Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free (sort of, see below), it will make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Here at VBC we’re all about the spoiler-free reviews, but occasionally we come across a book that is seriously hard to review without them. A Court of Mist and Fury is one of those books; something big happens relatively early on that has a major impact on the rest of the story. So I’m going to break this down into a spoiler-free portion at the top and then, after the SPOILER TAGS, I’m going to delve into what I thought after that major event (no further spoilers for what happens after).
Three months have past since the events Under the Mountain and the Spring Court is finally beginning to heal after the tyranny of Amarantha. Feyre… Not so much. While her body may be immortal, her mind is tormented by her time as a prisoner, the trials she endured and the innocent lives she had to take. As she explores more of Prythian, Feyre beings to understand the evil in this realm did not end Under the Mountain.
A Court of Mist and Fury, once again, showcases the epic nature of Maas’ storytelling. Clocking in at just over 600 pages, this isn’t a quick read, but you definitely get a lot for your time. It twisted and turned in ways I totally wasn’t expecting, which is something I adore in a novel. Maas’ writing continues to utterly absorb me, it’s so rich but never overwhelming. I loved the depth and detail to the history of this world, with myths and legends coming to life.
There’s a real sense of quest to this book, with tasks to be completed and information to obtain. The pacing in the majority of the book reflects this brilliantly, ebbing and flowing toward a typical Maas-jaw-dropping-heart-wrenching conclusion—another reason I love her books, the gloves are off when it comes to the last half and series-changing events happen.
As Freya experiences more of the Fae realm, she begins to understand just how much her resurrection has changed her. She was very much the underdog in A Court of Thorns and Roses, a human against powerful beings. Here she has so much raw power that, to begin with, she as no control over but as the story progress she learns to harness. Her character and emotional journey in ACOMAF, while brutal to read about at times, unfolded brilliantly and I loved watching her turn into a true power player in this world. I also loved that she beings to experience what friendship means in this book with the introduction of some frankly brilliant new characters.
A Court of Mist and Fury took everything laid out in the first book and just made it more: the world, the characters, the relationships, the conflict, everything. Be warned though, this has the potential to be a real Marmite book—you may either love it or hate it. I personally loved it, but there were some elements and choices, particularly in character development, that may not sit well with many readers.
Also, there’s a change in tone from the first book regarding the sexual content. I would definitely say this in the new adult/adult category now, rather than young adult (where as the first book felt more borderline YA/NA).
The first hundred pages or so, Freya is in a very dark place. Plagued by guilt and nightmares, a gulf has begun to form between her and Tamlin. So hellbent on protecting her, both for her sake and as the symbol of hope she now represents to the Spring Court, he grossly miscalculates Freya’s needs. When he does something she finds unforgivable, Freya flees to the sanctuary Rhysand, Lord of the Night Court, offers.
Tamlin makes some terrible choices, ones that it safe to say there’s no coming back from for Freya. If you’re firmly Team Tamlin, what happens between them, and his behavior after, may be a deal breaker for you when it comes to this series. Personally I found this a really interesting plot thread. I liked this idea of your first love not necessarily (or usually) being the love of your life and appreciated that is wasn’t a love triangle situation. I’m just not totally sure it fits with Tamlin’s character from the first book. It shall be interesting to reread ACOTAR with the knowledge from this book. I have to say though, I do prefer the dynamics of Freya and Rhys’ relationship.
The interactions between Rhys and Freya progresses steadily from barely concealed contempt, to tentative trust, to friendship and then finally into something much deeper. As she spends time in his court, and gets to know those closest to him, Freya begins to truly understand why he behaved the way he did Under the Mountain. The unveiling of his past, the development of his character, and his attitude toward Freya are what made this book for me. I loved this slow build surrounding them, it made for what feels like a rock solid foundation—and made events later on even more heart breaking.
So excited for the third and final book!
Sexual content: graphic sex, references to rape