Goodreads: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published: May 3, 2016
Feyre is immortal.
After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.
As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.
She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.
In which I mostly grump about the romance rather than commenting on the rest of the book. But aren’t we all here for the romance anyway?
I should have seen this coming. I didn’t want to believe this is how A Court of Mist and Fury would go, based on the events of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but I guess deep down I always suspected Maas was going to hang Tamlin out to dry. After all, here is how I ended my review of book #1:
The downside to this section of the book, however, is that love interest Tamlin entirely disappears while Feyre takes center stage. Readers are then introduced to a different male character very much in depth, who quickly becomes far more interesting than Tamlin. When Beauty and the Beast are finally reunited…I found myself not really caring. I wanted the other guy. It looks as if I’ll be getting my wish in the second book to see more of the new guy, but that doesn’t satisfy me. I can’t help docking stars from a book that drops its own love interest and makes the ending super anti-climatic, no matter how much I liked the rest of the book.
And so this is my major issue with A Court of Mist and Fury. I really like Rhysand–I liked him even in ACOTAR–but Maas has to do some major work to convince readers that Feyre’s prancing off with him instead of Tamlin, instead of the man she risked everything for and was willing to die for, is a good idea and a romance we should be invested in. Because, frankly, it’s a really tough sell to say that the actions Feyre took in book #1 were meaningless or misguided or directed at the wrong man. If someone would do all that for a guy who was completely wrong for her, what on earth does true love look like?
It’s a conundrum, so Maas relies on two major crutches to try to fix it all. 1) Do a bait and switch and suddenly make Tamlin a villain. Sure, she foreshadowed some protectiveness in ACOTAR and used the ending to imply maybe Tamlin’s not as great as we thought he was–but implying Tamlin just isn’t right For Feyre at this point isn’t enough. Maas relies on a time-tested cliche: making the former love interest so villainous that readers and the protagonist simply can no longer consider him a viable option. 2) Maas squeezes the world-specific concept of “mating” for all its worth. Love, marriage, and mating all all separate things in this place, but mating is binding and surpasses everything else. Thus, readers are forced into believing Rhys is best for Feyre because they are mates. Anything else she experienced in a romantic relationship before might have been true–she may have really loved Tamlin–but it’s all superficial compared to the mating bond.
Now, my personal problem is that I actually do enjoy Rhys as a love interest. He’s caring, intriguing, playful, complex. But the cost of making Rhys complex for Maas is making sure that Tamlin is not. Any characterization Tamlin had in ACOTAR disappears; readers and Feyre are left only with a man who is a selfish abuser and appears to have minimal reason for being one, despite the meaningless speculations Feyre tries to make that maybe he was “broken” Under the Mountain, too. Because in this book, Tamlin’s brokenness doesn’t matter; the references to it have no substance. Apparently, only the brokenness of Rhys and Feyre is worth being explored.
So, yes. I enjoyed reading about Rhys and Feyre. I’m interested in seeing more (and I can only assume Maas isn’t going to pull a bait and switch on readers again since Rhys and Feyre are mates). However, I think the way the romance was accomplished was a bit disturbing. Tamlin is being thrown under the bus for the sake of plot, and it seems unfair.
That said, the plot of ACOMAF is breathtaking. One of my major complaints about ACOTAR was that there didn’t seem to be much of a plot at all under Feyre went Under the Mountain (so, you know, for most of the book). Here. Maas compensates for that spectacularly, and I can’t wait to see what happens at the end of the series.