The sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses took me by surprise, even when I was already expecting something better than the original, I wasn’t expecting anything to hit quite so close to home. I read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series after they were recommended to me by a friend at university. She spent a decent half hour before lab class gushing over the second in the series, assuring me of something I’d never found to be true – that the sequel was better than the original. Of course, I had to read them. If you haven’t read my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, head on over and give it a read.
Following the events of A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre has been impacted in a severe mental, and emotional way – and Tamlin is no help at all. Locked in the Spring Court manor house for her own safety, Feyre needs out, but when that escape comes, she’s in for a ride of surprises.
If I thought I devoured A Court of Thorns and Roses quickly, I had another think coming. Weighing in at a hefty 626 pages, A Court of Mist and Fury is no small book, but I couldn’t put it down – I had it read in a day. And in the end, my heart was reduced to mush.
You all know that I like to start my reviews off with the flaws, in the structure of things it means the flaws are sandwiched in the middle and the review ends on a high note, not a low one. Having said that, there aren’t many flaws for me to discuss in this book – but of course, I found a few.
Lack of Diversity
As with my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, it must be noted that some members of marginalised communities have objected to the portrayal of (and lack of) LGBTQ+ and people of colour in these books. Although the problematic representation is not unique to this series it’s important to be aware of these issues. As I’m not a POC or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I can’t personally speak on this issue, but there are many great discussion on this topic throughout the bookish community.
I’m not the worlds biggest fan of erotica. To be honest, I prefer if books don’t have it. I understand that relationships are integral to the plot of A Court of Mist and Fury, but I personally prefer a leave-it-to-your-imagination fade-to-black kind of scene. Having said this, including erotica by no means makes the book bad, it’s just a personal preference.
Problematic Aspects of Relationships
This is something that’s brought up a lot in the discussion of A Court of Thorns and Roses as a whole. There are, without a doubt, problematic relationships (hello, Tamlin – more on that later), and some relationships do have problematic aspects. There are events that take place in A Court of Thorns and Roses between Rhysand and Feyre that are totally not healthy and not okay. In A Court of Mist and Fury, these events are explored and explained, and I personally can understand the reasons for some character actions, but some readers may have difficulty.
A Court of Mist and Fury has a tremendous amount of highlights for me, so, for the sake of this reveiw, I’m going to choose my top three highlights from the book, and my overall favourite thing.
The Treatment of Tamlin
Readers who adored Tamlin in the first book may be in for a nasty shock during A Court of Mist and Fury, but I was in for a surprise delight. I never liked Tamlin. I thought he was controlling, domineering, and wildly insecure. As I said in my A Court of Thorns and Roses review:
Tamlin’s controlling tendencies were disguised as legitimate concerns for human Feyre’s safety in a world of stronger, magical Fae. I would have rather seen Tamlin encourage Feyre to grow and to equip her with knowledge, instead of locking her in his charming mansion and hoping she’ll be okay with it.
Tamlin reminded me of so many YA love interests whose behaviour is rarely ever called out in the book for being so controlling and domineering. Maas plays on this so well in A Court of Mist and Fury having easily drawn you to Tamlin in the first book, knowing you’re desensitised to this behaviour, and fully aware you’ll accept Tamlin and Feyre together, then in the sequel, she slowly begins to show exactly what is wrong with Tamlin’s actions and treatment of Feyre. Though I pity Tamlin, somewhat, I was thrilled to see this turn of events.
A Court of Mist and Fury is filled with brand new characters, and the banter between friends is by far some of the most realistic dialogue I’ve come across in books recently. There’s something about the way that Maas writes these characters, despite being physically perfect and evidently too good to be true, they feel real. They are complex, flawed and always striving to see past their dark pasts and forge a future filled with hope. They each have their flaws, and they know it – this makes them far more loveable, and relatable.
Where A Court of Thorns and Roses was predominantly character driven, A Court of Mist and Fury manages to find a perfect balance of plot and person. I couldn’t find a single dull moment during the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed the speed at which events unfolded and progressed, yet I didn’t feel as though the character’s individual arcs were in any way dwarfed or cast aside by the plot. I was very impressed.
Overall favourite thing – PTSD Representation
This was likely the most surprising aspect of A Court of Mist and Fury, one I never knew I needed until it was there. If you don’t know (which you probably don’t), I live with PTSD. I won’t go into the details, because this is a book review and I don’t owe anyone my story, but I can tell you this, Sarah J Maas does a fantastic job at PTSD representation. Of course, everybody’s PTSD manifests in different ways, and Feyre’s is very different to mine, but one thing I appreciated incredibly was that Feyre’s PTSD didn’t go away, it didn’t heal itself, and it always reared its head when she needed it least. There is no magical cure. It lingers. Even if it’s potency is decreased by time, it comes back. Maas described the lonelinesses, the suffocation and the fear of the condition so well, I was blown away. It’s not something I ever expected to find in a romance/fantasy novel.
When my friend told me that A Court of Mist and Fury would blow my socks off, I didn’t believe her, but now I know I should have. I thoroughly enjoyed the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
I gave A Court of Mist and Fury a full five stars. It was hands down my favourite read of 2016.
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.