29 November 2016

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury


A Court of Mist and Fury Book Review

Rating: ✭

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction
Publication: May 3, 2016
Format: Paperback, 640 pages
Source: Self owned copy

Before I even say anything, don’t read this unless you have read A Court of Thorns and Roses and don’t wish to be spoilt. I warned you.

I can’t form my emotions and thoughts into a proper review with paragraphs so I’m just going to do subtitles and go from there.

So, what do you need to read this book…
Some patience would be good. Despite being filled with lost of action and plot twists, A Court of Mist and Fury was a long book and dragged in the middle as the action plot began to slow. It started to focus on the romance too much, but before this really became a problem, Maas picked up the plot again and worked her amazing-book-ending magic.
Tolerance - for the asshole named Tamlin, that’s why. 
You’re also going to need a brown paper bag and some emotional strength for all the overwhelming emotions and feels that come with this book.

Was it good or not?
A Court of Mist and Fury was definitely a good book, no doubt, even better than ACOTAR in terms of characterisation and world development.
It is intenser, darker and sexier than ACOTAR and Sarah enchants us with her beautiful writing yet again.
I loved the rawness and honesty of the book. The characters were laid bare and we were given parts of them that even they don’t often access themselves. ACOMAF contained a lot more fantasy too and it wasn’t just about Feyre and romance and trying to survive this time. The book was about scheming and politics too.
SJM is just so talented at making her readers want more and carving ideas and words into an amazing novel, there is no doubt that the answer to this question is GOOD. Actually, AMAZING.
Also... there was a map at the beginning of the book and what's a good fantasy book without a map?

We finally get a world
In ACOTAR, we only saw the Spring Court and a small amount of Under the Mountain. SJM has now introduced us to the rest of Prythian. The audience gets to discover the other courts (yes, more than one) and the history of the world. We even get to see part’s world of the mortal world and how the Faeries and Humans interact.
Maas also gives us the most beautiful and detailed descriptions of Prythian and we really get to see the beauty of the place that is so often talked about through the story.

Feyre finally gets her wings
Both literally and figuratively, Feyre earns her wings and by wings I mean her true character. Feyre has developed so much and has grown into a better person, her own person - she knows who she is now and what she wants and she is going to get it.
At the beginning of this book Feyre is broken. The first line is “Maybe I’d always been broken and dark inside.” Under the Mountain has left her in pieces with blood soaked hands and she is definitely not okay and I really feel for her. I think ACOMAF was such a great book because the audience got see Feyre heal and change.
She’s fiercer, stronger and she’s embraced the powers that came with becoming a Fae at the end of ACOTAR. Her suffering and trauma from her experience Under the Mountain has changed her and as a result she has shed that naive, soak-up-that-stars attitude for a harder, maturer skin. 
I liked Feyre in A Court of Thorns and Roses but now I really love her character.

A book of kings and queens
This booked had brilliant characterisation and we also got a lot more out of the characters than we did in ACOTAR. Aside from Feyre really being the winner for this book, SJM also introduces a few new characters. Azriel, Cassian, Morrigan and Amren are all introduced as members of Rhysand’s inner circle and members in the Night Court/Velaris. Each one of these characters had their own unique story and sense of humour that gave ACOMAF depth and intensity that made it the amazing book that it is. 
Let’s do a quick run-down:
Morrigan - Referred to as Mor, is Rhysand’s cousin and Third in command. She’s wicked and beautiful and is the overseer of the Court of Nightmares and Dreams. There’s a lot of tension between her, Cassian and Azriel and I wanted a lot more of what happened between them.
Cassian - The snarky General Commander of the Night Court’s armies and an Illyrian (a warrior race of Faerie’s). Cassian’s got a new thing going with Nesta and I’m just ready for it to happen because it sounds like an interesting relationship.
Azriel - A quiet and sombre Shadowsinger, and Rhysand’s spy who is also an Illyrian just like Cassian and Rhys. He also has a thing for Mor and I’m so ready, yet again, for to become an official thing. Throughout the book there was so much tension between the two.
(Also, on the topic of Illyrian’s, do we really have to know that it’s Illyrian every single time. Illyrian blades, and Illyrian wings, Illyrian bows, Illyrian leathers, Illyrian gifts. Illyrian, I get it, they have special gear.)
Amren - Rhys’s Second in command and political advisor. She’s a big fae but she used to be something different and sinister, something that not even the Inner Circle knows about so I smell a good backstory appearing in the sequel. Also, she is so badass. She used a death threat as a page stopper. Could she be any more amazing?

