A Court of Mist and Fury

Published on 3 April 2024 at 13:24

The first book hooked me, but I never knew what was awaiting me in this masterpiece. I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses, but looking back on it, I didn't even know how much better the series was going to get. SJM completely turned my expectations on their head, and took this world to a whole other level. Not that I assumed the plot was going to be boring, but it is so much bigger than I thought when I finished the first book. The cauldron, the queens, the King of Hybern, Jurian, the wall, the Court of Nightmares. The plot twists threw me for a loop, I am still catching my breath. I didn't see any of it coming, and to me that is the best kind of story, when the author takes it places you never saw it going. To rate this second installment to the first does not even seem reasonable, it is in a completely different league. I will never escape this world, nor do I want to.

But, let's start back at the dreaded Spring Court, I know for her character development, Feyre had to return to the mansion with Tamlin. But that doesn't mean I have to enjoy it. Now that we are into the second book I can begin to really unpack why I despise mr. greasy fiddle. Let's start with the tithe shall we... I simply cannot fathom how Feyre felt, sitting next to Tamlin as he turned away his starving subjects, knowing exactly how they felt. And I simply cannot fathom how Tamlin could sit next to the woman he claims to love, knowing she spent most of her life hungry, afraid, and in need of help, and then actively ignore people who are in the same situation. If the woman you "love" suffered certain hardships in her past, you would think that someone who has endless wealth would try their best to make sure no one else ever has to suffer the same way, if only to help heal that wound a little bit. But no, of course Tamlin doesn't do that, because he thinks only of self preservation and never of how he can help others. Everything Tamlin did, or said, after they came back from Under the Mountain felt so forced. His and Feyre's relationship fell into this comfortable pattern of acting like everything was the same when it clearly was not. Their relationship no longer felt genuine, because they were both faking emotions.


There are a lot of people who want a redemption arch for Tamlin, I am not one of those people. A man that traps a woman in his home, no matter his reasoning behind it, deserves no sympathy from me. I will never be able to grasp how he thought a wedding would be the best idea for a woman who has just experienced heavily traumatic events. I do not doubt that Tamlin loved Feyre, but his methods of keeping her "safe" were completely wrong. Now I will say, I believe the way Tamlin saw his mother act towards his father aided in his treatment of Feyre. His mother never stood up to his father, she loved him so much she never wanted to upset him, so she kept her opinions to herself. Does that excuse Tamlin's behavior? No. But, it does help to understand psychologically why Tamlin so heavily expects Feyre to go along with everything he says without a fight. I honestly think that a redemption arch would do less for Tamlin's character than just leaving him how he is. Some characters need to stay obnoxious, that is their job in the story, and Tamlin does that job fantastically. Every character does not have to be redeemed, that is what makes a story realistic. And you know, sometimes in real life your ex is just horrible and he never changes, and therefore through Tamlin, SJM has mastered the concept of realism in Fantasy. 


There are few things I despise more than a fake friend, and Ianthe is exactly that. How dare she pretend to be Feyre's friend in a time when she so desperately needed one, just so she could further her own agenda. There are a lot of people I dislike in these books, but that girl is at the top of my list. For the first time Feyre had a women in her life taking care of her, rather than her taking care of them. She grew up protecting and providing for her sisters, and never had a sister to look out for her. I think in a way she was searching for that within Ianthe. After such a traumatic experience, Feyre was a shell, she needed someone to tell her where to go, what to where, and what to do. She could barely sleep at night, let alone plan a wedding, or learn how to be the fiancé of a high lord, or make decisions for herself. Ianthe saw that, and used it to her advantage, she saw that shapeless void that Feyre was and decided to shape her into what she wanted her to be. Ianthe is NOT a girls girl, and we will not stand for that. 

Now Rhys... He is the picture of what a High Lord should be. He sacrificed his freedom to keep his people and the city he loves safe. The scene where Rhys explains to Feyre that he bound himself to Amarantha in order to protect Velaris, had me sobbing. I think this moment is what starts to bring Feyre and Rhys together, they begin to see pieces of themselves within each other. They are both individuals that would sacrifice themselves to protect the people they care about. He is truly my villain with a heart of gold. I like that he stayed menacing and powerful and didn’t just get soft when he fell in love. I think that is one of my pet peeves about male main characters, often times once they fall in love, they lose all their personality. They simple become a means for romance, rather than a real character, and we are supposed to just forget that they ever did anything else other than love the girl. SJM stayed away from this type of narrative when it came to Rhys, and I really appreciate that. He remained who he was while also being the romantic interest for Feyre, he did not lose himself in loving her. And neither did she lose herself in loving him, they simply amplified the qualities that were already there.

