"I'm thinking that I look at you and feel like I'm dying. Like I can't breathe."
I'm thinking of this book and feeling like I'm dying because I have to wait another whole year for the next one.
Sarah J. Maas, as many of you may know, is one of my all time favorite authors. I've been in love with her other book series, Throne of Glass, for a while now. Last year, I read A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 1) and found that I quite enjoyed it. Long story short, I gave it eight stars. The beginning was a bit slow, but otherwise the story was fantastic. (Seriously, it's a fantasy novel.) After reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, I would not say that it had made it into my all time favorite book series, but I did really enjoy it and was highly anticipating the release of the next book.
This book blew me away, jumping immediately into the action and not coming out of it until the very last page of the book. I may have really liked this series before, but now I love it. Emphasis on love. Sarah J. Maas seems to have a pattern emerging in her books. The second book seems to always (from experiencing two of her series) be better than the first. From looking at Throne of Glass, I'm expecting the third book in this series to be better than this one. It's a difficult task, writing a book I'll love more than this book, but I have no doubt that Miss Maas will accomplish it.
For those of you who don't know, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a loose retelling of the tale Beauty and the Beast. It's a great novel and I highly recommend it, especially because you can't read this spectacular book without having read the first. (Well, you could, but I'm not sure you'd really understand what was going on.) Anyway, I can't promise I won't say any spoilers for the first book, so if you have yet to read A Court of Thorns and Roses go pick it up now and then come back to this review once you've finished it! (I promise, you won't regret it.)
Let's just start this review out by saying I loved this novel. While I may be critiquing a few things, that doesn't mean I loved the book any less. This book is tied for my best book of 2016. What is it tied with? Lady Midnight. I can't decide which book I enjoyed more-- I don't think I enjoyed either book more. I love them each the same. While both books are fantasy, both authors have such different writing styles I find it impossible to decide which one I like better. (I am very excited for Empire of Storms, Book 5 in the Throne of Glass Series-- it's sure to be up here with my 2016 favorites as well.)
The character development in this book is amazing. It picks up very soon after book one left off, and Feyre is racked with guilt over the horrible things she'd had to do Under the Mountain. This book is really a healing journey for her. She's broken and lost at the beginning of the story, and in the duration of the book, she's able to find herself again and while doing so become stronger. For anyone who read my review of the first book, you may remember that I said I liked Celaena (Throne of Glass) better and that Celaena would totally kick Feyre's ass in a fight. Now I cannot completely say that I like Celaena better. Feyre's development as a character and her journey in this book really made me fall in love with her character even more than I already had. She had a really great story arc that I'm sure you will all enjoy (well, I know a few of you who will be very annoyed with the events in this book, but let's save that for the spoilery section, shall we?) And about the ass kicking, not so much anymore. Like I said, Feyre learns to become stronger and more powerful in this book. I doubt anyone close this book thinking that Feyre is weak.
While yes, Feyre does go through a lot of development, that doesn't mean she still isn't the witty, sassy and passionate protagonist from the first book. While a lot of things about her change, she still is able to hold on to her sass and sarcasm. It compliments another character well. One of my big compliments about the first book was about how well crafted the characters were. That compliment remains. There were plenty of new characters introduced in this book, and I fell in love with them all. (As well as fell even further in love with characters we already knew. Or should I say character?)
While we're on the subject of characters, let's talk about Rhysand. Now, for all you Tamlin lovers out there, I'm sorry to say that I am now officially team Rhys. Sorry, this may be a minor spoiler but if you really love Tamlin, I doubt you'll love this book as much as I do. At the end of the last book, I felt pretty neutral towards both High Fae. Maybe leaning towards Rhys a bit because of how charming and sassy his character is. I also was intrigued by the mystery of him, and that was the same reason I couldn't fully back Rhys-- I didn't really know him. In this book, a lot more of Rhysand's character is revealed and I just have to say, Sarah really knows how to make the perfect boy. Because Rhysand literally is the perfect male protagonist. He's witty (we already knew that) and he really- you know what? I'm just going to let you read the story and find out. I'm willing to bet there will soon be a lot more Team Rhys. Rhysand is the epitome of what a girl wants from a boy, and by a girl, I mean me. I don't know about all y'all, but I'd take a Rhysand any day. It almost hurts me to say this... but Rhysand may have made it to the top of my book boyfriend list... maybe even surpassing Jace (Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare) and Will (Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare). Shocker, I know, right?
