Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY (ACOTAR #2) - by Sarah J. Maas

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY - Sarah J. Maas.
Year Published: 2016 - by Bloomsbury Children's.
Genre: Young adult / Fae / romance / high fantasy
Pages: 626.
Source: Library.
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.




(Please be aware that this book contains graphic sexual content and that I'll be discussing that in this review.)

WELL. I guess it goes without saying - if you've read my reviews of other Maas books - that I have a love-hate relationship with this author. I'm always left angry, confused, broken, and electrified after putting down her books, and reviewing any of her books is a nightmare.
I will try make this logical. Try.


The atmosphere sparkles and writhes with a pulsing energy and life. Every scene is vivid, every detail tangible and exquisite, and everything comes alive on the pages. The world building is epic, and also so extraordinarily intricate.
The language is beautiful and the descriptions are delicious, but there's also a lot of repetitiveness and melodrama.  Maas uses too many words when only one or two will do, and phrases like "I was smoke and mist and ash" have become infuriating. I rolled my eyes a lot.
It's occasionally boring, but so addictive. I can get through a Maas book in about two to three days, and that's got to say something. They're incredibly more-ish.

I hate Tamlin. Hate is too mild a word, actually, but I don't like swearing, so it'll have to do. BUT GOSH, I freakin' hate his guts; his relationship with Feyre is downright abusive, and what was horrific sexual violence in the first book now escalates to controlling, domineering psychological assault. Thankfully Tamlin's behaviour is, for the most part, seen for what it is, and Feyre turns against him (to an extent).
Rhys is fantastic. I love his relationship with Feyre (again, to an extent, but I'll get to that in a bit) and I love how he sees her strength, respects her, and treats her as an equal. I love his attitude towards her and how he encourages her to embrace her potential.
So many new awesome characters are introduced in this book. I don't exactly love any of them, but they all come through vivid and rounded and with strong personalities. And I like and appreciate that so much.
Diversity is glaringly absent from Maas's books, and ACOMAF is no exception. I want to see disabled people, people of colour, and I hate how literally everyone is a sex god or goddess! Life isn't like that, and it's about time we saw some underdogs and - *gasp* - "ugly people" in the Fae world.

Character development is a huge part of this book, and I love that more than anything else. Feyre undergoes some incredible development; she grows so much as a character, and while I still don't particularly like her, I do adore her development.
But. I don't like how Maas makes her into the girl every guy wants to sleep with. In the first book, she was average and plain, but suddenly in the sequel she's hot and sexy. I hate that, and yet there's still some epicness from Feyre; lines like this:
“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”
YES YES AND YES. I NEEDED THAT IN MY LIFE.


This is where I may start ranting. You've been warned.
What gets me every time with Maas's books is her treatment of sexual behaviour, lust, and "romance". Tamlin and Feyre are bad enough (although I'm glad Feyre's seen through him), but now it looks like Rhys and Feyre are entering into that abusive territory. AND IT KILLS ME, OKAY, because when they're not ogling each other's bodies and making out, their relationship is brilliant: mutual respect, equals, blah blah. But as soon as sex comes in, I want to tear the book up and hurl it across the room.
Rhys: "I want to stay in that bedroom and f*** you till we're both hoarse."
Rhys: "I want you splayed on the table like my own personal feast."
OH. EXCUSE ME IF I'M NOT SWOONING HERE.

I don't see how there can be another way to interpret this particular scene. When they have sex, he's abusing her; the definition of abuse is "cruel and violent treatment of a person", and Rhys is definitely violent. In this case, it's sexual violence against women and it's horrific. I don't see that as sexy, hot or romantic, and I certainly don't believe it's loving. It's violent, it's possessive, and it's revolting. There's nothing healthy or beautiful about it. Rhys was awesome before this sexualness between him and Feyre crept in, and now I'm so furious and bewildered and torn. Maas has just ruined a brilliant relationship.

