Now here is a love story. The center of this fantasy romance is a man who gifts the woman he loves with dreams of a night sky full of stars; a man who is the most powerful High Lord [of the Fae] in history, but loves the only woman who doesn’t bow to or run from that power, but rather sees who he is inside; and a man who, whenever he sees this woman, feels like he can’t breathe without her. This is an irresistible saga. (This is Book Two in the series.)
This book begins around three months after the end of the first book. Feyre now presumably has powers equivalent to those of a High Fae, although she has not tried them out. She is basically a prisoner of the Spring Court, because the High Lord of that court, Tamlin, won’t let her go out anywhere or test her new skills. Nor will he confide in her about “business.” She is supposed to be content with painting, and with planning her upcoming wedding to Tamlin, after which he told her she will be “Lady of the Spring Court.” She wasn’t too satisfied with that, but Tamlin always manages to distract her with sex. Nevertheless, she feels trapped, is wasting away, and suffers from debilitating nightmares. Thinking about Tamlin, she realizes, “though I’d freed him, saved his people and all of Prythian from Amarantha . . . I’d broken myself apart.”
Tamlin doesn’t seem aware of this, but Rhys, the handsome bad boy and High Lord of the Night Court, does. We, the readers, know Rhys is the better pick between the two, but it takes Feyre a while to see the light. Or the dark, as it were.
Eventually, Feyre finds out the truth about the Night Court and about Rhys himself when she joins “The Court of Dreams,” where compassion, self-fulfillment, and happiness are valued over power. And Feyre also finds out the truth about herself, and what her resurrection by the seven High Lords of Prythian really means.
Discussion: This book is epic in several senses. It’s a great story with outsized themes and timeless issues – love, hate, jealousy, family, friendship, loyalty, and struggles for power. (But there are “real world” issues too, like worrying about how clean the bathroom is!) The characters are memorably faced with outsized quests – saving the world, for example. They are not perfect, but they evolve over the series, especially Feyre. She starts out as a somewhat bratty, self-absorbed ingrate, but she gradually grows up and becomes a more well-rounded person. Both she and Rhys, as well as their friends, exhibit outstanding courage and entail great pain and heart-wrenching losses to protect those they love. It makes for a riveting story. And Rhys’s friends? They are the best; you will find yourself as devoted to them as Feyre comes to be.
Then there is the love – and by love I mean epic, soaring love, and the expression of that love, both mentally and physically. Even better is the fact the love that Rhys has for Feyre is deeply imbued with respect, as shown, for example, when Lucien came (on behalf of Tamlin) to take Feyre back to the Spring Court. Feyre wouldn’t go. Rhys later said:
Rhys: “…I found myself deciding that if you took his hand, I would find a way to live with it. It would be your choice.”
Feyre: “And if he had grabbed me?”
Rhys: “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.”
The publishers say this book is for ages 14 and up – no way I’m letting my 14-year-old read all these hot sex scenes! Wait, I don’t have a 14-year-old, I forgot. And if I did, she would probably know all about these things from her peers. But be aware, there is hot explicit sex in this book, just so you and your 14-year-old know….
Evaluation: There are very few things one can find to quibble about in this book, even though it is over 600 pages. I suppose my biggest complaint would be that the books you read after it feel like a come-down.
Can’t wait for the next installment!
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2016