Imagine Beauty and the Beast. I mean it shouldn’t be hard, it’s hard to step outside without the classic fairytale assaulting you due to its star-studded remake. And now you have it in your mind imagine what happens after the story is told when Belle and the Prince are left lying awake at night, tortured by that final battle with Gaston. And that is the start of A Court of Mist and Fury.
The first act explores the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin, our very own beauty and the beast, leaving us to wonder how their time under the mountain changed them. Something I found refreshing from books in the genre is the Maas acknowledges that the kind of torture that these characters went through would have a lasting effect on them and that sometimes when these things happen you don’t have a happily ever after. Or at least your happily ever after doesn’t come in the way you thought.
Enter Rhysand once more. He’s suave, charming and from the get go makes it very clear from the get-go he’s here to appreciate Feyre for who she is, and to help her work through the struggles that her rebirth has presented. Ultimately, he’s a much better fit for her than Tamlin, providing a pillar of support as well as introducing her to a new close circle to befriend. The whole inner circle of the Night Court offers a refreshing change from the uptight nature of the Spring Court, offering the reader an insight as to what the fantastical world of the fae could be.
It’s obvious that the romance element of the books is the main meat of the story, it falls into the romantic genre, but the fantasy aspect also excels with the book offering much more than its predecessor in terms of content and characterisation. Side characters are much better fleshed out than in A Court of Thorns and Roses, and even side characters from the previous novel such as Lucien get a better telling of their story. You find out about their likes and their dislikes and get glimpses into their lives through the eyes of Feyre, something which I appreciated compared to the Feyre and Tamlin story of the last novel. Two returning side characters that I am so excited to see more of are Feyre’s sisters Nesta and Elain, especially to see how their own character arcs play out following the events at the end of the book.
Now let’s talk about the romance, since as this is a book where romance is part of its backbone. The Feysand romance is one of my favourite in the YA genre simply for the amount of respect that has been put into it. Both characters have been through hell and whilst some people find romance to be a boring and forced addition to some books, the Feysand romance builds on the foundations of the first book and grows at its own rate.
One of the things I love about Maas’ novels is that no romance is seemingly set in stone, making the growth of these couples more believable. Whilst Maas may know which couple is ‘endgame’ for her novels, for the reader it mimics the changing relationships that happen throughout life. Sometimes things run their course and sometimes people aren’t a right fit, but something better is around the corner is a theme in Maas’ books, and I feel that the message of finding the person who is right for you is better than staying with your Prince Charming because you ‘should be’ together.
Overall, if you’re avoiding reading these books for whatever reason you need to stop doing that right now. If romance isn’t your scene then I can understand why, but whilst it may be a key support in this novel, it isn’t all there is to it. With a powerful female hero and a colourful cast of supporting characters, A Court of Mist and Fury is a beloved addition to Maas’ collection of YA novels, and leaves you wanting more of this fantastic universe.
And I’m a sucker for the romance in this book. It’s really well written, what more can I say?