17 April, 2017

[Book Review] A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book #2)
Release Date: 3 May, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Action & Adventure
ISBN:  9781619634466
Edition: Hardback
Review Written: 17 April, 2017 (rewritten multiple times trying to get it right)
Summary: 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. See more at Bloomsbury's Website.

I have to admit I was a bit hyped for this book when it finally released. Several blogs on Tumblr that I follow kept posting information about it, and eventually I did have to unfollow one to prevent major spoilers for myself. With that said, A Court of Mist and Fury did not disappoint in my expectations from this series.

Unlike the first book, A Court of Mist and Fury gives us a glimpse past the 'happily ever after' that many fairy tales and their retellings leave us with. Instead, we're given the gritty look beyond and a good heaping dose of PTSD and other issues that arise from both war and traumatic experiences. In it, we're shown Feyre at a point three months after her 'rebirth' and the end of Amarantha. Instead of the well adjusted portrait of 'happiness' that typically comes from fairy tales, readers are introduced to the book with "I vomited into the toilet, hugging the cool sides, trying to contain the sound of my retching....I'd been here for fifteen minutes now...Only a nightmare. One of many, asleep or waking, that haunted me these days." Obviously, Feyre hasn't been having the ideal life despite being free of Amarantha. 

Another note shows she's had a hard time adjusting to her new body which is much stronger than it had been as a human. "Three months of adjusting to my immortal body...I kept mouthing them until I could loosen my grip on my legs and lift my head. Pain splintered through my hands- I'd somehow curled them into fists so tight my nails were close to puncturing my skin." This combined with the fact she was continually shoved off and told she wasn't allowed to leave the seat of the Spring court left the healing and adjusting process much more difficult. Fight after fight with Tamlin left their marks on her since she was hardly used to just sitting still and wished to learn to defend herself in the very least. At this point, the three months have been unmarked by Rhysand's bargain, struck while Feyre was at her weakest in the dungeons Under the Mountain. Wary and uncertain, Feyre found herself on edge waiting on him to call in the bargain of her spending a week every month in his home.

The past three months, despite barely being adjusted and definitely not healing, had a different focus for our heroine. She spent much of it planning for her wedding to Tamlin, though she does question more than once during that point if she truly wants to continue with the wedding. Even just before the wedding, she has this exchange with Alis, one of the fae who had been in Tamlin's household during the first book and whom she'd had a part in saving.

"You look beautiful," Alis said quietly. I was fairly certain her thoughts on the dress were the same as my own, but I believed her.
"Thank you."
"And you sound like you're going to your funeral."
I plastered a grin on my face. Alis rolled her eyes, but she nudged me towards the doors as the opened on some immortal wind, lilting music streaming in. "It'll be over faster than you can blink," she promised....

Walking down the aisle, Feyre feels a sense of things feeling wrong. The closer she gets, the less happy she feels, even going as far to beg in her head someone save her. And fortunately for her, someone does. Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court, appears on the pretense of calling in the bargain. Though it's a poor time, it does spare Feyre of the embarrassment of rejecting Tamlin in front of his entire court.

Uncertain how to deal with things, she begins to confront Tamlin when she's returned home especially after he interrogates her about the Lands of Night. Things collectively get worse as she and Tamlin dance around what happened Under the Mountain, and when Tamlin locks her into the house to keep her from following him off into Danger, Feyre summons the power of Night in her distress leading to her being swept away by Mor, Rhysand's cousin. Left with the task to determine exactly what her place in the world is, Feyre is faced with a choice. Go back to Tamlin and pretend nothing is happening or stay with Rhysand and learn how to effectively use her powers to protect herself.

Feyre eventually chooses to join the Night Court, unwilling to be left alone again in the home on top of the Mountain above the Court of Nightmares. From there she's swept away to a final stronghold of the Night Court that is unknown to those outside the court, and even those outside of the city in the court. During her time here, she grows in leaps and bounds in controlling her powers and learning to fight in battles. She also discovers feelings growing for Rhysand, though she denies them for a long while before discovering a secret that truly changes how she sees him (for the better). 

The book ends with a stand off in the Kingdom of Hybern with the King and surprisingly Tamlin. Tamlin's actions are truly driven by his need to "protect" and own Feyre while being mostly betrayed by Ianthe, the priestess who had returned at the end of the curse by Amarantha. Though her bargain of spending 1 week every month with Rhysand is broken, Hybern is unable to break the mating bond, though Feyre pretends he has and she throws herself into Tamlin's arms in order to save both her sisters and to infiltrate the Spring Court so she can report back to Rhysand about Tamlin's movements. The final scene in the book shows Feyre returning to the Spring Court ready to spy and do her part as the High Lady of the Night Court.

The story will continue in May 2017 with the final book of the trilogy, A Court of Wings and Ruin.

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