Spoiler FILLED Book of the Month: A Court of Mist and Fury
I'm majorly late to the party on this I know, but WOW I finally see why Sarah J Maas' books have been all over social media for years. I'm a big YA fan and fantasy fan (though I stepped back from reading them for a couple of years), so I was always going to love these really. This is going to be a totally spoiler filled chatty post both for this book and the first book in the series, so you have been warned!
In ACOMAF, Feyre is reunited with Tamlin, and dreading her once a month week long stay with Rhysand, Lord of the Night Court, that she agreed to as part of a bargain. Rhysand stays away for a few months, but when Feyre's about to wed Tamlin and pleads for the wedding to stop because she feels uneasy about it, Rhysand swoops in and takes her for her first week away with him.
The first few weeks (spread out over a number of months), Feyre is determined to ignore him as much as possible, sticking to her room and feeling generally put out by the whole thing. However, when she starts to realise how controlling Tamlin is being, these week long breaks seem like an opportunity for freedom to her. She starts to come around to the idea that perhaps Rhysand isn't the monster she was made to believe, and that perhaps Tamlin is behind his veneer of gentlemanliness.
I have no idea how long the rest of this post is going to be, because I'm torn somewhere between just saying 'this book is amazing, just please read it' and going into every little detail as to why I think it's so good.
There's a lot of critique about the relationship between Tamlin and Feyre in the first book, that I think is healed in this relationship. Feyre is physically and emotionally weak in the first book: she's exhausted, frightened, confused and even being tortured towards the end. Tamlin takes her from her family and offers an imperfect sort of love and protection, but he does take advantage of her and is manipulating her for his own ends from the start (even if he does actually develop feelings for her).
But in ACOMAF ,Maas really breaks the relationship down by showing how toxic it is. Rhysand offers Feyre choices when she's staying with him, making her realise how little actual choice she has in Tamlin's court. With the unravelling of the Feyre/Tamlin relationship, the reader can really see how toxic and controlling relationships can develop, and how hard they can be to get out of. I think that it's important that we see Feyre move beyond her relationship with Tamlin to something better and start to really come into her own.
Before I delve into a breakdown of the Feyre/Rhysand relationship because phwoar I have a LOT to say about that, can we just talk about world building? I'm a sucker for good descriptions of places and good back stories. There's whole swathes of passages about the Night Court that are so beautiful I wanted to dog ear every one of them. Also, Rhysand's back story and explanation of the mating bond is so well done. I love it when an author makes you see a previous book or previous part of a book in a whole new light, and it made me want to re-read ACOTAR already now that I know why Rhys behaved the way he did.
Okay okay, I'm going to try not to make this post too much longer so let's get to the Fere/Rhysand relationship. I'm pretty sure this is my favourite relationship in any book ever. Rhys completely give Feyre her own room to understand why there's an issue with her and Tamlin. He doesn't push her into making a certain decision, and just gives her a safe space to retreat to when she realises that she needs to get out of the relationship asap. The enemies to lovers trope is one that I'm starting to really love, and it works so well here. The taunting in each others' heads (and out loud) make me smirk to myself and made both of them much more likeable characters. Plus, I LOVED Feyre going from thinking about him as Rhysand to Rhys *chefs kiss*.
Can we also talk about the sexual tension in this book too? I've never read a build up of it as good as I have here. I'd seen lots of people make reference to *that* paint scene before reading the book and wondered if I'd know when I got to it because Feyre's always painting. Turns out, I shouldn't have worried. I was almost disappointed when he finally revealed the bond and they eventually got together because the lead up to it was so well done, but wow am I ready to see where things go in Book 3. And I'm pretty sure I'm in love with a fictional character because wow Rhys, but what can you do?