Source: purchased (paperback).
Genre: New Adult High Fantasy.
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 feared 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.
So. I might be a black sheep again with this one. This review will be FULL OF SPOILERS because it’s very hard to talk about most of what’s happened in the story without spoiling you for something since a pivotal event occurs at about 10% of the book. If you’d like to see a non–spoilery review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first book in the series, you can read it here.
I’m not even counting this one towards my Retelling Challenge because there’s no clear source of inspiration that I can see, unlike with the first book, which was loosely based on Beauty and the Beast and also Tam Lin.
Let’s do the positives first, shall we? This is a very fast read. It has more than 600 pages and yet I read it in 3 or 4 days despite my rather hectic schedule these days. Sarah J. Maas is the queen of bingeable books and I can see why they’re extremely popular. The story is quick and the writing good enough to pull you in.
And, uh, it’s… um… yeah. I have nothing more. *sigh*
What you have to know is that this is the second time I’ve been seriously disappointed with how Maas handled her relationships in her series. In my (spoilery!) review of Queen of Shadows, I complained about how she spent two books developing a relationship between two characters, only to drop it like a hot potato in favor of a new, shiny one. It ticked me off. Why did I bother getting invested in that couple when she was going to break them up anyway? So you can imagine my surprise when she did it again! Tamlin and Feyre are no more and now we have Rhys and Feyre to root for. Ugh.
This is not to say that I don’t prefer Feyre with Rhys. Because I do. I never particularly liked Tamlin but that doesn’t mean I wanted him to become this horrible creature that he is in this second book! Seriously, you guys, can anyone explain this shift to me? I complained about how Maas changed Chaol’s nature in Queen of Shadows but this change here was extreme. I know Tamlin was an overbearing ass from the start but he’s gone completely crazy here. Oh and Lucian? The one character I liked from A Court of Thorns and Roses? He’s a spineless worm, that’s what he is.
I also wanted to smack Feyre a couple of times. Look, I get it, she got through a horrible ordeal and is suffering from PTSD, but her actions – or rather non-actions – were painful to read about. Maas made her relationship with Tamlin seem abusive – and I’m not talking just about the part where he locked up like an animal, I’m talking about the sex where she feels nothing and yet allows Tamlin to come to her bed every night. This is a very problematic attitude, especially in a book that’s geared towards a young audience.
Which brings me to my next point. This is NOT a young adult book! I have no idea why the series was picked up by a children’s publisher because this clearly falls into new adult category. I’m not going to say it’s an adult fantasy because Feyre is too naive to exist as a proper adult character and some of the topics are simply too “young” to be counted as adult (am I even making sense right now?) but there is killing and sex and I can’t say I would like my 17-year-old future kid reading this stuff. I mean, people, you know I’m not a prude, but this wall-banging, body-licking, scream-inducing sex is hardly something that should be in books for teenagers – if nothing else, it sets up unrealistic expectations. :)
Okay, so I do like Rhys. I like how he is with Feyre, he doesn’t take her decisions away from her, he doesn’t speak for her and she’s a better person all around when she’s with him. So there you go, another positive thing I have to say about this book.
BUT PEOPLE, why does EVERYONE have to have a tragic story here? Like there’s Mor who was beaten (and probably raped) by her own family because she refused to be bartered off like a prize mare. There are Feyre’s sisters who get turned into Fae against their will (hello, have we learned nothing from the first book? Changing people without their consent is bad!). There are the two badass warriors (um, their names escape me) and each of them has gone through hell to become the great man that he is. Why can’t we have someone who is a good person despite having had a very nice childhood? I can assure you, it is possible to know about sacrifice and hardships without actually having been beaten half to death. Promise. It’s also possible to be a good lead character if you’re human! Imagine that.
And the similarities between her two series!! Gah! Both Celaena and Feyre are very beautiful and skinny and everyone loves them and wants to be with them. They make ancient, immortal males swoon and follow them around like puppies. Said males are protective and gruff but really have hearts of gold. Their crews of other badass males are all damaged and scary but they have their reasons for looking like they’re going to rip your throat out. Save me, please.
Yeah, if you’re still reading this, you deserve a hug. *hug*
Anyway, I wasn’t even a fan of the ending. Nope. Feyre has gone to spy at Tamlin’s court and will basically sell her body for information if I understand things correctly. But you know, as long as she knows she really loves Rhys. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
So many things! But you know what? I’m almost a 100% sure I’ll be reading the sequel anyway because a) I want to finish the series and b) I want to see where she takes it. I just hope (I really hope) it will be a trilogy. If it gets stretched into a longer series, I might not bother after all.
So. Now it’s your turn. What did you think about this one?
Has a series (or an author) ever disappointed you like this?
I’d love to hear from you! :)