A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I went into this book, I was happy with the way it was going, with Feyre and Tamlin trying to stick to a happy life in the Spring Court while Rhys remained far away and out of sight, though not out of mind. Unlike the vast majority of fans, I loathed Rhys. I thought, after the end of the first book, he would be little more than another Loki-copycat pretty-boy bad-boy, a viciously power-hungry creep in the vein of the Darkling (whose hype harmed the Grisha Trilogy for me) or Maven. (Don't get me wrong, I loved Glass Sword, but that ending still infuriates me after all these months.)
So, when I got 200 pages into this book and found myself surrounded by so many tons of scenes involving the bargain between Rhys and Feyre, and the former being in-your-face obnoxious as all get-out, I was angry as hell. It certainly didn't help that Tamlin was receiving so much negative character development as well (like the early scene where he and Feyre are in bed and she's musing about being his High Lady, and he says there are no High Ladies, and when she questions that, his reaction basically amounts to "shut up and let me eat you out.")
Now I at least understood better why Tamlin had become so virulently despised by the fans, but at the same time, as a Book 1 Feylin shipper, I felt betrayed. I felt that Maas had completely reversed Rhys' and Tamlin's respective character developments to pander to the shippers, heedless of sense, the way I'm still reasonably sure Maggie Stiefvater did with Pynch in The Raven King.
I was on the point of giving up on this book entirely, but for Feyre's sake, I stuck around.
And good thing I did. Over the course of this brick-sized book, the character-development reversal actually winds up making sense. By devoting 600 pages to slowly but surely peeling away the layers on Rhys, it becomes clear that as despicable as he became in Book 1, that's not all there is to him. He's better than that, particularly since he goes out of his way to treat Feyre as an equal (not for nothing are the fans cheering him as a feminist), and loses a lot of his obnoxious side over time when it becomes clear that, like Feyre, he's damaged, suffering from what can only be described as fantasy PTSD.
Then, of course, there's the ever-looming threat of war with the shadowy King of Hybern, who basically wants to enslave everyone, human and Fae alike. Challenging him will require considerable sacrifice on our heroes' part. Said sacrifices ultimately set the stage for a diabolical cliffhanger leading into Book 3.
As of the end of this book, I've gladly switched ships. The Feysand legion can now count me as a member. And when Book 3 comes along, I'll be waiting - and hoping that my library doesn't take so bloody long to order that book like they did for this one.
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