Book (and Audiobook) Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury

Details:

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (book), Recorded Books (Audiobook)

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 624 (hardcover) 670 (paperback)

Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda

Read time: 23 hours and 17 minutes

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 cleaved in two.

My First Thoughts:

I was pretty surprised by how much I liked the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I was intrigued by how Maas would continue the tale. In the previous book she left things pretty wide open, Feyre with new possibilities and a few loose strands that never got tied up. I think that made me the most excited, and willing to read this book, was one of the final scenes in the previous one: the odd departure of Rhys from the balcony before everyone left the mountain. That scene alone made me want to read the sequel.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Boy am I glad that I decided to listen to this sequel! The first book wasn’t terrible, not my favorite from the author, but the world and characters were interesting enough to keep me reading (or listening in this case). As sequels go, Maas did a fantastic job with A Court of Mist and Fury! Everything that I loved in the first book, the characters, the world, the history, the intriguing new species, all appeared in this book and were expanded way beyond my hopes.

The book is over 600 pages long borderline 700, the audio is almost 24 hours, and I never got bored once. Sometimes, especially when it comes to long fantasy stories, that’s really hard for an author to pull off. But Maas was able to spin a story full of romance, intrigue, history, character development, and action that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time!

A Court of Mist and Fury was full of so much creativity that I marvel and wonder about how strong her imagination is and what it’s like to be in her head. If you thought her other series or the previous book had a lot of description, then you’ll be in for a surprise. I would have to guess that about 30% of the book is pure world building, either with physical descriptions, various clothing styles of the courts visited or visiting, various new species, and history, so much history. While some people find all of that to be boring, I absolutely loved it! If an author creates a new world never thought of before, then I want them to describe to me what they created and what they see. I find the story more enjoyable if I can submerse myself in the history, either of the lands or people, or of the characters themselves, so that I can truly understand the reasons behind their various actions. Maas also does a fantastic job of making the various mentioned courts unique, and even some of the cities and places visited in each. She makes each place memorable and easy to create within your own mind, which can be difficult for some authors or some just don’t bother. And sure, there were several paragraphs dedicated to clothing description, especially when the characters dressed up, but I actually enjoyed that too. I enjoyed “seeing” what various courts wore, or what the various characters wore as well, and in some ways Maas used the clothing descriptions as foreshadowing or used them to show character growth. And don’t get me started on her fae species, I could talk for several more sentences or even paragraphs about that part. But in short, Maas doesn’t really use a lot of the more common Fae in her stories, sure a few of them show up, but she also uses some of the more obscure ones or even creates some of her own, which I believe is a mark for her creativity.

As much as I love Maas’s descriptions and world building, I love her characters even more. With this installment of the series you get a whole new cast of characters. Some are brief but still impressionable, while others are more lasting and surprisingly quirky. I didn’t know how I felt about some of the new characters, I disliked some at first and by the end there was only one that I still disliked, and for good reason apparently! Each new character is not quite unique, but memorable. They each have their own little quirks, the things that get them riled, and their own history, even if it is brief. But the interactions between the various characters was the best part. Maas used their interactions to really show who each of them were, and even used it as growth for some of the main characters from the previous book. They were funny, some were rather snippy, angry, or sad, but all the interactions seemed realistic, not forced, but natural and smooth.

In my review of the previous book I talked about how much I enjoyed the character development in the story, especially of the more minor characters. Well, Maas did it again and absolutely delighted me with the great and small character development of both main and minor characters. I could really see how the characters felt for each other and how their relationships changed as they went through more and more together. And it was the little things too that added to the development, not just big scenes or action or events. Sometimes the little things played a bigger role in the change than the larger ones.