At this time I will not be taking any questions on chapters 54 & 55... 

That is a complete lie, I will talk about those chapters until the day I die. I will simply never understand why Feyre broods over being Rhys's mate and why she was so upset about it. Girl, I would have been jumping for joy. Chapter 54 genuinely wrecked me, I cried through the entire thing. Rhys talking about how he watched her suffer Under the Mountain and what he did to gain her even the slightest bit of protection... a representation of real sacrificial love. Him recounting when he realized that they were mates, and the way he immediately came back to the Night Court and fell into Mor's arms. AND then he admits to her that he was never going to call in the bargain, if she wanted to remain in the Spring court with Tamlin he was going to let her. He just wanted her to be happy, and the only reason he called it in was because she was crying out for help. I genuinely will never get over his love for her.


Cass and Az hold my heart, in fact the whole inner circle does. I will never shut up about the Bat Boys and how much I love them. Their brotherhood, at times made me tear up, don't get me wrong I love a girl group, but these muscled menacing warriors are just so precious. The three of them have returned to one another against all odds, and walked through countless trials together, I truly think that each of them would not be the person he is without the other two beside him. Now, Amren and Mor, I will say it took me a while to warm up to Amren, but I loved Mor instantly. She is so vibrant and charismatic, and once you learn about her horrific past, it just makes you realize how much strength she has. It takes a lot of resilience to suffer in the ways she did and come out on the other side still so full of life. That is not to say I do not see her flaws, my heart breaks at the fact that Azriel had been pining over her for centuries and she didn't do anything about it. Once I got to know Amren more, I loved her just as much. She reminds me so much of my younger sister, small and feisty and doesn't take crap from anyone. Dare I say, I think that she is the smartest member of the inner circle. I hope we get to learn even more about her history and her story, because I am so intrigued by her. 


I adore the found family trope, especially when it is a mix of people so different from one another, but their love has bonded them so deeply, that their differences don't matter. Learning about the inner circle and their dynamics with one another, is a main reason that this book may be my favorite in the series. Getting a glimpse into their lives together, going out to dinner in Velaris, dancing at Rita's, hanging out at the townhouse, melts my heart. It really does ground you within their world, and makes you connect to them as characters. Sure they have wings and magic powers, but at the core of their story is love and friendship, things that remain no matter what universe you are in. 


I want to talk about the end of this book before my final point about Feyre. The end of this book... had me in shock. When Tamlin and Lucien showed up, with Feyre's sisters in tow, my jaw hit the floor. I had been silently hoping for the sisters to play a bigger role in the story the whole book, because I was obsessed with their dynamics with the other characters. I had no idea this was how it was all going to play out. The feeling I got while reading the scene where the sisters are thrown into the Cauldron, still sits with me. Even more so the feeling of seeing Nesta reach her hand out of the Cauldron and point at the King of Hybern, gives me the chills just thinking about it. 


Last but not least my darling Feyre... SJM truly wrote such a beautiful picture of trauma and healing within Feyre. She is a wonderful representation of what it looks like to hold on to pieces of your past selves while morphing into someone new. She is still the same girl that stumbled into the Spring Court, desperate to save her family, but she is also someone totally new. I think this book really speaks to how people are meant to compliment one another not complete them, Rhys and Feyre speak to this for sure, they are mates but Feyre's healing did not happen because of Rhys. Her healing happened because of the things that he represented to her and showed her were possible: freedom, the ability to have a comfortable life and paint while simultaneously having the ability to choose a life of fighting to protect the things she loves. The whole inner circle really shows that theme throughout this book. They choose to be together, despite being able to be on their own, because of their history and love for each other.


Feyre's growth in this book is so powerful, and the fact that she was able to walk back into the Spring Court after feeling so trapped there is a true testament to how she found her strength again. She had her freedom taken away, and the Spring Court just became another version of Under the Mountain. But, after discovering her own empowerment, and recognizing that she was not some prize to be sat on a shelf, she walks back into Tamlin's grasp with a secret weapon...the knowledge that she is capable of more than he ever gave her credit for.

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