Not to mention.......the crude sexual innuendoes just get too much. Every gorgeous character (oh wait, they're all gorgeous) is sexualized to a degree it almost overwhelms their personality. And when that sexuality comes in the form of crude comments, lusting like animals, and violent sex, then NO IT'S NOT RIGHT. It's abominable and perverse. The Fae are more animal than human, and I hate how the males act like sex-crazed beasts.
"Rhys came back the next morning, and when he learned what had happened..." She laughed under her breath. "We try not to talk about the incident. He and Cassian... I've never seen them fight like that......I know Rhys wasn't p***** about my virginity, but rather the danger that losing it had put me in. Aziel was even angrier about it - though he let Rhys do the walloping. They knew what my family would do for debasing myself with a bastard-born lesser Fae...They were right."

EXCUSE ME? This sounds a awful lot like the guys were fighting over her virginity, despite Mor saying, "I know Rhys wasn't p****** about my virginity, but rather the danger that losing it had put me in". Well. I don't buy that denial, and even if it is true, then it still doesn't sit right with me. To me, the whole exchange comes across like Rhys and Cassian are acting like territorial animals about what Mor's done with her body, and SINCE WHEN IS THAT OKAY? I hate how the males act like feral beats; it's disgusting.
I read that scene so many times to try unscramble what Maas actually meant by it. I'm still unsure. But what I've typed above is what I keep coming back to.



A Court of Mist and Fury is exhilarating, brilliantly written, and improves upon the first book in just about every aspect. It's dark, chilling, action-packed, and packed with strong characters and excellent development. 
But I hate hate hate Maas's portrayal of all things sexual, and there is no excuse for the violence against women that is inflicted by males who are glorified as heroes. 


8 comments:

  1. Agreed on how TOUGH it is to review these books. I haven't reviewd ANY in this series properly yet because... #ItsHard

    I happen to like the melodrama... But each to their own. :) I don't know what it is about it - some authors do it and I get annoyed but I guess I'm just so invested in these stories it amplifies the atmosphere instead of irritating me?

    I didn't actually mind the amount of diversity in this series - I think we saw such a small slice of the world and then it opens up in book 3. I mean, there's faeries with their skin made of bark almost and stick insecty ones and all... So I guess it just depends where you sit on wanting diversity. I thought it was relevant and there's a lot more diverse actual skin colour of the high fae in ACOWAR.

    I'm guessing that the high fae are good at almost everything BTW ;)

    As for the sex scenes and Maas take on them... I don't actually mind them. I didn't reallly look at it with the same slant that you did - I saw more of females taking control of their sexuality and owning it... But then the fae are territorial bastards (as she says) and a bit beastly so... I forgave them that.

    I don't know, we'll agree to disagree here obviously and I'll always enjoy these books. I'm just sad they didn't work out better for YOU! I think they're more controversial than I thought. Ha ha.

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    1. Agreed!! Maas always leaves me with such conflicting emotions!

      It is completely subjective, and thanks so much for sharing your take on it, Di! It's so cool we can agree to disagree ;:)

      Yes, I suppose it depends on how you look at the diversity and what you're expecting. I guess I'm just wanting more diversity among the main group - the inner circle; those characters aren't really diverse, the way I see them.

      You definitely have a point. The females do act like that to a degree, but I personally can't stand the way the males act.

      Haha true!! And thanks for such an awesome comment <3

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  2. P.S. Although we don't have the same opinion this is a GREAT REVIEW and your honesty and thoughtfulness behind the points that you draw is appreciated!

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    1. Thank you Di! <33 That means a lot.

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  3. This is a really great review! You've explained your conflicting emotions better than I've seen in any other review, and I agree with you completely. :) I love the breath-taking world-building and characters but the amount of sexually explicit scenes...I try to skip them. I personally don't think they communicate a positive message at all, and I wish they weren't added. It feels a little too mature for YA for me?

    Great review! Thanks for sharing. XD

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    1. Thanks so much Melissa!
      Yeah, agreed. I didn't find them healthy or communicating positive messages :( A pity, because otherwise the book would have been really good.
      I definitely think they're more New Adult or Adult. I honestly don't know why they're under YA!

      Thank you! And thanks for commenting <3

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  4. Okay the whole personal feast thing is so cringe-worthy!Like holy hell, no way I'm swooning over that; more like throwing up :/ I'm glad you liked the plot and world-building though Amy :) And I love the review itself! You've written it so brilliantly <33

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