Hi everyone! Today I’m finally doing my follow-up review to A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury.
Now if you’ve read my last post, you probably already know that I wasn’t very impressed with A Court of Thorns and Roses–the writing was terrible, the characters were shallow, the plot confusing, and everything about the first book made me question whether I should continue reading this series.
But of course, being the OCD person that I am, I just had to find out what happens next, so I decided to continue, and I’m glad I did, because A Court of Mist and Fury takes everything that was horrible about the first book, turns it on its head, and makes a huge turnaround.
Granted, it’s not without flaws, but there’s something to be said in the fact that a hated series can make you change your mind about it. So here’s my review! I was supposed to release this last week, but I’m busy transcribing a certain song for piano, and I kind of forgot about blogging for a second there. Where I put my mind sometimes, I have no idea…
So what I liked about A Court of Mist and Fury:
- Premise and conflict
Now Amarantha didn’t work for me at all in the last book. There was no sense of urgency or buildup in the climax, and you ultimately felt that the climax escalated out of nowhere. However, A Court of Mist and Fury seems to take more decisive steps in establishing that urgency–it address Feyre’s training early on in the book, lets you know who the antonagist is, what he wants, shows these characters preparing to combat that…
This book doesn’t waste time like the last book, and I like that there’s always something relevant happening. Nothing felt like it was waste of space!
- Writing (“Hold on….IT’S NOT SHITTY?!”)
Honestly, that was my actual reaction to the writing this book:D My standards had been set so freaking low from reading ACOTAR, I was actually expecting a bit of a train wreck going in.
But would you believe it, this book presents sentences that flow better, pacing that’s more consistent, structure that’s more organized, world-building that’s more vivid and descriptive.…I’m just like, why didn’t you do this in the first place, Sarah J. Maas?
Considering I virtually hated every single character in ACOTAR (except Lucien and Nesta), I was VERY pleasantly surprised to find that I liked most of the new characters introduced here. Rhys’ circle of friends, that one king that Feyre was flirting with, the old characters getting fleshed out in more detail…
Really, I had very little to complain about. All the characters all seemed compelling, and I think I got attached to them relatively quickly.
And of course, I just loved Rhys! I love that the author gives him certain things that he’s really passionate about outside of his relationship with Feyre (his friends, his home, his people), and that’s probably what endeared him so much to me. Rhys was a bonified dick in ACOTAR, but I just love the fact that he’s so fleshed out in this book…not for the sake of being a hot love interest for Feyre, but simply because his own story matters.
My reaction to Rhys and Feyre?
Now I RARELY ship couples. However, I was really compelled by the largely platonic nature of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship: because they banter, they quibble, they exchange thoughts about nothing and everything…They simply act like best friends, and while there is a bit of sexual tension there at times, I forget for the most part that they’re being set up as a couple.
And that’s exactly what I want to see out of more YA romances! A natural progression of a relationship where two people exchange meaningful conversation AND quibble about trivial stuff at the same time. The romance really creeps up subtly in this book (and very realistically at that), so that was a major kudos there.
But now a few nitpicks and thoughts…
Climax – melodramatic much?
Now the one and only aspect of this book that I genuinely hated was the climax. I liked the build-up to it, but I just didn’t feel like it was a proper culmination to what these characters had been preparing for. Especially considering that it all seemed to sizzle out the moment the antagonist plucks Elaine from his pocket. I mean, not to say that this was a wholly unrealistic plot twist, but still…you’d think that Feyre would’ve anticipated this and taken steps to prevent it, no?
Not to mention, it was kind of melodramatic the way Feyre and Nesta were shrieking hysterically in the background as Elaine was being dipped into the immortality elixir thing…I guess it’s a personal taste thing, but I really hate that sort of life-or-death dilemma in front of a live audience thing. It’s what Harry Potter did, it’s what ACOTAR did, it’s what a lot of books do…but to me, it just seems really melodramatic and cheesy.
Lucien and Elaine are soul mates? Ehh…
And of course, that scene where Lucien suddenly falls to his knees and declares dramatically into the night that Elaine was his soul mate–I literally laughed.
Seriously, I laughed. Because for one thing, you’re asking me to suspend my disbelief that Lucien would happen to find his soul mate, the one person that he’s the most compatible with in the entire world, within Feyre’s family. And out of all the Fae and human beings in the world? Just…no. That coincidence should never happen.
And the fact that this happens RIGHT after Elaine’s been whisked off by the bad guy…*sigh*
Rhys’ mistakes justified? Hmm.
Now this isn’t a complaint as much a feeling of dismay, but I think that Sarah J. Maas may have made a mistake in trying to justify ALL of Rhys’ flaws in this book. Granted, it’s admittedly romantic to think that Rhys had been planning out his bad boy charade right from the start, but…I just disillusioned by that.
Because again, Rhys was a dick in ACOTAR. He drugs Feyre, he humiliates her by making her do lap dances in front of everyone…ugh, I’m still not okay with this. However, I appreciated Rhys for the fact that he’s the ONE character in this entire series who’s not being swayed by “Feyre’s-the-hot-protagonist-so-I’m-going-to-treat-her-specially-because-I’m-attracted-to-her” sort of thing…
Rhys plays by his own rules, and I liked that.
However, by telling me that this had been all “fated,” that Rhys had never been a true rogue or scoundrel in the first place, that he’d been a romantic right from the start…I’m just kind of left wondering where the complexity is then. What makes Rhys so different from Tamlin, who had been really boring and vanilla in the first book BECAUSE he was so perfect?
In that, I just wish Maas had just left Rhys the flawed character he was. I genuinely loved Rhys’ transition from “rogue to romantic” in this book, but by making him out to be so perfect to begin with…meh.
The villainizing of Tamlin – NO.
Now I’m no Tamlin supporter by any means, but I really felt like he was being thrown under bus in this book. I mean, his personality changed beyond all recognition, and that I just couldn’t accept that. Like that scene where Feyre was sobbing and screaming at Tamlin to listen to her, but he just brushes past? WHAT THE DONKEY BALLS. Tamlin may not have been the most attentive lover before, but he was never so cold to ignore his sobbing lover like that!
And that scene where he completely loses his temper and smashes his office with his aura after Feyre said she wanted to take a break? I hated Tamlin’s bland personality before, but at least he was tolerant and patient; so him losing control like that felt supremely out of character to me.
Now the book does try to explain this personality change: Tamlin’s become too indulgent, he’s become too comfortable in his relationship with Fayre, he’s simply stopped trying. Fine. Whatever. It’s not as though we don’t see that in most relationships in real life.
However, I still don’t believe that a person can change to the extent that Tamlin did in this book, especially the way that he colludes with the bad guy to drag Feyre back home. I mean, WOW, way to make your previous male protagonist the most pathetic and clingy lover of all time! So yeah, Sarah J. Maas trying so hard to make us fall OUT of love with Tamlin? I contrarily came to sympathize with him.
Fayre leaving Tamlin – Seriously, no second chances?!
And throughout this entire read, this is what kept on nagging at the back of my mind: the fact that Feyre never went back to sort things out properly with Tamlin.
Now I was really taken aback by the fact that Feyre actually never even gave him a second chance. I mean, she literally RAN AWAY without resolving anything, so I expected her to go back at one point in the story and explain to Tamlin that this had been a warning, that she would leave him permanently if he tried this shenanigan again. Or at the least, I thought she’d have the courtesy to tell him face-to-face that she was leaving him!
But nah, she just sends him a note, and I’m like, wow…no wonder Tamlin’s going crazy. What Feyre did was the equivalent of breaking up with someone over text–without explanation!
In that, I feel like Tamlin was treated a bit…unfairly? Because for one thing, he did apologize several times and begged Fayre to come back home so they could work it out. However the fact that Feyre never gave him the benefit of the doubt made her look really uptight.
Not to mention, I didn’t even feel like Feyre made herself clear on what she was so mad about in the first place. Sure, we see her brewing in her resentment for the majority of the book, but not even ONCE did she come out and say to Tamlin: “I don’t appreciate the fact that you’re trying cage me in this relationship, I don’t want to be your trophy wife in this marriage, and you’re being an asshole by brushing me off like this. You have a fucking attitude problem, and if you don’t smarten up quickly, I’m going to leave you or kill myself trying.”
Okay, maybe that’s overkill. But Feyre’s pretty outspoken, right? So why is she just skirting around the issue about Tamlin’s attitude problem, his controlling nature, and the disrespectful way he brushes her off, and instead just babbling on about how she wants to join the war?
In that, it’s frustrating the way Feyre just breaks off their engagement without explicitly telling Tamlin what her issue was with him, and that kind of tainted my reading experience. I still ship Rhys and Fayre, but the fact that Fayre never resolved her relationship cleanly…it makes me weird.
The new romance between Rhys and Feyre is undeniably much better than the previous one, and I give it kudos for that alone. It’s not every day that I feel compelled by a romance in a YA novel (because I’m a cynic) but the chemistry between Rhys and Feyre was believable and organic, and I liked it.
However, it did feel like Sarah J. Maas was trying too hard to nullify the previous romance, and I wondered if she copped out. Because it almost looks like she was presenting you with this love story in ACOTAR, and expected you to take it seriously; but then after readers started to complain how the love story was shallow, she suddenly decided to change tack and say, “Just kidding! The first book IS shallow because I meant for it to be! Now here’s your new male protagonist.”
But the problem with that is, what was all that fuss about making the reader fall in love with Tamlin in the first place? Why waste all that time leading the reader to think that the first book actually mattered?
So yeah, there were a few nagging flaws like this every once in a while. But on the whole, I did enjoy A Court of Mist and Fury for what it was, and I am hyped for the next book. I’m really curious to see whether Feyre will betray Tamlin because if she does…girl, we’re going to have issues.
But thus ends this review, so thanks for reading! I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day, because I sure did. I mean, check out this monstrosity I got in the mail a few days ago!
Yes, it’s the rose from Beauty and the Beast. But no, it’s not from my boyfriend…because I don’t have one at the moment! Yes, yes, forever alone.
But who cares when your family loves you this much? I was working on this very review when the mailman arrived with this package, and as it turned out, it was from my parents! How awesome is it that I would get a Beauty and the Beast gift WHILE working on a review for a book inspired by Beauty and the Beast? 😀