Monday, June 6, 2016

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

“To the people who told me to read this book because they wanted me to get pissed.”
“To the characters that are annihilated, and the plots that make no sense.”

Totally accurate quote from ACOMAF.

So here's the thing, I was planning on writing a long-ass review for everything that annoyed me, but I just want to be rid of this dissapointment already. Beware of spoilers for both books and a very ranty and messy review.

Ok, first let's get a few things straight. There were a few devious souls in Goodreads who doubted the pureness of my untainted heart and actually thought I would hate this book. To those people I say, shame. Shame on you.

Also, you guys were right.

Now, to my surprise, my problems weren’t those most people had, such as the annihilation of Tamlin’s characterization to make him a good guy and make readers ship RhysandXFeyre. I think for those things to annoy me I would have to:

1.Liked Tamlin and Feyre together.
I didn’t.

2.Expected better from this author.
I didn’t.

ACOTAR was my first book by Sarah J. Maas and although not perfect, I still really liked the story and its promise so I was eagerly anticipating the sequel. After reading her Throne of Glass series, I realized that her writing wasn’t exactly my thing, and after what happened with Chaol and his personality completely erased for the sakes of a ship so chemistry-less I was unaware that they were even a ship until QoS, my hopes weren’t too high. But I gave ACOTAR five stars! Even if somethings annoyed me, I still had high hopes for Rhys and the Night Court, hopes that were cruelly squashed when I began reading.

To be fair, the first 150 pages or so were very interesting. It’s not common for books in the YA/NA genre to pay much attention to the lasting effects of traumatic events, rather using it as a plot device and forgotten later on. A Court of Mist and Fury picks up a few months after Amarantha was killed and the curse broken. Feyre still suffers from what she went through Under the Mountain and the lives she had to take continue to haunt her so badly she can barely sleep without nightmares.

Feyre was never the liveliest of characters, if I’m being honest. I found her personality fickle, as if Maas couldn’t exactly make up her mind on what she wanted her to be, which turns out to be something most of her books have in common. Her characters are not very well rounded; you’ve got the vicious assassin who has gone through hell to survive, but doesn’t check mysterious candies for poison, trusts people too easily and more often than not is played by the people around her. With Feyre it was the same, and in ACOMAF the same issues carries through. I’m a very character-oriented person, I like to connect with these people and see how they face the story. With Maas it’s another thing, she has a story in mind so she twists and molds the characters to fit into her scheme.

Rather than seeing people face adversity and go through the plot as themselves, Maas makes them go OCC for several scenes so that they can survive/carry on, then forgets all about it. 

On PTSD and abusive relationships: 

I’m not going to say that the way Maas wrote PTSD is not valid, because everybody experiences it in their own way. I simple wished she had been more consistent about it. There were moments in which Feyre would claim she couldn’t feel fear anymore, that she was no longer afraid of dying yet she would scream terrified two paragraphs later on and wouldn’t think twice about it. This was something that repeated over and over throughout the book, and I just couldn’t help but to think that the PTSD was more of a plot device to prove how amazing Rhysand was by helping her, than an actual relevant part of her characterization. I mean, if it were wouldn’t Maas have put more thought into it?

Maas wrote Feyre so she would eventually become strong and independent. To be free of Tamlin’s abusive behavior and instead found someone else she could be happy with. However, even though she escapes and gains a bit of independence, her narration is still oriented to men. Everything she does concerns Rhys, and her friends are all his friends first. The most important things in her life are still connected and dependant of a man. Can you imagine your life like that? Your only friends, acquaintances and people you interact with are all your boyfriend’s. 
Even when Feyre claimed she wanted a family, someone who would care for her like her father and sisters never did, she is only fully embraced into the group not because she fought for it, or because she means so much to Amren, Azriel, Mor and Cassian. No, it’s because she sleeps with Rhysand and settles the mate bond. Her acceptance has to be penis-approved first.

“’Welcome to the Family Feyre.’
And I thought that those might have been the most beautiful words I had ever heard.”

One thing I was pleased with was how Rhysand’s rape was dealt with. It’s not common to see men being raped in literature, let alone have the subject brought up in a respectful manner and this book did it. Back in ACOTAR I was afraid of how it would be dealt with because, yes Rhysand was a dick but it was clear that the relationship between him and Amarantha was not consensual at all. He was forced to sleep with her or else he would be killed, yet everybody else thought of him as a whore. It was interesting seeing how Rhysand reacted to finally being free, his memories of his time there and how he coped with what had been done to him.
However, I still wish we had seen more of it. Since most of the narration was about Feyre and there were only a few mentions of how Rhysand was dealing with that.

Regardless of all of this, things were going great until the Night Court happened. Until that point, I was extremely happy with ACOMAF. I couldn’t put it down, I needed MORE! Especially when Rhysand appeared, he had been the most interesting thing back in ACOTAR (even if he had been an asshole) so finally getting to see him and his court of mischief and depravity was going to be AMAZING!... Sadly, I was mistaken, and here is where the problems begin.

