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REVIEW: a court of mist and fury

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
REVIEW + DISCUSSION: a court of mist and fury, by sarah j maasA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dating & Sex, Depression & Mental Illness, Epic, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, High fantasy, Love & Romance, New Adult, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 624
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

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.

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY

sarah j maas has proved that this is more than “just another great fantasy series.”

the ending of ACOTAR was very conclusive, so if i hadn’t had a copy of this book after finishing the first, i don’t think i would’ve picked it up. which is to say, i’m REALLY grateful for the timing i’d decided to read this series. everyone was hyping it and my expectations were already over the moon, but somehow, sarah j maas still managed to surpass them. if you thought ACOTAR was good, ACOMAF is on a whole new level.

i don’t think i’ll be able to stop saying this, but WOW this book is phenomenal. it’s kind of amazing to see how much maas has grown as an author because the plot and writing flowed SO well thought out. there were parts of TOG series where it felt as if things were decided on a whim, but it’s clear that this series is not the case. the characters go through an extensive amount of development; the plot unfolds and we go beyond the “happily ever after”; the themes are stronger than ever, and the writing itself improves so much. everything kinda clicks into place, but since it’s only the second book, i know there’ll be more connections in the finale.

“To the stars who listen – and the dreams that are answered.” (pg. 337)

i would highly HIGHLY recommend reading this series for anyone who’s a fan of high fantasy. the first book was kinda an intro to the story and situations, but ACOMAF is when things really start to happen. although if you’re uncomfortable with really intimate and sexual scenes, i’d maybe pass. (that’s my only so-called complaint? sometimes i’ll be like “okay okay skim”) but yes, absolutely phenomenal and i can’t stop talking about it. go read it if you haven’t already!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.9

spoiler filled discussion beginning! please do not continue reading unless you’ve finished ACOTAR and ACOMAF. consider yourself warned. but seriously, DO NOT read this unless you’ve finished the book.


the themes and messages are so powerful

my favorite aspect of this book is the quiet contemporary issues that are so powerful. this is obviously a high fantasy novel, but feyre is dealing with depression, PTSD, and an abusive relationship. she is so physically strong, but she is not by any means the Typical Strong YA Heroine™ and the other characters aren’t predictable and “average” either.

mental illnesses

feyre’s internal struggles are so raw. in the first half of this novel, it’s so evident that she’s suffering with depression. it actually started at the end of ACOTAR, but i didn’t realize until i went to reread parts and we actually see feyre dying. while you can say it is from her physical injuries, i’m sure the emotional distress is much more powerful. and in situations like this do we really see how some characters truly are (look @ u, tamlin. but more on that later.) feyre is emotionally wrecked at the beginning of this book.

“I want them to hear your story. And know there is a special strength… A special strength in enduring such dark trials and hardships… And still remain warm, and kind. Still willing to trust – and reach out.” (pg. 239)

sarah j maas showed how unlikely and costly mental illnesses can be through a FANTASY NOVEL. i can’t stress how amazing it is because this topic is so important and often overlooked in genres that aren’t labeled with “depression.” it completely reshapes the characters, story, and relationships in the book and isn’t shown as a “side effect” for what happened under the mountain. however, it’s not really about how tragic things are; it’s about overcoming the obstacles and becoming stronger. it’s about admitting what’s bothering you, accepting help when you need it, showing yourself that you deserve better, and letting go of things that are holding you back.

abusive relationships

initially, i didn’t realized feyre’s relationship with tamlin was abusive. we (meaning me) often have a set mindset that a relationship is only abusive if the person is literally physically hurting one another. if sarah j maas didn’t so obviously point out the wrongs between feyre and tamlin, i probably wouldn’t have caught it.

i think feyre felt the way tamlin treated her was more than what she ever asked for and/or deserved. it’s obvious in ACOTAR that she has some issues with self-love, so i can see that she’d fall for the first person who treats her nicely (especially when she expects him to be this horrid beast) (stockholm syndrome?!). it was only after tamlin repeatedly ignored her pleas, following what he thought would be best for her, and literally LOCKED HER UP did she finally snap. but if she hadn’t experienced the bit of freedom in the night court (which i know technically was a prison for her), i’m unsure if she would’ve noticed the wrong signs.

