I got the first book (A Court of Thorns and Roses) of this instalment from my boyfriend's parents for my 23rd birthday (which was in February. I know.. I should have read it a long time ago) but due to my studies I had not (yet) been able to read this book, until recently. I took the book with me when we went to Brussels and Porto as summer holiday. A day and a half later I finished it and made my boyfriend read it too. We both fell in love with these characters, just like we did with Sarah J. Maas her other book series Throne of Glass. I had waited so long with reading the first book that, luckily for me, the sequel had already been published. As soon as we were home we went to Waterstones Amsterdam to purchase the second book: A Court of Mist and Fury and I finished that book in a similar fashion (aka I read it in a day and half). I was a bit sceptic about the first book, due to the synopsis on the back:
Feyre is a huntress. She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price. Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy's kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor's body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked - but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre's feelings for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she's been told about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.
The world is divided by a wall that separates the Fae Realms from the mortal lands. Each side hates the other side. The mortal lands are a lot like the real thing (a few centuries ago) and Prythian (a part of the other side of the wall) is divided into seven Courts: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Day, Dawn and Night. Feyre is a young woman who lives with her father and two sister in a small cottage. They lost all of their money years ago due to a mistake their dad made and she takes care of her family. Her sisters don't do anything and only complain and spend the little money they do have. She was 14 when she decided to start putting food on the table. Food she went out to hunt herself because her dad was too weak and broken to do it for his family. I understood her character. It was a lot like Aelin (from Throne of Glass), an easy to love and admire, strong female character. She promised her dying mother she would take care of their family (when she was 8 years old) and so that's what she does. Even when she gets taken away from them by Tamlin to the Court of Spring (who treats her better than her family ever did), all she can think of is going home so she can take care of her family again.
The sentence: Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy's kingdom,.. , made me somewhat sceptical, realising I had heard this story before, after which I opened the book and found in the description of Sarah J. Maas the following words: A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first book in her seductive new series blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore. There it was. Beauty and the Beast. While reading this novel it was all I could see and think about. A bit of Beauty and the Beast, mixed with High Fae and maybe a bit of The Dark Heroine series (though that can just be my idea of it). Maybe that is also why I loved it so much, because I absolutely love Beauty and the Beast (Belle is my favourite Disney Princess for a reason). Sarah J. Maas did it again, she made me love her books cover to cover, like she always does.
So even though it was very similar to those, I still fell in love with Feyre, Lucien and Tamlin, and the things that they did for each other, but above all I fell in love with Rhysand. I know he's the 'bad guy' in the first book and everyone else sees him that way. I was getting really sick of the way Tamlin treated her in the first novel. My thoughts: "Yes she's human but dear lord she took care of her family for years on end from the age of 14 until YOU (Tamlin) took her away, give her some credit!". But to me Rhysand was the only one to treat Feyre no different than he treated the people around her. He teased her, mocked her and made her love to hate him. Before I go any further I have to say that I will spoil book one for you if you haven't read it, in order to give a proper review or the sequel. So if you haven't read the first novel and plan on reading it, this where you should stop reading (unless you don't care of course, because the books will still be pretty darn good even if you read my review first).
In the first novel of this series we come to realise that Feyre was not taken by Tamlin due to her killing one of his friends, she was taken because that is exactly what he hoped a Fae hating female would do. He was looking for a girl who would love him, even though she was taught to hate Fae. He had a period of time in which he needed to do this (curse given to him by the oh so lovely Amarantha) but in the end he lets her go because he loves her too much to go through with it. He knows that he wants to break the curse, he will have to bring Feyre to Amarantha and risk her life and he is not willing to do so. So she is send home and remains unaware of the curse.
As soon as she realises (that his time is up and he now has to live out his days with the woman who put the curse on him) what is really going on she goes to the man she loves, to safe him. Even though she does not stand a chance against the Fae 'queen'. She makes a bargain with her. Three trials and she will be able to free him and the rest of Prythian from this woman. Or, she has to solve a riddle. But due to the fact that Feyre cannot read nor write (her mom died when she was really young and her sister never bothered to teach her) she has a hard time trying to solve the riddle. However, after she does so she realises she would not win by only completing the three tasks (each of which could have killed her). As Amarantha is slowly killing Feyre she finally finds the answer to the clever riddle and answers it just before Amarantha snaps her neck. Luckily for us, she gets saved by the Fae Lords of all the courts, who are grateful for the sacrifices she's made and she is turned into High Fae herself. This is a very very short summary of the novel. I did not even mention Rhysand, who helps her defeat Amaratha and saves her life (after the first trial) by making a deal with her. She has to be with him one week of every month, which ever week he chooses.
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 deed 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.
In the sequel we soon come to realise that everything we thought to be true, may not be true at all. Is Tamlin the good guy and is Rhysand the bad guy? Feyre is devastated by what she did to safe Tamlin. She had to kill two innocent Fae and it hunts her in her dreams. Their eyes, their blood, all of it. She has nightmares every night and pukes her guts out after each and every one of them. Tamlin ignores it. He keeps on sleeping. Feyre thinks he might not know, but is almost sure that some nights she can feel him be awake next to her once she comes back to bed. He has his own nightmares to deal with, but he is locking her in his house to protect her from the world outside. Day by day we feel her slipping away. Until at one point Rhysand comes to claim her, on her wedding day. Needles to say, you're supposed to hate Rhys, but nothing is what it seems in A Court of Mist and Fury. Feyre tries to beat her depression and finds her way to become herself again. The strong huntress she used to be, the strong girl who fought for her man, instead of a trophy wife who isn't allowed to leave the house.
The second novel is soo good. It's so sad, exciting and romantic all at once. I haven't felt this way about a book since.. well a long time. Her fire and anger spat of the pages and it moved me a lot. Almost motivated me to fight myself, which is a quality Sarah J. Maas possesses anyway. She gives us strong female leads who fight for what they want and what they believe in, and it motivates me (and a lot of other girls), while still giving us amazing love stories that involve handsome strong men. I love how in her novels one does not stand in the way of the other. She combines them in a lovely manner.