Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

23766623Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 624
Genre: YA – Fantasy
Published by: Bloomsbury in May 2016
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“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.”

My Thoughts (Will contain SPOILERS – beware!):

Overall I really enjoyed this. It was a vast improvement from A Court of Thorns and Roses and it in no way suffered from second book syndrome. It built and expanded upon the first instalment and had some decent world-building and character development. That being said, I still found myself having one or two issues with the book. But I’ll start with the good.

The world-building was wonderful. Maas is very good at making places and settings come to life. I love how she focused more on the histories and the lore and, to be honest, I found the world fascinating. I would happily pick up some short stories detailing different Fae Courts or maybe even a novella about the war that took place 500 years ago. I think that would be so interesting, to read about Rhys and his Inner Circle when they were still only young. And it’s quite rare that I find myself wanting to consume a fantasy world like that. Where I want to know absolutely everything. Maas has created an intensely compelling world that I could read and read and never get bored of. It felt like fantasy at its most convincing.

I also liked the kind of story it was. A story of self-discovery and growth. At the beginning of the novel, Feyre is suffering with PTSD and trying (and failing) to deal with the events that took place towards the end of ACOTAR. She’s so lost and lonely and doesn’t know how she fits into the world anymore (or if she even wants to). But over the course of the book, she grows and develops and is able to find her strength. And boy does she.

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

I loved the message of this instalment – I felt so empowered whilst reading it. And I felt very proud of Feyre. For going through what she did and coming out of it stronger than ever: she is a true survivor. I really wasn’t keen on Feyre in ACOTAR – she made very stupid decisions to say the least – but Feyre is wonderful here. Truly, a great heroine.

“The power did not belong to the High Lords. Not any longer. It belonged to me-as I belonged only to me, as my future was mine to decide, to forge.”

I also really liked how this book normalised outgrowing people when your needs and desires have changed. And the way Feyre handled these changing needs felt natural and human. She was very self-aware and would evaluate how she was feeling, how she was thinking quite often and I think this in itself shows how far she has come since ACOTAR, specifically how much she has matured and grown. Now she knows exactly who she is and what she stands for and is so driven that she will stop at nothing to fight for what she believes in.

“No one was my master—but I might be master of everything, if I wished. If I dared.”

Feyre’s relationship with Rhys was another high point of this sequel. I absolutely loved the dialogue between them. Their bickering and their flirtations had me snickering throughout. And the mutual love and respect they had for each other was admirable. They were very well equally matched and complimented each other nicely. Obviously, this in no way excuses Rhys’ behaviour in ACOTAR but I do understand the reasoning behind his actions. And he does start to redeem himself as he tries to help Feyre realise not only her potential, but that she is a strong woman and that she should bow to no man. Especially not to him.

“You are no one’s subject.”

“You might be my mate but you remain your own person. You decide your fate-your choices. Not me. You chose yesterday. You choose every day. Forever.”

Their relationship always felt very natural and I appreciated the pace of it. Nothing was rushed – it was a nice, slow build-up of hate turned to love. And it was done in the best of ways. Their banter was always very playful and a lot of fun. I think they’re very well suited and I’m glad that Feyre & Tamlin together is no longer a thing.

“I was a lonely, hopeless person and I might have fallen in love with the first thing that showed me a hint of kindness and safety. And I’m thinking maybe he knew that – maybe not actively, but maybe he wanted to be that person for someone. And maybe that worked for who I was before. Maybe it doesn’t work for who-what I am now.”

Speaking of, Tamlin drove me up the bleeding wall. I felt entirely indifferent towards him in ACOTAR but in this? What a possessive, self-righteous jerk. Clearly he had no respect for Feyre at all and I’m glad she managed to get out of that unhealthy situation quite soon-ish.

“A protector – that’s who he was, and would always be. What I had wanted when I was cold and hard and joyless; what I had needed to melt the ice of bitter years on the cusp of starvation.”

The new characters introduced in this instalment were all incredibly well-rounded, realistic characters with their own distinct personalities and backstories. It felt like a real crew banding together, rather than just Feyre and Rhys up against the world. They each had their own strengths and played well off each other. Their respect, love and loyalty for one another was lovely to read about. Azriel and Morrigan are my new faves.

Lastly, the writing in this book was so unbelievably good. I’ve always been a huge fan of Maas’ writing style and this book in no way disappoints.

“To the people who look at the stars and wish,” – “To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

And now for the not so good.

