After finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses, I immediately put myself on the waitlist for the second novel in the series, A Court of Mist and Fury. But waiting for a copy through the library became too tedious so I caved and bought a copy instead and have rarely been happier with the decision (I went ahead and bought the third novel, A Court of Wings and Ruin before finishing the second so the review for that book won’t be too far behind this one). Though A Court of Thorns and Roses is a wonderful well-contained novel in its own right, A Court of Mist and Fury expands on Sarah J. Maas’ universe beautifully, taking the foundational elements of the first novel and building the characters, their back stories, and their relationships with incredible skill and detail. The trauma of the first novel’s final act is central to where the characters find themselves at the start of this second book and its harsh realities force a new perspective onto everything and everyone.
Though months have passed since Feyre’s trials Under the Mountain and having been remade as High Fae, Feyre still has stomach churning nightmares and her life at the Spring Court hasn’t been as restorative as she might have hoped. So far the High Lord of the Night Court, Rhysand, hasn’t bothered her or Tamlin regarding the bargain she made with him during her trials, but with her wedding to Tamlin approaching and Tamlin clearly worried with diplomatic matters he’s not telling her about, Feyre continues to stall in moving past her trauma. When Rhysand finally calls in his half of the bargain she struck, Feyre’s time away from Tamlin and the Spring Court help to open her eyes to how much she has changed since her human days Under the Mountain. Perhaps the love she gave her human life for isn’t enough for her fae life.
While A Court of Thorns and Roses borrowed heavily from fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast, A Court of Mist and Fury has far more modern scope and appeal—or as one of my friends put it, this one has more feminism. It is only after gaining greater perspective through A Court of Mist and Fury that Feyre—and the reader—discover how much of the splendor of the Spring Court in the first book was a hollow show, how much of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship was built on circumstance and how little they truly know about each other. It’s precisely the slow realization that so many young people have about their own relationships as they get older and gain more experience and perspective. Maas walks a fine line—especially through the beginning of the novel—showing and emphasizing that what Feyre and Tamlin want and need from their relationship has changed and not that their love was wrong or bad or imagined. Sometimes relationships aren’t what we first thought or what we thought we wanted and it doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault; it can just happen. How we handle that disintegration however…
More than just the relationships get explored and expanded in A Court of Mist and Fury. The hints that Amarantha was only the beginning of a long-brewing larger conflict are delivered upon as it becomes clearer that Hybern and its forces are preparing for war with Prythian—a war Feyre hopes to help Rhysand prevent before it can start. The pacing in the novel is inescapable, carrying the reader along quickly and comfortably with a perfect balance between the expansive scope of the novel, its exposition, and exciting action. Even though I missed some of the characters who had more prominent roles in the first book, the new additions are compelling and enigmatic in their own ways.
While the plot of A Court of Thorns and Roses was self-contained, A Court of Mist and Fury’s final pages will send the reader scampering to devour the third novel immediately.