Thought Corner: A Court of Mist and Fury

On an Earth greatly different from our own exists the land of Prythian where humans and Fae dwell, separated by a magical wall. In the north the immortal Faes have split the territory into courts and fights amongst themselves. In the south humans live in fear and hate of the Fae. What happens when these two worlds collide?

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful people and if you haven’t figured it out yet we’re looking at A Court of Mist and Fury. This is quickly becoming one of my favourite series. I’m excited to talk about it. Hopefully you’re excited to read about it. So without further ado let’s get into it.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas is the second instalment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. First published in 2016 and loved by many since. Thorns and Roses was good but Mist and Fury is on a different level. This is the one that made me realise why this series is so loved. I highly recommend the first two books to any YA Fantasy fans out there.

Spoiler Warning!

It’s been three months since the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Feyre isn’t doing so well. Within the first few pages you’re met with one of the major themes and the reason why this book is so good. Feyre and her fight with PTSD. It’s ugly, it’s heartbreaking and it’s rewarding when you see her emerge stronger than before.

While she’s with Tamlin, Feyre becomes a husk of herself. She’s plagued by horrifying nightmares and puking out her guts the rest of the night. She’s told what to do, what to say and where she can go. She stops painting, her passion. When she does do something that she thinks is right Tamlin scolds her for doing it. He just makes her situation worse. No one sees what’s happening to Feyre. Or they do and aren’t doing anything. In fact you can see it’s the latter. Everyone’s too afraid of Tamlin, too scared to go against their High Lord. No one even helps Feyre adjust to her new life as a Fae, let alone teach her how to read and write. Whilst she is in the Spring Court Feyre is kept in a prison that is draining the life out of her. This place that grew to feel like Feyre’s home has become what she thought it was when she first arrived.

Thank goodness for Rhysand. It’s very fitting that his first appearance is him crashing Feyre and Tamlin’s wedding. What a man. Or fae. What an entrance. At this point he’s still seen as a bad guy but Feyre’s health greatly improves while she’s with him in the Night Court. And what happens when she goes back to the Spring Court? Tamlin demands information from her. Then basically puts her on lockdown with guards following her around the clock. Finally Tamlin does something that he probably wanted to do as soon as they returned home; he uses magic to trap her in the house. Not okay. Beyond not okay.

After Feyre explodes with darkness, Alis contacts the Night Court and Mor comes to get her. This is when the story kicks into high gear. Feyre chooses to cross the threshold, allowing so many truths to come to light, more lore to be explored and she meets the Court of Dreams, one of my favourite found families.

Feyre finds her home, her family here. A place of love. A place of freedom. Ultimately a place where she can heal with other hurt people that are committed to healing themselves. They also teach and train her. She learns to read, write and utilise the powers she has. Whilst in the Night Court’s city of Velaris Feyre grows beyond the survivor she once was.

I’m not going to talk about every little detail of the plot, that would take some time. So some of my favourite moments include the Weaver’s cottage, visiting the Summer Court, Starfall, believe it or not but the visit to the Court of Nightmares and pretty much any dinner table scene. I find Sarah J Maas is fantastic at writing dinner table scenes. Both tension filled and fun ones.

The characters are well written and I want more of them. Even Jurian and the King of Hybern have a strong presence for the brief moments you see/ hear from them. Speaking of those two, they did not disappoint. I can tell they’ll be great and fun villains in the next book. I know there is still more to learn about all these characters.

I’ve already talked a lot about Feyre, she is one of my favourite characters. She’s a powerful lead who goes on an important inner journey. I commend Feyre for her sacrifice, it was heartbreaking to read. And to risk going back to the Spring Court. You can’t say she isn’t a strong female character when she sacrifices everything for everyone else. Her sisters, her mate, her family and all the people in the Night Court. A true High Lady. By the end of the story Feyre’s angry. There is so much rage built up inside her but she can’t release it yet. Now she has a game to play. One I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

I never liked Tamlin. He had his moments but ultimately I found him boring. Now you see he’s also a selfish coward. I’ve already touched on some of the things he does at the beginning but that’s all overshadowed by his decision to make a bargain with the King of Hybern. He offers all the humans south of the wall to the King on a silver platter all so he can have Feyre. The whole time he treats her like an object, his property. He even says “She’s mine”. No. Just no. Tamlin can get out.

