Synopsis: 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 torn apart.
Oh, GOD. Why did I start rereading books?! It has only resulted in heartbreak. (Except you, Wanderlove. You know you’re different.) Years of never picking up the same book twice? The right decision. Now there’s a 2-star book on my 2016 favorites shelf. WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO WE LIVE IN.
Anyway. This was…not as good as I remembered. Like, in a big way. (Note: There are some spoilers in here, I think, especially for A Court of Thorns and Roses.)
What would the two sweeping generalizations I’d make about the first and second half of this book be, you ask? I’m so glad you brought this up, fictional reader of this review. You get me. And to answer your fake question: I would say the first half of this book is super boring, and the second half is bonkers cringeworthy.
Oh, man, talk about an unpopular opinion. Don’t yell at me. I’m way too fragile.
O.K. (There’s something about spelling okay that way that makes me giggle.) Let’s get into it.
So, as you all know, we follow our girl Feyre. Feyre’s a bish who has PTSD after, like, killing people and dying and being resurrected and going through trials, et cetera. (Makes sense, no? Like, why doesn’t every YA fantasy protagonist have full-on PTSD.) Anyway, at the beginning of this book, she’s bundled up in a boring old love-nest with her loverrrrr from the first book, Tamlin. Feyre is all skinny (doesn’t eat and stress-vomits, I guess) and sad (she did a lot of things) and bored (not allowed to do anything, now) and tired (nightmares like it’s her JOB).
Then Rhysand, the tall/dark/mysterious/flirtatious asshole (trope I’m never into) rescues her from Tamlin, who literally one second ago was the dream guy. (More on that later.) Feyre is bustled off to the Night Court, which rocks, to become a full on badass and have a ton of sex. (More on that later too.)
But…this book is kind of boring, a lot of the time. I know! I made it sound so exciting. That’s just because it’s impossible for me to be boring. I’m fun and thrilling all the time. Okay?!
Anyway. There’s a whole plotline, wherein war is coming and Feyre and the Gang™ must prevent it. (Feyre and the Gang™ is the name of the vintage hip-hop super group formed by Feyre and Rhysand, plus a handful of other goofballs: Mor, who is Rhysand’s…sister?, Cassian, who is his war guy, Azriel, who is his sneaky spooky spy, and Amren…I have straight up no idea what her deal is.)Again, may sound exciting, but I DID NOT FIND IT INTERESTING. All they do in this storyline is spend literally hundreds of pages info-dumping about some history guy named Jurian and corresponding with some human queens (humans are suuuuper boring, as we know).
Confession: I allowed myself to
skip skim these boring parts. Because they’re boring. And I didn’t care about them at all.
Even the big climactic scenes in this book were boring to me! The battle at Velaris? Snoozefest. The Cauldron bit, at the end? Soothed me to sleep like a lullaby. And fun stuff kept getting skipped entirely. At one point, Feyre’s like, “I’m going to catch the Suriel” and then the next sentence is, essentially, “I caught the Suriel.” I HATE IT.
So, that’s the first half. The second half (or last third, really) is not any better. It’s just a different kind of terrible.
See, in this part, Feyre and Rhysand realize their ~loooooove~ for each other. Or, I’m sorry, not JUST their love. They’re destined for each other. They’re mates, you guys.
What follows is a TOTAL CRINGEFEST. Feyre says the word “mate” easily 800 times. This is because, instead of doing, you know, actual writing, I’m assuming Maas just copied the mantra “Mate. My mate.” and pasted it on every page from here to Timbuktu. Which, kill me.
BUT IT DOESN’T END THERE. Rhysand and Feyre can’t even interact with each other without full-on f*cking. Doesn’t matter where they are. There are sex scenes (in gruesome, painful detail) in bathtubs, against walls, on kitchen tables. It’s nasty. A nonstop cringe party for what felt like years.
And that brings me to maybe (dare I say) the most annoying bit of this book: The Tamlin Thing™. See, I didn’t like the first book even the first time around, so I refuse to reread it. But I don’t have to revisit that garbage dump to know that Tamlin was sure as sh*t presented positively as hell. With, like, no exceptions. He was endgame. (I remember preferring him to Rhysand, because, again, Rhysand is an example of a trope I abhor. Oh, boohoo, you’re a d*ck because you’re broken. Cry me a river, and get a personality while you’re at it.)
But back to Tamlin. From page one of this book, he’s presented as less than. He’s boring first, then oblivious, then uncaring, then full-on OPPRESSIVE in the span of fifty pages. With just a fraction of the book done, he’s so obviously a villain that Feyre has to be rescued…by the last book’s love interest-slash-villain.
It’s a total role reversal, and IMO, you can’t just write like that. You can’t just toss the last book to the wind because the fangirls preferred the mysterious guy with purple eyes. It’s ridiculous. It feels like fanfiction – like a thirteen-year-old writing a love story about herself and Harry Styles, but she switches and decides to go for Zayn. UGH. This freaking book, dude.
There were good bits to this. The settings are really amazing (Velaris! The Summer Court!), and I liked when Feyre and the Gang™ hung out. I’m fairly into the characters (even Rhysand, walking/talking trope that he is, has his moments, and Feyre is pretty badass). I really do love the world, especially certain parts of it. I just wish that more of this book was spent with that stuff, the good stuff, instead of cheesy smut, info-dumps and poor writing technique.
Also, the ending was maybe the best part, which is so CLASSIC. That’s a next-level plot twist and cliffhanger. Now I’m a) tricked into thinking I liked this more than I did and b) eagerly awaiting the next book. I SEE YOU, MAAS.
Bottom line: This was fun sometimes, but mostly it hurt itself. WHY CAN’T YOU FOCUS ON THE BITS YOU’RE GOOD AT, SARAH?! God, I hope the next book is all sneaky spying and squad hangouts and not info-dumps and human interactions. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!
Epiphany: I’ve now given every Maas book I’ve ever read 2 stars.