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Book Review

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the second book in the "A Court of Thorns and Roses” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Months have passed since Feyre saved the Fae kingdom of Prythian from the vicious queen Amarantha. Feyre now lives with the magic gifts the High Lords of all seven Fae courts gave her. Immortality is one of them. She is still bonded to the Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court and obligated to spend one week of every month with him. So far, he has not come to collect on the debt.

Feyre is now engaged to Tamlin and lives with him in his estate in the Spring Court. Instead of being happy, Feyre suffers from depression and harrowing nightmares of the innocent faeries she killed during the trials. Her relationship with Tamlin is strained as he has his own nightmares but refuses to open up to Feyre, choosing instead to keep her secluded in the manor under heavy guard.

Feyre wants her freedom and to learn to fight, but Tamlin refuses and tasks her with preparing for their wedding and becoming a proper hostess for visitors to the Spring Court. On their wedding day, Feyre feels overwhelmed and wants to escape, knowing that she isn’t ready for marriage. During the ceremony, she has a panic attack. Rhys hears her through their bond, appears and takes her away to the Night Court for a week.

Rhys gives Feyre space and freedom. He introduces her to his cousin, Morrigan, a high Fae woman, and the two become friends. During her time there, he teaches her to read and tells her that when the High Lords gave her a bit of their magic to save her life, she also received their power and abilities. He tells her she is stronger than she knows and should be taught to use her abilities.

When Feyre goes back to Tamlin’s manor, she is overjoyed to see him. Instead of wanting to be intimate with her, however, Tamlin grills her on everything she saw and heard in Tamlin’s court. Feyre feels like a spy, but since Tamlin and Rhysand are enemies, she does what Tamlin wants.

Feyre asks him about her new abilities. Tamlin admits that he knew she had them but they are too dangerous for her to train. He only wants to keep her safe and protected from those who will want her power for themselves.

As the weeks pass, Tamlin becomes more controlling, and Feyre becomes even more despondent. One day as Tamlin is leaving to assess a new threat in his lands, Feyre insists on going with him. Tamlin casts a shield around the manor, imprisoning Feyre inside. She has flashbacks of being trapped Under the Mountain by Amarantha and passes out. Rhysand rescues her and takes her to his secret city of Velaris.

Rhysand keeps two courts: the public Hewn City, a place of wickedness and debauchery, and Velaris, a secret, peaceful seaside city of beauty, art and culture. Velaris has been hidden with spells for hundreds of years, and that is where Rhysand and his friends call home. Feyre stays at Rhys’ townhome in Velaris where she slowly recovers from her depression and heartbreak, vowing never to go back to Tamlin and be imprisoned again. She sends Tamlin a letter telling him that she wanted to leave, she’s fine, and she won’t be coming back.

Rhys is suspicions that the king of the neighboring Fae kingdom of Hybern is preparing to attack Prythian. The king has been unhappy with the treaty to end human enslavement and wishes to break down the wall between Prythian and the mortal world. Rhys asks Feyre to work with his inner circle — Morrigan, Amren, Azriel and Cassian — to find out what the king is planning. While Azriel and Cassian teach Feyre how fight, Rhys teaches her how to use her new powers.

To get more information, Feyre and Rhys visit an ancient creature called the Bone Carver. The creature tells them that the king is reassembling the Cauldron, a magical object of immense power from which their world was created. It was stolen and hidden, but the king now has it and plans to use it to raise a dead warrior, Jurian, to shatter the wall to the human realm. The only thing that can stop the Cauldron is the Book of Breathings, half of which is in Prythian at the Summer Court and the other half is in the human realm with the six human queens.

Rhysand and Feyre travel to the Summer Court under the guise of diplomacy and steal that portion of the book; but the half in the human realm can’t be stolen, it must be given freely. They arrange a meeting with the human queens at Feyre’s family home in the human realm. Negotiations with the queens go poorly. They refuse to turn over their half of the book as they have heard about Rhysand’s wickedness and don’t trust him. They require proof that he will use the book for good and not evil.

Feyre’s group returns to Prythian and steal a device, the Veritas, which allows the viewer to see only the truth. Rhys plans to use the Veritas to show the queens Velaris so they can see that he is good, capable of maintaining peace and worthy of their trust. His public image is a role he plays and not who he really is.

