Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Court of Mist and Fury, Wings and Ruin, & Frost and Starlight
(A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2-4) by Sarah J. Maas


A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2) by Sarah J. Maas 
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas
Warning! Potential spoilers for the first book in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

First of all, I want to start by saying I don't hate Tamlin. Honestly, I really loved him in the first book. It was after everything happened Under the Mountain that I began to question his motivations. I do think he's weak and allows his emotions to control him, but I don't believe he's inherently evil. Misguided maybe. The High Lord of Spring does have some serious anger issues, and I think they seemed passionate in the first book, but only because his powers were so diminished (thanks to that lovely little curse that brought everyone together in the first place). Once he has full control of his powers again, his outbursts were more violent and damaging, but he was still weak-minded. I don't know if he was broken by Amarantha, or if something happened to him before the curse, but he was clearly not himself afterwards. He let hate and fear fester inside of him, and his friends and allies paid the price, Feyre most of all. His protectiveness from the first book turned into possessiveness, and his affections became smothering and slightly crazed. He needed Feyre, but for what? Himself? His court? It didn't seem like he had her best interests at heart, only his selfish desires.

I also think Tamlin is a coward. He wrong Rhysand in the worst possible way, and has shown no remorse for his actions. I'm sure he decided to choose his family and his court over his friend, but he did something unforgivable and didn't even try to make amends (not that it would have helped). Rhys had every right to challenge him, and that was before Tamlin nearly destroyed his mate on multiple occasions. Despite all of this, I want Tamlin find happiness and love. I hope he's able to crawl out of whatever hole he's in, and start piecing himself and his court back together. I want him to stop obsessing over Feyre, because some of the things he said about her just because his feelings were hurt... grr! My blood was boiling on her behalf. I half-wished Rhys would take him out right then and there. I don't know what Tamlin needs in order to move forward with his life, but he has a lot to atone for. He did occasionally do good in the other books, but it was all so confusing and complicated. I have no idea what his motivations or intentions were, so I don't know if they came from a good place. I'm particularly disgusted with how he treated Lucien, since he would have willingly stood by Tamlin's side for eternity.

Speaking of Lucien, I felt like he had more of a backbone in the first book. I also thought he was Feyre's friend, so it hurt when he allowed Tamlin to break her spirit. It wasn't like he couldn't see what was happening. Feyre was literally wasting away and he barely stood up for her. I'm very conflicted about him as a character right now, because like Tamlin, I think he deserves to find his happiness. However, I think he's going to have a long, hard road ahead of him. Everything regarding his situation is super complicated, and he isn't even aware of half of it. Fortunately, he was there when Feyre really needed him, although I suspect his motivations were mostly for his own benefit.

Let's see... Cassian, Azriel, Amren, and Morrigan were phenomenal characters! I really loved their group dynamics, and how their inner circle felt more like a family. They love each other and their city, and they were so welcoming when Feyre entered their lives. Even though most of those relationships were complicated, they were all there for each other when it really mattered. I loved learning more about each and every one of them, and I cannot wait to see what happens to them in future books. I laughed so much when all of them were in the same room together, and I'm smiling now just thinking about it. Illryian babies.

Elain and Nesta are complicated additions the story. They were in the first book, but only briefly. Their lives have changed drastically over the course of this series, and I don't think they're adjusting as well as their sister (Feyre). I understand that they've been through something traumatic, but Nesta was cold and distant long before that. It seems now those emotions have amplified, and I really don't like her very much. Elain seems weak and delicate, but I have a feeling she's going to surprise us all. I'm really curious how her little love affair (or lack thereof) is going to work out.

