; I know you’re a busy lady.

      I take it you probably won’t be continuing with the series? Or will you be masochistic enough to continue on with it, despite hating ACOMAF?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fret not! I always have time to screech about Rhysand!
        My feelings about him in the first book are expertly summed up here: https://www.mostlyyalit.com/2015/07/a-court-of-thorns-and-roses-sj-maas.html
        Then, in the second book, his actions in the first book are in no way explained or redeemed. There’s no character development or arc, he goes from sexually violent villain to the Holy Lord of Feyre’s Freedom and Sexy Times. He’s basically perfect now. I don’t think so?? I don’t like being manipulated like that?? I don’t get why Feyre has to fall in love with him just because better than Tamlin. Is Feyre that pathetic? I mean, probably. But why?
        I will read ACOWAR if I’m in a truly horrid mood and it needs to be channeled. So there’s 99% I’ll be reading ACOWAR. sighwhyamilikethis

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ooh, I haven’t read that review before. She makes a compelling argument!

        I’ll admit that when I read ACOTAR, I thought it was very clear that Rhysand was pretending to be evil because Amarantha would kill him and his people if he wasn’t her compliant little plaything–and that he treated Feyre in the awful (but not too awful) way he did in order to maintain his evil mask while still helping her. I didn’t find this at all romantic, nor did I think the book wanted me to find it romantic; I thought it was a pretty powerful and intriguing portrayal of a (at least somewhat) decent person having to masquerade as a monster for the benefit of the people he wants to protect. That’s why he was my favorite character of that book: because he was fascinatingly complex, not because he was ~romantic~ (which he wasn’t, at all).

        I’ll have to pay specific attention when I reread ACOMAF, because I thought this was all explicitly explained. Maybe I was just so certain of my own reading of ACOTAR that I imagined it was explained in ACOMAF? It’s totally possible; I’ve done it before. 😅

        But yeah, his perfection in ACOMAF is aggravating to say the least. Come on, dude, BE FLAWED.

        And I agree, why does Feyre have to fall in love with the next guy who looks at her twice? Can we please have a heroine who doesn’t tumble from one guy’s embrace immediately into the next? Being single and ready to mingle isn’t a terrible fate, book, come on.

        Ha! I’ll be eagerly awaiting your ACOWAR rant! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hmmm that makes sense…maybe that was cleared up in ACOMAF? I actually don’t remember; you could be 100% right about that. But even then, doing disgusting deeds for the greater good is still doing disgusting deeds. You’re right—Rhysand brings up some complex ideas to be debated. That’s certainly a bonus!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s totally true, disgusting deeds can’t and shouldn’t be just be handwaved out of existence. Even—or especially—when the perpetrator turns out to be a decent guy whom the heroine falls in love with. Oh, well.

        Like

  18. How emotional abuse and trauma is tackled in this book is definitely one of its strengths. I am also wary of soul bonds as a trope. I have some thoughts in an old review about other aspects if you’re curious but great review.

    Liked by 1 person

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