Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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The stunning sequel to Sarah J. Maas' New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses.
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.
I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
Oh damn. That was so unexpectedly good. And to think I almost didn’t take a chance on this after not loving the first book…
So, here it is: I present to you 7 reasons why this book is a million times better than A Court of Thorns and Roses.
1) Less romance.
Oh, don’t worry, there’s romance. There’s lusty, slow-build, flirtatious romance that somehow manages to be completely absent from the first book, even though romance was more central to the plot. But there’s also so many other things here. It’s a fantasy with romantic elements, not the other way around.
I always say I tend to become more invested in love stories when they’re subplots and the book itself is not actually about the love story. I like it when the characters come together around and between all the rest of the action and drama. That’s what’s happening here. Because there is a whole shitstorm of other things going on – which, by the way, has led to better world-building, more exciting action and reveals, and a fascinating overarching story.
2) Feyre’s growth and development.
And, in fact, the growth and development of many characters. Maas spends some quality time on character histories and backstory to strengthen our understanding of them. I absolutely love it when characters show realistic growth over time and I think that’s especially important with Feyre here.
Feyre is not the character she was during A Court of Thorns and Roses. How could she be after the events of that book? Naturally, she has changed and found that her needs and aspirations have changed too. Once upon a time, back when she was weak and starving, she longed for a strong protector like Tamlin. Now she is strong, and she needs freedom to train her newfound strengths.
3) I hate Tamlin.
Honestly, if you happen to be a diehard Tamlin fan, I can see this book being a huge disappointment. Luckily for me, I pretty much despised him. He’s never been anything but a pretty-faced control freak. I’m glad Feyre has seen that and rebelled against it.
I should warn you that Tamlin is absent for about 70-80% of this book. And that was just fine by me!
4) I love Rhysand.
I foresee the “oh no, it’s a love triangle” comments rolling in, but I really don’t think it is. I actually think this is a great book about growing up and discovering that you’re a different person who longs for different things. I don’t get the sense that Maas is trying to play out the Tamlin/Feyre/Rhysand angst; she is merely showing a young woman having a change of heart.
AND can we just talk about how much better Rhysand is. There’s all the superficial stuff like he’s exciting, flirty, dangerous and I love the story behind him. He’s more fun than Tamlin and I like fun. His banter is wonderful. But I’m also talking about a more important level. Rhysand is, despite being the “bad boy”, thoughtful and selfless. He doesn’t want to stifle Feyre’s strength and lock her away for her own protection – he wants her at his side, an equal, a partner in crime. And I love that so much. I like men who see value in strong women.
5) Less sex.
I’m sorry, you horny readers, but I just need to put this out there: I really dislike Maas’ sex scenes. Maybe Tamlin had something to do with it but, in general, I think they’re overwritten and melodramatic. I also think she does a lot of “telling” you that it’s hot, instead of “showing” how it is, which is a common writing mistake, but is far worse when in a sex scene. It’s unconvincing.
And by “overwritten”, I mean that she describes kissing as “branding”, thrusts as “breaking”, and sex moans as “prayers”. Literally none of those things are sexy. She gets the flirtations and banter right – that bit is hotter than the actual sex – but I start to cringe when the clothes come off.
A brush of his tongue against the seam of my lips had me opening fully for him, and he swept in, claiming me, branding me.
Also, is it really necessary for the male characters to “growl in approval” during sex? Not just once – and arguably one growl is one too many – but several times. I’m supposed to be fanning myself with desire and all I can think about is Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman. Mercy. Rawr.
6) New characters.
A Court of Mist and Fury introduces many new characters, and the difference between this book and the first is that I found them all memorable, not just the main three characters. Maas has definitely not neglected her characterization and character detailing here. Everyone who comes in and out of the novel has an important purpose, is fleshed out with personality and history, and makes an impact.
My favourite was Amren, but I also loved Cassian and Azriel. Our brief introductions to the Bone Carver and the Weaver were highlights too.
7) The ending.
Take note: this is how to ensure your reader needs to get their hands on the next book. It’s not a cliffhanger, but it is still EVIL. In the best possible way. I loved everything about it. It’s the kind of emotional high that leaves you somewhere between wide-eyed horror and smiling gleefully. How will I last a whole year?