All the characters remained in character. What do I mean by that? I mean they all stayed true to the characteristics that were introduced in A Court of Thorns and Roses. Some people may argue with me on that point, but my argument to that is that we actually didn't get to see everyone's full character. Everyone was hiding things in A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I have no doubt that people are hiding things now as well, but this book does pull back the curtain a little more, revealing some more of these ever so intriguing characters.
I know the problem most people are going to have with this book Tamlin. (Minor Spoiler) All the Tamlin lovers out there are probably going to outraged and immensely disappointed with how Sarah chose to take his character. Personally, I was never a super Tamlin lover, so I didn't mind the route that this story went. I don't actually think he acted out of character. Tamlin's main instinct is to protect. That's his role, in his eyes. Protecter. And after his time Under the Mountain, like every other character, he's broken. All the actions Tamlin takes in this story are things that he sees as right, and that's why I still don't dislike him. I can see where he is coming from, I may not agree with him, but I can see what things might look like from his perspective. That's one of the reasons I enjoy this book so much, it's so well written that while some characters may aggravate you, you can still see their perspective and not hate them for it. (Well, except for the King, but we can get to that later)
Lucien. If you read my review of the first book, you probably remember that I loved Lucien in the first book-- he was my favorite character! Was? No, he still is one of my favorite characters in the series. Actually, I basically like everyone in these books. I know I'm repeating myself, but SARAH J MAAS WRITES THE BEST CHARACTERS it's hard not to love them all. I honestly really missed Lucien's presence in this book. There was a lot more Night Court and a lot less Spring Court, and while it was fantastic seeing more of Prythian, I couldn't help but sorely miss the quippy, clever Lucien. I'm excited that we;ll being seeing more of him in the third book, but I'm nervous about the change in dynamics in his and Feyre's friendship (more on that in the spoiler-y section.) If one were to look at my notes, they'd see a lot of 'Miss Lucien' s in them. I really missed his and Feyre's friendship as well, and I have a feeling it's never going to be the same. After all, both (mainly Feyre) have changed a lot since the first book. Though there was some very interesting revealing information about Lucien that I'm very excited to see play out in book three. I also have a feeling that Lucien may be getting a lot of hate for his role in this book, but I would just like to stand up and defend him by saying that he was staying loyal to his friend. I don't think that's a good reason to hate someone. Well, I could go and write a whole paper on Lucien, but now I feel I must move on.
As I've mentioned a lot, we get to see a lot more into the Night Court-- and understand why no one else knows about it. During that, we also get so see some of Rhys' inner circle. That inner circle includes Cassian, Azriel, Mor and Amren.
Cassian was literally bae number two. He's right up there next to Rhys. Seriously, he's my type 100%. Out of the inner circle he'd be described as the warrior. He's the strongest, physically, and he's a confidant, swaggering, powerful Fae who has a rather (and I quote Sarah here) mocking, arrogant warrior personality. That's already pretty attractive, but he also has (another quote) a lot of scars underneath that. I'm sorry, what was that? All I'm hearing about Cassian is B-A-E. If there was ever a spin off on this series, could it please, please, please, be about Cassian? Every scene with him made me feel extremely happy because I seriously just love his character and am really excited to see more about him. For me, I saw Cassian as Sarah's apology for Lucien not being in the book as much. While the two characters are very different, they both have a similar relationship with Feyre (well, Cassian is a little more... I guess you'd say vulgar than Lucien with his wording) and I love watching both boys interact with Feyre. (More Lucien in the first book, but whatever) They both would protect Feyre and the ones they love with their lives and I love them for that.
