Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

 

BookReview

Written by: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Pages: 640, hardcover
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2
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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.

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I am going to veer off from our normal way of writing reviews for this one. I’m not gonna talk about what didn’t work and what did work, because this book…It’s just so much more than that. It’s been a long time since a book has worked its way into my very soul. But I’m here to tell you A Court of Mist and Fury is now printed on my soul.

I listened to this book on audio, at first it was because of the fact that I was cleaning, but then it simply became such a powerful way to just dive into this story that I couldn’t bring myself to read the physical book. I just would lay on the couch, and simply watch the ceiling and listen. This story was one that was so much more than I ever expected. I didn’t dive in for such a long time because I feared love triangles, and more problems like what Queen of Shadows had (Yes it was a great book, but it had problems, let’s be honest here).

At the start of the book we meet such a different person than we left in A Court of Thorns and Roses. She’s broken, she’s dealing with PTSD, she’s hurting. You want to cheer for her to break through these chains, but depression is so much more than that, and the way that Maas writes it? It crushed me, because it felt so real. It felt like I’d lived it all myself and sometimes I didn’t even see the way out.

While I know many have said that Tamlin changed drastically in this book, he really didn’t. As soon as I finished A Court of Mist and Fury, I downloaded A Court of Thorns and Roses audiobook to listen to. Mostly because I couldn’t just put Mist and Fury on my shelf and walk away. But as I listened to Thorns and Roses I realized Tamlin didn’t change at all, all of the possessive annoying traits were all here in this book. I as the reader and Feyre as the narrator both overlook them, blaming the fact that he is Fae, or High Lord. We both allow things to slip because of the moments when he is wonderful and loving and beautiful. But all of those abusive possessive moments? Oh they’re here. Now I roll my eyes so hard at him, it’s not even funny.

Rhysand in the first book is cold, calculating, but there’s this hint that maybe he’s something more. Maybe there’s something else under that High Lord’s mask. Mist and Fury takes his mask and throws it away. Rhys is so much more than I ever gave him credit for. I didn’t trust him anymore than Feyre did at the start of the book, and just like her he won me over.

I don’t feel like this book has a love triangle. I feel like there’s a linear love story, that gets distracted. But isn’t that how real life is? Sometimes you think you’re with the right guy only to realize you’re not? That guy that you love and trusted turns around and hurts you? The fact that Maas doesn’t shy away from things that are so realistic, and this time handles them so beautifully… Well to say I’d choose this series over Throne of Glass any day is almost an understatement.

The story told within these pages is a beautiful and romantic and amazing wonderful story. I don’t know how anyone could put something so amazing together into pages. But I do know that this series is now in my all time favorites. I am so glad that I got to read it. So so glad.

I need that third book though. I will say that. Because wow that ending. Because wow Maas can take a book a million places within one book. Because holy shit I don’t know where anything is going to go from here, but I can’t wait to get that book in my hands and see everything for myself.

Sondra

Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Written by: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Pages: 648, Hardback
Series: Throne of Glass, #4
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The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

 

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How do I even begin to explain Queen of Shadows.

The last book, Heir of Fire, was mainly set-up and (amazing) character development, not too heavy on things actually happening until the very end. On the other hand, Queen of Shadows was an Everything Happens So Much book, full of fun action scenes, brain-exploding reveals, and the beginning and continued build of some wonderful relationships. This is probably the Throne of Glass book I had the best reading experience with, though Heir of Fire is still my favorite.

To be honest, Queen of Shadows feels a little bit like fanfiction. I know a lot of people who have said that mean it in a bad way, but I don’t think feeling like fanfiction is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. In this case, I’m leaning more towards ‘good’.

I feel like, even with the awesomeness that was Heir of Fire, I’ve still been going back and forth about whether or not I like the series as a whole for the past year, and Queen of Shadows cemented that, YES, I love this series, Aelin is the queen of my heart, the secondary characters are all beautiful (and OH MY GOD this book had SO MANY amazing female characters and friendships! that was for sure my favorite thing about the book), I’m emotional about a million different, and this series is a ride-or-die for me.

