This set of chapters is where the book abruptly stops feeling The Hunger Games and starts feeling more like Beauty and the Beast, except if all the household appliances considered themselves superior beings.
Feyre arrives at her faerie captor’s estate. A lot of this chapter is describing how opulent it is. As are the following chapters. It totally works in the book, but I’m gonna go ahead and not keep including that detail in the summary.
She wakes up from her magically induced unconsciousness, frustrated that now she doesn’t know the route back home. She notes that it’s spring here (because of MAGIC) and that her knife is missing (because of MA- oh, wait, no, the faerie just took frisked her when she was unconscious and took it. Ew.) Inside, there’s a great feast just waiting for them, but Feyre refuses to eat because she learned as a child to never eat a faerie’s food “unless you wanted to wind up enslaved to them in mind and soul”.
Much more importantly, the beast-faerie is secretly attractive:
The beat plopped into the chair, the wood groaning, and, in a flash of white light, turned into a golden-haired man.
I stifled a cry […] This beast was not a man, not a lesser faerie. He was one of the High Fae, one of their ruling nobility: beautiful, leathal, and merciless
Strangely, she notes that he’s wearing a fancy gold mask. Another faerie enters, also wearing a mask. She also notices even the servants are wearing masks. Most of these early chapters are gonna be Feyre going “I can’t believe I still can’t escape” (understandably), so it’s sorta slim pickings for what moves the plot forward right now.
The other faerie is not in a good mood, demanding to know if Andras is dead. The captor confirms it, and that the mortal with them now killed him with an ash arrow after the treaty’s magic took him “right to her doorstep”.
“You’re joking,” he said quietly. “That scrawny thing brought down Andras with a single ash arrow?” […]
“She admitted to it,” the golden-haired one said tightly […] “She didn’t try to deny it.” […]
“Did you enjoy killing my friend, human?” the red-haired one said. “Did you hesitate, or was the hatred in your heart riding you too hard to consider sparing him?” […]
“Lucien,” my captor said quietly […] “Behave.” […]
“My apologies, lady.” Another joke at my expense. “I’m Lucien. Courier and emissary.” He gestured to me with a flourish. “Your eyes are like stars, and your hair like burnished gold.”
Even when we read a good book we get a sassy best friend. IT IS ALWAYS A SASSY BEST FRIEND.
Feyre is dismissed and asked to go to her room, but while leaving she overhears Lucien (finally I get one name so I don’t have to keep distinguishing the two faeries with “the other faerie”) and her captor having a mysterious conversation about “the Cauldron” and Andras’s mission and how her captor refuses to abandon, kill, or otherwise harm Feyre, despite Lucien trying to persuade him that’d be best.
WE FINALLY LEARN HIS NAME IS TAMLIN. There. Now I don’t have to keep writing “the captor” or “the faerie” or “the first faerie that isn’t the other faerie” anymore. We also learn that he’s thousands of years old.
Tamlin gets annoyed that Feyre still isn’t eating and prepares her a plate, grumpily insisting that “It’s an honor for a human to be served by a High Fae”. Tamlin awkwardly tries to create conversation with “your hair is… clean.” Lucien quips that Tamlin’s “skills with females have definitely become rusty in recent decades”, because apparently I got the chapters this week where A Court of Thorns and Roses is a rom com where they hate each other at first, but the jokey best friend totally sees the chemistry.
Feyre asks what they plan to do with her now (good question), and Tamlin just says he has no plans, she can do whatever she wants, he doesn’t expect her to earn her keep or anything.
“But what am I to do with my life here?” […]
Tamlin stiffened. “What you do with your life isn’t my problem.”
Lucien pointedly cleared his throat, and Tamlin flashed him a glare. After an exchanged look I couldn’t read, Tamlin sighed and said, “Don’t you have any … interests?”
Seriously, how’d I get the rom com chapters?