The good or the bad guy?
Personally, I was so glad Tamlin was not this book. If you haven’t read my ACOTAR review, which you should, than you would know that I was part of the minority that didn’t like Tamlin. He wasn’t that bad and if you think I over dramatised, then brace yourself. 
At first I thought that Tamlin was just being painted so wrong, and despite disliking his character to begin with, I felt that Sarah was being unfair and just altering him to suit Feyre’s emotions when she decides she wants Rhysand and not Tamlin. But then I took a moment to really and sit and think about it and COMPLETELY changed my mind.
Tamlin may not be a bad guy, but he was never a good guy either. Throughout ACOTAR, SJM cleverly leaves hints about Tamlin (like when he bit Feyre for not good reason or when he made her stay in the house “for her own good” and when he shoved her in a carriage and sent her back to her family without giving her a chance to say no). 
Everyone was so blinded by the beauty of the Spring Court and the power of the High Fae and his toned muscles that we heard about in every chapter, they didn’t really see what was going on.
[Side note: I was very angry upon the discovery of these hints, it looked something like this. I just couldn’t believe that I didn’t see it.] 
I feel like Feyre’s love for Tamlin in ACOTAR was a case of stockholm syndrome and it makes sense why she would go for Rhysand who offers her so much more than Tamlin ever did.
In A Court of Mist and Fury, I think that Tamlin’s true personality is exposed and he definitely isn’t a bad guy but he comes off as over-controlling and possessive (which is definitely not a tick in my books). I think the reason behind this is his and Feyre’s experience Under the Mountain. It really changed them and they’re trying to glue all their broken pieces back together so that comes with emotions and morals and ideas, and in this case, we see the characters change and sometimes it isn’t for the better.
So really, Tamlin is neither bad nor good, Feyre is just a woman who has learnt more and matured and is making her own, new decisions which (fortunately) do not include Tamlin.

In the end, the bad guy ended up being the good.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Rhys and even more than I did in ACOTAR. We get to see such a different side of him and yet he is still the flirt, cunning and dangerous character he was.
Rhysand was definitely portrayed as the bad guy who wanted Feyre for himself and would do anything in his power to just annoy someone to no avail. A Court of Mist and Fury takes this perception and chucks it out the window.
Rhysand’s true backstory is presented and we learn that he actually has suffered so much over the expanse of his life and that everything isn’t as peachy as he makes it seem. He is broken too, although in his own way, just like Feyre and they really help heal each other.
It was so good to see that softer side of him beneath the hard, flippant exterior that we saw in ACOTAR. I loved finally learning about his backstory and it all just made me want to protect him. He is a fascinating character (other than being super hot); he is ruthless and strong-willed but vulnerable and good-hearted and so selfless at the same time.

Wait, who was the villain?
If the subtitle didn’t make it clear enough, than the villain in this story was 100 times worse. The King of Hybern was the villain, he didn’t even have a name. I didn’t understand why was he evil? What did he do to become the villain? He wanted to take of Prythian but why? How? I think SJM might have lost sight of antagonist in writing the romance and the fantasy and action.
ALSO… Ianthe? I just could not stand that priestess, who should definitely not be a priestess, and why she wanted power. And could some please sew her legs together?
This whole absent villain thing left a bit of a plot-hole in A Court of Mist and Fury and hopefully that can be sewed together too.

The make it or break it
After reading a couple of reviews by others on Goodreads, I noticed that some people either loved or hated the romance aspect. The latter being the minority. 
Personally, I didn’t hate it but there were some things that irked me about it. 
  • I hated the sex scenes. They were so dramatic and over the top. (An orgasm making the mountain tremble?)
  • And am I the only one who isn’t a fan of the mate idea - I feel like it makes the novel cheap and dates back to the whole werewolf obsession era (does anyone know what I'm talking about?). When Feyre discovered Rhysand was her mate, their whole relationship became sappy and they even held hands which seemed somewhat off character, but who am I to say that their love wasn’t authentic? I just preferred the tense, sexy flirting in the beginning of the novel.
    Nevertheless, the overall romance wasn’t that bad and it wasn’t a focus of this plot like it was in ACOTAR. If was gradual and realistic and built tension as the novel progressed. 
    Also, I was afraid of a love triangle at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses and I am so glad it wasn’t. Some might say its a triangle but I think it’s just Feyre changing her mind like I mentioned in the whole Tamlin good or bad guy rant.

    Hold your breath for the ending
    The ending of this book was just evil and amazing at the same time. Sarah writes plot twists so well and it isn’t necessarily a cliff hanger but it still makes you want the sequel immediately.
    Everything was just so unexpected and it left me squirming and jumping. 
    Despite loving it did raise some questions, like Lucien being Elain’s mate. Where did this come from? They don’t even no each other. - everything was just way too easy and an easy way out for another sequel. But still, I’m excited to see where Sarah J. Maas goes with it.

    A Court of Mist and Fury was definitely a great and satisfying novel. It definitely deserved the 4 stars I gave it and despite my review which may come off as negative, I cannot stress enough how much A Court of Mist and Fury has improved to it’s predecessor. The characterisation is amazing, the plot has more depth, the world building is phenomenal and the feels are just great.

    I just don’t know how I’m going to wait till May next year for A Court of Wings and Ruin.

    Plus - look out for my upcoming quote compendium for A Court of Mist and Fury.

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