The plot actually moves forward in this one! Mostly in a “hint hint lots of things are happening just not right here I KNOW IT IS SO MYSTERIOUS” kinda way, but still!
To be fair, it’s not super noticeable since the focus of the book is mostly on the evolving relationship between Feyre and Tamlin, which has been evolving from “kinda thirsty” to “very thirsty”.
And now on to exceptionally thirsty…
Tamlin is called away to the border but won’t tell Feyre (or the reader) why, although it’s presumably not unrelated to the decapitated head they just found.
A small part of me marveled that Tamlin had bothered to let me know about his well-being. I knew-I knew I was headed down a path that would likely end in my mortal heart being left in pieces, and yet… And yet I couldn’t stop myself.
Feyre’s totally changed feelings have of course come with quite a passage of time, and she notes that it’s summer now and wonders if her family still really thinks she’s off visiting a sick aunt that doesn’t really exist. Also with summer comes another faerie holiday.
I also quietly hoped that this solstice didn’t require the same rites as Fire Night. I didn’t let myself think too much about what I would do if Tamlin had a flock of beautiful faeries lining up for him.
She learns that this solstice is more of a celebration of equality where “everyone can take down their hair and simply enjoy being a faerie” with “singing and dancing and excessive drinking”. Oh, also, Feyre’s hotter now. That too.
In the months I’d been there, my sharp bones and skeletal form had filled out. A woman’s body. I ran my hands over the sweeping, soft curves of my waist and hips. […]
“Cauldron boil me,” Lucien whistled as I came down the stairs. “She looks positively Fae.”
If ACOTAR were a person, it’d be that friend who is determined to get their friends to hook up this weekend.
Feyre ignores the attention she gets from the crowd of attending faeries as the only human. She drinks some fairy wine that Lucien advises her not to drink and immediately gets super wasted.
She discovers that Tamlin’s actually providing the music and remembers that he said the fiddle was one of his hobbies. Instead of being grumpy, he’s amused by her drunkenness and just lets her dance. Later, he takes her to see some will o’ wisps and they dance to their song.
“I’m thinking I might kiss you,” he said quietly, intently.
“Then do it.” I blushed at my own boldness.
They kiss. Kind of wish the book were a little more specific about how much she’d sobered up before this.
At breakfast the next morning, Lucien teases the two that “rumor has it you two didn’t come back until after dawn”. He hints that he had “some company” last night too. Don’t forget that we’re reading a book about nobles in a high court, not hungover students gossiping in a college cafeteria.
The book gets back to alluding that there’s an actual story happening somewhere out there. Lucien informs Tamlin that his spies learned that the blight has just resulted in the death of two dozen younglings at Winter Court, and that the only court that hasn’t been affected by the blight is Night Court. Wonder if that’s a coincidence.
Suddenly, they realize someone’s coming and they quickly use magic to hide Feyre before in walks… I guess an antagonist? I dunno. We’re over halfway through the book now, so I guess it’s time to start figuring out what the plot is.
And then he appeared.
No mask. He, like the Attor, belonged to something else. Someone else.
And worse… I’d met him before.
Well, we’ve only met like two other characters so far, so I guess the threatening person who saved her from the faeries on Fire Night is the bad guy now.
“What do you want, Rhysand?”
Rhysand smiled – heartbreaking in its beauty […] “Rhysand? Come now, Tamlin. I don’t see you for forty-nine years, and you start calling me Rhysand? Only my prisoners and my enemies call me that.” His grin widened as he finished
They have a very hostile discussion. Rhysand reveals he left the decapitated head. He mocks Tamlin for spending “half a century holed up in a country estate”. We also learn – very unsurprisingly – that Rhysand is the high lord from Night Court where the blight doesn’t seem to be wrecking havoc. Wonder if all these things are related.
Lucien interrupted, “What do you know about anything? You’re just Amaranthia’s whore.”
“Her whore I might be, but not without my reasons. […] At least I haven’t bided my time among the hedges and flowers while the world has gone to Hell.”
I love when villains show up and make legit criticisms about the plot.
As he’s about to head out, Rhysand notices the table is set for three people, realizes there’s magic afoot, and detects Feyre. Lucien tries to cover the truth and claim that she’s his betrothed, but he doesn’t really buy it.
“If you were wise, you would be screaming and running from this place. It’s a wonder that you’re still here, actually.” My confusion must have been written across my face, for Rhysand laughed loudly. “Oh, she doesn’t know, does she?”
Dude, this could be about literally anything. We still don’t know very much about what’s happening.