Rhysand is amazing. He sees Feyre as his equal in every way, and genuinely cares about her safety and well-being. He could have stepped in at any time and forced her out of a bad situation, but he tried to let her make her own decisions. He loved so fiercely, and always put everyone else's needs before his own, even when it nearly killed him to do so (sometimes I wish Amarantha was still alive just so she could suffer some more for what she did to him). I liked how patient he was with Feyre, and how willing he was to give her space and time to figure out her thoughts and feelings. He never pushed, but was always there when she needed him. I really loved watching their relationship flourish in A Court of Mist and Fury, and then seeing them together throughout the next two books. Everything just felt right. They didn't have to try when they were together. They were able to just be themselves, and there was no holding back or pretending. They connected mentally and physically, but it was their bond that really stood out. Their souls were entwined and it was a beautiful thing to behold.

Feyre isn't always the best at everything, but she never stops trying. Even when her actions feel hopeless, she keeps going. She pushes herself to be better, not only for herself, but for her newfound family. She also doesn't need Rhys to fight her battles for her, although he's more than willing to do so. She proves time and again that she can take care of herself, and fight for what she believes in. She needs a little help every once in awhile, everyone does, but she's able to hold her own with faeries that have been alive for centuries.

I also liked watching Feyre learn to wield her new powers, and her interactions with the other High Lords. All of that was fascinating! Everything she did was an adventure, and I enjoyed all of it. The slow-burn of her relationship with Rhys, her falling in love with Velaris, her training with Cassian and Aziel, everything that happened at the Summer Court with Amren (hah), and her friendship with Mor... all of it was worth experiencing.

A few quibbles... They are constantly making "vulgar gesturs" at each other, and that phrase popped up way too frequently. I wish those gestures had been a little more specific, or at least worded differently. Also, why did Feyre start using faerie slang all of a sudden? Humans don't believe in the Cauldron or the Mother, yet she started using those phrases seemingly without thought. "Cauldron boil me" or "Mother help us" would slip out of her mouth, and it felt weird since she still used human terms occasionally. Additionally, we learned pretty quickly that Rhys would listen whenever Feyre needed him to, and that he thought of her as an equal, but Feyre was constantly mentioning those qualities (or some variation of them). I never forgot those aspects of his character, so it felt like the equality was shoved down my throat a little bit. The same goes with Cassian and Rhys trying to fight for the Illryian females. It's important, yes, but it could have been mentioned less. The point would've remained.

I really loved this series and the world Maas created. I'm already jonesing for more, and plan on re-reading this series very soon. I especially want to re-read A Court of Thorns and Roses with fresh eyes, and knowing what I know now. I feel like I might have a different perspective when certain things happen, which makes me curious and eager to find out. It's also an amazing read, and I want to immerse myself in the world again. A Court of Frost and Starlight was an enjoyable read, but it didn't have the same sense of urgency and adventure the previous three did. I know it's supposed to be a bridge between this series and the next, but it was mostly fluffy stuff.

There are so many aspects of this series that still need to be addressed, and I cannot wait to see what Maas will do with those threads. Despite leaving a lot left unanswered, the main story wrapped up beautifully. I really like where Feyre and Rhys ended up, and what their futures looks like at the moment. They have so much hope and love... it's wonderful. The creatures they encountered throughout the book were mostly terrifying and crazy powerful, but they were also interesting and very surprising. They definitely kept everyone on their toes... the bargains and sacrifices, a bad deal made for a slightly better outcome... there was just so much going on.

I could seriously go on and on about this series, which is why I decided to review them all at once. I thought I would get all of my main feelings out there, and not overload everyone with my enthusiasm. I also didn't want to risk being too spoilery by commenting on too may of the specifics. It's something you'll want to experience all on your own! It's been a long time since a book or series has consumed me so completely, and I absolutely loved every second of it. I was wholeheartedly invested in the characters and totally immersed in the story, so it felt like I experienced everything alongside Feyre and the others. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. For those of you worried about a love triangle, don't be. It's not an issue.

