My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The world building is fantastic in a Court of Mist and Fury, further showing us the land of Prythian and specifically the Night Court. The description of Velaris, the City of Starlight is entrancing and a dream. Its buildings are set into a cliffside overlooking the ocean, with soaring mountains and winding streets. You immediately fall in love with the fictional city and wish you could live there, at least I did.
During Feyre’s time in the Night Court, we are introduced to a number of new and important characters – Rhysand’s Inner Circle. His second in command is Amren, an ancient being more powerful than anyone knows and trapped in a flesh body. His third and his cousin is Morrigan, who despite her cheerful disposition is not to be trifled with. Cassian and Azriel are Illyrians, warriors born with wings who are in charge of Rhys’ armies and his spymaster respectively. They are like family and the most important people in the world to Rhysand, the people that he gave up so much to protect from Under the Mountain and Amarantha.
Although Amren is terrifying, the rest of Rhys friends and Circle are very likable. It doesn’t take long for you to fall into their narratives and imagine that they were part of your friend group. Obviously, Rhys is by far my favourite character but I love each of the others for different reasons. Mor is cheerful, but strong and despite everything she has been through doesn’t let the bad days win. Cassian is a jokester, but loyal beyond measure. Azriel is reserved, but he cares deeply for those around him.
The character development in this book is also fantastic, especially showing the utter horrors and brokenness that Feyre feels is inside her, filling her up and not letting her heal from the events of Under the Mountain. You slowly watch how a different, less constricting presence in her life does her good – patiently and lovingly helping her to mend the pieces of her soul.
Rhysand’s personality is also developed over the course of this book. In A Court of Thorns and Roses, you mainly were only privy to his Under the Mountain persona. The one that he used to trick Amarantha and save many of his people. There were little glimpses of his true self during that time, but he is allowed to flourish in A Court of Mist and Fury. Rhys is finally reunited with the people he cares most about in this world after fifty years and truly thought he would never see again. His sass is still prevalent, but you also see his kinder side and even a rare genuine smile. You see how the horrors from Under the Mountain affected him and continue to torment him, even though he tries to hide it from the rest of the Circle. It makes him more real and you feel his pain as your own, wish to soothe him.
Despite Feyre’s change, she must confront her sisters again as she needs their help but is unsure if they will trust her in her new form. Their whole lives they have known only hate and fear for the Fae, but perhaps being one now will allow each to open her heart to the opportunity to learn and grow. It is nice to see not only our Fae main characters grow and develop, but the human ones on the other side of the wall as well.
Tamlin treated Feyre like his property, going to extreme lengths to protect her, but not taking her feelings or opinions into consideration. His word was the final word and nothing she said could change it. That is not the way one should treat the person they love and wish to spend the rest of their life with. Rhysand never underestimated just how much Feyre could handle. He treated her as an equal and allowed her to make her own way. At times, he may have made some questionable decisions that didn’t sit well with her but at the end of the day, he let her choices be her own. Rhys didn’t coddle her, shut her out, or tell her what to do – he trusted her. He gave her freedom.
As can be expected, SJM’s second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series is absolutely fantastic. There was so much pain, horror, and love that my heart didn’t know how to feel at the end of the novel. It was on a rollercoaster ride of emotions the entire time. Highly recommended to young adult/teen fans of fantasy, books with good character development and world building – but be sure to read A Court of Thorns and Roses first.