First of all, the sex scenes. Oh God, they were terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading a well-written steamy scene from time to time and I liked the dangerously flirty scenes between Rhys and Feyre. Right up until the last 200 pages that is. Maas can definitely write a swoon-worthy scene and I think her strengths lie in writing about the subtlety of the romance – the back and forth between the characters, the lingering eyes, the tension and the obvious attraction, etc. But when sex was added to the mix, that’s when I started to feel second-hand embarrassment on behalf of the characters involved. They’re just so weird. And really overly-dramatic and unrealistic. I mean, has anyone ever thought the following during a sexual encounter:

“We were a song that had been sung from the very first ember of light in the world.”

Barf. I mean I actually burst out laughing when I read that. Your bodies mushing together isn’t a freaking song Feyre, it’s just sex. Please stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.

What I will say though is that it is definitely nice to see sex explored so openly in a YA (NA?) novel. And Maas definitely doesn’t hold back on any of the extremely vivid (ew) detail. But, that being said, if you’re not 100% sure you can write a good sex scene, here’s a tip: don’t write one. Or several in this case. I’m sure there will be a lot of readers that will enjoy these scenes though and won’t find any problems with them. So it’s definitely a personal tastes thing here. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. At all.

The other thing that kind of bugged me was how, at times, the book felt a little too contrived. I already knew roughly what was going to happen before I’d even started reading it: Rhysand and Feyre would somehow end up together and Rhys would turn out to not be such a bastard after all. I mean, who didn’t see that one coming? We all knew. But I guess I’m just nitpicking now 😂

Overall, a top-notch sequel that prides itself on character development and world-building. A compelling story of self-discovery and strength with a twisty turny plot and gorgeous writing. Very eagerly anticipating the final instalment of the trilogy! Stark Reviews Logo

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Weekly Recap – 09/05/16-16/05/16

What I’ve Been Reading:

Another week done and I still haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked to. I’m out of my reading slump now but it was life that got in the way of my reading this time. If it’s not one, it’s always the other!

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I’m so close to finishing A Court of Mist and Fury (Sarah J. Maas) – about 100 pages left to go – and it is so so good! And I was right about Feyre becoming a strong character  over the course of the book. I feel like she’s a character I can really get behind now and cheer on. Also, the world-building in this instalment is fantastic. The histories and the lore are really nicely imagined and we get strong, vivid impressions of the Fae Courts and more detailed information of the Fae themselves. Speaking of, I’m finding this instalment to be highly character-driven (which I LOVE). I won’t go into any detail here but all of the newly-introduced characters have added so much more to the overarching story and I’m finding myself quite attached to them, too!

I’ll have a full-length review up of all my more detailed thoughts once I’ve finished reading it, but I think I can safely say that this series in no way suffers from second-book-syndrome. If you weren’t keen on the first instalment because you weren’t a fan of Feyre, I highly suggest you pick this one up anyway. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised!

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And I’ve finally finished reading The Wolf in the Attic (Paul Kearney), a review book I requested a while back. In fact, I believe it took me well over a month to finish. I ended up giving it 2.5 stars which I’m quite disappointed by. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book with its beautiful writing and highly compelling MC, the second half was a bit of a let down. The world was very under-developed with many questions being left unanswered and the plot was pretty non-existent. So I definitely had mixed feelings about this one! You can find the rest of my thoughts here.

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I also decided to read a few fairy tales this week after my obsession with OUAT. I read a couple of Neil Gaiman ones (Hansel & Gretel and The Sleeper and the Spindle) which I both enjoyed. Particularly The Sleeper and the Spindle – I found it to be a very interesting take on two different fairy tales combined. And the illustrations for both books were simply stunning. Again, particularly The Sleeper and the Spindle.

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I also read a few fairy tale retellings from Carol Ann Duffy’s Faery Tales. I say I only read a few because I wasn’t all that impressed with the stories that I did read. I’m not sure what I expected when I picked this collection up from the library but it definitely didn’t do anything for me. It felt like I was reading a bunch of classic fairy tales but just with modernised language and I guess I wanted something a little bit more unique.

My reading goals for this week: Finish A Court of Mist and Fury and start (and possibly finish) Clockwork Princess. I think I’ll want to take my time with CP but I also think I won’t be able to resist reading all of it as quickly as possible which I shouldn’t do because I know it’s going to leave me a blubbering mess afterwards! 😭

What I’ve Been Watching:

I’ve just finished watching the Once Upon a Time season 5 finale and I’m not sure how I’m meant to survive until September without it. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil you but there is a very interesting new character/storyline that I love watching retellings of and I’m very excited to see which direction the next series will take. The last series wasn’t my favourite – it was a pretty depressing series, really. I do miss the light-heartedness of the previous series. And the humour, too. Think everyone needs to just chill out a bit and take a holiday or something 😂

I also managed to watch The Jungle Book which was just wonderful. It’s not my favourite classic Disney animated film so I’d sort of forgotten what happens. But watching it made me very nostalgic for my childhood, especially when Mowgli and Baloo started singing The Bare Necessities! The CG was incredible, too. It was just a really lovely family film that I’d recommend to pretty much anyone.