   

21 comments:

  1. Squeee!!! I’m so excited that you read the series and loved it! I feel like I could talk about it for ages but then again most of my commentary about the series is just flailing and fangirling. LOL But I’ll try to comment coherently on a few things:

    I agree with your thoughts on Tamlin. I don’t hate him. I did for a while... right after ACOTAR ended and after certain events at the beginning of ACOMAF. But I don’t consider him evil or a villain. I think he was affected by what happened Under the Mountain just like others were. And I agree that he is weak-minded. I think he loves Feyre in his own way but it is not an unselfish love. He doesn’t want her to be who she truly is. He isn’t secure enough to celebrate her strength. He wants to contain and control her and he calls it love and protection. He did do some things that almost redeemed him in my eyes but it’s not enough. I think something in him has snapped and he’s no longer who he once was.

    I do like Lucien. He was in a bad position at the Spring Court. Tamlin was his High Lord and he’d already walked away from/been banished from his own Court. I do wish he had stood up for Feyre and been there for her earlier but I could also kind of understand. I feel for him now. He’s got to feel adrift at this point, having lost two Courts that he considered home. And the thing with Elain really breaks my heart for him.

    TBH I’ve never been huge fans of Nesta and Elain. I get their lives are not what they wanted. But both continue to fight against what IS and refuse to come to terms with their new reality. Elain can be okay but I truly dislike Nesta. I don’t care what she did in ACOMAF... it doesn’t make up for the fact that she is rude and nasty and an absolute nightmare to be around. She’s determined to let everyone know just how miserable she is. Believe me, we get it, Nesta!

    Love, love, love the inner circle. Cassian and Azriel and Amren and Mor... love them all! Their dynamic is just everything and they are total squad goals. :)

    I adore Feyre + Rhys. They are an epic coupling. I see a lot of people refer to Rhys as a former villain but I’ve always disagreed with that. He never was the villain. He played the role, he let everyone assume that, and he encouraged it and used it to his advantage, but he never was the bad guy. I love the way he supports Feyre. He pushes her to be her best, to be strong, to use her power, to lead. But he also understands when she’s down and suffering.

    There is so much I love about this series! The Courts, the political machinations, the intrigue, the friendships, the romance, Velaris, the Inner Circle... just love it! And I’m so glad you do, too! :)

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    1. I also feel like flailing and fangirling, so I totally understand! I immediately bought some ACOTAR merch after reading the first two books. A necklace with mountains, stars, and then a separate shooting star that overlaps. A shirt about Velaris and my Wingspan Enthusiast: It matters coffee mug. :)

      I was really, really mad at Tamlin for awhile, but like you said, he did do a lot to redeem himself. He didn't betray the other courts or wish Feyre harm. He helped in his own way and really changed the outcome of the war. His participation was crucial, whether anyone else realizes it or not. I do think Under the Mountain changed him, especially when Feyre mentioned his nightmares, and how he would sometimes shift and sleep at the foot of the bed. His instinct was to protect, and it started to smother her. He wasn't able to let Feyre be her own person, and he never saw her as his equal. It was a selfish love, and I think he hates himself for how much he's to blame. I want to see Tamlin heal and address his anger problems. He has a lot of control issues that need to be touched on as well. I think there's a lot of hope for him in the future!

      Lucien was in a terrible position! Tamlin saved him when he needed it most, literally saved his life, and the two were friends. They survived the curse together, too. Feyre was a new addition to their court, and his loyalties were torn. He wanted to be a good friend and remain loyal to Tamlin, but he also saw that Tamlin was wrong. He knew Feyre was being treated poorly, and I think it really ate at him that he couldn't do more. I think he wanted to, but was unsure where that would leave him in the end. Band of Exiles?? What is this nonsense?? I understand that he's heartbroken and conflicted about Elain and where he's at in life, but a few months is nothing compared to the centuries he's been alive. Patience! I hope that works out for him in the end, but I'm worried about how Elain acts when Azriel is around. I don't think she's heartbroken about her failed engagement, I think she's pining after a different faerie.

