Rating: 3/5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult, Fae
I've never been this manipulated in my life.
I was stripped off my free will until there was only a shell left behind, a puppet complying with her master's whim. This is the most unforgivable thing Sarah J. Maas could do.
Allow me to elaborate.
• In order to be candid, I have to admit that I enjoyed A Court of Mist and Fury more than I expected, and found some redeeming traits that prevented me from rating it lower. However, I can't hide my rage and utter disappointment since everything we read in A Court of Thorns and Roses vanished into thin air. Remember the sweet love story between Tamlin and Feyre that defied immortal tyrants and resulted in great sacrifices in the name of their love? Well, forget about it. We were warned that this would be an Hades and Persephone retelling, meaning the romantic relationship between Feyre and Rhysand would be inevitable. The way, though, Sarah handled the transition was feeble and infuriating to say the least. I don't think there has ever been a character more mistreated than Tamlin, with Lucien following suit. We get it, Sarah cares about her precious baby Rhysand, but her real talent as an author would be to make me choose him because I found something unique in him, not because she forced him down my throat. Tamlin's inexcusable behaviour suffocated Feyre, and I felt drowning and suffocating along with her. Since I couldn't possibly wish for her to stay in a mentally abusive relationship, Rhysand was the deus ex machina, the only one to save the damsel in distress, given that her friends abandoned her and her fiance suffered from split personality. Sarah dangled Rhysand in front of me, and every reader, saying pick him pick him pick him. She had Tamlin and Rhysand facing identical situations, only for Tamlin to do the wrong thing while precious Rhysand was the impersonation of right, of all that's good in the world. Tamlin locked Feyre? Rhysand set her free. Tamlin forbid Feyre from participating in his activities? Rhysand would always have her by his side. Tamlin extinguished the fire burning in Feyre and left her a hollow version of herself? Rhysand fueled that fire, and so on, so on. Now, I've been on the losing side of a triangle before, but always both love interests had some good qualities. In this case, though, Sarah served you the answer on a silver platter by annihilating the opponent and erasing everything that made the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin good and healthy. Rhysand was always so thoughtful and considerate and knew what Feyre needed, he was her salvation. Of course he was, there was a freaking magic bond between them that allowed him to read her thoughts. Even the lesser fae servant in the Day Court would understand her needs if they were bonded. In every chapter she would chant Rhysand is so gorgeous, Rhysand is so sexy, Rhysand is the most powerful High Lord in the history of Prythian yada yada. We.Get.It. Don't even get me started on the repetition of the word mate, I rolled my eyes so many times I fear I might have a permanent problem.
• Lucien losing his backbone and Tamlin turning into a psycopath a-hole were not the only character mistreatments, though. Rhysand was the victim of his own creator's adoration. In order to make him the perfect match for Feyre, she made him too perfect. Gone is the wicked, morally grey, complex character that intrigued us in A Court of Thorns and Roses. While unveiling this Rhysand, instead of finding shadows and darkness and lust for power, we found a sappy and fluffy bear asking for love and affection. Everything he did was out of love for his friends, for Feyre and his country, and I fail to accept his reasoning behind his actions Under the Mountain. If you don't want the villain to know how you feel about Feyre, you can simply ignore her. But no, why not drug her, grop her while drugged and humiliate her instead?
• Now let's get to the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand. For more than the first half of the book I liked them, with their banters and flirtation and the pent-up tension. But from attraction and friendship Feyre suddenly jumped to declarations of love and then mountains trembled and she started glowing and their sex scenes varied between steamy to cringe-worthy and more eye-rolling ensued (I seriously need to see an ophthalmologist).
• Plotwise, I can't help but notice that some things were very convenient. You suspect the King of Hybern is preparing for war? Let's ask the monstrous ancient creature, who in the span of five minutes will give us all the answers, including the means to defeat the King and the exact location of the weapons to nullify his powers. Wanna convince the mortal queens to give you what you need? Write a mushy letter about your love for Feyre. The result is guaranteed. I mean, really?
• Why three stars then, you may wonder. Well, I became very fond of the secondary characters. Mor, Azriel, Cassian and the ultimate Queen, Amren, were funny and caring and loyal, and I was actually more invested in their stories (which, to be honest, were all sob stories). I also enjoyed Sarah's lush descriptions, you could feel and breathe and walk the streets of Velaris, and the Summer Court. But most importantly, I admire the way Feyre's trauma from her experiences Under the Mountain was depicted. The guilt, the sorrow, the self-loathing were tangible, and the healing was slow and realistic. Her wounds would be there, and she learned to live with them. Feyre became a strong woman who embraced her gifts, her powers, her sensuality and ferociously claimed her place alongside men. She rose from her ashes.
“When you spend so long trapped in darkness, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”
• A Court of Mist and Fury had great potential, but I can't say I loved it. I'm partially sad because I lost some of my respect for Sarah, for shredding to pieces the characters I loved only to show her own favorites are better. I don't know whether I'll read A Court of Wings and Ruin. Before the last chapters it was a big no, but that final confrontation was the book's highlight for me and now I'm considering to dwelve into the third instalment to find out the end of this story-arc.
To everyone who loved this book, and I know there are many of you, please don't be harsh on me. The magic of reading is precisely the fact that we all read the same book but get something different from it. ❤️