In the first book I liked Feyre, but I didn’t love her as much as I hoped I could. In this book, I grew to love her more than I ever thought I could. I think she had the most development in this book and her character tickled me pink! I’ve seen other authors put their heroines through traumatic experiences, ones that would totally change and damage a person, but then in the next book their completely fine, no mental damage, not change in personality, nothing. Maas doesn’t do that with Feyre. Instead, Maas shows you a broken, beaten young woman who did everything she could for those she loved, and still lost so much of herself that the repercussions were great. Maas shows the consequences to Feyre’s psyche do to her trials at the end of the previous story and it’s the first time that I feel like an author portrayed PTSD beyond the stereotypes and quick Google searches. And it’s because Maas understood how broken her heroine would be, that I grew to appreciate Feyre, especially when she realizes what has happened to herself and she tries to change it. Because of her PTSD, which is never actually named in the story, Feyre had the biggest character development of all and one that I felt wasn’t forced either. Even broken, Maas showed her heroine to be strong and not in a butch or bitchy way.

I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.

The last thing that I will talk about here is the story itself. If I could rename the book it would be either A Court of Plot Twists and Drama or A Court Internal Squeals and Fangirling, either would be perfectly fine, in my opinion…Anyways, this book has so much drama that it’s dripping off the pages. Now, that’s not a mark against the book, on the contrary. A Court of Thorns and Roses, in my opinion, didn’t have a lot of action or real plot for most of the book, it read more like a collection of experiences within a few months. It was a set up book, fine. A Court of Mist and Fury, however, was the book I was hoping the other one to be. There was so much action and tales of adventure that actually lend to the plot of the story. When there wasn’t action there was drama, so much drama, but it was fun and interesting, it sounded so real and I could actually understand where the drama came from and why. And the plot twists, most of them I didn’t even see coming until right before it happened or not at all. Now, I normally pride myself in figuring out big reveals and twists before they occur, that’s why I get really excited when I’m bested by an author. Maas is a worthy opponent, and her twists had me squealing and screaming to the point that I believe my family thought me mad. Some of them were small, others colossal, but none of them made me sit there and question why they occurred. Once they revealed themselves I was able to go back and actually see the clues, the subtle signs, and the reasoning behind the characters’ actions. All in all, this story was fantastic from the little details to the big scenes, from the minor, small characters to the main characters, from description and history to the big and small reveals.

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend this book to those who loved, or even liked or barely liked, A Court of Thorns and Roses. This story is so much fun and much, much better than the previous.

I do have to say though, while the story was 30% descriptive, I’d say it was also 60% plot and 10% sex. Yea, there’s a lot of sex and sexual tension in this book, or at least, more than I was expecting for a ‘Young Adult’ novel. And it went into much more detail than I was anticipating as well, it wasn’t briefly mentioned, no there are actual scenes within the book and they went a bit more beyond than what they did in the previous novel. However, the scenes are not quite on the same level as Adult novels or the famed ‘Adult Romance’ novels. So for anyone with younger children, don’t let them read this book unless you’re comfortable with that. I don’t believe that books have specific ‘ages’ but they do generally target a specific audience, and if you’re an adult with a child that wants to read this book or series, seriously think on that. In reality, this book belongs in the New Adult category with a target of older teens and 20 somethings, but it can be read by anyone comfortable with the violence, gore, and sex.

Rating(s):

Story: 5/5

A Court of Mist and Fury is bloody fantastic! I had so much fun listening to it and it kept me up late at night, on the edge of my bed. It was everything I wished its predecessor was and so much more. It’s 600-700 pages, or 24 hours (listening time), of pure fun, drama, romance and intrigue. And with the ending, which wasn’t really a cliffhanger more like a bookmark in a longer story, I’m already dying for the next installment. I can’t wait to see what Maas does with this story or her characters, and I can’t wait to see what hell Feyre will bring to the world.

Narration: 5/5

As before, I absolutely loved the narration by Jennifer Ikeda. She might have been the first to narrate a story to me as an adult, but she is by far my favorite. I loved how she brought the characters to life, and even her male voices weren’t too bad. She was able to craft her voice in such a way that their various personalities showed through as she spoke for each character. Her reading was neither slow nor fast, but it never kept the same rhythm. If the story demanded action then she read a little faster than normal, if the characters were thinking then she drew out there thoughts a little, giving time to appear as if they were slowly putting the pieces together. All in all, she did a fantastic performance of the book and she will always be the voice of Feyre, even if I may read the book myself.

Related Reviews/Books:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

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