WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?
I picked up this book thinking it would be interesting to see what the author did with the characters after A Court of Thorns and Roses (which I enjoyed and gave 4.5 stars to) and to see how the plot developed, but I have to say it wasn’t top of my TBR list or anything.
But ... oh my god.
I’m actually incoherent with how much I loved this book. Easily the best book I’ve read so far this year, knocks the first book into a cocked hat. Just ... Perfection. Actual perfection.
So. The story opens not long after the Under the Mountain extravaganza. With the trials and the dungeon and the bargain with Rhysand and the death and the resurrection. Feyre and Tamlin are living kinda-happily in the Spring Court. They’re super in love and even if Tamlin won’t let Feyre train to protect herself (because it’s his job to protect her) and even if he won’t let her out of his sight for like a millisecond, it’s all good because they’ve got a big fancy wedding to look forward to.
And then Rhysand decides to collect on the bargain he made with Feyre. Yeah ... the bargain where she agreed to spend a week every month with him at the Night Court.
And that’s where things get awesome.
At 640 pages, this is a long old book, but it never ever slowed in pace, but equally it manages to cram an awful lot of stuff in without seeming rushed. It was like a roller coaster - constant ups and downs. The constant threat from the King of Hybern was sufficiently terrifying and it balanced really well against how strong Feyre became over the course of the book, both in terms of her physical powers and her mental strength.
The characters were outstanding. Just outstanding. None of the Inner Circle felt at all skimmed-over; they all had their own back stories and passions and their strength and loyalty towards each other was just beautiful.
Feyre develops a lot over the course of the story. She was a strong character in ACOTAR, but by the end of this book she’s a ninja! Like an actual fey, supernatural ninja. She completely blew me away and even right at the end of the book where she makes a decision that almost had me throwing the book across the room, screaming, ‘WRONG DECISION! WRONG DECISION!’, there’s a huge twist in the last few pages that left me completely mindblown.
Which brings me to Rhysand. Ah, Rhysand. I kind of shipped him and Feyre in ACOTAR - I got that she really hated him and his behaviour Under the Mountain was pretty awful, but he was really sharp and dry and witty and conniving and I thought he’d be a much better match for a strong girl like Feyre than old Tamlin. And I was right! The romance between Feyre and Rhysand was one of the best-paced romances I’ve ever read. Think Rhett and Scarlett levels of epic romance.
And the boy himself is so adorable. You actually get to know the real Rhysand in this book and not just the arrogant persona he put up in the last book (although I liked it when he was being a cocky bastard). You get to see the reasons behind all the decisions he made and the stuff he did in the first book. My heart is beating a little faster tonight at how loyal and loving he was towards Feyre. There’s something inherently sexy about a guy who loves strong women and I loved the way he embraced Feyre’s strength and didn’t try to stifle her or hold her back.
Poor old Lucas Maxwell, current reigning champion in the Claire’s Ultimate Book Boyfriend stakes, is in serious danger of being toppled.
One thing I should point out is that this book has quite a lot of sex in it and it’s really very graphic (although well-written, passionate and emotional). I wouldn’t ever say that it shouldn’t be read by anyone under such and such an age, because if this book had come out when I was fourteen, I would totally have been reading it under the covers and dog-earing the mucky pages. But yeah. Very graphic, but very beautiful, because it’s between two people who are utterly in love.
I need to go to the beginning of the book and read it all again.