Azriel is the dark and brooding type who quite literally lives in the shadows. I guess with both Cassian and Azriel, Sarah was able to cover both ends of the spectrum. Personally, the dark and brooding type has never been quite as alluring to me as the cocky warrior kind, but I still liked Azriel, just not nearly as much as Cassian.
Mor was a fantastic addition to this series. I loved her and her friendliness and chatter. I don't want to give too much away about her, but let's just say I really appreciate how Sarah wrote complicated back stories for everyone in the Night Court and then wove them in perfectly into the plot of A Court of Mist and Fury.
Then there's Amren, I wasn't particularly found of this character at first, but as we got to know her more, I couldn't help but become fond of her. Amren has to be the member of the Inner Circle that we still don't know much about, but I'm sure we will find out in the next book.
Anyway, if I haven't made this abundantly clear, this book was fantastic. It opens one's eyes to see a lot more than the tiny bit of Prythian that we were introduced into in the first book. It's similar to Throne of Glass in the sense that both first books have a tiny problem that seems humungous, until the next books introduce more pressing issues that make the first book's conflict seem minuscule. Anyone who's read these books knows what I mean. If you have yet to pick up A Court of Mist and Fury, I highly recommend that you do so. This has to be one of the best books I've ever read, and that's saying something. I've read a lot of books. The writing style is beautiful and the plot, characters and relationships weaves together seamlessly. I honestly cannot wait until the third (and final?) book comes out next year. I'm giving A Court of Mist and Fury 10/10 stars. Yeah. It was that good. I loved the characters, relationships and just everything about it. While there were things that slightly irritated me about the plot, I wouldn't change them even if I could. This book was quite literally perfect in my eyes. If you have yet to read any of these books, I strongly urge you to start them. They are worth the time and effort it takes to read them. (And carry them around, seriously, A Court of Mist and Fury is like 600 something pages.)
"He said softly, "I am... very glad I met you, Feyre.'"
I am very glad to have read this book.
Anyway, thanks for reading my review, I don't recommend you read farther unless you want to see spoilers!
SPOILERS BELOW FOR A COURT OF MIST AND FURY
What to talk about first... Well, let's talk about how Rhysand was brutally murdered at the end. Haha, just kidding. I was writing that for anyone who didn't read the book and is still reading on. Seriously, you do not want to be spoiled on this. Go read the book, and then come back to the spoilery part.
During the entire beginning portion of the story, I was just waiting for Rhys to show up. And I knew he was going to do it in some spectacular and dramatic way. I was not disappointed. Ah, when he showed up and interrupted the wedding I was laughing so hard. By the end of this book, I'm sure a lot of people are still split into two groups. Tamlin and Rhysand. Tamlin people are not overly happy with the direction Sarah took in this book, and Rhysand people are overjoyed. Like I said before, I don't hate Tam. He was only doing what he thought was right, and while from my perspective I can see that it was NOT under any circumstance right, I can see that from his, it did seem right. He was only trying to protect Feyre, and things really did get out of hand with that, but more on that later. The were some moments that really made me think YES RHYS and NO TAM. One of those was where Tamlin explained to Feyre that no, she could never be a high lady, not even if she wanted to. And then Rhysand said that there could be a high lady. I'm sorry, but Tam, Rhys has to win that one. (And Feyre does become High Lady *squeals with excitement* honesty, I squealed so much while reading this book my sister probably thought I was going insane)
"You are no one's subject." Seriously, I love Rhysand. He's boy goals.
And his sentences for Feyre killed me
"Rhysand is interesting"
"Rhysand is gorgeous"
"Rhysand is flawless" (I have to agree, he is.)
While (as I've been saying over and over) I don't hate Tam, there were some things that annoyed me about him (and were supposed to annoy me.) Like how he wanted to just make Feyre a pretty little lady, I know, I know, it's because he wanted to protect her and all that, I can see why he'd want that, but I definitely do not agree with him on that. He refused to train her while Rhys was urging her to train herself. It was kind of hard not to lean towards Rhys in this book. I also didn't appreciate how Tam interrogated Feyre about the Night Court when she returned, Rhys didn't do that. Arguably he didn't need to, but really, Tam? Using your own 'love' as a spy? Of course, now Rhys is doing that as well, but it's different this time. She's now doing it under her own free will.
