Wow. How do I even begin to review this book? It was phenomenal, truly phenomenal. It’s probably a new all time favourite of mine – and I don’t take picking favourites lightly. When I finished reading it, I immediately picked it back up again to re-read. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave this incredible world and this extraordinary cast of characters who I have fallen in love with. There are no words that I can write here which could even begin to do this book justice, so if you haven’t already, you NEED to pick this series up!
ACOMAF is the 2nd book in Sarah J. Maas’ ACOTAR trilogy. I think it’s very rare to love a second book more than the first one (especially in a trilogy), but Sarah has blown me away and I don’t think I’ve ever read a stronger second book. There will be lots of spoilers and extensive fangirling below, so proceed with caution!
In the beginning, we see Feyre trying to adjust to life at the spring court with Tamlin, but she is haunted with nightmares of her time under the mountain, and guilt over the innocent lives she was forced to take. I think the portrayal of Feyre’s anxiety and panic attacks was done very well. It felt very real to me and I’m glad that we really saw her struggling with this and it wasn’t just glossed over or mentioned maybe once and then ignored. It was dealt with really well and made the situation feel very realistic, as it took a long time for Feyre to start to recover from her experience and to come to terms with her guilt.I think Sarah deserves praise for how well she handled this aspect of the story.
I began to really hate Tamlin at the beginning of this novel. Feyre was waking up in the middle of the night and being sick because of her nightmares, and Tamlin would just ignore her and pretend to be asleep. He never even acknowledged that she was struggling, apart from one time when he used it against her in an argument, when she wanted to leave the house. Tamlin’s behaviour was so shocking to me, even more so the second time that I read those scenes. It was difficult to read. It was an abusive relationship and it really scared me because, looking back, the signs were there in the first book. Feyre was scared of his powers, and that scene under the mountain where he used his one opportunity to get her out and safe to try and have sex with her instead. As a reader, I was just as blind as Feyre was to how unhealthy their relationship was, and it was truly chilling to realise this. I was beyond relieved when Mor came to the spring court to rescue Feyre after Tamlin trapped her in the house, and I loved that Alis didn’t put up a fight, because she knew that Feyre deserved better. That made me love Alis even more.
I loved how Sarah handled Feyre and Rhys’ relationship in ACOMAF. It would have been so easy for her to make it a love triangle and I’m beyond happy that she didn’t. Love triangles are not at all realistic, in my opinion. It was really great how Feyre had a relationship with Tamlin that didn’t work out, left him and took time to get over that break up, before starting to develop and pursue her feelings for Rhys. It was just so real and relatable and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done in a book – which is just ridiculous! I think most people have more than one great love in their lives, and I’m so happy with the way this was shown in ACOMAF.
I loved Rhys’ inner circle so much! It was so much fun to get to know them all and learn about their backstories. They are so precious and if anything happens to them in the next book I will be heartbroken! Mor was probably my favourite member of the inner circle and I’m so intrigued about what her powers are. I really hope we get to see them in the next book! Mor’s backstory was so tragic but it made me love her character so much more, because she has been through so much but she still puts a smile on her face and carries on living – I think that is truly inspirational. Amren is so mysterious, powerful and a little creepy but I love her! I loved the scene after her and Feyre steal the book from the summer court and after almost dying in the process, they just dissolve into a fit of giggles together. I’m so curious about what Amren’s true form is (I really want her to be some sort of dragon…). I loved seeing Cassian’s friendship with Feyre. Their banter was hilarious but he was also really caring towards her. And I felt so sorry for Azriel. I just want him to be with Mor and to be happy! Azriel and Cassian’s friendship was incredible as well – the way Cassian sacrificed his wings to shield Azriel… I can’t even talk about it, it’s too emotional!
I loved getting to see the night court and learning the truth about Velaris. If I was a fae in Prythian I would definitely want to live in Velaris. The descriptions were just absolutely beautiful. I loved learning about the backstory of the night court and how Rhys sacrificed so much in order to keep Velaris and his friends safe from Amarantha. It was so interesting to find out that his whole personality in ACOTAR had been an act in order to protect the people he loved. Rhys is just so precious! I completely fell in love with him in this book. One of my favourite things is when an author can make you completely alter your feelings for a character – like when you hated them to begin with but by the end you absolutely love them – and Sarah J. Maas definitely achieved this with Rhys.