      Nope. I dislike both Nesta and Elain for the most part. Feyre didn't want to be Made, yet she made the best of her situation. She's always been a fighter, while her sisters have been content to let her do the fighting for them. She was the youngest and should have been protected, yet she did everything to keep her family alive. I understand Rhysand's disgust towards her family. I feel it too. Nesta is a nightmare, and Cassian deserves better. I wish he would just leave her alone. She's hurt him most of all. How could she be willing to shield him with her bottom, both of them wish for more time, and then pretend his poop on her shoe?? UGH.

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    2. I seriously cannot get enough of the inner circle. I sent you a link to the shirt I want to buy about The Night Court Squad Goals on Twitter. ;) I hope they each get their own story in some way. I want them all to be happy, happy, happy! The snowball fight cracked me up in ACOMAF. Boys!

      Yes! I love Rhys and Feyre together. I never thought of Rhys as a villain. It was clear Under the Mountain that he was trying to help Feyre without being obvious about it. He was the only one that bet on her surviving the first trial, he kept her clean and healed, and allowed her an escape from her prison (physical and mental). He made it appear like he was using her, but he also made sure no one else touched her or harmed her in any way. He kept the guards away, and made sure she had food. What did Tamlin do? He remained quiet and disinterested in what was happening to her. Yes, Lucien tried to help, but that resulted in Tamlin hurting him, too. When Tamlin tried to screw Feyre in an alcove, it was Rhys that saved her. Why was Tamlin's first thought to have sex?? He didn't even try to help her escape. Rhysand's anger was justified. Tamlin only thought of himself, and he wanted Feyre for selfish reasons. At the end, Tamlin begged with empty words, while Rhys FOUGHT. He fought even though it risked his life and the lives of those he cared about. He was the only one that fought for her Under the Mountain. Lucien was even there for her more than Tamlin was. Rhysand pushed Feyre to feel something, anything, as long as it kept her from wasting away. He would rather she directed her anger at him, and was willing to take that on for her. He sacrificed his feelings, his love, so that she would be okay. I cannot even begin to imagine everything he suffered Under the Mountain, and everything he did to protect Feyre and Velaris. He's definitely the bigger male. ;)

      I love everything about this series! The small scuffles between courts, the big war that formed a tentative alliance, the friendships and relationships, the entire world that Maas has built to encompass everything and everyone. <3 <3 <3

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  2. I haven't read this series but it sounds like you are having a good time with it.

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    1. It's amazing! I really recommend it, Mary. I think you'd enjoy it. There's a lot of action and sex! ;)

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  3. I have some books by Maas but mainly her other series. SOmene gave me book 2 in this series so I know I'll have to try it too

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    1. I borrowed Throne of Glass from my library. I wanted to give it a shot! I think you'd love the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, so you should definitely try it! You already have the second book (the best book), so you just need the first. :)

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  4. I only read the first book and liked it pretty much as it had a fairy tale feel and wasn't super-fae. I feel so out of the story. I'd have to start all over....

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    1. There were some Beauty and the Beast vibes, but I'm not sure if that was intentional. There was an art gallery instead of a library, a "beast", and a curse that can only be broken by love. However, that's where the similarities stopped for me. I quickly became immersed in the world Maas created, and the faerie manipulations and intrigue! I would recommend starting over, but the second book is my absolute favorite!! It also gets more "super-fae" as you go. ;)

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  5. Yay! I'm glad you found a series to get lost in. Best feeling in the world!

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I'm already itching to read it again. I'm trying to be strong and finish my August ARCs first... <3

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  6. What I love about this series is that you get to see life after the HEA. Tamlin seemed like such an upstanding citizen in ACOTAR so I loved that we got to see the healing process and Maas didn't write sunshine and rainbows after the villain was defeated!

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    1. Yes!! The second book was amazing. It completely changed how I saw the rest of the story! I really loved Tamlin in the first book... when he played the fiddle for Feyre and she danced? And then when they danced together? Then the pond/lake full of starlight, and when he allowed her to see the world like a faerie... there were so many magical moments between the two of them. He encouraged her painting, and chose the one of the forest. He really thought she understood him, and the two were able to form a connection despite his mask and her mortality.