“And I realized — I realized how badly I’d been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom I’d been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.”

but even after all that, feyre was still convinced she loved tamlin. half of herself was saying NO NO NO to him (ex. the almost wedding scene, whenever he disregarded her, that moment in ACOTAR when he literally bit her neck because she didn’t follow his orders) but the other half was still not over it. (maybe because she STILL thought it was more that what she could ever ask for?) she was in an abusive relationship without realizing it and i think this speaks so strongly in YA because, again, it’s not something you see often. it’s really eye-opening and i love how sarah j maas executed the whole ordeal. another point that was very important: your first love may not be your true love.

some can say rhysand was abusive towards feyre in ACOTAR, but he’s meant to be playing the villainous role. he is the bad guy and there’s no denying it. their initial relationship isn’t meant to be romantic or friendly or good. but even when he was the “bad guy,” rhysand forced things on feyre but still gave her space. tamlin played the heroic role and believed he was doing good when he clearly wasn’t. in doing that, i think his actions were much worse.

side note: this tumblr user wrote a great discussion on pregnancy and the females’ choice and i would definitely recommend reading that. it also follows the whole abusive/toxic relationship ordeal.

these relationships and characters give me a lot of feelings.

while we’re on the topic of abusive relationships, let me just continue by ranting about tamlin and his overall character. i’ve heard some people complaining about how “sarah j maas destroyed tamlin’s character!!!!!” and that “she pulled a 180 on him just so her ships would work out!!!!” but i disagree because, if you read carefully, there are so many clues and hints left in the first book if you pay close attention. (and speaking of foreshadowing, this tumblr user pointed out how well placed this paragraph is. ANYWAY.) i mentioned the biting scene from ACOTAR earlier, but there are also parts where he repeatedly ignores her and traps her up. i think at the time i found it normal because we’re expecting him to be her captor but as a romantic interest???? that’s not okay. while yes, he gives her materialistic needs, feyre isn’t a trophy wife. and let’s not forget that in ACOTAR the one chance he could see feyre, he decided to strip off half her clothes instead of help saving her from death. i could go on about his character for HOURS but i think this tumblr post does a good job elaborating some more. (as you can tell, i clearly stalked the #acomaf tag for a bit; people have fantastic analyses) this twitter thread is also relevant:

now i’m going to straight up compare rhysand’s relationship with feyre because THAT’S THE WAY TO GO. rhysand and feyre’s dynamic was much more natural because the whole “falling for each other” was much longer than the “oh wait, i actually love you” part. and i think that’s really important because before they were even reaaaaaally attracted to each other, they were friends. they acknowledge each other as people who will always have each other’s back no matter the sexual relationship. feyre clearly says that rhysand is her friend and i think that makes their relationship so much stronger than just “love.” if you think about it, feyre loved tamlin, but was she ever friends with him?

the most prominent aspect of their relationship is how it’s a mutual understanding. feyre is rhysand’s EQUAL in every way. he respects her choices; he doesn’t underestimate her ability***; he’s always challenging her and hoping she’ll get better. and that’s something that simply DID NOT EXIST with tamlin. (i don’t want to compare the two but I CAN’T HELP MYSELF) and it’s all complete when we read the last chapter that announces feyre as high lady of the night court, which is something that has never been done before in this world because GENDER ROLES. (i am cackling at tamlin who was all “there’s no such thing as a high lady psh) (this awesome tumblr post also explains the equality of feyrhys’ relationship!!)

***”Amren,” Rhysand drawled, “sends her regards. And as for this one…” I tried not to flinch away from his meeting stare. “She’s mine,” he said quietly … “And if you lay a hand on her, you lose that hand. And then you lose your head.” … “And once Feyre is done killing you,” Rhys smirked, “then I’ll grind your bones to dust.” (pg. 444)

notice how rhysand says, “…once FEYRE IS DONE KILLING YOU.”

more things about feyrhys that i’m going to point out:

  • he gives her space!!!!!
  • he’s not a possessive beast
  • he cares more about HER happiness than what HE THINKS would be her happiness
  • he respects her choices even if he disagrees with them
  • they are the reason why i will probably never be in a relationship because of overly high expectations sigh

but i’m going to openly admit that i wasn’t always “team rhysand.” i was always a little wary of him and i’m glad of it because it just distinguishes the theme of not everyone is who they seem to be & everyone has a backstory. it’s ironic because i just realized that rhysand is “the beast” in this BEAUTY AND THE BEAST retelling; he even mentions how he knows how the stories will be told (girl is “kidnapped” by dark high lord from the perfect fiancé) (i cry at this). but he is actually such a perfectly complex character with a blend of secrets, sass, darkness, insecurities, dreams, and ALL THE GOOD THINGS. i love this character way too much ;—;

some little things i’m really happy we learned about in regards to rhysand:

  • rhysand was the one who send the music to her cave in ACOTAR (i had a theory, but it’s so nice to have this confirmed)
  • he dreamed about her before they even met (this whole explanation makes his thoughts and actions much more sense!)
  • along those same lines, his first words towards her – “there you are. i’ve been looking for you.” – is actually something true.
  • he said in ACOTAR after amarantha’s second task that he would make her read when feyre visited the night court and he literally made her read when she first arrived in the night court

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY

another thing i LOVE in relation to rhysand is the way his true court functions. the inner circle is literally the DREAM team. i love how both his second and third are females, but the group of them are all relatively equal. they are each so individually particular but also fit together so well. they have this perfect understanding and bond of protection for each other that i one day hope to experience in my own life. although they each seem tough and hard on the outside, i don’t have an ounce of doubt for the strength in their friendship. no back stabbing, no bull sh!t. literally SQUAD GOALS.

my favorite of ~the squad~ is probably mor/morrigan. i admire the way she keeps going despite all that has happened in the past. the way she connects with feyre, encouraging her from the beginning to keep her head up, is so admirable. she’s been through SO MUCH and she doesn’t let it destroy her, instead using it as an opportunity to make herself stronger. *sings what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger*

“You do what you love, what you need.” (pg. 178)

okay, i must rant about the whole LUCIEN IS ELAIN’S MATE thing. i found this aspect to be so unrealistic and random because:

  • WHAT ARE THE CHANCES??????
  • is it normal for one’s mate to be human??
  • then is it normal for humans to turn immortal and go frolicking around??
  • is there something special about feyre’s family??? because i’m pretty sure nesta’s mate is cassian let’s be real (and if not, there’s SOMETHING going on) (not that i mind)
  • and it’s such a fantastic coincidence that these are all the high fae/high lords in relation to feyre
  • again, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES????

but anyway, i’m curious to see how that plays out in the next book because it’s implied that lucien knows about feyre’s act. i absolutely LOVE the way sarah decided to end the book because she could’ve easily left it with a cliffhanger of feyre being separated but SHE DIDN’T. now we know feyre is high lady and she’s still rhysand’s mate and they are likely to SLAY in the next novel. i’m happy to be excited for ACOTAR3 instead of “I NEED THIS BECAUSE WHAT JUST HAPPENED.” i feel confident that that it will be fantastic and i can happily await its release.

what are your thoughts on ACOMAF? any favorite moments or things you wanted to discuss? let me know in the comments!

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a nineteen-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.

  • Bibliothèque

    This is an excellent review and discussion! I loved every point you made and I agree on pretty much everything. In particular on how dreamy and out if this world Rhysand is, and I say that being a former Tamlin’s supporter… but ah! how ACOMAF changed that it’s crystal clear. What you said about this something special Feyre’s and her sisters have, well, you are spot on: what are the chances INDEED. Still, I just hope we see all those ships sailing in the next installment, and despite having abandoned Tam’s team (and now being completely in love with Rhysand) I just hope Tamlin sees some redemption in the next one.

  • I also feel like the Elain being Lucien’s mate thing was super random… Plus didn’t Lucien already have a mate??? I don’t really know but the whole “mate” thing is my one main problem with the series. It’s not -fully- explained and just seems super weird to me.

  • Julia E.

    This book hit me so hard. I loved it. I was blown away by it. I might die waiting for the next book.

    What amazed me the most was how Maas developed Rhysand. He’s fierce, strong, protective, sexy and a little bit of a dick … but somehow he’s also this amazing, empowering feminist? Mm.