In the months since she left Tamlin, Feyre finds that she is getting over her heartbreak and falling in love with Rhys. While they wait for the queens to meet with them again, Feyre continues her training with Rhys. While training in the woods, they are ambushed by Lucien, Tamlin’s emissary, who tries to forcibly take her back to the Spring Court. Feyre uses her considerable power and makes it clear that she will never return.

A few weeks later, the king of Hybern attacks them, and Rhys is badly wounded and taken captive. Feyre finds him, but she does not know how to heal him. She leaves Rhys in a cave and goes into the woods to set a trap for a Suriel, a faerie who is compelled to tell the truth when captured. The Suriel tells Feyre that Rhys is her mate, and to give him her blood to drink as it has healing properties. Feyre is shocked, but the Suriel confirms that Rhys has known Feyre is his mate, his perfect match and one who he is destined to be bonded with for life. Feyre is furious that Rhys held the truth from her, and after she heals him and takes him to safety, she leaves for a remote cabin.

Eventually, Rhys finds her and tells her that he felt she was his mate when Amarantha killed her, but it was confirmed when he saw her in her Fae form for the first time. Feyre forgives him and accepts the mating bond. They have sex, and their bond is sealed.

When they go back to the human realm with the Veritas, they hope the queens will give them the book as time is running out to stop the king. Morrigan shows them the secret and thriving city of Velaris. While the queens are astonished, they still refuse to give their half of the book. Feyre and Morrigan are angry, but when the women leave, Rhys sees that one of the queens secretly left the book for them with a note telling them to not trust the other queens.

The group returns to Velaris. Flying creatures from Hybern attack the city. Feyre and the others defend the city, but not before considerable damage is done and lives are lost, including the life of the queen who gave them the book. One of the soldiers drops her from the sky, and she dies at impact.

They decide to destroy the Cauldron. Amren deciphers a spell to break the object, warning Feyre that she must not put the two halves of the book together; the joining will create power that will attract unwanted attention. Feyre and others sneak into the Hybern castle, and they find the Cauldron.

Before Feyre can utter the spell, the book compels her to join it. The magic created alerts Jurian, the king’s newly resurrected warrior. Rhys takes the book from Feyre before the king spells the castle so no one can leave. The king joins Jurian, the human queens who betrayed Rhys, Tamlin and Lucien.

Tamlin has made a bargain with the king. If he helps to get Feyre back, he will grant Hybern safe passage into Prythian through the Spring Court. Feyre refuses to go with Tamlin, but the king has caught her sisters and uses them to show the human queens that it’s safe to be remade by the Cauldron. As Feyre begs for their release, her sisters are submerged into the Cauldron and come out as high Fae.

Lucien looks at the newly made Fae Elain and realizes that she is his mate. Feyre knows she has no choice, as she must save her sisters and her friends. She pretends that Rhys has always had her under his control.

She asks Tamlin to take her home to the Spring Court and begs the king to break the mating bond. The king obliges, unaware that he only breaks the bond to spend one week a month in the Night Court. The mating bond cannot be severed by magic. Feyre telepathically asks Rhys to teleport himself and her sisters out of Hybern. Lucien is furious to lose Elain, but he, Tamlin and Feyre return to the Spring Court. Tamlin apologizes for his past behavior, telling Feyre that things will be different between them.

Rhys returns to Velaris and tells the others that the night before they went to Hybern, he and Feyre went to a priestess, and she was sworn in as High Lady of the night court. Feyre is not his wife or consort, but his equal in every way. She is now their spy. Tamlin has unknowingly led the High Lady of the Night Court into the heart of his territory.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

The Fae believe that before they or man existed, there was a Cauldron, an object of immense power that contained all magic. In it, the world was born. It fell into the wrong hands and was used to make evil things, so it was dismantled and hidden. The king of Hybern found it and put it back together. The Cauldron has the ability to raise the dead and remake humans into high Fae.

Feyre tells the Bone Carver that when she had her near death experience, she only felt peace and darkness, and she had a choice. She could have faded into a world of rest and peace, but she chose not to.

Authority Roles

Feyre remembers that when her family was wealthy, her parents didn’t spend much time with their children.