Lucien can join him. I really liked Lucien and probably will again if he redeems himself. I’m just so disappointed in him. He just sat back and let Feyre waste away. Didn’t fight for her, didn’t defend her He was supposed to be her friend and he did nothing. He just became a lackey for Tamlin. He even lost his cockiness and humour eventually. The things that made Lucien likeable disappeared. If he ever hopes to be a mate worthy of Elain he needs to change. I hope Lucien gets some character development in Wings and Ruin.

Rhysand has always been one of my favourite characters, besides Feyre. I’d perk up whenever he appeared. I never once thought that he was a bad guy, I just felt he had underlying motives. There was more going on beneath the surface. Low and behold that turned out to be the case. He’s been through so much pain, heartache and torture. He’s the most powerful High Lord and yet he only uses his full strength when he has to. He’s also one of the nicest, not on the same level as Tarquin but he’s up there. It’s a shame most of the land doesn’t know that. Rhysand represents everything that Tamlin isn’t. Rhysand wants to move Prythian into the future. To make significant changes. Tamlin just follows tradition. Rhysand also always puts Feyre first and considers her feelings. Probably why he couldn’t make a decision on when to tell her that she was his mate. Knowing how Lucien reacted when he felt that Elain was his mate, Rhys must have a lot of restraint and self control. Already I can’t wait for him and Feyre to reunite.

The Court of Dreams is one of the best found families I’ve read. Did I mention that already? All have gone through their own hardships. Each bear different wounds but they still live to the fullest. They would die for each other. Even Amren. I know Cassian and Nesta get together and I hope the same is true with Azriel and Mor. The looks are too much. Or are they too little?

In conclusion I loved A Court of Mist and Fury so much that I’m giving it a turquoise dragon. That’s right, the top one. There’s romance mixed with fantasy and a good amount of action. The exploration of PTSD and trauma in general is compelling. How important being with the right people can be. Thank you all for taking the time to read this. I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Time to Meet the Vampire Lestat: A Book Thought Corner

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful people, today is my first attempt at a book thought corner. It’s not a secret that for a while I’d been reading The Vampire Lestat. Before my heart palpitations, I turned over the last page and quickly moved onto my next adventure. I have one more thing to do, however before I can firmly put The Vampire Lestat on my read pile. So without further ado let’s get into it.

The Vampire Lestat is the second book in The Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice. First published in 1985, approximately 9 years after it’s predecessor. Narrated by Lestat, the story is his autobiography, book ended by his present day life in the 1980s. He tells us his tale beginning in rural France, then journing to Paris and even making his way to Egypt. Going forward it’s inevitably that I’ll be comparing this to the first book.

Lestat de Lioncourt - Wikipedia

The best place to start is with our illustrious narrator. Lestat is a romantic searching for meaning, both in life and death. He consistently refers to the Savage garden, a phrase I interpret as a way of describing vampiric life. The twisted version of the garden of Eden. Lestat warns at the beginning of his tale that his speak/writing style might be inconsistent. I didn’t really notice or pick up on that. It would’ve been interesting to see a more 80s style mixed in with the 1700s style. But at this point I don’t think Lestat is that integrated into the time period. Lestat was always an entertaining character and having him as narrator is more interesting. I’d happily trade Louis’ brooding of good, evil and morality for Lestat’s musings and search for a purpose. Honestly I gained a new appreciation for Louis from the way Lestat talks about him. I too would rather gaze at him putting his brain into overdrive then reading the thoughts he’s racing through. I am fascinated to read stories/events from different perspectives because everyone perceives things differently. I know people say there are discrepancies between the first and second books, I didn’t notice them however. And isn’t that what’s important? Enjoying the story rather than getting hung up on the details.

Which brings me to the point this is a reboot for the series, the true beginning of The Vampire Chronicles. If the 9 year gap between the books isn’t enough to make you think that then let me point out some other things. First we have a new narrator, Lestat, who as far as I know remains the protagonist throughout the rest of the series. I at least know that’s true for Queen of the Damned. We get an indepth look at Lestat’s origin story. Through him we meet another prominent character from the first book and witness his origin story. We even have an origin for the Theatre of the Vampires. Lestat is chock full of origin stories, lore and call backs to the first book. All things that lay the brick work for an even larger story, clearly bearing the rules of the world to the reader. There’s important information that the reader needs in order to move onto the next book. So The Vampire Lestat serves three purposes: introduce Lestat as the nex protagonist, establish the rules of the world and setting up Queen of the Damned.

