Tuesday, May 17, 2016

To the Stars Who Listen • A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury book cover
I've been trying really hard to put my love for A Court of Mist and Fury into words. Coherent words that will intelligently get across how much I adored this story, and how ardently I admire Sarah J. Maas' writing ability, mind you. It's been two weeks since I finished, but I'm still having a raging book hangover because it was just. that. good. While I don't think anything I say in today's post will fully express how much this novel means to me, as a fan of Sarah's from her debut novel, I wanted to try and express what there is to love about this sequel to last year's A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Let's begin by discussing what A Court of Mist and Fury is all about. The adventure picks up after the harrowing adventures and incredible discoveries of its predecessor. Feyre is dealing with the aftereffects of her time Under the Mountain, as it bleeds into her dreams, her relationships, her life. As time goes on, Feyre begins yet another journey - this time one of a more personal nature. She's forced to confront the demons that haunt her and the people she cares for, and these things challenge her to make some very weighty decisions. 

While I won't say more about what specifically happens, A Court of Mist and Fury is truly impressive when it comes to Feyre's hero's journey. It's about learning to live with the choices you've made in the past. It's about truly coming face to face with your demons, and not letting them control your life. It's about learning to find the strength within yourself to decide what's best for you. It's about healing. The beauty in the unexpected. The strength of the family you choose. It is about knowing what you can and cannot risk, what you can and cannot do. It is, more than anything, about Feyre coming to terms with who she is after all that she has been through. And in this aspect, Sarah tells her story so damn well. It was raw, it was real and I felt every single emotion as keenly as Feyre did. Sarah really has a knack for writing a multi-layered, strong female lead, and it shines so, so much in this story as Feyre comes into her own.

Obviously, while this story centers on Feyre, it's not just about her. It's about the other familiar faces that we've come to know and love in A Court of Thorns and Roses, as well as some new individuals who are all too easy to adore. Honestly, what I've come to really love about Sarah's stories is how she makes sure that the main players are all complex individuals. They come to life off the page because of how she makes sure that they are relatable, flaws and all. Plus, she's a master at writing these relationships that bind them together (friendship, family and yes, romance - all of which I was so completely on board with that I surprised myself with my enthusiasm). Honestly, it's no easy feat to maintain an entire ensemble of characters for the reader, but somehow, as with her other novels, she does it in this one. She's put together an incredible set of characters, and I'm really invested in the outcome of all of their story arcs in the series finale that's out next year. 

(I'd like to point out that one of my favorite things is how she plays with the concept of hero vs. villain. She really turns the entire concept on its head, which isn't new in fantasy novels, but I loved her take on it a lot because I could see where both characters in question were coming from!)

Riveting story, complex characters, interesting themes - add in a dash of detailed world-building, and you'll basically have A Court of Mist and Fury in a nutshell. The novel caught me off guard in the best way possible (though granted, I had no clue what to expect when I started it except another compelling read from Sarah), and I can happily say I really and truly loved it. With a story that refused to let me go until the very last page, I completely devoured this sequel while I was away on vacation in Europe. It's a testament to Maas' continued growth as a storyteller, and it has me chomping at the bit to have the next one in my hands already. 

Basically, if you've not yet read this sequel, you must. If you haven't started this series yet, you definitely need to. Just read A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, okay? I promise it will be worth the time you spend with it.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2 | Previous Book in Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's | Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Source: Bought the Kindle e-book (and hardcover)

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.

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