The Night Court & Rhys: 

I remember there was a time when the idea of getting to know the Night Court gave me joy. Now, I want to cry with how fucking boring it was. Where was the fun? The mystery and intrigue? Maas takes everything that belongs to Rhys and his court and polishes to a boring, perfect reflection of goodyness and pureness, so that Feyre can finally fall in love with it.

This was my biggest issue here. Even though back in ACOTAR Rhys was an asshole, he and Feyre had chemistry. So if the author really wanted to establish a romance between them she had the means to do it. Instead, what does Maas do? She completely erases anything remotely interesting about Rhysand, turning him into a boring, perfect goody-two-shoes kind of guy with absolutely NO FLAW.
So many people loved the romance building between Feyre and Rhysand, but I hated it simply because it wasn’t real. I understand that both of them had their issues, and after what happened to Tamlin she didn’t want to be around someone like him anymore, but did Rhysand had to be perfect?

For me, it was just sad to see that Rhysand had to be cleansed of all his sins. Polished with sugar so that all of his rough edges were rounded up and smoothed out. In order for this romance to happen, Rhysand can’t make a single mistake, or else Feyre is out.

There is no struggle in their relationship, nothing to overcome besides Feyre’s narrow mind. Rhys is absolute perfect, and he is her mate. She doesn’t want Rhys despite his flaws; she doesn’t fight for the relationship. She loves Rhys because he is the safe choice.

At one point, Feyre is relieved that Rhys is her mate because that means that her decision was already made for her. She doesn’t really have to choose or think, she might as well just go with the male fate forced upon her.

“And beneath the barrage of my thoughts, a throb of relief.
My relationship with Tamlin had been doomed from the start. I had left-only to find my mate.”

It was sad to see that, despite everything Rhysand had gone through (either ACOTAR or ACOMAF Rhysand), the only way he had of being loved was if the author turned him into freaking Jesus Christ. I thought him turning out to be so good from the beginning was absolutely laughable, but still, sad.

I never got the sense Feyre loved him, despite all their beautiful words on romance, because pretty words mean nothing if you don’t have the actions to back it up.

In A Court of Mist and Fury, Rhys went through hell and back to prove that he was the most especial and saint male to have stepped into Phrytian, he was there to nurse Feyre back to help, he sacrificed himself to save his friends and his people, he is the most powerful High Lord in the history of High Lords, etc. But the moment he keeps ONE secret from Feyre? She dumps him in the mud and leaves him.

I know what you’re going to say, “She had Tamlin! He controlled her! She didn’t want to repeat that!!!!” And I understand, but seriously, the guy was absolutely perfect, he kept the secret of her being his mate because he thought she would do something dumb like run away… and then she runs away. But is Feyre ever recognized for her wrong doings?

Feyre is never at fault, she never has to earn that love. Why the hell does Rhysand love her, I wonder? Besides that convenient mate bond. He claims that he loved her ever since he picked up the knife to kill Amarantha, but I just don’t understand why. Yes, yes, love is a mystery and all that shit, but the reader should be able to see, or at least make sense, of the romance, Instead it’s like “They’re mates! Suck it.”

I know that many people were angry at what happened to Tamlin and the reveal of “Rhysand’s true nature”. I’ve seen reviews in which they claim there are clues and hints in both books towards this, I myself didn’t find them but there is no way to know what the author really had in mind, all I know is that, it could easily happen again.

Yes, Feyre and Rhysand are mates, but even so the way she built their relationship doesn’t protect it from a new change of ship. Feyre was incredibly suspicious and reluctant to hear Rhysand, yet the minute she arrives at Night Court and his cousin and friends start telling her how nothing is what she thought, that the Night Court is a wonderful place and Rhysand and amazing High Lord, Feyre thinks “Oh, I guess I was wrong.” Instead of, you know, thinking they are lying/deceiving her like people at that place are well known to do.

She just accepts everything she’s told as solid fact, never questioning except for when the author wants to create mindless drama.

Mates are equal, and for some contrived reason that I yet not fully understand, Feyre and Rhysand are mates. But Maas could easily introduce a new ship if she wanted to. 
Let’s say that in the Third one, there is a fight and a spell gets loose, making the cauldron spill its inky water all over the floor, and from that pool arises a new High Lord, a being created from the cauldron itself. This man, who will totally be white and straight because otherwise he can’t be a love interest, will be the most perfect person on Earth and he’ll be not Feyre’s mate, but her ultra-mate, a kind of mate so rare and speshiul that it’s more powerful than regular mates.

Then what will happen? Well, then it’ll turn out that Feyre and Rhysand are not really meant to be. You see, they were both so broken after Amarantha that they needed comforting, they both needed support and happiness, but now Feyre is ready to actually live and be in danger and shit.

Sounds fucking ridiculous, doesn’t it? Now imagine reading 627 pages of something as dumb as that and you have my ACOMAF experience.

That’s the thing with Maas, she makes stuff up as she goes. There are people who are fine with that, and other who need more consistency. I need consistency.

