Holy crap. When I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses, everyone pretty much went, “Just WAIT!” And yeah, they were all right.
After the first book, Feyre is back at the Spring Court with Tamlin and massively struggling. When Rhysand calls in his bargain with her, she goes to the Night Court and winds up undergoing some incredible missions, where she learns more about who is meant to be.
God, this book is so hard to explain if you haven’t read the first one. Because so much happens at the end. Gah.
Anyway! I can’t rank the books yet for reasons but I was worried people overhyped this one. It’s got a crazy high score on Goodreads. It’s pretty much the only book people seem to talk about in the series.
And they’re correct to do so. It’s a fantastic book. It completely expands the world, there is so much action, and the development of Feyre is outstanding. I may get spoilery under the cut so be warned. I mean, I did basically livetweet the book (oops) so some of this won’t be new if you follow me over there.
As with ACOTAR, I got super attached to this book, probably for unhealthy reasons. It’s a fantastic way to escape your crappy life for a few minutes every night, let me tell you. But where I couldn’t quite place what exactly about the first book made me snap into such an obsession, I nailed the reason for this book very quickly.
It’s 100% due to Feyre. I have never felt so seen by a character before. I have a 10-page essay on my computer about how Feyre and I are the same and why we are this way. Like every word to describe her could also work for me (well, minus the powers and some other qualities). I’ve already mentioned that life has not been great for me and it was not going great for Feyre in the beginning. But throughout everything, she managed to own her power and get through it. And that’s what I desperately need to see right now. Transforming your bad experiences into fuel to move forward! YES!
To be honest, where I was all about the romance in the first book, I kind of wanted her to eschew relationships altogether here because she is much stronger without those damn, dramatic High Lords. Alas. Tamlin has his problems, I know. And Rhys, oh man, Rhys. What a complicated character. (Actually, all of the characters in this series are complicated and that’s why I love them all so much! Like none of them act in truly black and white ways and it’s fascinating.)
I didn’t immediately love Rhys in ACOTAR like everyone else. There were some horrific things he did in that book and I was very wary of him. Underneath all of that scary bravado, he’s a bit of a cinnamon roll and I did wind up loving him but he made things very difficult for my girl, Feyre! But their relationship was like a dance and I couldn’t get enough after a while. And those sex scenes, Lord!
We also met Rhys’ Inner Circle: Mor, his cousin, Cassian and Azriel, his Illyrian brothers, and Amren, another character who was Made like Feyre. I fell in love with Mor instantly and want her to be my life coach (and for her and Feyre to say “Screw the boys” and be together). Cassian was a bit much to begin with but I fell for him too. Azriel was definitely more my type and I want to get to know him more. Amren makes me uneasy, to be honest. Like I’m always nervous when she’s around even though I shouldn’t be. The Inner Circle represents Feyre’s found family, which is another of my favorite tropes. And really, all of them warm my heart.
This book was nonstop missions and I was stressed for every single one of them. She’s so good at the cliffhanger chapters and subverting what you thought you knew. And the way she plants her reveals are genius. My mind was blown several times throughout the book. Even if I thought I had a grasp on what she was doing, she managed to completely one-up whatever I had come up with. I did predict quite a bit of what wound up happening but again, it’s how she got there that was always a surprising experience to me. I don’t remember if I’ve ever been that delighted to be proven right or wrong in a book like this before.
Maas’ way with words is masterful. There are so many passages that are lyrical and gorgeous. I found myself rereading these over and over again to let the beauty just wash over me. She has such a grasp over describing simple things in florid language but it never feels overwrought. Like maybe it is purple prose but it made me feel alive so I don’t want to describe it as such.
While I was stressed for a majority of this book, I reached the final chapters with an eerie calm. And I don’t know why that happened because a lot happened! Maybe it’s because I knew Feyre finally was owning her power that no matter what, she’d figured it out. And there is a cliffhanger but it only made me more excited to start the next book. Which again, I don’t usually do this quickly! Sarah J. Maas has destroyed my life and I probably should thank her.