Book Review: 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 torn apart.
I needed some time to write this review because if I had rolled out and wrote a review right after finishing up, my whole review simply would have been: I FREAKING LOVE RHYS! And then I would have slapped five stars on it and called it a day. But now I’ve cooled down and I am ready to write this thing.
Following the events of A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre and Tamlin find themselves back in the Spring Court, attempting to move on with their lives. While planning to solidify their happily ever after, it soon becomes clear that the two lovers are deeply suffering from the horrors inflicted upon them by Amarantha and her court Under the Mountain. In A Court of Mist and Fury, Feyre tries to piece herself back together and forge her own path as she struggles to deal with the consequences of the decisions she made to save Tamlin and his people.
While I’m tempted to just say “Hot damn, I loved this book” and leave it at that, I will attempt to dissect this book as well as I can without ranting and without divulging too much information, because spoilers will just ruin all the fun for you. Trust me, you DO NOT want too many spoilers for this one.
Things I Loved
- The characters
- The world-building/detail
- The romance
- The action
- The writing (the majority of it at least)
I had already liked Feyre’s character from A Court of Thorns and Roses. I enjoyed her vulnerability, her weaknesses, her occasional strengths, her sexual independence, her love for painting, her frustrations, her spurts of happiness, her self-taught talents, and her illiteracy; I enjoyed her humanity. There was something so real about her character and the ending of ACOTAR proved she had some true grit. But this book? My god. I thought she had been strong in ACOTAR, but this book made me realize just how strong she could be. And boy did I love her for it. Girl doesn’t need a man. She can do bad all by herself. She fought through her weakness, her sadness, and her self-wallowing to become, basically, a warrioress (or a predator, depending on how you look at it) by the end. As I said before, you go girl.
There are not enough words in the whole damn world to explain why I love Rhysand so much. A few words I can offer up are sexy, arrogant, vicious, hilarious, crass, powerful, caring, and other run of the mill words that equate to pure awesomeness. It was expected of him to make a return following the bargain he made with Feyre, but they way he calls in on his deal is absolutely fabulous. I couldn’t hep but chuckle at his audacity. I love his character and cannot say much more without going on a rant so I’ll just say, I freaking love Rhys.
The romance among the characters, is sexy, thrilling, steamy, funny, intense, and purely a joy to read through. Though some of the scenes are much more explicit than I expected, they didn’t bother me (and they won’t for those of you who are comfortable with that type of content).
And the best part about this book is that I cared deeply for each of the secondary characters in Rhys’ Inner Circle: Mor, Amren, Azriel, and Cassian (especially Cassian). And that’s quite a feat. Not many authors know how to make you love all the characters, even the minor ones. So, brava to you Sarah J. Maas.
The action sequences, though a little more subtle and much more sparse in this book, were well done and pretty memorable despite their briefness. There is one scene that rises above the rest, in terms of exhilarating combat, and though readers have to wait a while to reach this point, it is worth the wait. And it is, honestly, one of the best moments in the book.
And as for the writing, I consider this book a vast improvement from the first in that there is much more detail, much more color, and much more grandeur spread throughout the pages. The landscape is lush with sweeping mountains, glittering cities, treacherous forests, and resplendent home and palace settings. Maas brings her characters to life with magnificent clothing, stunning physical features, and unique personalities. Every part of the world Maas has created seems to be much bigger and brighter in comparison to the previous installment. But the strength of the author’s writing not only lies with the detailing of the character’s physical features and the landscaping of Prythian, but also in the storytelling as a whole.
The way Maas manages to reveal the trauma Feyre suffers and continues to suffer throughout a great portion of the book is quite unsettling and very hard to bear. Feyre’s grief is so powerful in both her thoughts and actions that readers can’t help but feel deeply connected to the main character and feel outraged when certain events come to pass. Readers come to understand how certain characters behave in the way that they do, and though it’s hard to accept in some cases, it becomes clear why we must.
The author highlights the weaknesses in her characters and how these weaknesses develop into something that is harmful to the characters themselves and to those surrounding them. (I think there were quite a few readers (including myself) who felt a bit disturbed by Tamlin’s character and his possessive nature in ACOTAR, and eventually our doubts are dispelled, but I will not say how.) She masterfully approaches the very sensitive issues of emotional abuse, PTSD, sexual assault (against a MALE character), and most of all, healing. And throughout the entirety of the book, she walks us through the dark thoughts, the nightmares, and melancholic emotions swirling around each and every character that suffered at the hands of Amarantha and are subsequently haunted by their troubled pasts. In essence, the strength of this book not only lies with the rich environments and the building of relationships, but also with the themes that are demonstrated through the growth and development of her characters, specifically Feyre, Rhys, and even Tamlin.
Things I Loved A Little Less
- The pacing
- The diction
- The data dump
- Some (or lack of) character development in certain characters
Okay, now for the not so good/bad. This book was an improvement from its predecessor but there are still a few things that didn’t sit well with me.
The pacing, though a bit more steady, was still uneven. The beginning was powerful and haunting, but about halfway through, things started to blend together and slow down. I can’t remember much from the middle because I felt not much had happened, concerning the actions taken to prevent the danger that loomed over both the faerie and mortal lands. Granted, these slow parts are sections of character development and relationship building, but still, I could have done well with a major catastrophe or jarring death to wake me up from the monotonous, lovelorn tone of the book. The ending, however, picked up the pace once again and ended with a BANG! A BANG that blew my mind.
The diction was still a bit spotty. There were moments when I believed these ancient beings were speaking as I thought they should be and then I’m hit with phrases like, “punching out heirs,” “with pillows and blankets and throws for days,” and my personal favorite, “Your mental shield is stellar, by the way.” I couldn’t help but imagine a valley girl with a Gucci purse saying, “Your mental shield is like, stellar, by the way,” right after reading that. Despite these dips in the writing style, the majority of it was pretty strong.
There was a data dump in the last book and there is a data dump in this one. For pages and pages, one character spills all the beans and just lets it loose for what seems like a whole chapter. And though it is a lot more compelling and a lot more emotional than the last data dump, it is still a major data dump that could have been carefully unraveled throughout the gigantic expanse of the book.
And lastly, there were a couple of character developments that seemed slightly ridiculous and even stagnant. I wanted more from Nesta, but it didn’t really happen in this book. And though something did happen to her, it didn’t have much of an effect on the story. Not yet at least. I can tell that’s going to change in the next book, though. And Lucien, one of my favorite characters from ACOTAR, seemed to lose his agency in this one as well. His surprising weakness is a device to the story as a whole, but considering the influence he seemed to have over Tamlin in the last book, one would expect him to do more for Feyre while she suffered. His sudden failings seemed all too contrived and much more shocking than it should have been.
The development of Rhys’ character was admirable, but I did not appreciate the reduction of his character of a vicious, seductive, and extremely powerful High Lord of the Night Court into a lovesick puppy with a slightly vicious bite. And then there’s THE character development that was pretty shocking, but also a little unnerving. Maas was successful in changing my opinion, but I don’t think it sat well with me how EASY it was to change my opinion. I would have liked to fight tooth and nail to defend this character, but it was far too easy for me to let go. On the other hand, the author’s ability to make me see said character in a different light so quickly is proof of her masterful writing skills. So, I’m a little torn.
Despite the book’s minor flaws, it was extremely entertaining, a hell of a lot more entertaining than the last one. Sarah J. Maas creates an enthralling tale that parallels the myths of both Psyche and Cupid as well as Hades and Persephone to create a story that carries the power to move readers to tears. And after a gut-wrenching ending, Feyre and the rest of us readers are now out for blood. I CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
This book had my mind reeling after that ending. So, after careful consideration and a clear head, I’ve awarded this book a solid 4.75 out of 5 stars. Bring on Feyre, the mother-effing OG of Prythian!