Now for the writing and style. Both times I’ve been enthralled by the storytelling. In the beginning. The detail is incredible and aids the reader in creating a full picture. My problem is that the further into the story I get, the more long winded I find the writing. I want to move onto another story but at the same time I want to finish the book I’m currently reading. It’s just a shame that the fun of reading turns into a chore. I must say it’s wonderful that Rice added parts to The Vampire Lestat. Then split those parts into sections. Makes life so much easier for chapter readers like myself.

Can you skip Interview with the Vampire? A friend asked me that. Storywise I’d technically say yes. From what I’ve read so far all the important information is in The Vampire Lestat but I would encourage people to still read the first one. You miss out on Daniel, Claudia and great Lestat content. Some of my favourite scenes so far were in Interview.

Overall I would give The Vampire Lestat a Peridot dragon. I like the stories and the characters but loosing the desire to continue reading isn’t a good sign. The end really caught my attention however. I plan on reading Queen of the Damned and looking forward to it. Any vampire fans looking for something outside of teen romance should give The Vampire Chronicles a go. If you have a short attention span however this might not be the book series for you.

Peridot - Wikipedia

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

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Rank That Series! Time To Grab Your Alethiometer

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful people to Rank That Series! Having completed the His Dark Materials trilogy I thought why not rank the three books in my prefered order. Spoilers ahead for the books, His Dark Materials TV series and The Golden Compass film. You’ve been warned.

Spoiler Warning!

His Dark Materials follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua, later Lyra Silvertongue, through not only her world but many others. She makes lifelong friends, confronts otherworldly enemies and ultimately discovers truths about the universe and herself. Lyra and her daemon filled world is something I’ve been in love with since I first watched The Golden Compass (2007). It’s really a crime that it’s taken me so long to sit my butt down and read the books. But I have now and they’ve taken me to places I didn’t expect. So without further ado let’s get started.

3. The Subtle Knife

In third place I’ve put the Subtle Knife, the second book in the trilogy. Whilst reading this book it honestly felt like the intermission between the other two; setting everything up for the next one. I’m not saying it was bad or dismissible but it didn’t feel like the main event. Kind of like a supporting act for a band on tour. They might be cool but they’re not why you’re there. 

I like the world of Cittagazze. It’s painted as a deserted oasis. Beautiful empty paradise. There’s a mystery there and it’s a tale of the city stabbing themselves in the back. Essentially this is the universe of the subtle knife. It’s origin story. Here Will acquires the subtle knife so that he and Lyra can easily travel between the worlds. It’s only other purpose is a hiding place. 

I may like the city but the citizens, what’s left of them, are a different story. I don’t like the kids. Even before they all turn on Lyra and Will. They’re just not likable to me. Especially Angelica who appears to be the ringleader.

Honestly the events that take place outside of Cittagazze interest me more. In our world Lyra meets Dr Mary Malone. Through their interactions we learn more about the nature of Dust and that there are other ways to communicate with it besides the alethiometer. Such as a computer Dr Malone has in her study and I Ching. There’s no doubt that other forms of divination can be used to communicate with Dust but that’s for a different post. 

Meanwhile in Lyra’s world Lee Scoresby is on the hunt for Stanislaus Grumman who is actually John Parry, Will’s dad. This comes to another reason why The Subtle Knife is in the third spot for me. Lee’s death scene. The whole scene leading up to the moment is dramatic. It’s tense. It’s what you’d expect from a showdown. Lee and Hester talking in the aftermath is sad and emotional but at the end of the chapter is the line ‘and then they died’. Just like that. It’s such a quick way to say they died I thought it wasn’t true. I thought that Serafina arrived in time to save them. Nope that’s not the case. I might be the only one that reacted like this but I think Lee’s death could’ve been better. I feel I’m owed mourning time. I love Lee Scoresby. If there’s a character’s death in this series I want to cry over it’s his.

My last gripe is to do with Will. Don’t get me wrong I like Will but when he enters the story I feel like he takes over. Will becomes the leader and centre of attention. I know Lyra’s gone through some character development but she’s still a free spirit. I just feel like some of that gets lost. To me it feels like Will is the leader and Lyra is his assistant rather than the two protagonists having an equal partnership.

