A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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Like every Sarah J. Maas book, this was incredibly too long. This book could have been condensed to 400 pages and pack a much better punch, but who am I to complain about a book being too long; especially one that surrounds faeries and their courts.

I also think I’m probably rating this a little higher than normal, because A Court of Mist and Fury has the ending Ruin and Rising should have had. When they kept saying “like calls to like” I couldn’t help being reminded of it.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a very loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and A Court of Mist and Fury is a very loose retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone.

In my very humble opinion, I think this is the best book Sarah J. Maas has written, to date. Especially with the mess she made with Queen of Shadows.

This book does such an exceptional job of showing actual growth, in a person and romantically, and how something you thought was perfect for you before might not be perfect for you now. I was actually in awe of how perfectly Sarah J. Maas wrote this normally looked over concept and how realistic, and hard hitting, it was.

I know most people are going to consider this a love triangle, but this book is honestly more about Feyre growing as a person and deciding who she wants to be; not who she wants to be with.

I still have to emphasize that this book is long-winded and very slow, but once you hit the end of part two it becomes a six star book. Basically, part one and part two were 3 star reads – enjoyable, but left a lot to be desired, but part three, part three was everything I’d ever want in a book.

And can we talk about Chapter 54? Like, be still, my beating bleeding heart. You can look at my A Court of Thorns and Roses review; I loved Rhysand when everyone else called him abusive and praised Tamlin. Chapter 54 was the best thing I’ve read all year, and I’ve read the masterpiece that is The Raven King. Like, my iPad probably hates me from me poking it, fiercely, every page to highlight everything!

“And then—then I learned your name. Hearing you say it … it was like an answer to a question I’d been asking for five hundred years.”

Also, I was so surprised by how much sex was in this. And I don’t mean the type of YA sex scenes where they lay down together and wake up the next day and say they had sex (I’m looking at you Frozen Tides), but actual well written, hot, sexy scenes. I honestly felt like I was reading new-adult a few times. In case this is the first time you’ve read my reviews – I’m a huge perv, and this only made me like this book ten times more than I already did.

“I couldn’t breathe hard enough, fast enough, as Rhys withdrew his fingers, pulling back so I could meet his stare. He said, “I wanted to do that when I felt how drenched you were at the Court of Nightmares. I wanted to have you right there in the middle of everyone. But mostly I just wanted to do this.” His eyes held mine as he brought those fingers to his mouth and sucked on them.”

This part of the review is going to have SPOILERS! Please proceed with caution if do not want this book or its predecessor, A Court of Thorns and Roses, to be spoiled for you!

PART ONE: The House of Beasts
It’s been three months since Feyre was under the mountain, saving the world from Amarantha. She is back at the Spring Court with Tamlin, and they are planning their wedding. Tamlin is being more overprotective than usual, and Feyre is feeling more and more like a prisoner in her own home.

“The issue isn’t whether he loved you, it’s how much. Too much. Love can be a poison.”

While walking down the aisle to become Tamlin’s bride, Feyre is silently praying for help, because she is unsure if this should truly be her fate. Like he answered her prayer, Rhysand teleports in to make Feyre hold up her end of the bargain that she struck with him in A Court of Thorns and Roses.

PART TWO: The House of Wind
Rhy shows Feyre both parts of his court: Hewn City, which still dwells under the mountain, and Velaris, which Rhy showed extreme selflessness to protect at the cost of everything he was. In this part of the story, we really learn about the King of Hybern and what he is really planning; Amarantha was just a small, small pawn in his game.

We also learn that Feyre has some of the powers from the seven High Lords that saved her. Darkness from the Dark Court, Fire from the Autumn Court, ect. Rhy not only shows Feyre her worth, but helps her in her journey of becoming the person she wants to be with these new-found powers.

Feyre also bonds not only with Rhy, but with his whole court. We meet some pheominal characters; Mor – Rhy’s cousin and third in command, Azriel – Rhy’s spymaster, Cassian- Rhy’s army commander, Amran – Rhy’s second in command and a huge mystery, because she is not human, but something else.

“When you spend so long trapped in darkness, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”

We get to meet one of the most interesting characters, the Bone Carver, who is in a very special prison that I hope we get to learn more about in the next book. He helps Rhy and Feyre confirm their suspicions about Hybern and how he has acquired a cauldron, and all three of its feet, to not only be able to raise the dead, but to also destroy walls. Walls, like, the one that protects Feyre’s sisters.

The only way to stop this to gain two parts of the book of breathing; One is held by the High Lord of Summer, and the other is safeguarded by mortal queens. Sounds easy enough, right? This is a Sarah J. Maas book; of course it won’t be easy!

Something happens, and Feyre ends up making another deal with Suriel, and you know this is going to come about in the next book. I actually can’t wait to see what he asks of her, especially since he has saved her twice and given her a very big piece of information this time.