      Right?? I enjoyed seeing Feyre and Rhys together, and then seeing them work as a couple. They still had a battle to fight, and even afterwards, a world to rebuild. There are the queens to contend with, the shaky alliances, etc. Loved it!!

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  7. I adore Feyre and Rhys! They're just... Goals. I love them. Really really love them. These books are awesome and I want to re-read them all before the next arc begins (instead of just re-reading favourite parts) but I'm actually nervous to read ACOTAR again. I adored Tamlin in that book but knowing all that I know now I don't think I'd be able to handle falling in love with him a little bit just to watch it go the way it goes... At least when Maas pulls that shit in her Throne of Glass series the former lover remains likeable/lovable and decent but Tamlin... He broke my heart.

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    1. They're definitely something to aspire to! ;) I loved that they worked together, and how willing they were to sacrifice themselves so the other didn't have to. It was such a selfless love, which was a direct contrast from her relationship with Tamlin. He loved her selfishly and possessively. He couldn't let it go, even when she said it was her choice. He treated her like property instead of a person/fae.

      I'm trying to finish all of my August ARCs so I can re-read the entire series too! I want to see how I feel reading the first book, knowing what I know now. I think it'll be interesting, and I'll have a new perspective. I do think I'll fall in love with Tamlin again, only to have my heart rebroken when he acts like an ass. I wish he had done more for her Under the Mountain... actually FOUGHT Amarantha, like Rhys. Rhys was there over and over again, and he kept Feyre from falling apart. Tamlin just sat like a statue, and then wanted to take advantage of her body once they had privacy. He didn't even think to help her escape!! Grr.

      I have the first Throne of Glass book, but haven't started it yet. :)

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  8. I love that you're continuing to love this series. It sounds so good! I like that there's a lot of complex relationships! I'll have to check this series out :)

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    1. Yes!! I hope you read it soon, and then you definitely have to DM/email me your thoughts! :)

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  9. Oh gosh. I am so happy to read this review/reflection on the whole series (thus far). I wonder if Tamlin's PTSD could've been explored a bit more, maybe his character's shift would've made more sense. I, too, don't dislike him. I just felt like his character didn't get enough development. That said, I don't know why Lucien is friends with him and I don't know why the heck Lucien never challenged him enough for Feyre's sake.

    Yes, I agree with you on the vagueness of the vulgar expressions/gestures. I figured it's like the fairy equivalent of a flip off but, like, it didn't make sense for them to have the exact gestures.

    Rhys had the COOLEST group of friends and I am so jealous of him. I just want to hang out with them. We could eat vegan cookies together or something.

    Nesta bothered me a TON until perhaps the last book, I think, when she became more of an ally to Feyre and almost a bridge between her sister and the rest of the human world. I do wish we get to see more of Feyre's artistic journey and her stepping into a more politically powerful position. Will we ever hear about her mom? Could she've had any relation to what was actually going on in fairy places?

    And, I know this was kind of tacked on in the end, but Mor, the cutest bb that ever lived, I want to see her find love one day. Amren is also someone I HOPE we get to see interact with Nesta. They'd be good friends. But, like, in a way that scares everyone around them. I don't even want to imagine what would happen to anyone that opposes them. Ugh. I love these books. I hope you get to experience Throne of Glass because, gosh dang it, those books are awesome too. :) And, they include a dog called FleetFoot who is the most perfect pup that ever graced the pages of a book.
    Alright. I rambled plenty. Hope you are well. Onto the next book! :)

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    1. I cannot wait for the companion novels to be released!! After the excerpt at the end of ACOFAS, I want to know how Nesta reacts to Feyre's decision. And Cassian!

      I do hope Maas expands Tamlin's character in future books. I think he's dealing with a lot of unresolved issues, and it's resulting in bursts of uncontrollable rage. He's pushing everyone away, but doesn't want to blame himself. He needs to see how he's failed in order to start making improvements. I don't think he's beyond saving, and would love for him to find his happiness, and maybe even a friendship with Feyre and Rhys.

