‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ Explores Relationships and Healing
In a male-dominated world, being a woman is hard
The day after finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses, I went out to WHSmith and bought its sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF), because I knew I wouldn’t have the patience to wait a few days for the delivery.
Again, I finished it the same day I started and after rereading it three times since I have realised just how utterly in love with this book I am.
ACOMAF, as I mentioned in my discussion piece for All Your Perfects, is phenomenal. It is so incredibly written. It stole and shattered my heart from the very first page. It explores the nature of abusive relationships, from familial and platonic, to romantic.
I will be including spoilers from here, so if you don’t want the next two books in the series to be spoiled for you, then please stop reading now.
A Court of Mist and Fury
Trigger warning: abuse
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
The Way I felt
This book . . . it made me break into an insurmountable number of sobs, and I was on the cusp of a freakout because why on earth was Tamlin being such a douchebag? I mean, it just didn’t make any sense. That’s your girl! Why are you not comforting her?
Feyre was suffering from depression and PTSD, which made me cry and feel every-single-thing. I mean seriously. The way Sarah J Maas wrote about all of it, every detail, every word was like a stab to the heart and I remember telling a friend that I had to put it down for a few minutes because I could feel it. I could the pain Feyre was feeling and all of my own feelings were rising up inside me and it was so, so awful.
The way Tamlin was just — I can’t even put into words. Feyre was struggling so much and it was all pushed aside. When Rhys swooped in, I screamed thank god out loud. And then Tamlin totally screwed up. He messed up big time and I will always hate him. I literally wanted to jump into the pages and tear the bastard’s throat out. Because how dare he?
See what I mean? I was invested in these characters.
Afterwards, when Mor (a.k.a The Morrigan) and Rhys came in and rescued Feyre, I was crying again. Throughout this entire book, Feyre was inspiring. Her courage to continue trying made me weep and seeing Rhys help her heal, seeing the way he opened up and revealed the person he really is, meeting the rest of the crew (aka Cassian–my sweet love, Azriel and Amren) was like the entire night sky lighting up completely, all over, with billions of stars, able to see them all clearly.
It was epic. It was beautiful. It was everything. So I would rate it however many stars exist in this entire galaxy. That is how amazing it is.
What I realised
The heartbreaking thing is, red flags were visible right from the very first book, subtle, but they were there — just like in reality. Choosing to ignore them, the warning signs, because we’re so captivated and blinded by the charm and the cute love story unfolding is so dangerous. Nobody is perfect, but by putting them on a pedestal we choose not to see their (often very blatant) flaws and the red flags they show us. This, in the long run, is severely detrimental.
The fact Maas was able to expertly portray various forms of abusive relationships in the series, especially in ACOMAF, instilled a greater realisation of knowing when to leave: from the moment red flags show up, the moment you spot those warning signs.
It only gets worse from thereon. At first, I never realised how toxic and manipulative Tamlin truly was, until ACOMAF set in properly and it rocked me hard. The trauma Feyre suffered Under the Mountain echoed in ACOMAF and Tamlin did absolutely nothing to come to her aid, dismissing her, brushing her aside, and simply using her for his own personal gain.
I felt myself echoing her feelings, wanting her to just survive. She began to just go through the motions and it broke me more. The fact is, women in abusive relationships, suffering from depression, anxiety and PTSD, often find themselves making themselves smaller to avoid the blast, to avoid the explosions of what could happen by taking one wrong step or saying the wrong thing.
Maas laid out the foundations of much needed social commentary on the way we romanticise abusive relationships, and people’s eagerness to cover up red flags in a relationship. She put out some amazing social commentary about the romanticism of abusive relationships in all mediums, or our willingness to disregard red flags in a relationship between two characters.
Far too often, we find ourselves excusing a person’s behaviour, whether we be in the relationship or if it’s a character because we think maybe it’s not as serious as we think or that’s just how they are.
But the fact of the matter is if it was your friend or someone you love being treated this way, with all these warning signs and toxic behaviours and harmful words being thrown at them, wouldn’t you tell them to leave? Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to make sure they were safe, away from that person?
On the Power Of healing
This book showed how important it was to come to terms with what happened, with what survivors go through.
Healing, at your own pace, on your terms and with a support system, is so vital. Trauma manifests in a lot of different ways, varying for different people. ACOMAF showed me the vitality of having someone by your side, to support you through the journey of overcoming and healing from the pain that had been inflicted.
Rhys and the Inner Circle are an amazing group of people who stuck by each other, willing to defend one another to the death. The first thing they did for Feyre was to make sure she was safe, to tell her she was safe. Rhys helping her to read and write was the sweetest thing I’d ever seen.
Healing is a process and sometimes we fall back a step, but it doesn’t mean it’s over. Some days are just harder than others. But it doesn’t mean giving up.
“And I realized — I realized how badly I’d been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom I’d been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.”
I got incredibly attached to everyone mentioned in this book, and wanted to see them thrive and be happy! And of course, be in love! And then the end happened and I died a little death. I was crying and laughing in the end (seriously in shock), hating that I had to wait months for the third book.
I simply can’t recommend this book enough. It is amazing, sad, heartbreaking and beautiful.