[A quick note: This book taught me what it feels like to have a book hangover. I’ve always wondered. I was supposed to read other books after this one. Did I? No. Of course not. I picked up the third book because I couldn’t stop thinking about the story. I’m officially OBSESSED with this series. I finally understand what all the hype was about.]
(5/5⭐️) “And I wondered if love was too weak a word for what he felt, what he’d done for me. For what I felt for him.” -Sarah J Maas
In the aftermath of Amarantha’s destruction, Feyre’s soul and spirit are broken. She is haunted by what happened Under the Mountain. Harrowing nightmares follow her dreams and wear away at her. She gave a great deal to save Tamlin and Tamlin’s people, as well as those of the other courts. After all that happened, Tamlin wants to keep her safe, tucked away from danger. However, Rhysand has not forgotten his bargain, and he chooses to call it in at an unexpected time. All isn’t what it seems in Prythian. A great danger is looming, threatening the courts. Feyre must master her gifts and put together the broken pieces of her heart if she is to have any chance at facing the evil that comes.
Wow. Wow. WOW. Words fall short of the impact this book had on me. There was so much emotion. It was raw and real. While reading it, I was utterly consumed. I don’t remember the last time I read a book this quickly, only stopping for food, bathroom breaks, and sleep. I can say with confidence that this is now my favorite book of all time.
There are some heavy emotional themes throughout the story making it more adult than YA. There’s sex, lots of glorious sex. Moreover, Feyre deals with PTSD in the wake of Amarantha’s reign of terror. Her nightmares wake her up and send her running for the toilet. She’s grown thin. She struggles to eat. She has no desire to paint—something she once loved. She feels entirely broken. She sees death and blood when looking at mundane things. She feels unworthy of having survived. On top of that, Tamlin is afraid to lose her again, so much so that he smothers her. She isn’t allowed to go out hunting with him. She’s not allowed to help with things going on at the borders. She isn’t allowed to be outside the watchful gaze of Tamlin’s guards. She becomes a prisoner in her own home. Worst of all, Tamlin’s fighting his own demons, so he leaves her to deal with hers. It’s clear that he’s trying to do the best he can, but he’s failing. I was impressed with the way SJM handled these themes.
“And I realized—I realized how badly I'd been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom I'd been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.”
The world building in ACOMAF is incredible. The different Fae from each court have their own unique traits and magic unique to them. For example, the Summer Court utilized water magic from the sea. The customs are interesting. It was all done well. I loved learning about the different courts, and especially about the Night Court. Specifically the Court of Nightmares and the Court of Dreams. Discovering that information was both surprising and welcome. There was a lot of unexpected surprises, things I thought I thought I knew that I was wrong about.
“The Court of Dreams. The people who knew that there was a price, and one worth paying, for that dream. The bastard-born warriors, the Illyrian half breed, the monster trapped in a beautiful body, the dreamer born into a court of nightmares...And the huntress with an artist's soul.”
The characters that Feyre comes to call her family have unique personalities. They feel real, each with their own struggles. I got to know them intimately throughout the story and fell in love with them. I became a part of their family as much as Feyre did.
Feyre’s character arc is thoroughly satisfying. She begins broken, and she ends the book taking a page out of Rhysand’s bookish behavior. The ending was a huge cliff hanger. I’m so glad I could dive into third book immediately. Waiting would have killed me. Regardless, the ending was a satisfying simply because of Feyre and Rhysand. The romance development between these two is by far the best I’ve ever read. Steamy x100. New favorite bookish couple...forever. They built something that feels lasting, on a strong foundation, and you feel as if they will make it through ANYTHING together.
“My friend through many dangers. My lover who had healed my broken and weary soul. My mate who had waited for me against all hope, despite all odds.”
Now, can we talk about dialogue? The dialogue in this book is FREAKING AWESOME. The banter between Feyre and Rhysand was WOW. Every line between those two is gold. I had to put the book down so many times and replay the words in my head before reading on. Sometimes I re-read paragraphs because of how great it was. The things each of the characters said to each other was realistic and meaningful. You never felt as if there was useless chatter happening.
Oh, and Feyre’s magic was so bad-ass. When she died and was made new, each of the seven high lords gave her a piece of their magic, unknowingly. I loved that she was learning to come into her own here. I enjoyed the little surprises that she encountered when her emotions got the better of her. It was a fun mystery discovering which magic came from where. Her unique make-up turned her into a weapon that could be used against the king of hybern. She doesn’t sit on her ass. She trained and learned to use her magic to help save the world. With Feyre, I felt like I was in good, reliable hands. She was a character I could trust.
I was so engrossed in this story that it followed me everywhere, even into my dreams. I fell asleep thinking about the characters and had strange twisted dreams with them. I found myself thinking about the book long after I finished it, reimagining scenes, thinking of key pieces of information. This is a book I will read over and over again. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of it. If you are okay with a little sex in your reading, this fantasy series has it all! I HIGHLY recommend it.