I remember reading a review that said Maas creates “very boring, very heterosexual romances” and I couldn’t agree more. The whole foundation of their relationship is a boring-ass dreamland. Hell, Velaris is even called “The Court of Dreams”.
The perfection doesn’t only embark Rhys it’s also about Feyre and their relationship. They have sex, but nothing too kinky. They bleed and sweat, but still look absolutely gorgeous. It’s not real. At one point they eat stew and start having sex, neither of them had bad breath of course. I wonder what would happen if one of them *gasps* farted during sex, or made something ridiculous like a glowing vagina.

I bet Feyre would dump his ass.

I was soooo looking forward to seeing this place, and all we get is strolling through the streets, buying lacy underwear (oh, so spicy!!!!), going out for dinner with friends, training every now and then. Boring, boring, boring.

The secondary characters: 

Although they were promising, the secondary characters left a lot to be desired, especially because the narration focus on boring-ass Feyre and Perfect-ass Rhysand (literally). Amren, Mor, Cassian, Azriel and Lucien were there to serve a purpose. Rhysand’s gang was there to prove that he was actually a good guy with lots of devoted and crazy friends, and Lucien was there to show how pretty much everything the Spring Court was shit.

There was so much promise in those characters, so many things to explore and develop. Yet none of those opportunities were taken.

Amren was the proof that Maas’ writing is “tell not show” we are told how wishes she is, how powerful, and cunning and ruthless. Yet what do we see? A girl that has some power, but it’s barely shown and in very few occasions. Who wears jewelry and apparently comes from another dimension. She’s supposed to be incredibly powerful, making people tremble in sheer fear and yet she is Rhysand’s second? Why the fuck would she do that? Why isn’t she out there fucking with people who annoy her, you mean to tell me this all powerful being actually takes orders?


Mor, Cassian and Azriel seemed fun at first, but eventually I grew tired of Maas shoving their romance down my throat with Feyre being their shipping champion. It was like Tamlin all over again, Maas wants to create subtle and wonderful hints for her romances, but the woman is as subtle as a punch in the face, and it shows in the way she manipulates the narration with very obvious comparisons and set-ups.

Lucien I wished we had seen more of it. For the book’s focus on trauma, all we ever get to see is how it affected Rhys and Feyre but not the rest of the people Under the Mountain and the ones who were left behind. Look, I hate to compare but it didn’t seem fair that the narration made it seem as if Feyre were the only one that suffered. Yes, she was beaten and had to clean dirty floors, pick up lent in the dark, face challenges and kill two faeries. But there were people who were locked up for fifty years in there. Fifty years being beaten, watching your loved ones being killed out of spite, and being tortured all the while knowing that the people that was left behind had it worse, they were enslaved, raped, tortured and beaten repeatedly. I’m not saying that Feyre’s trauma is less valid, all I’m saying is that hers wasn’t the only one that mattered. Just look at Lucien, he wanted to avoid a new war so badly he went along with Tamlin’s requests even if it killed him.

And what do we get?

You are my mate.


I was SO FUCKING PISSED when I read this, and for a while I couldn’t figure out why until I realized; this is all we get. For Lucien, someone who has been through so much, who loved a “lesser” faerie and was murdered in front of him, who had his eyes ripped out and almost died… all his character gets is a stupid romantic plot with Elain, someone who is even more fucking boring than Feyre (the human/fae equivalent of watching paint dry).

Fuck it. 

The Plot: 

What plot? Seriously, I kept reading and half the time I couldn’t remember what they were doing or why they were doing it. Apparently the King of Hybern had found the Cauldron, the powerful casserole that gave birth to the universe or something. And he had brought Jurian, the human Amarantha killed in the war, back from the dead… because that… made sense, somehow? And, apparently he wants to shatter the wall and conquer the human lands, and the human Queens, even though they hate Fae, were stupid enough to believe him and him access to part of the book that can nullify the cauldron… because of reasons.
What I don’t understand is… ok, I there are many things that make no sense but basically:

1.Why did Feyre had to go with Tamlin? Besides drama, I mean. Feyre is super incredibly-amazing and powerful thanks to the abilities accidentally given to her by all High Lords when she was turned into Fae (is she the only one like that?). So powerful indeed, that she was a freaking Deux ex-machina whenever the plot needed it, but then she went back to being completely useless. She had already shattered their defences, why not go with Rhysand and her sisters? Or why not kill the King right there? They didn’t even try.
I know Rhysand said she “was going to destroy them from within” but this is Feyre. She had Rhysand going around with a ten-foot erection every time she came near and she “wasn’t sure he even liked her”. And this shinny beacon of human stupidity was supposed to be a mastermind and trick beings that are hundreds if not thousands of years older than her?

2. What was Jurian doing there? Of all the people to resurrect, why this putty human?

3.Why use the Cauldron to resurrect people when you can pretty much use it to destroy everybody? What’s the King’s motivations here?

4.Why was I actually excited for this book?


In the end, if well A Court of Mist and Fury is not the worst book I’ve read this year, so far it’s been my biggest disappointment.

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