Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

I mentioned in my June Favourites that I planned to review this book, so here it is! I really thought this would be a negative review where I ripped into both the first and second book of the series, but now I'm not sure where I stand. Just like A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury starts slow and builds up. Halfway through I was thinking "I suppose it's okay" but then was blown away by the ending. 

Beware, because the night is dark and full of spoilers...

Back when I read A Court of Thorns and Roses I read a review that dubbed Feyre as "Bella Swan trying to be Katniss Everdeen". I agree with this statement, but I'm sure you'll agree if I say it's more Feyre trying to be Celaena Sardothien. Obviously, due to recently reading the Throne of Glass series, I can't help but compare their leading ladies. Feyre is a cut price Celaena, although this is probably due to her lack of experience and combat training. I admit, I find her a lot more likeable than Bella or Katniss (I find it difficult to really like lead characters in YA fiction), but every time I read about her fighting or generally doing anything exciting, I couldn't help but compare her to my beloved demi-fae assassin.

Sarah J Maas' books are slow burners. They trundle along with intrigue, then end with such a huge dramatic climax. I found the end of A Court of Mist and Fury to be something like an one of the Ocean's 11 films - everything unravels and you find out all of these things that the main characters have not yet revealed to the reader. I think I had to go back and reread sections to keep up with the action! But I feel as though this book really didn't need to be around the 600 page mark. I like when fantasy books are well fleshed out because they feel so much more immersive, however I feel like 100/200 pages could have been chopped off this book quite easily. Either that or make the middle more interesting. It ends on such a high that the earlier chapters pale in comparison.

One thing I really will praise with this book is its portrayal of PTSD. I feel like it grounds the characters as they really feel pain after difficult events that occur. I like that when A Court of Mist and Fury begins we're not leaping into a whole new chapter of the story. Feyre can't just forget about what occurred under the mountain. And we don't expect her to. I like that she feels guilt for moving on with Rhysand and leaving Tamlin. It just makes her so much more three-dimensional. She's not just jumping into bed with another guy.

However, call me a prude but I'm not fond of graphic sex scenes in books. They just make me cringe, especially if I'm reading on my commute. I don't need a graphic description, I know what sex is. I think this stems from my days of reading fanfiction. Often the sex scenes in this series just remind me of sex scenes I read on This means that I can't take them seriously and they just make me laugh. I don't know why Maas has written them this way, maybe to appeal to an older audience, but it makes me question the intended age of her readership. Is A Court of Mist and Fury still YA? I can't remember the details exactly, but there is one scene with Feyre/Rhysand where sex is just referred to. I preferred that scene. I think it's when they return from the cabin? Sorry I'm too lazy to look it up. But I digress, I don't need a full gory description every time two characters have sex. After the first few times you get the point.

When I finished the first book, I was very much into Feyre/Tamlin (obviously this was swiftly dropped within a few chapters of book two). I didn't like the hint of a potential love triangle that A Court of Thorns and Roses ended with. I didn't like the way Rhysand treated Feyre in the first book, regardless of whether or not it was an act. I have a pure hatred of love triangles in YA fiction; I think it's overdone and unimaginative. But I could smell one from a mile off.

So obviously we start the book and Tamlin becomes more and more protective and therefore more and more abusive. Rhysand is a wonderful character who helps Feyre escape blah blah blah. I'm not saying I dislike him, but I dislike Maas' fans swooning and being full of love for him. I commented on Kayley Hyde's review of A Court of Thorns and Roses months and months ago (it's a really good video btw, give it a watch), but when book two was released I had a Rhysand stan telling me that they find Rhysand/Feyre "absolutely perfect". Like I know that it's a fantasy book and therefore not real, but I find their relationship far from realistic and far from "perfect". I'm actually offended on Kayley's behalf when I read some of the more recent comments. One suggested she had "no understanding of abusive relationships" which is horrible considering she explains how and why she found the book triggering. I'm terrified that these books are giving younger readers the wrong opinions about what is healthy and unhealthy. Tamlin is obviously abusive, but some readers are ignoring that Rhysand is too. You can't just explain away his actions and pretend like they never happened.
For me, Rhysand just hasn't reached that status of a solid love interest. I don't see him visiting the Spring Court for the Fire Night ceremony and bargaining with Feyre under the mountain as romantic, I see it as a little bit stalkerish (and with the latter, abusive). Yes I suppose in the context of his big declaration of love it's romantic, but Rhysand is stuck between a morally grey interesting character and one that's frankly a bit soppy. He's also almost as possessive as Tamlin in some ways, but somehow it's okay? I do like Rhysand, but I still have my reservations.

I also can't get the image out of my mind of him looking like Spock (dark hair and pointy ears? Come on), and have a slight issue of nicknaming him 'Rhys'. Rhys isn't a name I associate with fantasy literature, partially due to the fact that it's quite a common name in the UK, specifically Wales. Every time I read it I think of all the people (good and bad) that I know called Rhys. This, and having characters named Tarquin and Cerridwen, makes me laugh. I just can't take them seriously. Is Rhys an 'exotic' name in the US? If so, does this mean it sounds less weird to American readers?

Speaking of things that make me feel weird when I see them written down - and this is an odd one - but every time Feyre/Rhysand refer to each other as 'mate' I couldn't take them seriously. I read it as two lads drunkenly chatting to each other. "maaaaaaaate". Sorry, but I can't unread it that way, mate.

I suppose I've got to keep asking myself - can I really truly love a series based on the fact that I only really like the last third of the books? I do believe that this series is well plotted and well written, but it just doesn't grasp my attention like I want it to. I suppose I'll have to wait until book 3 to make my final decision about this series, A Court of Mist and Fury really did end with the potential to have an amazing sequel!

Have you read A Court of Mist and Fury? I need more people to discuss it with!

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