"Or one of my timeless favorites, go to hell."
This book had me cracking up a lot. One of those moments was the talk between Tam and Rhys in the hall that one morning. And then when Tam and Feyre were having that serious conversation and Rhys just coughed out in the hallway, hearing everything that was going on between the two.
Just to get it over with let's talk Ianthe. I never really liked her, there was just something off about her and I could tell that she was part of the reason that Tam was being so protective of Feyre. I also hate that Ianthe came between Lucien and Tam. That just annoyed the hell out of me. I really cannot wait to see what spectacular way she dies. I hope it's a good death.
The things Tamlin was doing to Feyre felt slightly like domestic abuse. While they all probably do not know or care about domestic abuse in the world of A Court of Thorns and Roses, I do. And I knew from that moment that I thought of that that Tam was definitely not end goals. I was already leaning towards Rhys as the end goal, anyway.
[When Feyre was thinking about it being better if she died] "Don't you ever think that," Rhysand hissed, his eyes livid. "Not for one damned moment." Doesn't that line just make your heart swoon? AH. Rhys is true love in one man.
Shall we talk about the Court of Dreams now? It literally does sound like a beautiful dream. I honestly wish I could visit that place in real life, not just my (very vivid) imagination. While reading the book I started to become very attached to that city. It was a combination of seeing it and hearing about all the thing Rhys gave up for it to survive that made me become very, very fond of it. Which is why it hurt so much when the FUDGING QUEENS betrayed Rhys and told Hybern about it. I literally felt absolutely livid at that point. That's the sign of a good book, when you feel as affected as I did when the city was attacked. UGH. I'm still mad over those mother fudging queens. Nice job, Sarah, it's been a while since I've felt this many emotions over a good book.
The whole Cassian- Azriel- Rhys meeting story is spectacular. I already loved Cassian, and just reading more into his back story made me adore him even more. Of course, by now nothing could put me off from Rhys, all I feel about him is adulation. A whole lot of adulation.
Shall we just briefly go over the weaver scene in the book? While it was not one of my favorite scenes, I did really love it (it and the rest of the book). I was reading this part when I was supposed to be sleeping on like a Tuesday night or something and I simply could not put the book down. Yeah. I was drinking a lot of caffeine the next morning. My heart was beating so fast I thought it might just explode from my chest. This scene was especially spectacular for two more reasons which are a. this was when Feyre really realized she was not weak and she did not want to be was and b. THIS SIGNIFIED THAT FAYE REALLY DESERVED TO BE RHYS' MATE! YES. LIFE. LOVE. I CAN't even...
Something that irked me was that Nesta and Feyre had finally gotten a good relationship (kinda) in the last book, but Feyre being turned into High Fae makes them at odds, which hurt me to read. Though, I shipped Cassian and Nesta basically as soon as the two laid eyes on each other. Which is odd, because I kind of ship Cassian and Mor as well...
And then Cassian made that declaration that he would gladly give his life to guard her household. FEELS. FEELS right in the heart.
Seriously, though, Cass scolding Nesta about how she was treating Feyre just completed my life. I really loved seeing Cassius in anything, really, and seeing his friendship with Feyre was amazing. I hope to see more of that in the next book.
There are so many things about Rhys and Feyre's relationship that I loved. The writing back and forth was an especially cute part. It was ahh, I can't put the emotions in words! I was kind of glad it took them so long to get together, because you just know if people get together early in a book, there's going to be a lot of trouble. An especially cute moment (all of them were cute, but here's one I wrote down on my notes) was when Rhys was jus like "You just stopped looking at me as if I disgusted you." And then my heart totally broke for Rhys when (on page 422) he was saying, "I know how this story will be written..." and talked about how he would be the monster who stole away the beautiful bride. It broke my heart and just made me love Rhys even more, which is something I thought was impossible.
