Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 3rd 2016
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
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 torn apart.
This book was wonderful and every time I stopped reading, I couldn’t wait to start again. After I finished the book, I debated starting over from the beginning. The third book in the series cannot arrive soon enough. Is it 2017 yet…? The characters all (even the minor ones) in ways that remained true to who they were in the first book while becoming more fully-fleshed out and complex characters. The major romance in the book was one that I had been rooting for since the first appearance of the male character in the last book so that made me incredibly happy. I honestly don’t even know who my favorite character is anymore, but I know that I will be pre-ordering all books written by Sarah J. Maas in the future (I’ve had Empire of Shadows on pre-order for months now).
This book started off with Feyre shattered by what she had done Under the Mountain and struggling with the aftermath. I loved how she was given time to process and grieve. The fact that Maas allowed her protagonist to shut down and become a pawn was a brilliant move on her part. It truly allowed the reader to see exactly what Feyre was going through and how long the process of healing can sometimes take. Throughout this book, I was constantly impressed with the variety of ways she portrayed female characters and traumatic experience they had been through (I adore Mor as a character). Also, maybe it was just me, but the speed of how the story developed seemed to be entirely matched to Feyre’s healing process, which just made it so much better.
The story itself was incredible. I was constantly surprised by plot twists and turns. Each character had a fully-fleshed out back-story and more characters from the last book appeared than I was expecting. I won’t go too much in detail because this is truly a book you need to read for yourself but you will be on tenterhooks pretty much throughout the entire book.
There was one love triangle in this book and it was developed in a way that made me understand why the characters were in it (aka it was one of the only love triangles I’ve ever enjoyed reading about). Some of the romance scenes in this book are definitely not appropriate for younger teens, however they definitely do add an extra layer to the book. Feyre is a grown, adult woman and I’m incredibly glad that she is portrayed as such. Her realizations about her romantic feelings towards character were incredibly mature.
Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin in the first book was very much a first-love relationship. In this book, you see her grow and come to terms with everything that happened at the end of the last book. As she changes, her relationships with those around her become more complex and are constantly evolving. I liked how Maas truly made Feyre’s romantic journey more of a self-realization one and how she ends up with a man who doesn’t try to change who she is.
Side notes: I can’t wait to see more of Nesta + Elain in the next book! The only downside to this book was how most of the characters found their mate, which just seemed a little too coincidental. But seeing how the rest of the book was so well-written, it didn’t bug me that much.
Overall, this was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I highly recommend it (and really all of her other books but that’s a bit of a time commitment).