Mild spoilers ahead.
It was impossible to write this review completely spoiler free!
Fuck. Fuck. I don’t know what to do with myself.
The book is over.
And I just … can’t.
Just when you think Sarah J Maas has hit her best, she just keeps getting better. She’s a flipping legend.
A Court of Thorns and Roses was excellent, but it paled in comparison to this. I enjoyed it, even through the tropes. I wasn’t mad about Feyre or Tamlin, but I liked the world, the ideas and Maas’s story-crafting abilities. You can actually see her writing improve with each novel she releases, it’s inspiring.
Yes, ACOTAR was good. But this. Maas shows us just how much of a queen author she is in this. She gave us magic, worlds beyond worlds, new and awesome characters, immense character growth, chemistry, action, reflection and spicy hot love. She took every single niggly dissatisfaction I had with the previous book and said “actually, I knew what I was doing the whole time.” Perhaps what I love and respect the most about what Maas has done, is that she has taken the Immortal Boyfriend trope and completely flipped it upside-down. If you’re unaware, the immortal boyfriend trope goes a little something like this.
Hi, I’m an immortal supernatural creature. Often a vampire or the likes. I’ve never been with a woman, though I’ve lived for hundreds/thousands of years. But you, small mortal sixteen-year-old, you’re special. More special than all the other immortals or even full-grown women who have had time to nourish their skills and form strong personalities. Yes, a teenager who is still learning who she is. I officially love you forever. And don’t worry, though we will come across dangerous peoples, I shall protect you, because literally nothing is as sacred as your fragile body. You cannot possibly protect yourself against the forces that I, immortal man-God, will inevitably subject you to just be being in my proximity. I will keep you safe, I will get sexily angry when I sometimes fail, but above all, I will always regard you as a frail woman, whom I love (obvs) but i know cannot fend for herself.
You see, Tamlin is just this big massive Inmortal Boyfriend guy. He’s shit, he’s the worst love interest Maas has ever concocted and my rating of book 1 suffered because of it. But now I know this was Maas’s game all along. Because she’s showed us the Immortal Boyfriend trope, and she’s showed us why that shit doesn’t work. She’s brought Feyre into her own, given her darkness and strength, a sense of herself. She’s given her a love that is right, that is the right thing to write about, and I lapped that shit up like wine. Every page was a pleasure, every chapter a new party in my head. It was incredible.
You don’t have to be invested in the characters to enjoy the rich plot and fabulous world, but it sure helps. And if I’m honest I’d be surprised if you found you couldn’t love these guys. I was passionate about everyone. I loved our new characters and found myself feeling new things for the old. I’ve always thought Tamlin was boring: I felt very different things for him in this book. I think I joined #TeamRhysand on something like page 46, which wasn’t hard to do since I didn’t have an allegiance up until then anyway. Lucien used to be my favourite character, now I’m all over Feyre worshipping the ground she walks on, cheering for Rhysand’s epicness and wanting more and more and more of Amren (so interesting) and Mor (love her). Maas constructs brilliant worlds and plots, but her work is very character-driven, and it’s a risk if you aren’t fully on board with the characters. I wasn’t in book one, but book two has got me marching in the fandom parade. I have very passionate feelings for every single character in this series. And I am so glad this is more of a New Adult title because I loved the swearing, and the slow, burning, building romance? You don’t see that shit in YA!
I’m stunned. In shock. By what this book made me feel. It’s been a long time since I’ve been knocked for six like this. I don’t even think the most recent installment in Maas’s Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows) hit me this hard. It was glorious. Magnificent. Wonderful. Adjectives. Yes.