Since this has been a point of contention for the fandom, I’m going to address Chaol and his relationship with Aelin. First of all, I genuinely don’t understand how anyone can read this book from beginning to end and hate Chaol, or think Sarah J. Maas wanted them to hate Chaol, especially with that ending. Maybe the fandom was making such a big deal out of it that I was expecting him to be completely terrible and he…wasn’t. He had his asshole moments, but so did Aelin, and I understood where he was coming from and thought he actually brought up a few good points. I also think Chaol’s worse moments in this book, while more extreme than we’re used to, came from flaws that were established in previous books.

I don’t think the conflict was handled perfectly. Some of the accusations Chaol and Aelin threw at each other did make me squint a little, but I had to remind myself that neither of them had read Heir of Fire, so they had no way of knowing what the other person had been through the past few months. I also felt like the narrative framed Chaol as being wrong and Aelin being right a little too much–I would have preferred a balance there–but of course Chaol turned out to be right about a very important thing. Add in Chaol’s unflinching loyalty to Dorian and his actions at the end of the book and…yeah, I have more good things than bad to say here.

Also, I’m really happy that at the moment, all signs point firmly away from Aelin ending up with either of the guys from the original love triangle. I shipped Chaolaena a lot in the first two books, and when I reread Crown of Midnight recently I still felt a lot of things about them, but it’s over now and I’m fine with that. I’ve read so many books with love triangles where it was really obvious who the main character would end up with from the beginning that it just makes me really happy that Sarah J. Maas broke away from the format instead of dragging it out for the whole series. And I know people complain about how many love interests Aelin has had (I don’t think four in three years is all that much but that’s beside the point) but I do think it allows for some great messages: that you can fall in love more than once, that you can have more than one soulmate, that someone can be great for you at a certain time of your life but not so much at another, that just because it doesn’t work out romantically doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. And I love that the romance is pretty secondary; it’s an important part of Aelin’s life, but it definitely isn’t the only part.

This book is just So Much. My brain is bursting with things to say. I didn’t love everything about it, but I loved a lot of things, more than I ever would have expected to love in a Throne of Glass book when I started the series. Queen of Shadows is filled to the brim with excitement and adventure and feelings and women being awesome and I can’t wait for books five and six to explode my brain even more.

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ARC Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Written by: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Pages: 432, hardcover
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
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My eternal thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for this e-ARC!

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A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

 

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I have been avoiding this review for a while, not because it was bad but because I simply don’t know what to say about this book. It was…the most amazing book. Seriously. I’ve always had a love of Beauty and the Beast, it’s been my go to movie when I’m sick for years. I watched it until my VHS broke, and then I got it for my birthday on DVD and I cherish it. I absolutely adore that movie, so finding out that A Court of Thorns and Roses was going to be a high fantasy Beauty and the Beast retelling? Oh I was down for it. Which isn’t even including the fact that it’s Sarah J. Maas. I only started reading her books this past summer and she quickly wound up on that list of authors that I will read anything she ever publishes, because wow can she write a story. This one is no different at all. Because in short? This book was epic. Truly. And I don’t even know what words to use for this review. That aren’t simply tears and images of me shoving this book into your hands.

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Book Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Written by: Sarah J Maas
Release Date: September 2nd 2014
Pages: 562, Hardcover
Series: Throne of Glass #3
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Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

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Sarah J Maas just consistently gets better with every book she writes! It’s strange to think that I was so ambivalent towards the first book, because now I care so much about this series. In Heir of Fire, Sarah J Maas expanded the world of the series, developed her characters beautifully, and set in motion so many new pieces for the rest of the series. This is not a fast paced book; for the most part, it focuses on set-up, worldbuilding and character arcs (until the end where EVERYTHING HAPPENS SO MUCH). For me, this was not a problem. I loved everything the book introduced, and I can’t wait for the next installment of the story. Continue reading