Now presenting part 2/4 of the ACOTAR series reviews, all leading up to the release of A Court of Silver Flames on Feb 16th! Read my review of ACOTAR here.
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.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.
Please note, this is a re-read review. I tried very hard to keep out any opinions I knew were influenced by the fact that I know what happens in the story later. Thus, spoiler warning ahead. Please don't continue if you don't want to be potentially spoiled.
"But I forgot to tell him... that the villian is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key."
"He was the one who let me out."
Tamlin has upset me. Kindness is not love. Overprotectiveness is not love. Tamlin does not love Feyre, he wants to possess her. Tamlin was the first person to show Feyre any kindness and not treat her like a burden. Since this is such a new experience for her, it's understandable how she mistakes this for love.
After the traumatic events Feyre endured Under the Mountain, it's understandable Tamlin would be more protective of Feyre. What's not understandable is that no one in the entirety of the Spring Court noticed just how traumatized Feyre was. No one noticed her struggling, or if they did, no one cared. Rather than helping Feyre out of her darkness, Tamlin sought to protect her, forgetting that she was the one who saved him while he did nothing Under the Mountain.
After Rhys comes in and invokes his bargain and his right to Feyre's time, someone truly finally notices just how much she's struggling. And it's no one at the Spring Court. Rhys was just as traumatized by the events Under the Mountain, and him provoking Feyre to verbally spar with him helped her. But it only made things worse with Tamlin.
In her time with Rhys, he's not just empowering her and helping her heal, he's giving her the opportunity to empower herself. To be part of something. Where Tamlin tries to protect her and keep her in a bubble, Rhys trusts Feyre to know her strengths, to know her limits, to contribute. Rhys teaches her to read and write, where she refused Tamlin's help out of embarassment. Rhys is teaching her about her newfound powers, instead of hiding and ignoring them like Tamlin wants to. Cassian is teaching her how to fight, where Tamlin and Lucien discouraged it. Feyre has a chance to live when she's with Rhys, and she's learning the difference between Tamlin's version of Rhys and the real Rhys.
Tamlin is oppressive, and sees Feyre as a possession, as something to protect and hide. There was a line in the first book, when Feyre realizes her family is not missing her. She says, "I let him erase me." And now, she's letting him do it again. She's lost all energy to fight for herself, letting herself succumb to the trauma. Sarah created such a poignant description of PTSD in Feyre. It was realistic and uncomfortable to read at times. But she also created such a powerful description of hope and how friendship can pull you out of that. Feyre is a badass. And it's taking her spending time with Rhys to remember that.
Speaking of friendship.... CASSIAN. Cassian is the first person to make Feyre feel like herself again, and their relationship is so wholesome and wonderful and truly one of my favorite parts of the book. He doesn't try to change her, he just enourages her to exist where she is.
Azriel is mysterious and I can't wait to see how/if he grows out of his shadows more. Morrigan has gone through so much and is a shining example to Feyre about how trauma can't keep a good girl down! Amren... is Amren. Our Tiny Ancient One is badass and she knows it, and she makes sure Feyre unleashes her own inner badass.
As Feyre and the others learn just how much of a threat they are facing, she struggles into her own, on her own. The others try to help her see that it is her value and power as a person that can pull her out of her funk. We love to see it. Feyre also continues to struggle to grow into her own personality, her own power. She needs to discover what truly matters to her in life and figures out what she deserves and owns it. She can no longer let anyone walk all over her. She will defend those she loves with her life, that much is proven, but does she know what love and friendship really is?
Wheras ACOTAR was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, this book seems to be more of a Hades and Persephone retelling, where Feyre (Persephone) must split her time between Spring (Tamlin) and the Underworld/Hades (Rhys). I enjoyed this dynamic much more, as it was less predictable and offered much more flexibility in terms of how the plot would develop.
War is looming, and a threat greater than Amarantha is coming. Hybern is coming. Feyre, Rhys, and the rest of the Inner Circle must figure out a way to save Prythian...again. They must forge alliances, as many as they can, including with Feyre's sisters. Nesta and Elain have no idea what they're getting into, but they do seem to want to redeem themselves with Feyre, and their sacrifices are more than admirable. They have no idea what faces them now.
After their biggest secret is revealed, they take the fight to Hybern, only to be met with a surprise they hadn't anticipated. Again, upon re-reading, this book was slow paced than I remember it being the first time I read it. However, it never felt tedious or boring, just steady. The ending is dramatic and shocking and throws you for a loop. It's the best and worst type of cliffhanger and I am immensely glad I could immediately start the next book.
War with Hybern is coming. But who's fighting on which side?
Stay tuned for my reviews of the rest of the series!
This book is my favorite of the series (so far) so thank you for reading! If you've read ACOMAF, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!