Rhysand’s father was cruel, and they had a poor relationship. In contrast, he loved his mother and had a wonderful nurturing relationship with her. Tamlin’s father and brothers killed Rhys’ mother and sister. In retribution, Rhys and his father killed Tamlin’s father, mother and brothers. Rhys tried to stop his father from killing Tamlin, but as a result, Tamlin killed Rhys’ father instead.

Morrigan’s family was so angry with her for losing her virginity to a lesser Fae, they had her beaten and left for dead. Rhys hates Morrigan’s parents and has never forgiven them for how they treated his cousin.

Azriel is the illegitimate son of a local lord. For 11 years his father’s wife had him locked in a cell with no windows and no light. Cassian is the son of a war camp laundress. He doesn’t know who is father was. After she weaned him, his mother abandoned him. He later found out that his mother was worked to death.

Profanity/Violence

The profuse profanity includes the f-word, s---, b--ch, c--kwhore, h---, pr--k, gods-d--ned, b--tard, tits, and d--n. Swearing includes Mother with the words above, tits and thank the. The violence, blood and gore depicted in the novel are graphic.

When Feyre admits that she no longer wishes to be married, Tamlin erupts in rage, his power destroying the room around them. Feyre is spared only because she instinctively throws a shield around her. Tamlin is apologetic afterward.

Morrigan’s father calls Feyre a whore, and Rhys breaks several bones in his arm for the slight. When Morrigan was 17, her parents sold her in marriage to the heir to the Autumn Court, a brutal man. Virginity is prized among the high Fae, and since she wanted to choose her own path, she gave her virginity to Cassian, a lesser Fae. Her family brutalized her for the infraction and dumped her in the woods with a note nailed to her body for her fiancé to find. He didn’t want her, saying he would rather have sex with a sow than with her — so he left her for dead.

Ryhs tells Feyre how Tamlin and his father and brothers killed his mother and sister and how in retribution, he and his father killed Tamlin’s father, mother and brothers.

Rhys is shot with poisoned ash arrows and chained. Feyre brutally kills his captors in order to free Rhys. Cassian picks a fight with Rhys to help him work off the extra energy and aggression generated by the mating bond. The two fight brutally in the mud for over an hour.

The attack on Velaris is a bloody battle. Both soldiers and civilians die. A human queen is thrown from the air by one of the flying Hybern faeries. Her hair has been shorn and her eyes gouged out. Feyre tries to save her, but she dies once she hits the ground. Feyre uses her abilities to kill several attackers.

In the Hybern castle, Jurian shoots Azriel with ash arrows. The king unleashes powers that shred Cassian’s wings.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

The sex depicted is graphic and explicit. The conversations about sex are crude. Feyre and Tamlin have sex several times. In the first instance, the act is described in detail, including oral sex.

At first, Feyre and Rhysand flirt with notes, looks and touches, but their relationship quickly progresses. The banter between them is sexually charged. The first sexual encounter between Feyre and Rhysand involves her sitting in his lap in his throne room in the Hewn City while his subjects are watching. As they kiss, Feyre grinds against Rhysand’s erection, while he slides his hands up her thighs. Since she isn’t wearing underwear, he soon finds evidence of her arousal. Feyre is so aroused, she wants to have sex with him right there, on the throne, and she doesn’t care that they have an audience.

During their next sexual encounter, Rhysand brings Feyre to organism using his hand. Afterward, he licks his fingers. Feyre and Rhysand have intercourse several times, and descriptions are detailed and graphic, including oral sex, sexual positions, size of his penis and the sensations she feels during the act. After their first night of sex, Feyre tells Rhys that she is not ready to have children and decides to start drinking a birth control tonic. They have sex in a cabin and are loud enough that those outside can hear. They also have sex on the roof of his townhouse.

Morrigan gave her virginity to Cassian at 17 years old, but hasn’t slept with him since. Azriel is in love with Morrigan, but doesn’t feel that he is worthy of her. Rhys tells Feyre that he agreed to become Amarantha’s lover and be used for sex so she wouldn’t look too closely at him and realize that he was hiding an entire city from her. Rhys shows Feyre a memory of a priestess trying to seduce him. The woman lays on his bed naked while touching herself between her legs. She also tries to touch his penis, but he grabs and breaks her arm.

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Alcohol: Characters drink alcohol and get drunk.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

15 and up

Author

Sarah J. Maas

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Bloomsbury Children’s Books, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing

Released

On Video

Year Published

2016

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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