Rhysand suddenly uses magic to seize control of Feyre’s body and invade her mind, laughing as he tells everyone the “delicious thoughts” she has about Tamlin. He eventually relents after making Tamlin bow to him, mentions that “Amarantha will enjoy breaking her”, then leaves.
After what was genuinely the most terrifying event in the novel so far, Tamlin tells Feyre that he’s sending her home. Which apparently he can do.
“What about the terms of the Treaty—”
“I have taken on your life-debt. Should someone come inquiring after the broken laws, I’ll take responsibility for Andras’s death.”
“But you once said that there was no other loophole. The Suriel said there was no—”
A snarl. “If they have a problem with it, they can tell me.”
They have a tense conversation about it and slowly start letting their feelings come out. Feyre no longer feels like the human world is her home. She tries to bargain for it to be “not forever”. She gets less subtle.
He leaned forward and kissed me lightly. “Not forever,” he said onto my mouth.
And though I knew it was a lie, I put my arms around his neck and kissed him.
He pulled me onto his lap, holding me tightly against him as his lips parted mine. […] Though the horror of Rhysand’s magic still tore at me, I pushed Tamlin onto the bed, straddling him, pinning him as if it would somehow keep me from leaving, as if it would make time stop entirely.
HEY GUYS, GUESS WHAT HAPPENS THIS CHAPTER!
With one long claw, he shredded through silk and lace, and my undergarment fell away in pieces.
Jesus, even in the fantasy novels we read, all the ladies’ underwear gets shredded to pieces.
“I-” he said thickly, resting his brow between my breasts as he shuddered. “If we keep going, I won’t be able to stop at all.” […]
I felt the storm contained beneath his skin […]
“Give me everything,” I breathed.
He lunged, a beast freed of its tether.
His claws were out, but devastatingly gentle on my hips […] I was moaning his name when he sheathed himself inside me in a powerful, slow thrust that had me splintering around him.
The next morning they wake up, saddened that Feyre really has to leave with no idea when she’ll ever be back.
“I love you,” he whispered, and kissed my brow. “Thorns and all.”
Feyre is given clothes in a wealthy human fashion that make Lucien quip that “those clothes are enough to convince me I never want to enter the human realm”. She has a heartfelt goodbye with Alis, who simply tells her “make the most of your freedom”. By this point, Feyre realizes that if whoever Amarantha is is such a threat that Tamlin feels the need to send her away, she probably needs to go.
She leaves her paintings with Tamlin, he assures her he’ll see her again and tells her he loves her before sending her off.
I should say it— I should say those words, but they got stuck in my throat, because … because of what he had to face, because he might not find me again despite his promise, because … because beneath it all, he was an immortal, and I would grow old and die.
I was wondering if this would ever be brought up, but I guess it makes sense that it wouldn’t have crossed her mind when she was just flirting with him. Boy, it’s almost like things make so much more sense when a book allows time for characters to fall in love, instead of… whatever the fuck happened in Calendar Girl earlier this week.
Once again, Feyre magically falls asleep during her entire journey through the immortal realm, but the big surprise is that where she arrives in the mortal realm is a house “nearly as large as Tamlin’s manor” full of human servants. It doesn’t take her long to figure out what’s going on.
That cracking, caved-in feeling in my chest worsened. Tamlin said he’d taken care of my family, but this…
Feyre is reunited with her sisters, who totally forgot about the faerie and instead ask if her return means that Aunt Ripleigh (who never existed) is dead. They explain what’s new with them.
“Oh, you’ll never believe it! Almost a week after you went to care for Aunt Ripleigh, some stranger appeared at our door and asked Father to invest his money for him! […] Within a month, he’d doubled the man’s investment, and then money started pouring in.”
Things we can infer exist in this world include 1) a night court where the villains live, and 2) a medieval S&P 500.
“And you know what? All those ships we lost were found in Bharat, complete with Father’s profits!”
This is definitely not important, but I’m really curious if Tamlin magically recovered her father’s long-lost trade ships or if he just magically created them out of thin air. How far does this magic go? Did he have to magically un-inflate the economy?
As pleased as Feyre is that at least her family isn’t on the brink of starvation anymore, she can’t help but worry.
But I couldn’t fight the sensation, like a darkening shadow within me, that I’d made a very, very big mistake in leaving, no matter Tamlin’s orders. Stay with the High Lord, the Suriel had said. Its only command.
And that’s it for this week! And before you ask, those gifs come from Monster Factory.