      Lucien is a devoted friend and owes Tamlin his life. Tamlin was there at the border when his three brothers tried to kill him, and together they were able to kill two of the three. Tamlin and Lucien have also been friends for centuries, so they've established a friendship that's more solid that what Lucien had time to develop with Feyre. Even when Lucien new Tamlin was wrong, he didn't feel like it was his place to interfere. He's not a High Lord, just the friend and subject of one. We don't know everything about their past, but we do know they've been through a lot together. They suffered through Amarantha together. Tamlin gave him a home and an eye when he lost both... there's a rich history there.

      Hah! It was more the wording that anything else. I wish she had flipped him off or something, or maybe explained the Faerie equivalent of a vulgar gesture? Maybe they're different?

      I don't think Rhys's inner circle would appreciate veganism, haha. We could definitely try! ;)

      Nesta bothered me in every book. She was cold and calculating from the start, and her love is buried sooo deeply within her. It rarely surfaced, but it was meaningful when it did. She's struggling with something, but we have no idea what. I'm sure her series will be very eye-opening and entertaining, especially if Cassian is around. I'm also curious how she'll fair at an Illryian war camp, but I'm sure she'll make a huge difference for the females there. She has a power... we just don't know what it is!

      What about Feyre's mom? Their mother died when she was 8. Typhus. Nesta hates their father, because she thinks he let their mom die without doing everything he could to save her. I don't think she plays a role in anything else... I'm not really sure what you're asking. Feyre's artistic journey has been interesting, and I'm happy that she's using it to heal some of her wounds, and to help others.

      Mor is the best bestie! Her history is also dark and horrific, but I loved the glimpse we saw at the end of ACOFAS. She has her own home/land that no one knows about. I also think I know what she saw hiding in the bushes, and I wonder if the two of them will strike up a friendship or make a bargain.

      Amren and Nesta became friends in this series, although it's strained at the end of ACOFAS. Amren said she liked her because she was prickly and hard to like. They would work together and discuss things, and Amren refused to tell Feyre what they'd talked about.

      I love books with awesome animals! I'm starting Throne of Glass after I finish my re-read of ACOTAR! <3

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  10. I'm glad you got to read this series! ACOWAR was my personal favorite of the four, but I'm a bit of an odd duck. I love Cassian and Nesta though so I'm excited about where their story is going to go. Rhysand is probably the best thing about the ACOTAR series. He is fully fleshed out and has multiple layers. When things are revealed they aren't contradictory and they fit his overall arc. I'm curious to see how Maas redeems Tamlin pass what has already been revealed. I can't wait for the next book. I need it now! Love your discussion post!

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    1. I really loved Feyre's personal journey in ACOMAF, and Chapter 55 was EVERYTHING, but I enjoyed ACOWAR too! I think it's awesome that we get to see Feyre in a more authoritative role, and how she and Rhys work together. They've confessed their love, and they're willing to do whatever it takes to save each other and their people. It wasn't an entire series leading up to their coupling, but a beginning, middle, and end. Loved it all! Also, what she does to Tamlin's court...damn.

      I cannot wait to see what happens with Nesta and Cassian. My heart breaks for him, especially when it seemed like she'd finally come around. Girl was willing to shield him with her body, and now she won't speak to him at all?? Also, what did he chunk in the Sidra?? He said he spent months looking for it. Grr, Nesta is frustrating. I hope she's more likable in future books, haha.

      Rhysand is amazing. You're totally right, and his layers were so well-written. We see his mask in the first book, but also the cracks when he's dealing with Feyre. He cares and is struggling to balance everything that's happening. He's also the only one that fought for her. I'm still angry that Tamlin tried to sex her up the night before her last trial. WHAT WAS HE THINKING?? Yes! Nothing was contradictory, despite everything that had happened, and it was a beautiful puzzle to behold.

      I'm really curious how she redeems him, too. He never wanted to hurt Feyre, he was just blind and cowardly. Also, selfish and dealing with some serious anger issues.

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless