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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (Book #2 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses Saga) by Sarah J. Maas


Right off the bat, I have to say that while I absolutely loved A Court of Thorns and Roses for the most part, I sadly thought that A Court of Mist and Fury was a rather disappointing follow-up to it. That being said, I have to admit that I was really surprised by the aspects of the book that I ended up liking the most.

While I ultimately thought that A Court of Mist and Fury was a rather disappointing book, I did think that the book started out on a relatively strong note. I thought that Sarah J. Maas did a pretty good job of showing at the beginning of the book how the events that happened “Under the Mountain” in A Court of Thorns and Roses had definitely traumatized Feyre in a variety of ways. For example, it was established that she had apparently been getting sick and throwing up during the night on a regular basis, and it was also established that she had been hiding that fact from Tamlin. While I thought that the trauma that Feyre was experiencing at the beginning of the book was all very interesting, I really wish that Maas had explored that more than she did. I especially wish that Maas had really delved into how the trauma that Feyre was experiencing affected her relationship with Tamlin in more detail. 

One thing that really bothered me about the beginning of the book is the fact that much like Maas had the tendency to give what I viewed as being important conversations that took place between Feyre and Tamlin in A Court of Thorns and Roses the “Yada Yada” treatment, she also kind of did the same thing when it came to giving the details about how Tamlin proposed to Feyre. I was really surprised by the fact that Maas kind of glossed over the story of how Tamlin asked Feyre to marry him. That’s something that I really thought that Maas would have wanted to flesh out more than she did since Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship was such a central element of A Court of Thorns and Roses; and Tamlin proposing to Feyre is also something that I personally think that Maas definitely shouldn’t have glossed over like she did.

One thing that really surprised me about A Court of Mist and Fury is that it really made me hate Tamlin in a lot of ways. While Tamlin did do a few things in A Court of Thorns and Roses that bothered me, I ultimately thought that Tamlin was a very nice guy, and I was rooting for Feyre and Tamlin as a couple. However, as I was reading this book, I really started to feel like Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship was rather problematic, and I couldn’t entirely blame Feyre for not wanting to go through with the wedding. Given the way Tamlin was written in A Court of Mist and Fury, I honestly felt like Maas almost completely assassinated him as a character, as well as the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin.



That being said, I’m not entirely against the idea of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship ultimately not working out, and Feyre and Rhysand becoming romantically involved with each other. It’s actually rather refreshing to read a book series where the romance between two characters that began in the first book of the series ultimately doesn’t last for the duration of the series. That being said, I do think that Maas could have done a better job of handling the disintegration of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship in a way that felt more organic; rather than handling it in a way that felt like it was almost entirely reliant on making Tamlin seem unlikable to the readers like she did in this book. It just felt rather forced, in my opinion.

Honestly, the more I think about both A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Thorns and Roses, the more I think that the shift in the writing for Tamlin and his relationship with Feyre in this book doesn’t feel completely out of character for Tamlin. There were times when I was reading A Court of Thorns and Roses where I felt like Tamlin was being overly protective of Feyre, and as if he was basically keeping her locked away in his home by insisting that she not go off on her own during the times that he had personal business to take care of that took him away from his manor; rather than just letting Feyre be independent. That was definitely kind of creepy and frustrating at times.

When I read A Court of Thorns and Roses, I was admittedly really dreading the idea of Feyre having to honor the deal that she made with Rhysand; which basically involved her having to spend a week with him every month, because I didn’t like Rhysand very much at all in that book. In terms of how Maas continued that storyline in A Court of Mist and Fury, it really seemed like Maas was trying ruin Tamlin as a character in order to help prop up Rhysand in this book, and make the readers like him, and root for him and Feyre to become a couple. I didn’t really like that Tamlin and Lucien basically interrogated her for information about the Night Court whenever she would return to Tamlin’s manor, after having spent a week with Rhysand. I get that Tamlin and Rhysand are enemies; but I just found the fact that Tamlin basically tried to use Feyre in order to get information on Rhysand and the Night Court incredibly messed up, considering the fact that Tamlin supposedly loves Feyre. It all felt like a rather forced way to turn the readers against Tamlin, and make them like Feyre and Rhysand as a couple.

