After defeating Amarantha and saving the Fae, Feyre is back home at the Spring court and ready to start her life with Tamlin. But adjusting to her new, unfamiliar Fae body and to her new role as Tamlin’s lady isn’t as easy as she thought. The nightmares she faced Under the Mountain haunt her days and nights, and Feyre becomes a shell as she tries to work past the horrors of her trials.
Feyre hasn’t forgotten her bond with Rhysand, High Lord of the dark and mysterious Night Court. Nor has he. As she spends more time with him, she learns more about him and his court, herself, and how she fits into his dark, glittering world. As an old threat resurfaces, Feyre will need to decide where her heart lies and will need to prepare it for battle once again.
I’m going to admit something right now that maybe I shouldn’t, but I was a bit bored with this book. Or at least I was during most of the first half.
And I almost started to feel bad about it because I loved the first book so much! A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) was well-paced with great action and a clear plot. There were surprises that kept me interested and on the edge of my seat, but I could still easily follow along with where the book was leading me. A Court of Mist and Fury was very different. It went from a plot-driven style of writing to a character-driven style and the flip-flop was unexpected.
The direction of the story was a bit unclear in the beginning, and even all the way up to the halfway point. Whereas ACOTAR had a relatively straightforward plot line (which I appreciated and really liked) with each action and development leading to the ending in a well-paced and steady manner, I really had no idea where this book was going. There was so much time spent on Feyre’s inner monologue and feelings that I didn’t even know what the plot was. And I really didn’t like that. Not right away anyway.
But the more I though about it, the more I could appreciate Maas’ decision to go that route. Again, we’re seeing this world through Feyre’s eyes so it made sense that things would be quiet and bleak and broken because Feyre herself was like that after the events in the ACOTAR, and for good reason. She wasn’t in a good place mentally and emotionally and therefore sees things colored through that darkness.
The action and plot do start to pick up in the second half as we learn more about the feared Night Court and its inhabitants, get more history about the Fae world, and of course, find out what the villain’s plan is. And once again, there were delightful and unexpected surprises in the ending that left a wide-open path to the next book in the series.
There was significantly more time spent developing the characters in this book than in its predecessor. ACOTAR was more plot-driven and so it focused on that and sacrificed on giving its characters depth for the most part. Characters were just being introduced and we were left with mostly surface impressions. A Court of Mist and Fury delved past those surfaces into hidden traits, passions, yearnings, and histories. That is where this second book really shines.
We start to see the reasons behind why the characters are the way they are. Why Tamlin is so protective. Why Rhysand is so mysterious. With first-person perspectives it can be difficult to adequately give insight into other characters’ internal thought processes and motivations, but Maas does this well. Feyre learns about these traits through conversations with other characters and it is done in a natural, realistic way.
The book also focuses more on the relationships between characters and how they interact with one another. Not just how they know the other characters and what their histories together are, but also the dynamics of those relationships. Why there is tension. Why there is lightheartedness even during dark times. The relationships of the core characters were so well-written it made me want to be part of the group!
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Admittedly not quite as much as A Court of Thorns and Roses, but I’m going to chalk that up to the fact that it switched from a plot-focused, action-heavy style of writing to a quieter, character-focused style. After going over my notes and really thinking about the story, I can even appreciate that Maas almost took that step back in order to help us understand the characters more fully. And the action I was looking for during the first half of the book was definitely there in the second half, especially the last quarter or so.
I’ll be starting the next book, A Court of Wings and Fury, right away so expect that review on Monday October 26th!
P.S. This review is 100% not sponsored. I bought the book myself and was not paid for this review.