Feyre doesn’t want to reveal that she does have an interest in painting, since she’s more hung up on how she’s stuck here doing nothing with her life while her family starves, which is fair. Tamlin responds that he “didn’t make the rules”, which is (potentially?) fair. He also reveals that, surprise, he’s going to ensure that her family will be looked after. Somehow they struggle for conversation so much that they awkwardly end up on Feyre’s love life.
“Is this really what you care to know about me? If I find you more handsome than human men, and if I have a man back home?”
It’s kind of hilarious. Seriously, it’s starting to get a little annoyingly slow, but I am enjoying how none of these people have any idea how to talk to each other and this is just their life now.
Feyre asks why he’s even showing her mercy, and he mysteriously responds that, “I kill too often as it is” and adds that “you’re insignificant enough to not ruffle this estate. Unless you decide to start killing us.”
Later, they finally have a more interesting conversation. Tamlin reveals that the Treaty just prevents the faeries from literally enslaving mortals, other faeries have more ill will towards mortals, and that there’s a mysterious (again) magical (also again) sickness afflicting faeries and might soon spread to the humans and thus far there’s no cure. Although it’s super unclear what it does aside from keep the masks stuck on the faeries’ faces. So…
Feyre, Tamlin, and Lucien have more stilted conversations over meals. This time, Feyre has to reveal that her mother died when she was young, which has a powerful effect on Tamlin and Lucien. She gets angry that they get sad. The plot’s gonna be like this for a while.
Tamlin extends another offer to Feyre to show her around his estate, which she refuses again, although she takes note of how hard he’s trying to be accommodating, even if she can’t figure out why. Feyre quickly rushes to the stables to meet with Lucien, because the servant assigned to her, Alis, seems sympathetic (so far) and tries to give her some advice for not ruffling feathers, but suggests that Lucien could do for a bit of sass though.
Lucien caustically laughs and invites her to join him on patrol.
“Come now. I’m to patrol the southern woods today, and I’m curious about the … abilities you used to bring down my friend, whether accidental or not. It’s been a while since I encountered a human, let alone a Fae-killer. Indulge me in a hunt.”
This actually works perfectly into Feyre’s plan, since she’s now decided that maybe Lucien would talk Tamlin into releasing her since he doesn’t exactly want her around. However, Lucien immediately infers that this is why she wanted to see him and tells her that he’s “flattered you think I have that kind of sway with Tamlin” but assures her there’s “no alternative to what the Treaty demands”. So we’ll probably still have another week or so of recaps about Feyre just wanting to escape before anything else happens in the plot anyway.
We learn that everyone’s masks were originally worn in honor of Tamlin’s shape-shifting magic. Thus concluding the mystery of the magic masks that has somehow been the most time-consuming mystery in the story thus far.
Their patrol ends with an encounter with a creature that terrifies even Lucien, though they can thankfully avoid it by simply not looking at it. Which is harder than it sounds, as whatever it is fills Feyre’s head with a creepy voice saying things like, “I will drink your marrow” and “I will feast on your flesh” and “I will fill my belly with you”, occasionally insisting “Look at me”. Lucien is reluctant to explain what it is at first, and reluctantly explains it’s a creature called “the Bogge”.
“Why can’t I look at it?”
“Because when you look at it – when you acknowledge it – that’s when it becomes real. That’s when it can kill you.”
That’s the entire explanation, so we can probably assume that this monster is totally going to be a metaphor for one of the book’s themes. There’s actually quite a few directions this could go in with the human-faerie class and racial tensions that have popped up so far, and also with how Feyre keeps pointing out “typical faerie arrogance”, so I’m intrigued to see where this could go. Metaphor monsters are pretty fun!
Lucien sassily quips about how Feyre is boring. Feyre quips back about how he’s a prick. Lucien grins.
When they return, Lucien tells Tamlin about the Bogge and he runs off to kill it. With Tamlin still gone hours later, Feyre decides to call it a night, but not before she suddenly spies out the window a figure creeping around in the hedges… her father!
And no, I still have to look up that it’s “Feyre” and “faerie” and not “Faeyre” and “faery” or something every single time.