Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens Books on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Feyre is immortal.
After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people - nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.
As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand's dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.
She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.
This rant contains spoilers for the first book.
I never thought I’d say this about a Sarah J. Maas book – but A Court of Mist and Fury really pissed me off. I knew it was going to be a Feyre/Rhysand book going in, but unfortunately, the book ended up pissing me off in a multitude of ways, which I highlight below. And don’t worry – I’m a black sheep on this one (at this point, I’m considering making a black sheep feature for Happy Indulgence, because it happens so often).
1. Abusive Relationships
I’m not sure what happened between the transition from A Court of Thorns and Roses and this book, but somewhere in my mind, seeing Tamlin and Rhysand order Feyre around and thinking they know what’s best for her felt really wrong. The book opens up with both of these male love interests dictating what she should do, telling her what she can and can’t do, and it just felt off. Going into the book, I knew I was going to have a problem with the Feyre/Rhysand ship, especially with the way he treated Feyre in the first book – forcing her to do his bidding in front of Tamlin. He plays with her, forces a tattoo onto her, and makes a deal that she has no choice but to accept.
2. Tamlin is Villianised
Tamlin becomes the perpetrator and Rhys becomes the saviour. Their roles are blatantly reversed – Tamlin is villianised for trapping Feyre at his home, and all of a sudden he can’t do anything right or good. He starts making stupid, irresponsible decisions, and he’s to be blamed for everything that’s happened to Rhys.
Yes, people can change, especially after going through the trauma that Tamlin did and losing Feyre in the first book – but where’s the development? All we’re given is that he’s suddenly dictating what she can and when she can leave the house. The poor woman is of course recovering from PTSD, which majestically disappears when she runs away and meets Rhysand.
Tamlin, Lucien, Ianthe and the rest of the Spring Court are made into a mockery. Each and every one of them are completely ruined and there’s no way to come back from that now.
3. In Reverse, Rhysand is Perfect
Rhys on the other hand, becomes a kind, brave, handsome saviour who treats Feyre with respect – something that Tamlin apparently has no capacity to do. His arrogant, manipulative character suddenly disappears, conveniently explained away by being a ‘mask’ for the Court. All of his misgivings in the past are also explained away with a convenient back story – that makes all of the pieces fall into place.
I wasn’t a Rhys shipper to begin with due to his abusive behaviour in the first book – which Tamlin also exhibited – but it’s virtually impossible not to like him in this book. He can do no wrong to Feyre – he saves her from her stupid decisions, he treats her with respect and he gives her freedom and strength. He trusts her decisions, he gives her a place in his Court and he believes in her. Not to mention the sex scenes which are completely off the charts. Of course I’m going to start liking Rhys over Tamlin – he’s absolutely perfect! Especially in comparison to the evil incarnate that Tamlin has become.
I for one, don’t like my feelings manipulated in such a manner and every time the romance came up, I just got angrier and angrier.
4. Feyre is the Biggest Special Snowflake
Beautiful, powerful, and absolutely perfect Feyre. I liked her vulnerabilities in the first book, her hunting prowess and her bravery. But in this one, she’s the biggest special snowflake I’ve ever read about, and I was pissed off at how she ran away from her problems instead of facing them head on. She doesn’t like Tamlin’s treatment of her – how he forbids her to leave the house and how he leaves her to be supervised by Lucien. She starts off blaming him about being treated as a pet and how he doesn’t check in with her. But as someone who’s supposedly in love with him – did you see her checking in with him and seeing how he was doing? Did you see her communicating with him and telling him her issues? Did you see her attempting to solve her situation instead of constantly blaming others?
No. Because Feyre is conveniently given a way out here – she runs away to Rhysand who is apparently the knight in shining armour, the shining beacon in the night. And everything becomes okay – even though she doesn’t really attempt to communicate with Tamlin. Throughout the book, she constantly beats herself up and calls herself a traitor and a whore for betraying Tamlin. But then magically – give him bad decisions, make Rhys completely honourable and perfect, and poof, that issue is gone.
I can definitely see the potential in the story – empowering women in abusive relationships who want an out. Who have tried all they have done to get out of their situation, and who can run away and find a happily every after, some place else. Take away the fae powers, take away the Courts, and what we essentially have here, is a story about a girl in an abusive relationship who’s found her way out. It’s a beautifully empowering story, but one that could have been handled more subtly. Why should that woman, instantly fall in love with another just because he’s there? Why does she need to be saved by males? Why can’t she work it out on her own – without all the superpowers and snowflake nonsense?
5. All Secondary Characters are Paired Off
Morrigan, Amren, Cassian and Azriel – the secondary characters of the Night Court were all fascinating, powerful and sensual in their own way, although I wish they were given more development other than simply around pairing them off with each other. There’s so much more to their back stories than simply who they slept with and who they like, so why is it such a big focus of the book?
It’s Not All Bad However…
As much as the story pissed me off, there were a few things I did enjoy about it – the back story about all the fae and their courts, the side story about finding the Cauldron and protecting the human world from an oncoming war, and hunting for artefacts with the Night Court. I also liked the Night Court and the beautiful events and settings that they had – the setting was absolutely magical and luscious. The writing was also really solid and easily read, with a lot of hot sex scenes that you don’t typically find in a YA novel.
Unfortunately, given the treatment of all the characters here and turning things around in such a blatant, crude manner, I can’t say I enjoyed A Court of Mist and Fury. I’ll probably still read the last book but with much, much lower expectations.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thanks Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a review copy of the book.
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