Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

Posted May 24, 2016 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 4 Comments

Book Review: A Court of Mist and FuryA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 3rd 2016
Genres: new adult, fantasy
Pages: 640
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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five-stars

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 cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

So, A Court of Mist and Fury. This book was one of my top “must have” novels of 2016. When this book landed in my hands, I dropped everything to read this one. The backstory was that I was heartbroken when I loathed the Throne of Glass series. I made it through the first book, hated it, and tried the second book, only to DNF it. All of my friends really loved the series, and everyone promised that the series did get better. When A Court of Thorns and Roses came out, I was so hopeful to have a Sarah J. Maas series that I liked. I actually really respect this author and I find that she is a fantastic person, so I really REALLY wanted to be one of her fangirls.

Fortunately, ACoTaR was more of a success for me than the Throne of Glass series. I really enjoyed it, and I fell in love with the world building and the characters. Sure, it had a few flaws and such, but, overall, it was a bit like crack, and a guilty pleasure.

For the sequel, I’m not even going to add “guilty pleasure” to the description. This story was solid, and there was a lot in here that hit home with me. The personal struggles that the characters faced, and Feyre’s own development pulled this book to the front of the pack. Don’t let the pretty cover fool you – this one is a heart wrenching, emotional journey about some of the struggles that girls and women face today.

 

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First and foremost – I’m going to knock down any notion of a “love triangle” here. Fair warning, if you were a strong shipper of the last book, then this one is going to tear you up. When I first started to read up on this book, there was a lot of debate on whether or not there was a love triangle in the sequel. I’m going to go ahead and say that, no, there is not. There is a woman who is deciding where her heart is taking her, and she isn’t stringing anyone along, or trying to decide between two people. She is making a clear choice, even if her choices are not honored. I’m here to stay that I’m beyond thrilled that someone has the guts to write a story where “the one” doesn’t mean “the only one”. A female author finally has the notion that your first love doesn’t mean the only person you are going to love. Feyre is a whole different person from the last book, and now her heart isn’t in the same place. That isn’t a love triangle. That is life.

Bonding and friendship are just as importance as romantic love. The chemistry is seriously one of the best elements in this book, period. Yeah, I always seem to knock the romance. But this one had such a great, slow burn that I lost my heart and soul when reading it. And romance wasn’t the only goal of the book. Friendship is a huge theme in this book, and I loved every moment of it. The closeness of the characters, of the core group of fey friends in this book, kept me flipping the pages just to read the interactions between all of the characters.  The backstories of Rhysand’s team was amazing, and I felt the struggles with identity from each of these characters.

Diving Below the Surface. In the first book, Feyre was almost cardboard and superficial. I still liked her but I always thought that she could have been a bit stronger. Maas certainly did not hold back with Feyre this time. The character is struggling with the events from the last book, and some issues with the arrangement she finds herself in at the start of the second novel. She exhibits some very strong PTSD signs, all of which are ignore by the people who should be helping her. Watching her struggle and try to reach out to anyone really cut me deep. Neglect is one of the most painful forms of abuse, and my heart screamed for Feyre. Having to passively stand by and witness her clawing her way back to some sort of comfort, to some kind of redemption made me cheer for her throughout the entire novel, and identify with her with my own struggles of trying to pull myself together in my own life.

Feyre wasn’t the only character to flesh out. Rhysand, the “bad boy” of book one, branched out from his archetype and quickly became a favorite of mine personally. To see his weakness and his fears under the smug, swaggering exterior made him so much more real. How he slowly let down his guard didn’t feel forced onto the audience, like, “Oh, here is the hot ‘bad guy’, now feel terrible and love him more!” His organic, natural revitalization was slow, agonizing, and made me love every part of him. I never thought I would really relate or want to hug him and whisper, “Me, too, Rhys,” but this was such a sudden twist of the emotional knife that I welcomed the slow bleed of angst and pain. But he wasn’t completely made of angsty feelings, Rhysand had his own story to tell, one that was filled with loyalty and love, and his integrity really made the final push from drool-worthy bad boy meat to an honestly fierce character that I fell in love with. He had soul under all of that pretty boy exterior, which was so much more beautiful.