My watching goals for this week: I’m not sure I should start any new TV series yet since I have a habit of getting a little obsessive when I find something I like 😁 So I’ll just try to catch up on a few of the series I’m currently watching.

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Weekly Recap -02/05/16-09/05/16

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m not too keen on doing monthly wrap-up’s anymore so I’ve decided to start posting weekly recap’s instead. This way I can incorporate other elements I’m passionate about to my wrap-up’s, too, such as the films or TV shows I’ve been enjoying that week. I’m hoping this will be a way for me to be more creative with my content and enable me to share more of my interests with you guys. So here’s my very first weekly recap!heart divider

What I’ve Been Reading:

I haven’t been able to really get my reading claws into a good book so far this month. I started reading The Winner’s Crime (Marie Rutkoski) and managed to get two chapters in before I decided I wasn’t really in the mood for it. Then I picked up Scarlet (Marissa Myer), read a few chapters and decided, again, that I really wasn’t in the mood for that one either.

And it’s so annoying! I hate when I get into a reading slump because it affects so much for me. When I’m slumping I tend not to feel up to blogging or Instagramming either and then I feel like I’ve let myself down.

But then A Court of Mist and Fury (Sarah J. Maas) came out and, although it took a few days, I’ve become completely sucked in by it! And I’m so happy that I’m back in the reading mood.

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I actually tried to buy this on its release day but when I made the journey to my local Waterstones I was, and I’m definitely not over-exaggerating here, DEVASTATED to find that there were no copies available to purchase. But I went back a couple of days after and, thankfully, they had many copies available. And not just any copies, but SIGNED COPIES WOOOP. It’s my first signed book so I’ll have to forgive Waterstones for initially disappointing me.

I’m only 100 pages in but already I can tell it’s going to be much stronger than its predecessor and much better suited to my personal tastes. Feyre is pretty broken after the events of the last book and, as a result, has become a very weak character. She’s allowing herself to be walked all over and have decisions made for her. And as annoying as she’s being right now, I can just *tell* that she is going to go through a lot of character development in this instalment. Maas isn’t one for weak female characters so I’m eagerly anticipating reading about Feyre becoming a strong, badass, independent woman.

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I’ve also been (struggling) to read The Wolf in the Attic (Paul Kearney), a review book I requested a while back. I sailed through the first half but have since then lost all interest. The plot just isn’t interesting enough and, whilst the writing is beautiful, it certainly isn’t enough to keep me glued to the pages. But it’s being released tomorrow so I need to just get on with it and READ. I’ve only got about 50 pages left so I need to finish it tonight and get the review up in time for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

My reading goals for this week: Finish The Wolf in the Attic and A Court of Mist and Fury and start reading some fairy tales or fairy tale retelling’s in order to cure my OUAT hangover.

What I’ve Been Watching:

On the plus side, however, I have been watching a lot of great stuff. Namely, Once Upon A Time. I am Chris Traeger *literally* obsessed with it. I started it the Thursday before last and am currently on episode 18 of series 5. Whoops. It’s just so compelling! And I ship everyone and it’s so painful to watch sometimes. Yes, I am talking about the agony that is the Rumbelle ship *cries of frustration* I am far too invested in their relationship. And this show. Please send help. Definitely going to have the worst hangover once I’m all up-to-date. Even thinking about it now, I’m stressing about what I will do afterwards. Probably re-watch it from the beginning. Yep, that sounds like the healthiest thing to do 😂 77209236b29e21bb6e90264a16c62f85

I also watched Captain America: Civil War this week and it was glorious. I prefer Marvel films so much more when they don’t focus on mass destruction and life-or-death situations. The emphasis on characterisation and character dynamics made for a deeply compelling watch. Obviously, we still had all the usual quick-witted humour and clever dialogue but the themes and issues the film covered brought up some interesting points of discussion and made it very relatable and intensely realistic. Definitely one of my favourites thus far. Also, how amazing was Spider Man in this?! I wasn’t too excited for a new Spider Man film but, after that performance, I honestly can’t wait to see where Marvel will take Spider Man from here.

My watching goals for this week: Obviously to catch up with OUAT (and cry when it’s over) and also to finish watching the last series of Luther and maybe go to see The Jungle Book if it’s still in cinemas.Stark Reviews Logo