It was so interesting to see the differences in faerie politics between the night court and spring court. Even though he is the high lord, Rhys treats his people like equals and his relationship with the inner circle is brilliant. They’re all truly his friends and I love how much he loves them. Whereas in the spring court, Tamlin always asserts his dominance as the high lord. Even Lucien doesn’t dare to cross him or speak his mind sometimes, which is so sad. And the way Tamlin holds the tithe every year, demanding things from members of his court even when some of them are unable to feed themselves, it was just horrible. It really highlighted the differences between the two characters.
I loved how Rhys treated Feyre. He never treated her as anything less than his equal. He always lets her choose and never tries to stop her from doing things in order to ‘protect her’ or because it’s ‘too dangerous’. We need more male characters like Rhys. He knows exactly what she’s capable of and trusts that she can look after herself, because she clearly can. We need more of these healthy relationships that are built on mutual respect and trust in books.
The tension between Rhys and Feyre in the middle of this book killed me! There was so much flirting and I wanted to scream at them to just be together already! It was so cute to watch their relationship develop though and I love that it took time and didn’t just happen. Again, I think this is very realistic, especially considering Feyre’s recent situation with Tamlin. It was handled really well and it didn’t feel forced at all.
And then of course, Feyre finds out about Rhys being her mate. I loved her reaction and how she took the time she needed away from him to sort out her feelings. Again, this made it feel so real. I loved that Mor had her back and took her to a safe place so she could have the space she needed. And I thought it was so beautiful that while she was there, she finally started to paint again. And when Rhys came to the house and told her the truth about everything – wow that scene! We got answers to questions I didn’t even realise we needed answers to. It was so obvious that Sarah had everything planned out from the beginning of ACOTAR, because after Rhys’ explanations everything makes so much sense. It was literally flawless. And when he finishes talking and Feyre just gives him the soup – I was fangirling so hard!!
I knew it was a bad idea for Rhys to show the queens the truth about Velaris. It was so heartbreaking to see that beautiful city being attacked and destroyed. But I did love how badass Feyre was in that scene. She stood her ground and didn’t just go back to the house like Cassian told her to. She wanted to fight and protect the city that she loved – and she did. I’m so proud of how she’s grown as a character!
And then we go to Hybern. So much happened in those last few pages, it was crazy! I was crying throughout the whole thing and I couldn’t tear my eyes from the page. I was terrified for what was going to happen to Feyre, Rhys and the inner circle! And then when Tamlin and Lucien showed up – I was sooo mad at Tamlin!! I can’t believe he did that! Yes he was an idiot and a horrible partner for Feyre but I was so shocked to find out that he would work with the King of Hybern. And I can’t believe that even though he could see how Rhys and Feyre are mates and that they clearly love each other, he still thinks he has some sort of claim on her and that she belongs to him!? It’s so infuriating. If I didn’t hate him before, I definitely did then.
I can’t believe Nesta and Elain are now fae! There are so many possibilities with what could happen there. I loved how Elain is Lucien’s mate (plus that gives Feyre some leverage in the spring court) and I am a strong believer that Nesta is Cassian’s mate as well – I’m hoping that this is confirmed (and that his wings heal!!) in ACOWAR.
When Feyre was telling the King of Hybern to break the mating bond between her and Rhys I was literally shouting ‘No no no no no no!!!’ at the book – I was distraught! But then when we found out what really happened and that FEYRE IS THE HIGH LADY OF THE NIGHT COURT I was so relieved!!! Thank God that Feyre and Rhys knew what they were doing. Mor’s reaction to Feyre being taken back to the spring court was priceless – I love her! And the last line of the book – wow I had goosebumps. It was incredible.
So overall, this book was amazing! It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before and it completely and utterly blew me away. Wow. Sarah J Maas is a genius and I can’t wait until ACOWAR is released on May 2nd!
Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know what you thought of ACOMAF if you’ve read it.
Chloe 🙂 x