WITH SPOILERS: It will kill the magic if you haven’t read the books, so back off.
Just this summer I’ve indulged myself with books and finally decided to give popular series a try. I’ve always been a big reader, but honestly, The Hunger Games was the only series I’ve ever read. So here I am, basking in the newfound exhilaration in series, mostly fantasy. And I found this one gem that I know would never let me sleep in peace unless I give it a review.
Sarah Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury is the second installment to A Court of Thorns and Roses, and ACOMAF was just so good that it made the first book seem like a prologue. And I think that’s how a book series should be; the first one can stand alone just fine, and instead of a mere continuation, the second will come out as if the real story is just beginning.
Rating: 5/5 stars freshly picked from Velaris at Starfall night
Maybe I’m biased because I’ve been Team Rhysand all the way and I just feel so vindicated but I certainly found nothing to complain about this book, well, except maybe the fact that it actually ended and I’ll have to wait a full freakin’ year. It’s perfect, seriously — the characters were round and well-developed, the world was beautifully crafted (You know you’ve encountered a damn good writer when the setting efortlessly comes to life in your head without having to read a line twice, and come on, the Night Court was a total paradise, and Starfall was just so jaw-dropping spectacular!), it’s filled with so much action and of course, powerful themes like self-respect, friendship, a love that never confines, a future worth fighting for, and my favorite: the beauty beneath a beast.
I read ACOTAR with the knowledge that it would be a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Feyre, of course, was the beauty. And it was when ACOMAF came that I realized Tamlin wasn’t the beast, but Rhysand. Okay, maybe Maas actually intended Tam to be the beast, but I see it this way. Yes, structurally, Tamlin seemed to be the beast with the mask and the spell and all. However, note that Amarantha’s spell was not just the one on Spring Court, but her reign on Prythian. And Rhysand, though ‘the most beautiful male’ and apparently favored, was obliged to ‘serve’ Amarantha, and her presence caused him to act so beastly towards Feyre; he was presented as a villain when in truth he was a victim, which is the dilemma of the classic Beast. But regardless, I still loved Rhys because he was so cool and hot and painfully intriguing. Oh and I always sensed he had not-so-villain-like motives. And he was so hot. To think all he showed in ACOTAR was just the High Lord mask of arrogance and power. It’s no wonder I totally fell in love with him when he was fully revealed as himself. (And he just got waaay hotter.) And also, what’s definitely jawdropping was his motivation for his every action back in book one. Everything he did was apparently calculated. After discovering his motivations in ACOMAF, I immediately flipped through ACOTAR to see him in a completely different light.
What I loved most about ACOMAF was that it it’s much of a reality check for me — which is ironic because it’s all basically rooted in the very mythical fae culture, making it every inch a fairytale. It basically changed my attitude towards the art of fiction. The first book developed Feyre and Tamlin’s love story, and though I loved Rhys I wanted FeyLin together. They were in love and have been through so much and Feyre practically marched to hell and back because of her love for Tamlin. I mean, they were presented as the main characters, and fairytales dictate they live happily ever after once the spell is broken. In other words, ACOTAR was their story, so I was rather apprehensive of the idea that Maas might ‘deconstruct’ what she had strongly started. But then again this is the 21st century, and maybe it’s about time fairytales get a bit realistic. Love isn’t necessarily a one-shot experience. Feyre fell in love with the first person who showed her kindness and protection. Then life changed her, until it wasn’t kindness and protection she needed anymore. Yes Amarantha, humans are fickle beings. But life (or shit) happens and people grow. We get hurt. We heal. We need water when the sun beats down, and we need fire when it’s bitter cold. Tamlin was the one who filled her when she was empty, but couldn’t fix her when she was broken. That’s where Rhysand comes in.
The best thing about Rhysand was that he treated Feyre as a partner, as an equal. Hell, High Lady of the Night Court! He helped her see her worth and become a better person (or fae) altogether. He fixed her, and she healed him. And they were just themselves around each other. Ugh, their conversations are totally everything! Witty, flirty, funny, then deep and motivating. They’re just…meant to be. And speaking of meant to be, being mates and all, they were practically destined from the start. I’m a sucker for destiny, alright. The thing about destiny is that it appears to be a foretelling, a path set for us by the universe (or the Cauldron) that almost sounds like a confinement, but funny that it’s always our choices that lead us there. See, life is a series of choices. Decisions. And then if we plot out the points in a map, we find ourselves with a blueprint, as if things were planned by some omnipotent force. And that’s destiny–it’s all the universe. And it’s just us. It begins with dreaming, wanting. And it’s good when we want something, like a life with someone, because then we’d find something to fight for — something worth breaking and dying and rising for. The moment Feyre realized she dreamed of a future with Rhys, and Cass, Mor, Az and Amren, and the eternal beauty of a star-kissed city, I was just so happy for her. She found a place for her; she found her battle.
A battle that had just begun. Book three is going to be an all-out war, and I couldn’t be more excited! The whole thing just gets bigger with the king of Hybern advancing, the mortal world at the brink of attacks, Tamlin, the other courts, Azriel and Mor’s secret affection, Nesta and Elain and Lucien, and come on, the High Lady of the Night Court! It’s going to be a brick-thick book.
I was apprehensive of writing a review because I knew for sure I would miss some important points. But anyway, ACOMAF was such a good book. Excellent writing, perfect pacing, effective world-building. And most importantly, sooo much Rhysand. I deliberately put it down often just so it wouldn’t end. Thank the Cauldron for powerful books like this.
So if ACOTAR was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and ACOMAF was Hades and Persephone, what could the next book be?
To the stars that listen–and the dreams that are answered.