  • I’m so agree on all of this, especially on the Tamlin things! And yes Rhys! I’ a huge feylin shipper at ACOTAR but there’s always this tiny piece that ship feyrhys, and I’m glad it’s right. I’ve always suspected there’s something more in Rhys than what he showed in book one. Also the whole Lucien and Elain being mate is confusing (I’m more into Cassian/Nesta), but since it’s Sarah J Maas we’re talking about, there’s no such thing as random 😀

  • Courtney

    Yes! It was absolutely a Beauty and the Beast retelling on top of another Beauty and the Beast retelling! Rhysand was the “Beast” all along! I tip my hat to Ms. Maas. Sneaky sneaky!

    • Kilo

      No Maas said the second book was a retelling of Hades and Persephone. So Tamlin was definitely the beast.

    • Olivia

      ACOTAR is actually pretty similar to a Scottish story about Tam Lin who is cursed by faeries and is saved by his true love. There is a pretty good YA book called An Earthly Knight this is about Tam Lin but its more historical fiction/fantasy its good though!

  • Michely

    I think that Elain mating with Lucien was random, but it could work out to Feyre’s advantage, because Lucien will want Elain to be safe so he will ally with Feyre’s behind Tamlin’s back. And I read somewhere, that Feyre and her sisters might be somehow related to Myriam (i think that’s her name) and it kinda would make sense. In ACOTAR Amarantha said that Feyre was an ancient fae word, so it may be possible!

  • Andie G.

    Great review! I loved ACOMAF even though at first (after I read book 1) I wasn’t Team Rhysand either. But I ended up loving him in ACOMAF and this book was just perfection for me. Gave it 5 stars! Glad you loved it as well.

    Andie

    http://www.andiereads.wordpress.com

  • KHAIRUNNISA PUTRI

    I really really love ACOMAF! But I don’t think I have more thoughts to share since you clearly have written all the reasons why I love this book in a more detailed way than I could ever think 😛 This is such a gorgeous and completely spot-on review!! Thank you very much for sharing ur thoughts 😀 Also, I can’t wait for the third book I think it’s gonna be mind blowing and spectacular!

    http://pupuutc.wordpress.com

  • Shaunna McLaren

    This post is WONDERFUL. I really don’t have anything to add, since you’ve basically summed up all of my feelings on this book, so I’m just going to say YES. YES TO ALL OF THE ABOVE.

    I knew I would love ACOMAF, but I didn’t expect to fall head over heels for it. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished the last page. May 2017 needs to get here RIGHT AWAY.

  • “they are the reason why i will probably never be in a relationship because of overly high expectations sigh” I laughed because same. Haha! I love this post and so true, Elain being Lucien’s mate was kind of random. I even had to read that part again because I wasn’t sure I read it correctly the first time.
    Sarah J. Maas really did end the book well, and I feel like there’s so many things to look forward to in the next book!
    Great review! <3

  • sminu paul

    I really loved reading COURT OF MIST AND FURY. I loved rhys from the first book itself , i had this inner feeling that he was doing all that for some reason. i didn’t even like tamlin in the first book. Feyre and tamlin was so different. I wouldn’t accept their love.New characters are so interesting and fun. I hate the changes in lucien’s character. He was her good friend and it changed all of a sudden.
    I really wish next book to release soon…

  • novelcravings

    I love that you pointed out Rhysand is the beast in ACOTAR not Tamlin, I thought I was the only one that felt that way. I thought it was Tamlin of course until the end of ACOTAR when I was reflecting and trying to figure out who was who. Feyres father and Belles were both feeble though in different ways. I felt like Alis could be Mrs Potts, her sisters reminded me of the three blondes (yes the number is off) and I could picture Lucien as Lumiere. I knew Maas may never have meant it this way but it was fun to think about. Then I asked myself, who’s Gaston then? IMMEDIATELY Tamlin popped into my head and it felt like it fit. Everyone thought Gaston was great, just like Tamlin, and they both turn out to be kind of awful and both of them want to kill the Beast in the end. All just thoughts and wonderings but thats how I decided Rhysand must be the real Beast. I love that connections that Maas made in ACOMAF, those little delcious ah-ha! moments are what I read for. All of my favourite books have them. That and sassy characters who frequently engage in witty banter LOL