The World is Not so Small. In the first book, the glimpses of the world and the places were small and few, than I felt that I was a bit lost on the world building. But the sequel fans out and explores the setting, allowing the audience to really fall into the world and understand the politics and the reasoning behind some of the events. The first book was dedicated to hard-earned freedom from tyranny, and now, a cracked kingdom has to look towards keeping that freedom, putting aside blood feuds and old grievances. It was wonderful to feel caught up and swept away in the various spats of the land, and to enrich the knowledge of Maas’s feyworld.

LUCIEN. Thank you for not pushing him to the side! He’s not present for 90% of the book, but he isn’t forgotten! He made some horrible mistakes, and I’m still kinda ticked at him, but he wormed his way into my heart in the last book, and I am so excited to see where the story takes him.

That Ending. If I wasn’t a fan of Feyre in the first 99% of the book, she won all of my respect by the last chapter. This woman is just so bad ass. To see her at the end of the book, compared to the first, shows how she took her weakness and her pain and made it into a weapon. That ending portion left me screaming at the book, and I couldn’t see any better cliffhanger for this one.

Overall

The first book was pretty good, but this one was outstanding. A Court of Mist and Fury is a solid, wonderful celebration of a woman discovering herself and healing after a painful battle in her previous story. Her progression from victim to survivor added an extra layer to a story that toted a wonderful friendship and an outstanding romance. The secondary characters in this book were wonderful, gaining even more of my appreciation for Maas’ writing. The author could have gone for the insta-love, romance-fixes-all route, but she delicately crafted a story that puts healing and self identification first, friendship above intimacy, and choice over fate. This book isn’t fluffy and light, but it has its humor and the lighter moments, and there are very important issues brought up in this novel about feminist issues that do not beat the reader over the head.

LynSig_Purple

4 responses to “Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one so much! I agree with everything you’ve put in this review, and it’s very well-written! I mentioned a lot of similar things in my own review — I think the single most meaningful part of this book to me was the fact that even though I was on a completely different scale, I could pretty well relate to some of the emotional struggles. If you’re interested, I’ve posted my own review as well: http://classycatbooks.com/2016/05/a-court-of-mist-and-fury-a-court-of-thorns-roses-2-by-sarah-j-maas/

    Also, just FYI … I know you didn’t like the first two of the Throne of Glass series, but if you ever DO decide to give them a try again … I think the third book in that series is much more on-par with ACOMAF, at least from a character development and emotional journey perspective. May still not be your cup of tea, but just thought I’d share the tidbit 🙂
    Liza Barrett recently posted…Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

  2. I agree with you 1000% about this one! I was such a fan of Tamlin in the last book and I dreaded the possibility of a love triangle with Ryhsand in this one. I didn’t want anything to get in the way of Feyre and Tamlin. But man, I fell in love with Rhysand in this book. I also love that the author portrayed it in a way where Feyre acknowledged that she had loved Tamlin at first, but feelings change. Feyre changed a lot and so did Tamlin, for that matter. That ending was AMAZING!!! I actual tried to read Throne of Glass after I had read a Court of Thorn and Roses. I was so in love with that book that I figured I would adore Throne of Glass. Uh, not so much. I read the first two in the series and then I had no desire to read the rest. Great review!
    Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books recently posted…DISCUSSION: New YA Version of The DaVinci CodeMy Profile

    • Throne of Glass just pales in comparison. I can see how is was the freshman series by the author, and everyone keeps telling me ToG gets better, but now I have so many negative feelings towards the series that I’m not even going to waste my time with it.
      Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: The Lucky FewMy Profile

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