My favourite scene in the whole book is when Will and Lyra get the alethiometer back. The whole time I was left on the edge of my seat. Dodging around Mrs Coulter’s daemon is so tense.

In conclusion the Subtle Knife is third because of the dislikable characters, Lyra not being centred stage and mainly for the entire feel of the book being foundations for a much grander adventure. It’s still a good book that presents a few questions that the reader wants answers for.

2. The Amber Spyglass

In second place is The Amber Spyglass. There is so much content when it comes to the Amber Spyglass. A lot more characters are introduced. There are some plot points that are lovely but are ultimately unnecessary. Some parts that have been built up but end up being disappointing. Even so I was more entertained by the final book then The Subtle Knife. 

I don’t mind all the new characters introduced because I like them. They’re glimpses into other parallel worlds, an idea that already has been well established. The Gallivespians, Chevalier Tialys and Lady Salmakia are key allies for Lyra and Will. Although they have their own agendas Lyra and Will’s journey would be different without them. The Mulefa are precious and need to be protected. Character wise I have a problem with the angels Balthamos and Baruch. Not with the characters themselves but what happens to them. For starters as soon as they were introduced I loved their relationship and was sad when Baruch died. Obviously Balthamos suffers from the loss and he stays with Will till he rescues Lyra. Once that happens he just disappears until the very end. It just seemed like a waste of the character. Why couldn’t he travel with them? He could’ve dealt with his wounds and earned his sacrifice rather than it happening out of nowhere. It just feels on the verge of Deus ex machina territory having a character that you may or may not remember, depending on how you read, saving the day without anyone knowing.

This leads onto another point, that whole subplot is a little pointless. I never feel any threat from this priest on a journey to kill Mary and neither do the characters. No one even knows he’s after them. 

Speaking of threats the same goes for Metatron. He’s supposed to be the main antagonist but the threat isn’t there. When he does show up I still don’t feel like he lives up to the bad guy that the story has been building up. I do like the fight between him, Lord Astriel and Mrs Coulter that ultimately completes the later two’s redemption arc but otherwise he’s not the villain that the rest of the story made him out to be.

Something else that’s anticlimactic is the sin or whatever Lyra might commit that the Magisterium is so afraid of. She falls in love and has sex. That’s it. Fair enough with someone from a parallel universe but nothing really changes after that happens, except her daemon settles. Of course that’s not explicitly stated but all know that’s what happens. This is something that has been building since Northern Lights and what actually happens does not live up to that build up. I was expecting something that would profoundly change the universe and how it works. But no. Instead it’s something that could never happen and nothing would change. 

In conclusion there are many disappointments. But beyond those disappointments is a journey. That journey is what I like about this book. A journey of friendship and love. Two people fixing a system that has led to overcrowding and eternal boredom in death. There are great characters and wonderful locations. You just have to look past the parts of the story that could be better.

1. The Northern Lights

The top spot. Number one can only be home to the book that started it all: The Northern Lights or The Golden Compass as it’s titled in America. As I’ve already stated the film adaptation of this story was a favourite of mine when I was a kid. Finally reading the book just made me love the story even more. Really this story can be self contained. You don’t have to read the other two if you don’t want and just have the story end with Lyra walking into the other world. I feel this is Lyra’s hero’s journey. One that prepares her for the adventure she’s about to embark on.

First this story completely focuses on Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon. My two favourite characters. Together they face many challenges and grow stronger because of it. The interesting thing is Lyra isn’t your typical hero, she’s a consistent liar. A talent that helps her get through some tough situations.

I love all the characters, maybe not so much Mrs Coulter and her daemon. Although she is a great villain. Very much a rose who knows how to use her thorns. She’s very much a villain you love to hate. Or maybe that’s more towards her daemon. I never like it when that monkey shows up. 

One thing that always stuck me was how it was well established that it was a social rule that no one is allowed to touch someone else’s daemon. It’s so well done that when Pan is grabbed by someone in Bolvangar it affects not only Lyra but also the reader. I found it incredibly powerful.

I’m trying to think of something I don’t like and I can’t. I just love it. The story, the characters, the world and the writing is so good. Obviously I have a favourite.

There you have it. My ranking for the His Dark Materials book series. It is a series I enjoyed immensely and will be moving onto the Book of Dust series at some point. Let me know how you’d rank them. Is there anyone out that wouldn’t put Northern Lights in the top spot? Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-