A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

Release date: 1 November 2015
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ – 10/10
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A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) blurb:

Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae.  But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for.  She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

GAAAH!  I seriously loved this book so much more than the first one.  It was just THAT good.

The story picks up three months after the end of ACOTAR.  Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin, and she is broken – a shadow of her former, human self – from the events of Amarantha’s court, under the mountain.  Feyre is experiencing nightmares, she can’t sleep or keep food down – literally wasting away.  Tamlin has become more possessive, keeping Feyre a prisoner of their home despite the fact that she is now High Fae herself (her strength is astounding despite her current state).  Tamlin is no better, becoming the terrifying beast some nights, unable to do anything except keep watch at the end of their bed.  Both of them either refuse to talk about what happened or can’t, making the situation spiral out of control.  In all of this time, she has not once heard from Rhysand despite their bargain for Feyre to spend one week each month with him.  Until it is time for Feyre and Tamlin to be married.  Feyre is on her way to the altar when she realises that she just cannot go through with the marriage, that she is too broken for this, that they both are.  Feyre can’t be the silent wife of Tamlin, used as a symbol to the fae of the Spring Court by Tamlin and Ianthe, a High Priestess and childhood friend of Tamlin’s.  Rhysand answers Feyre’s silent call for help and whisks her off to the Night Court.

And here is where the story becomes the epic fantasy novel that is the true Mass-terpiece that I have come to love and expect.

The poetic beauty of the way that Maas describes the Night Court is breath-taking.  Unlike the Spring Court, eternally in one season, the Night Court continues to cycle through the seasons, and also the normal pass of the day – as Rhysand says ‘even magic cannot stop the sun’.  From the jasmine and wisteria-clad walls, marble columns and gauzy, floaty curtains held at bay by the light breeze from the windowless openings that overlook the snow-capped peaks, Maas paints the most stunning visualisations.  I truly felt that I knew exactly where Feyre was standing whenever she was there, and that only increased with each new setting – culminating in Velaris.

Maas’ writing style, man, I could wax lyrical about it all day long.  She absolutely sweeps you away with the precise descriptions that aren’t cumbersome, waffly or OTT; the way that she captures an emotion with a certain look or sly wink; the conversation that is banter – witty or not; the entire picture that she paints is enthralling.

In terms of character development, the characters of ACOMAF are distinctly more fulsome than those of ACOTAR.  Morrigan, Azriel, Cassian and Amren are multi-faceted and something else, they have a ‘realness’ that wasn’t as distinct in those of the Spring Court.  Of the existing characters, Feyre is changed – growing in character.  Rhys’ glossy exterior cracks and you get to meet the real High Lord of the Night Court.  Tamlin is mad – driven insane with jealousy and over-protectiveness. Even Lucien is different, more subservient and unwilling to break the status quo.  Because of this, situations are more tense and smaller things escalate further than they should in a reasonable setting.  However, despite the madness, Feyre really comes into her own as a Fae.

As in the first novel, the story centres around the relationship between humans and fae, trust and betrayal, friends and foe.  I loved this book, nearly as much as I loved Empire of Storms, but it is definitely up there in terms of ‘top books’, and I cannot wait for A Court of Wings and Ruin!!

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