To the stars who listen and the dreams that are answered.Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury
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.
Disclaimer: Normally I do try to keep this relatively spoiler free but this is the second book in a series and therefore I have to reference things that happened in the last book so there may be some spoilers.
This was a whirlwind of a novel. For a second novel, which traditionally aren’t as strong as the first, I was utterly impressed. The initial concept of the novel appears to be “what happens after happily ever after” which is something that Maas does well. The story starts with Feyre after she’s returned back to The Spring Court and is residing with Tamlin, who she fought so hard to be with. Except, she isn’t happy. Her actions Under the Mountain have left her with a raging case of PTSD and a High Lord that won’t let her out of the house, leaving her to feel trapped and isolated from the rest of the world. The strongest part about the start of this novel is that Feyre doesn’t just walk away from her traumas unscathed. She suffers greatly from what she witnessed and the reader is privy to these sufferings. It’s more believable that someone who basically dies Under the Mountain would be scared of small spaces (after her jail cell) and suffer from nightmares.
The interesting thing about Tamlin at the start of this book is that his personally is almost dramatically different than it was in A Court of Thorns and Roses. He goes from being the heroic savior with a bad temper to a full-on villain. Normally, I would question this character change and mark it as being too much, but here I thought that it was justified. Like Feyre, Tamlin suffered greatly Under the Mountain and his reaction to his PTSD is the complete opposite of Feyre’s. He wants Feyre to be safe, so he resorts to locking Feyre in her room. Her reaction? To call for help from Tamlin’s enemy. Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court. In my last review, I didn’t mention Rhysand at all despite the fact that he becomes a pretty large part saving Feyre. The reason for that was my doubt that Rhysand would come to play a large part in the rest of the series, except for providing some sarcasm and twisting Feyre’s mind.
I was wrong. While Under the Mountain, Rhysand and Feyre make a bargain that would allow Rhysand to save Feyre’s life and in return, Feyre must spend one week every month in The Night Court. Feyre agrees and after the events Under the Mountain, she waits nervously for Rhysand to fulfil his end of the bargain. This comes three months later, in the middle of Feyre and Tamlin’s wedding. Now, I do have to say that this is because Feyre really does not want to marry Tamlin after he basically becomes her captor (which he initially was but now he fits more into this role). Rhysand comes and saves her by taking her to The Night Court.
Feyre goes back and forth a few times until an incident that leaves her physically trapped in her house. Now, at this point the reader learns that Feyre has special powers that were granted to her by each High Lord as she became High Fae (something that happened in the last book). Using some of these powers she manages to break free and finds herself being taken to The Night Court. How does this happen? Feyre and Rhysand have a bond, through which, Rhys hears Feyre calling for help and decides that he should help her (Complicated doesn’t even begin to cover this whole magic thing). This is where the story really starts.
There are several new characters introduced to the plotline as Rhys’s inner circle: Azriel (his spymaster, Cassian (his general), Mor (his cousin and third-in-command), and Amren (his second-in-command). Feyre eventually weaves her way into this inner circle after being introduced to them in Rhys’s hidden city, Velaris, The City of Starlight. These characters save the monotony of the story and I wish they had been introduced in the last novel, but their introduction here proves to be vital for Feyre’s healing. I really loved their incorporation here because it shows that Maas doesn’t forget that Feyre is supposed to be a healing character and this makes sure that Feyre’s healing is a large part of the story.
The concept behind the main plot was intriguing due to the complexity and commentary on social policies in this kingdom. The impending war isn’t a matter of brute force, but rather, sheer will and cunning. This is the attractive part of the novel. Feyre and Rhys set out on a goal to retrieve a book called The Book of Breathings in order to stop the King of Hybern from starting a war with a magical object. I appreciated the intricacy with which she crafted the backgrounds here, filling the audience in on the history of Prythian and how that ties to the King of Hybern and Feyre’s own personal history. The build-up towards the impending battle between the king and Prythian definitely makes this novel.
The next thing I wanted to talk about is Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship. They’re much more exciting than Tamlin and Feyre who just seemed to gravitate towards each other and their relationship seems to pull out their true personalities. There is a large focus on love, timing, and fate. Even from the start, the reader is questioning Feyre and Tamlin’s true feelings for each other because Feyre becomes so dead set on not marrying Tamlin. Later, Feyre debates whether she would’ve fallen in love with Tamlin if she hadn’t met him first, or if he was a love that she needed to lead her towards her actual love. Finally, there’s the matter of fate. This novel makes is clear that the signs always pointed at Feyre and Rhysand being endgame and the way that Maas has done this is by shaping each event around Rhysand’s perspective and allowing him to reveal this later in the book. It’s not obvious, but it’s there and it’s done well. I find them a much stronger couple than Feyre and Tamlin because they take the time to get to know each other and learn what’s behind their masks (another strong motif throughout this book).
The last little bit I have to say about this novel is about the writing. I love Maas’s elaborate and flowery prose but at times she becomes really repetitive with certain words and phrases: “sheer will”, “purred”, “went cold”. It doesn’t detract from the novel as a whole but in certain scenes the novel came across as repetitive because the wording throughout was the same as in about a dozen scenes before, especially during character interactions. Overall, she’s got a great sense of description and keeps her dialogue usage to the absolutely necessary which I do enjoy.
TL;DR: A strong companion to the first novel with a stronger group of characters, more of a plot driven (rather than love driven) story and witty banter makes this an absolute must-read.