Note: There will necessarily be spoilers for the first two books in this saga; this is the third.
I loved the first and second books, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and A Court of Mist and Fury. But this book was my least favorite of any of the Sarah Mass ongoing fantasy series.
Feyre is now High Lady of the Night Court, but she is keeping it a secret, since she is still “incognito” at Tamlin’s Spring Court, pretending to be faithful to him so that she can destroy him. As far as she is concerned, Tamlin is wholly evil, even though he not only did so much for her and her family in the past, but as she said herself, “he’d sold out all of Prythian, sold out everything decent and good in himself, to retrieve me.” You would think she would at least appreciate that what he did was to save her.
Feyre is playing a dangerous game against powerful forces in the Fae Kingdom. Her first step is to “make Tamlin believe, truly believe, that I loved him and this place, and everyone in it. So that he would not suspect when I turned them on each other.”
Eventually she manages to pretty much destroy Tamlin’s Court and to escape back to Rhys, along with Lucien, Tamlin’s second. Lucien still is loyal to Tamlin but he believes Feyre’s sister Elain to be his true mate, and feels compelled to go to her. Thus Feyre succeeds in taking almost everything from Tamlin, but she feels fine about it. In fact, after confronting her faults and shortcomings in a magic mirror, she confesses that with all the wretched things she saw, “the pride and the hypocrisy and the shame” – “I think – I think I loved it. Forgave it – me. All of it.”
Meanwhile, she is reunited with her true mate Rhys, and they have earth-shattering sex that, unlike in previous books, is a bit cringe-worthy. The writing of these scenes seemed “tired” in spite of all the hyperbole and mutual “claiming.” Feyre even has a couple “lip-biting” episodes right out of “Fifty Shades.”
When not having sex, they are all preparing for war against Hybern. Feyre also has plenty of advice for the group, even though she is basically a teen and they have all been alive for more than 500 years. No one seems to mind. The cause of the war is the question over the the future of Fae and humans, and the outcome is unsure. It will depend in part whether Feyre, her sisters Nesta and Elain, and Amren, all of whom were “created” Fae by the Cauldron, can counter the magic power of the Cauldron.
The ending was a bit surprising, and possibly over the top, if anything can be over the top in a fantasy series.
Discussion: In the first book, Feyre started out as a somewhat bratty, self-absorbed ingrate, but in the second she gradually grew up and became a more well-rounded person. Here she goes back to her “roots” but everyone loves her anyway.
Moreover, she makes constant sacrifices for her sisters, one of whom, Nesta, was especially always so nasty to her in the past, and hasn’t changed much. Yet Feyre has infinite patience and forgiveness for Nesta, as opposed to say Tamlin, whose main crime seems to be that he didn’t include Feyre in the business.
Finally, there were a number of scenes I thought were gratuitous, or over-written, and could have been eliminated. I got the feeling they were included so the author could add diversity and sensitivity to gender issues. But they seemed tacked on, and dragged out the story without adding much.
Evaluation: While I was disappointed with this book, it wasn’t like I couldn’t read it, and probably not like I can’t read the next….
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2017