Two Problems in A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
What: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Who: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
When: May 3rd 2016
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Bloomsbury Australia for review.
Feyre is immortal.
After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.
As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.
She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.
I really loved A Court of Thorns and Roses. It was a book I enjoyed pretty thoroughly, and I was incredibly excited to read its sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury. Unfortunately, that excitement was somewhat misplaced. There were two main problems I had with A Court of Mist and Fury:
1) Everyone changed.
I really liked Tamlin in ACoTaR. He was a character that was complex and caring and was quite the epitome of the character he was based off. So to enter A Court of Mist and Fury and have Tamlin completely changed as a character was pretty darn disappointing. All of a sudden, Tamlin is the villain of the story. He’s controlling and manipulative, and Feyre is, quite out of the blue, not in love with him anymore because of this.
Lucien. Lucien was my favourite male character in ACoTaR. He was sassy and a good friend to Feyre. In A Court of Mist and Fury, there was none of that. He was weak. He bowed to Tamlin’s every wish. He wasn’t much of a friend to Feyre. My favourite character was, in a word, ruined.
Rhysand. I adored Rhysand in ACoTaR, problems and all. But he went from broody bad boy to knight in shining armour incredibly quickly. Instead of being charming to get what he wants, he is simply charming. Instead of being snarky to manipulate Feyre, he is just snarky. I loved Rhysand again in this novel, but I also felt like the excuses given for why he acted the way he did in the previous book were kind of flimsy.
Feyre. Dear god above. I couldn’t stand her in this book. I wanted to DNF when I was about fifty pages in. In fact, I only really started to enjoy it when I was OVER THREE HUNDRED PAGES in. That is a long time to wait before a book starts to become interesting. I liked Feyre’s weaknesses and strengths in the last book. I liked that she wasn’t closed off to feeling things, and that she had her downfalls. In A Court of Mist and Fury the aspects of her personality and character that I had liked so much in ACoTaR were pretty much completely erased.
She didn’t like to paint anymore (apparently because she feared the colour red. And then didn’t fear it later on. With no journey or explanation to how that colour lost its power over her). She learned to read after one lesson (apparently Feyre is some kind of genius). She became so closed off and cold-hearted that she couldn’t even smile or laugh anymore (a quote about a laugh almost making its way out of her shattered soul had me almost snorting at the drama of it all). She became a fighter after four weeks of training with one person (again: genius). All in all … she pretty much became a carbon copy of Celaena. The person with all the power, and with the weight and wellbeing of the world resting on her tiny little shoulders (Christ, the constant mentions of how skinny she was were blood boiling).
2) There was literally no diversity. At all.
There were four new characters introduced in A Court of Mist and Fury, all of which played an integral role in the story. They were in Rhysand’s inner court, and in almost every chapter after they were introduced: Amren, Cassian, Morrigan, and Azriel.
Every single one of them is white. Every darn one. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce some racial diversity into this series – with Lucien and Tamlin and Feyre and Rhys all being glaringly white characters. But the opportunity to include racially diverse characters was not taken, and now all eight characters are white. Racial diversity? Non-existent.
Every single one of them is straight. Every darn one. Cassian and Azriel are both in love with Morrigan. Amren mentions sex with males. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce some LGBTQIA+ characters into this series – with Lucien and Tamlin and Feyre and Rhys all being glaringly straight and cisgender characters. Why weren’t Cassian and Azriel in love with each other? Or perhaps Morrigan and Amren? Why did it have to be two guys in love with one girl? Why couldn’t one of them be sexually fluid? Or genderfluid? Why, in a world that is a fantasy, straight and cisgender are the defaults? Why is the mating bond between a man and a woman? Because apparently straight and cisgender are the only sexual orientation and gender identity that exist in the world of this series. The opportunity to include LGBTQIA+ characters was not taken, and now all eight characters are straight and cisgender. LGBTQIA+ diversity? Non-existent.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed in A Court of Mist and Fury. There were aspects I did like, for example: my ship sailed, and there was lots of magic and awesome scenes involving that magic. I liked the quest aspect. I liked Rhysand a lot. But I can’t get over the two problems I wrote about. I’m not on board with changing characters to fit a story, and I can hardly stomach the complete and utter void of any diversity in this series.
© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
This review is gorgeous and so well written, Chiara. I can’t really offer specific thoughts on the book itself, since I haven’t and don’t plan to read it, after the unfortunate time I had with ACoTAR, but I can offer my thoughts on these elements you write about, and I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed that these characters seem to have changed so drastically with no real explaination, especially because that doesn’t make sense. I’m all for characters changing how they feel, changing who they love, but when their whole personality changes with no build up, no reason, no explaination- that just doesn’t make sense. I can’t really imagine Rhysand as the character he seems to have suddenly become, and what about the entire end of ACoTAR? What about true love and risking everything for this one person? I actually love the idea that you risk everything and later realise that your love wasn’t something you want anymore, but… I don’t know if that’s what happened here. I feel like this might be another Chaol-Rowan switch, and I’m a little frustrated that that’s happening here, too.
I feel pretty happy, having decided this isn’t a series that I’ll continue. I didn’t like the first book, but I was going to keep reading because I really like Sarah J. Maas. But QoS has become issue-y for me, and I’m actually not really pumped for the next book in September, and I don’t want to read a series I don’t enjoy just because I like the author’s other work. But for you, who enjoyed ACoTAR so much, this sucks. It makes me frustrated, but I didn’t even read it. I wasn’t really invested in this series. I’m really sorry it didn’t work out for you. xx
I mean I rated this one five stars, but I can see where you’re coming from (and the lack of diversity in spec fic is such a huge problem – I think if more high-profile authors LIKE Sarah J Maas were to include more diversity it could be a really good thing). And S J Maas’s characters always tend to change a lot throughout the books – part of the reason I really disliked Queen of Shadows.
This is one of many reasons why I am not reading ACOMAF, I just cannot deal with it. A author cannot change a character so much that they are unrecognisable, just no.
I loved Tamlin in the first novel and to have him change so much that he know because the Villian – um no thanks. It grinds my gears really.
Then Rhys, again I liked him in the first one, but how could we forget all that he has done – it just does not work like that.
Feyre – how can she go from loving someone so much that she would die for them to not loving him at all from one book to another.
It just seems like there is quite a lot of plot holes in this one and that it wasn’t looked at enough.
How can a novel like this one have no diversity – like how? Anway.
Thank you for the review. It was great to see someone look at the faults of this book, all I am seeing is 5 stars, but from what I can gather it shouln’t be.
I actually kind of love the diverse REACTIONS this book has been getting. I personally loved it, but I understand your points and why you wouldn’t. I did feel somewhat similarly about Lucien changing — but since he’d never been a particular favorite of mine in ACOTAR, it didn’t bug me as much.
Tamlin … I honestly didn’t feel like his “change” was nearly as dramatic as you and others have claimed, but I can definitely see your perspective. I know in ACOTAR there were some struggles between Feyre and Tamlin regarding her ability to go wondering off and doing things. It fell under the guise of “you shouldn’t go out because you don’t know what you’d stumble across,” but he was definitely still VERY alpha-male toward her. I kind of felt that his insanely over-protectiveness / posessiveness in ACOMAF was actually a natural progression for him, especially after having SEEN her go through everything Under the Mountain (including dying), so it didn’t strike me as particularly out of place.
And you know … The lack of diversity didn’t bug me UNTIL you pointed it out, and now I feel somewhat ashamed for not noticing/caring before. While I don’t mind that most of the main/supporting characters are your “typicals,” it would have been nice to at least seen SOME evidence of both ethnic and LGBT-esque diversity SOMEWHERE in the book. That one is going to bug me now >.<
I haven’t read this series at all, but I kind of want to get in on everything that’s going on with ACOMAF. In this day and age, I find the lack of diversity saddening, plus it’s now kind of rare to find a book without it. I’m sorry to see that the characters completely changed! That kind of thing reminds me of when someone mentions the characters in their fanfic are “out of character”, hahah good times back then.
I only skimmed your review because I do want to start this series at one point! But I’m still going to say that this was an awesome review. I will be back here at one point (like a year from now HA)
Chiara, I’m about a third of the way through this right now and I can completely see where you’re coming from. The change in Tamlin’s personality kind of reminds me of Adam’s character change in the Shatter Me series, and it’s frustrating me as well. :( Sorry you didn’t especially love this one, but I’m glad you still liked it nonetheless. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3
Personality pendulum swings seem to be Sarah J Maas’ THING these days, eh? 0_0 I feel like she did that in Throne of Glass series and that’s a HUGE reason I dislike it so much now. *cries* I always liked Rhys so the fact that he stays awesome is great! But ew ew to the rest of them. And it is sad that there is no diversity. :(
WELL THEN. I don’t regret skipping this book at all now. ;D ?
It seems like we often have the same thoughts on books (Lady Helen, ACOMAF, etc.) so it was great to have your perspective for this one! I hated how Tamlin became a horrible villian and could just do not right. And how Lucien just disappeared out of the story. Feyre was just so annoying as well, and it was frustrating how she was just so special. The diversity was definitely an annoyance too :( Great review Chiara, I love the honesty!
First off I do see where you are coming with this and at first I agreed with everything above, However I stepped away from it before finishing reading it. I am still not finished but I can at least have an understanding of what has happened. (past page 400 at last)
Feyre is a very interesting character. She can hunt,provide for her family, and give love to a people she does not fully know. However I think that what happened under the mountain blew her brain. She saw creatures she didn’t even know existed and was able to still hold back herself in order to logically get through it. When someone ends something they logically did (similar to a breakup) they are still emotionally torn. Tamlin could have easily nurtured her but he was consumed by his own fear and the whispers coming from a high priestess he trusted. Their relationship was a losing battle once he stopped trusting himself and her.
The painting thing is something I can understand as an artist. To paint is to see and Ferye refuses to see what is around her, she is trapped in her own horrors and cannot escape. She has no one to talk to who cares until she meets her new friends. She is able to make peace with her memories with them and thus can now see the beauty again in life.
One thing I feel many missed is the initial tie to the first story that developed further in this story. The tale of the mortal falling in love with the immortal. I can’t recall their names off the top of my head but don’t you see the resemblance? This immortal woman fell in love with the mortal man and even fought in his war. Then she fell in love with her friend who ended up aiding her in the war and the mortal man was driven crazy. (sounds like a love story we have been reading a bit of in present day)
Does this book have flaws, Yes, However I think that you may have judged it too quickly. Their is alot about these characters that transcend the classic tale of beauty and the beast like the first one was based on.
Just finished reading your review and I thought it was a great review. I havent personally read it bit the problems you stated here are legit probs and you are right about the diversity thing. A fantasy book especially by a famous author has all the gears to include either racial or sexual diversity. Im glad I read your blog it was a fun and insightful read. Im sorry you had to have haters hating on it.