That being said, I was incredibly surprised by the character development for Rhysand in A Court of Mist and Fury, and how this book radically changed the way I felt about him as a character. When it came to the writing for Rhysand and his relationship with Feyre in this book, I thought it was very interesting that Rhysand really pushed Feyre to better herself by encouraging her to learn how to read, and I love that he helped her with that. I really like that he also encouraged her to learn how to develop a mental shield, so he wouldn’t always be privy to all of Feyre’s thoughts. While Rhysand’s motives for helping Feyre learn how to read and develop a mental shield ultimately proved to be somewhat self-serving as the book continued, I still like that he was encouraging Feyre to better herself and grow as a person. While Tamlin did treat Feyre well and I do believe that he genuinely loves her, it’s definitely rather frustrating that he never really encouraged Feyre to grow as a person like Rhysand did in this book. Finally, I have to admit that I absolutely loved the chemistry between Feyre and Rhysand in this book. In a lot of ways, I thought that Feyre and Rhysand had a lot more chemistry with each other than Feyre and Tamlin did. Feyre and Rhysand’s interactions with each other throughout the book were an absolute delight to read.

Much like I thought that A Court of Thorns and Roses was pretty steamy, and I really did think that it was steamier than Fifty Shades of Grey, the sex scenes in A Court of Mist and Fury were also pretty steamy. I honestly thought that the sex scenes with Feyre and Rhysand in this book were even steamier than the sex scenes with Feyre and Tamlin in A Court of Thorns and Roses were.

While I thought that the overall plot of A Court of Thorns and Roses was very well paced and altogether handled very well, there were definitely times when I felt like the plot of A Court of Mist and Fury kind of dragged. At times, reading this book felt like more of a chore for me than something I actually enjoyed doing. I honestly felt like the whole thing with Feyre, Rhysand and his friends all going on a mission to find the Book of Breathings, which tells how to control the Cauldron that the King of Hybern is collecting, wasn’t all that interesting. Since Feyre, Rhysand and the others’ mission was ultimately a huge part of the book’s plot, my lack of enjoyment regarding that aspect of the book’s overall plot definitely had a very negative affect on my enjoyment of A Court of Mist and Fury as a whole.

One final thing that I want to mention is that I honestly didn’t know that A Court of Mist and Fury is apparently somewhat of a Hades and Persephone retelling until after I had finished reading the book. I’m actually not familiar with the story of Hades and Persephone; and while I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, I definitely want to read the story of Hades and Persephone at some point in the future.

All things considered, while I absolutely loved A Court of Thorns and Roses for the most part, A Court of Mist and Fury sadly proved to be a rather disappointing follow-up to it; and I definitely have a lot of problems with this book. While I really like that Sarah J. Maas showed a different side of Rhysand in this book, and I love the character development that he got; I really hate how she pretty much ruined Tamlin as a character for the most part in this book. If Maas didn’t want Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship to last, and if she wanted to have a romance between Feyre and Rhysand in this book, that’s fine. I just felt like she could have a done a much better job of handling the disintegration of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship in a way that felt much more organic; rather than having Feyre and Tamlin growing apart feel as forced as it did.

While I didn’t think that Feyre and Rhysand’s whole mission to find the Book of Breathings was all that interesting, their interactions with each other throughout the book; and the evolution of their relationship was definitely the biggest highlight of the book for me personally. I’m really surprised that Maas was able to handle the development of Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship in this book so well, and yet she handled the deterioration of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship very poorly.

Despite the fact that I didn’t think that A Court of Mist and Fury was all that great of a book, I did think that the ending of the book was incredibly intriguing. The ending of the book definitely got me excited to read A Court of Wings and Ruin, and I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens next. While I know that there are going to be more books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series after A Court of Wings and Ruin, I’m really excited to see how Maas is going to end Feyre’s story in A Court of Wings and Ruin.

That being said, my final score for A Court of Mist and Fury is 6 out of 10.

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