5 Lessons is a feature here at Crazy for YA designed to share explain some books that deserve more than just a review. You can see the other posts in this feature here.
There will be spoilers in this post, so if you have not read both ACOTAR and ACOMAF, then you should avoid this post. Or a least don't complain when you "stumble" on some surprising tidbits of information later in this post.
A Court of Mist and Fury is the second installment of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I was wary of this novel when I first read it because I was exposed to many spoilers before I decided to pick it up.
Sarah J. Maas does some magical things in this novel that you will not be able to fully understand until you read it for yourself. Which brings us to lesson #1.
1. I can completely change my mind about a character.
I consider myself a pretty stubborn person. I have to have the last word in an argument. Honestly, I am not the most open-minded person and I hate to change my mind. For reference, I still ship Katniss and Gale from The Hunger Games because I loved Gale before Peeta was even introduced in the novel. And naturally I refused to change my mind.
I hated Rhysand all throughout A Court of Thorns and Roses. From the moment he slipped onto the page, I knew that I was meant to hate him. His character reminded me a lot of the Darkling from the Grisha trilogy, who I also refused to sympathize with. I would scowl at the mention of his name and mentally scream at Feyre that she could do SO MUCH BETTER than that evil, sly man. In short, I was completely committed to Team Tamlin at the end of ACOTAR.
A Court of Mist and Fury knocked away all of my former prejudice about Rhysand and his motivations. Maas expertly used my own emotions against me to turn me to Team Rhysand. I felt Feyre's pain when Tamlin treated her poorly. I felt her relief when Rhysand did not harm her. I felt her joy at being a part of a team to actually accomplish things instead of being treated like fragile, useless porcelain. Maas developed the plot, characters, and my emotions so unlike any other author.
I have never changed my mind so completely about a character before reading ACOMAF. Rhysand is now on my top ten list of favorite book boyfriends. And it is safe to say that Tamlin is now at the bottom.
2. Backstories are EVERYTHING.
The main reason that I changed my mind so completely about Rhysand was his awe-inspiring, heart-wrenching, and overwhelming backstory. Nothing was held back as his complete history (hundreds of years worth) were poured onto the page and into my heart.
It is easy for me to superficially judge a character even when I do not know a lot about him. That is exactly what happened in ACOTAR, which I think is what Maas expected. She used Rhysand's history of grief, sorrow, and strength to appeal to his character. Maas deserves all of the applause since she crafted a backstory that was equal parts guilt, sorrow, and bravery.
3. Relationships can turn abusive in the blink of an eye.
If you told me that Tamlin would end up being abusive to Feyre about two months ago, I would have laughed in your face. Before I read ACOMAF, I though Tamlin was the epitome of the best book boyfriend.
But the events in ACOMAF have shown that even the relationships that seem perfect can turn abusive and it is important to get out as soon as possible. While I might be reading too much into the story, I believe that Maas is trying to teach readers a couple of lessons about romance through her words.
Maas showed that what seems like a perfect boy in a perfect relationship can turn sour quickly. Feyre was able to recognize this and sought help from Rhysand and his court. While this was an extreme bash to her pride and her former concept of love, she ended up finding her mate, someone who would treat her like an equal, since she broke away from Tamlin.
4. We need more kick-butt females in fantasy like Feyre.
Most of the time, fantasy books seem to be dominated by males. Even though fantasy is my favorite genre, it tends to be more sexist than other genres. If you do not believe me, read this amazing post from Cait @ Paper Fury.
A Court of Mist and Fury is one of the major exceptions to this rule and other authors should follow in Maas's feminist footsteps. While there was no bra-burning or anything radical like that, Feyre was a great example of a strong, independent female fantasy character who don't need no man. She was capable of fighting for herself and picking her own battles. She saved Rhysand's life a couple of times, breaking the traditional damsel in distress trope.
As a whole genre, fantasy could benefit from more characters like Feyre that set the example that females are just as capable of saving the day as anyone else.
5. New Adult is not that bad.
I will admit that I tend to shy away from anything New Adult. The YA section is my comfort zone that I do not tend to stray from. I am always leery that the romance in New Adult novels will become the focus instead of the actual storyline.
Fortunately, ACOMAF is the perfect mixture of romance, action, flirting, danger, and fighting. There were scenes that heated my cheeks, but it was nothing that I could not handle.
Now that I have seen New Adult done right with ACOMAF, I will be more open to reading NA fantasy and science fiction novels in the future.
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.
Have you read A Court of Mist and Fury? What did you learn while reading it? Did you finally come around to ship Feyre and Rhysand or are you still pulling for Tamlin? Do you have any other suggestions for NA fantasy?