Read: 13th June 2017 – 16th June 2017
Spoilers in review: Basically none
Note added August 2020: Since reading this book, I’ve become more comfortable in the fact that I’m non-binary, and I’ve also realised that I’m asexual. This series is extremely cisnormative and allonormative, and these things feed into each other in a way that I recently described as being ‘a ping pong effect of yikes’. It made me very uncomfortable at the time because I didn’t fully understand myself yet, so I wasn’t properly equipped to deal with it. On the whole I enjoyed this book but there are some serious issues with it. On a more positive note, shout out to Sarah J Maas for being one of the first things that made me wonder if I was acespec, even if I did proceed to repress it for over a year.
This is the second book in the A Court of X and Y trilogy (series?), picking up three months after the events of the first one.
I have mixed feelings about this book.
As I was reading it, I subjected many people to rants about the things that were bugging me. And there were a lot of things that bugged me, so these rants could go on for a long time.
These people would then ask why I kept reading it if I hated it so much. But that’s the thing, I don’t hate this book/series. Far from it. The plot is great! The characters are strong! The core cast has a found family dynamic that I love!
But the decision to refer to men as ‘males’ and women as ‘females’ was jarring and I really wish that Maas hadn’t done that. I can’t remember if the same happens in the first book, but it was very noticeable in this one. It made sentence structure seem clunky, and it came across as dehumanising, like the main thing you needed to know about the characters was the shape of their genitals.
Which leads on to another thing.
I knew going into this that many people are of the opinion that Maas can’t write sex scenes very well. And that opinion is correct. The first one occurs ~20 pages in and I was legitimately laughing at how cringey it was to read. The faerie society is also apparently sex-obsessed, because it kept coming up. So be warned about that.
Throughout the majority of the novel I was dreading the point where Feyre and Rhys would officially get together, because I was really enjoying their snarky friendship, where there was some flirting but it never went anywhere. To be fair, their relationship was done very well and when they did get together my main issue at that moment wasn’t that it happened but because we were then subjected to a full chapter of sex between them. For a lot of the novel I was becoming increasingly convinced (and hopeful) that Rhys wasn’t actually interested in sex at all, but nope! Never mind, I’ll just be over here with my ace headcanon…
These novels are very heterosexual. There are so many characters and the world is so developed that you think there’d be at least one person who isn’t, but that’s clearly too much to ask.
However, despite all this, I did enjoy this book! It’s certainly a lot better than the first one. I’m not going to go into massive amounts of detail about what I liked, because plenty of people have gushed already, and I wouldn’t be adding anything of value. Although I will add to the love for Rhys, he’s great!
In short, this book is by no means perfect. But it’s still very good.
Review originally written in 2017