Tarquin. I thought he was cute and the whole time I was hoping (even though I know they wouldn't) they'd just ask him for the book, I didn't want them to become enemies next time they met! Ugh. Hopefully Feyre will be able to fixed that very burned bridge.
"Of course I'll dance with you," Rhys said, his voice still raw. "All night, if you wish."
"Even if I step on your toes?"
THE FEELS. THE FEELS. I'm dead now.
"The smile the world would likely never see, the smile he'd given up for the sake of his people, his lands." If you read this book and do not love Rhys, all I have to say to you is how do you resist it? I've fallen into the gigantic pit of Rhys loving and there's no way I'm going to ever climb out of it, not that I'd want to anyway.
Ugh. I was disappointed when we finally saw Lucien again. I mean, I was expecting their friendship to be different, but it was still disappointing to not see the clever, funny Lucien from the last book that I fell in love with. And as I said before, I am very nervous about Lucien and Feyre's relationship in the next book, especially because he's already suspicious of her and she's working to bring down his court. Also, she's hiding her sister, Elaine, his mate, from him. Ah. That was an interesting plot twist, but I saw it coming. After all, it was very hinted at when Lucien was being so kind to specifically Elaine.
"There was nothing but an uncompromising will in his eyes. "Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.'" I'm making swoony eyes at the screen right now.
"I was looking for you too." LOVE. IT'S TRUE LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.
Oh my god. I just read my first reaction from my notes on the fact that they're mates. My first reaction was aw yes they're mates.... but that means Rhys is probably going to die. Haha, please, Sarah. No. Anything but Rhys (and Casssian and Lucien).
Chapter 54 has to be my favorite chapter in the entire book, though 55 was rather satisfying as well. While I've reread the book several times by now, I've reread chapter 54 more. Rhysand's story of how he came to realize Feyre was his mate literally makes my heart clench just thinking about it. I can't say this enough-- I am in love with Rhysand. Gosh darn, Sarah. You're making my standards for the boys in my life way too high. Let's be real here, I'm going to end up being an old lady with cats and a pantheon fictional boyfriends.
"If you don't marry her, you stupid prick, I will." Ah. I can imagine Cassian (my bae) saying that as well, Rhys.
Just to prove Cassian is bae-- "They [Cassian and Azriel] will protect you on instinct. If you kick their asses out of the house, they'll just sit on the roof." that quote literally brings joy into my life. I love the amount of loyalty these guys feels towards their friends. Loyalty is one of those important things that is surprisingly uncommon, when it's found it's not something you want to betray.
*Sidenote I do like Azriel, I have nothing against him. Sorry that I'm not talking about him that much, but if you haven't noticed I love Cassian. While I like Az, I love Cass so I'm probably going to rave about Cass more in future reviews as well. I just want y'all to know that I have nothing against Az, he's just not my type. Cassian is.
Anyway, I have literally 4 pages of notes, but I don't feel like putting them all into words. Here's a basic summery of the entire book-- I LOVED IT.
Thanks for reading,
Update: I forgot that I have some stuff I wanted to mention on my phone. Here it is.
(First a quote) "The issue isn't whether he loved you, it's how much. Too much. Love can be poison."
And the proof that Sarah J. Maas really planned this whole storyline out. This literally all fits together perfectly now. After finishing ACOMAF for the second time, I reread ACOTAR, to see if Rhys' story really matched up (which I didn't doubt, but wanted to see anyway. It all did, if you reread it, you'll see that too. Here's just one quote that you didn't think much about at the time, but now, knowing the back story, it has a whole new meaning.
"Rhysand now faced the High Lord, and his perfect face was void of emotion, before his brows rose. A flicker of excitement-- perhaps even disbelief-- flashed across his features, but he whipped his head at Lucien."
A flicker of excitement and disbelief after sensing HIS MATE. AH. FEELS. Also just wanted to point out, he does say, "I've been looking for you" (which was not a ploy to make the Fae go away) and she does actually think he's the most beautiful man she's ever seen. LOVE. IT'S TRUE LOVE.