Oh, and this book leaves off on such a freakin’ cliff hanger that I think my heart fell out of my chest, rolled off my bed, and landed somewhere in the pits of hell, where I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get it back.

PART THREE: The House of Mist
Feyre is now dealing with that cliffhanger, and I’m hyperventilating while reading. This is when Chapter 54 comes into play and saves my human soul from damnation.

“Release tore through my body, and he pounded into me, hard and fast, drawing out my pleasure until I felt and saw and smelled that bond between us, until our scents merged, and I was his and he was mine, and we were the beginning and middle and end. We were a song that had been sung from the very first ember of light in the world.”

When everything is right in the world again, and many, many hot sexy times were had, I realized I had 10% of this book left and my guard came right back up.

The gang at the Night Court decided that it’s time to try to stop the cauldron and Hybern once and for all. Yes, they acquired both pieces of the book, but at a very big painstakingly high cost. Yet, once they get to the cauldron, they realize it was a little too easy. Obviously, it was a trap, but the person who betrayed them was pretty surprising, for me at least. Like, looking back at it now, I should have seen it coming, but I guess I was too busy gushing over all the sexy times.

Many, many things happen surrounding that cauldron. I would completely ruin the book for you, and I can’t bring myself to do it, because part three was so freakin’ good. Like, if you feel intimidated about reading this 600+ page tome, and you don’t really care about knowing everything, just read part three. It’s that’s close to perfection, for me.

Maybe later in the year I’ll regret giving this five stars, because part one and part two did drag, but right now I’m in such a happy little bubble, even with that ending, that I couldn’t possibly not give this five stars right now.

“And I wondered if love was too weak a word for what he felt, what he’d done for me. For what I felt for him.”

It makes me pretty excited to read Empire of Storms, too. *whispers to Chaol, “There might be hope for you, too”*

Everyone is saying that the final installment is a loose retelling of Snow White, but the real question is: Will Snow White be Feyre or Rhysand? I mean, she is a huntress and he is pale with black hair.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

This book was a whole lot of ruin and not enough rising.

This review is going to have mild spoilers, especially with information about Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm, so please proceed with caution if you haven’t read this trilogy.

Moral of this story:
If you want the super hot guy you’ve been fantasizing about for years, make sure you never show that you can be more powerful than him in any aspect of your life.

Mal wanted her powerless and he got his wish in the end, because fuck women making men feel insecure, right? Who would want to be a queen when you could live a life in hiding, filled with mediocrity, with Mal? I mean, you probably will have lots of super hot sex, right? Obviously, the Darkling and Nikolai accepting her for who she really is was completely overrated. /sarcasm

What makes me the saddest is that I actually thought this series would be different.

“Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay.”

How could Leigh Bardugo create this literary masterpiece that is the Darkling and just completely throw him away? He was heads and shoulders above any other character in this series and we only get to see him five times in this book; one of those scenes being the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever read. I have no words for my disappointment.

Shadow and Bone was honest to God perfect for me, I chalked my disappointment with Siege and Storm to “Second Book Syndrome”, but this book was an abomination. The ending made me feel like I completely wasted my time and that there was really no point in this series at all.

The most upsetting thing is that this could have been the best trilogy of all time

This world, these characters, and the potential were astronomical. I’m actually still dumbfounded how this happened because Shadow and Bone was perfection, in my opinion. Maybe I’ll feel differently once the bleeding stops, but I am just in disbelief by this safe terrible ending, when this could have been the next Harry Potter.

The only positive thing I’ll say is that Six of Crows is, so far, amazing and I don’t think it will turn out like this lackluster ending. I will stand by the fact that I believe the Darkling is one of the best characters ever to be written, so I’m just going to pretend that Kaz Brekker is the Darkling reincarnated, even though Six of Crows picks right up where Ruin and Rising left off… I’m still going to pretend, because this is my coping mechanism!

I will also say that Leigh Bardugo’s prose is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever read, and it makes me want to read everything she creates, but I can’t lie about the utter disappointment I felt when I finished the last page of this book.

Unfortunately, we got a generic ending to this trilogy with no twists that ultimately turned Alina into one of the weakest female characters I’ve ever read. I obviously wanted her with the Darkling with some kind of redemption story, but I would have even been happy with Nikolai. Instead we get Mal who should be dead, and not even because of the knife, but because I want to kill him myself for all of womankind.

I’m off to live the rest of my life through the Darkling fan-fiction. Goodbye, cruel world.

“You are all I’ve ever wanted,” he said. “You are the whole of my heart.”

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

This book needed more Darkling. It needed much more Darkling.

All Mal does is piss me off. I know the ending of this series is pretty controversial and I’m so scared, because it seems so obvious that she’s going to end up with Mal, even though he doesn’t have an empathic bone in his whole body.

At this point, I honestly would have picked Nikolai over Mal. I’m trying to stay away from spoilers, so I’m not sure if I’m in the minority with disliking Mal, but if I had to guess I’d say I probably am.

On top of the annoying love triangle square, this book was so slow. Shadow and Bone was so action packed and we were thrown into so many intense situations. This book was just building up to a rather lackluster explosion, in my opinion.

I really enjoyed the introduction of Tolya and Tamar. I also loved learning more about all the other Grishas. I just… I just needed more Darkling, okay?

Leigh Bardugo is such a talented writer, and Siege and Storm continues to be a testament to that. This world is so unique; I’ve never read anything like it in all my years of reading fantasy novels. The last few chapters of this book were so powerful; if the rest of the book could have shared that, it would have been another easy five star read.

I’m just going to chalk this book’s problems up to “Second Book Syndrome” and move on to Ruin and Rising, because I need more Darkling in my life, even if it seems rather unlikely for him to get a happily ever after.

“ I’ve seen what you truly are,” said the Darkling, “and I’ve never turned away. I never will. Can he say the same?”

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Earlier this year I read Six of Crows and didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I was so impressed with the writing and world building that I knew I was going to eventually read Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. My only regret is that I didn’t read this sooner, because it actually blew me away.

First off, I read this in one sitting. Like, I moved from a chair to my bed, and that was the only task I did while reading this book. I just couldn’t stop reading, and that’s a feeling I haven’t had with a first book of a series for a while.

Next, the Darkling. Do I really need to say more? Hello, perfect antihero. Seriously, morally grey villains are my weakness. I fell in love with him after chapter six, and stayed in love with him after he started pulling some shady shit.

“Fine, make me your villain.”

Also, can we talk about how Leigh Bardugo writes some of the most powerful one-liners I’ve read in my life? I was blown away with a few in Six of Crows, but this book surpassed even those!

“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”

Goose bumps. Literally goose bumps everywhere. Leigh Bardugo is so much more talented than some of these over-hyped YA authors today. It just doesn’t feel like she gets the credit she deserves, because her writing is seriously on another level. I can’t tell you how much I regret not giving her books a try earlier, because this is a low-key masterpiece.

So enough of my fangirling, and let me tell you what this book is actually about. This story follows a map maker, Alina, who is in the King’s first army. She has been an orphan all her life, but has grown up, and fallen in love, with her best friend, Mal, who is also in the King’s first army. Everyone in this world is scared of the Fold, which was created a long time ago and is filled with darkness. Inside the Fold, there are winged beasts called Volcra, that will show no mercy to anyone. When Alina has no other option, she miraculously shows that she isn’t an ordinary girl, but a Grisha, and saves Mal’s life from a light she is able to produce to eliminate the darkness. The Darkling, and many others, take notice of this talent and whisk Alina away for proper Grisha training so she can be in the King’s second army, which is comprised only of Grishas and lead by the Darkling himself.

Even though the Darkling is on a whole other level, the rest of the characters are phenomenal as well.

Alina is another strong female that I’m proud to read about. She does have the “I’m just an orphan, I didn’t know I’m the most powerful girl in the world” trope, but it actually didn’t bother me because she had such a good heart and witty personality. Her loneliness also struck a chord with me that was rather reminiscent, so, regardless of her shortcomings, it would have been hard for me not to like her.

Mal is also a fantastic, and selfless, character that I feel like I should love. Unfortunately, my heart has no room for anyone but the Darkling.

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together.”

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. I absolutely loved it. And when Alina put on that freakin’ black kefta it provoked so much unexpected emotional from me! Now, please excuse me while I binge read this entire series.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

This is truly a once in a lifetime series. If Harry Potter was my childhood, The Raven Cycle was my 20’s. This series was perfect for me, and I don’t think anyone could break the spell that this series and these characters have cast upon me.

“They were both hungry animals, but Adam had been starving for far longer.”

“Depending on where you began the story, it was about…” unconditional love and the power it can evoke. This book is the type of book that makes me want to be a better person. It makes me want to be more appreciative of my friends and family. It makes me so thankful that I have a love for reading and that it was instilled in me from a young age. It makes me feel so blessed that I’m able to read and able to read books like this. I’m eternally grateful to Maggie Stiefvater and her words that somehow penetrated my heart and built this perfect story.

I’m writing this review in actual tears, because this story is so beautiful and means so much to me. I probably sound really incoherent and this review is ending up just like my Shiver review, where I’m just fangirling, but sometimes while reading this series I felt like Maggie Stiefvater was writing this solely for me. Like she somehow got inside my heart and wrote my soul down on paper. I really don’t have any words that I can string together to do a review for The Raven King justice; I’ll just say that it changed me forever, I’m eternally grateful to have had this reading experience, and that I’ll never forget it. Thank you, Maggie Stiefvater.

Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah all have a piece of my heart that I will never get back. In return, they will stay with me forever.