Feyre’s family is living very comfortably thanks to Tamlin. However, Elain and Feyre have a heart to heart about how everyone is acting like they never lost they’re money and it’s super weird. She says that sometimes living in the big house now makes her miss living in their small cottage.
I understand and really like that there’s a loneliness that came with returning to the good life, but things sounded pretty dire before, and I think it’s pretty insensitive of Elain to tell this to Feyre when it was Feyre who worked her ass off to keep them alive.
They also discuss Nesta:
“Nesta didn’t finish the season. She wouldn’t tell me why. She began refusing every invitation. She hardly talks to anyone, and I feel wretched when my friends pay a visit, because she makes them so uncomfortable when she stares at them in that way of hers …” Elain sighed. “Maybe you could talk to her.”
Elain added, “She went to see you, you know.”
I blinked, my blood going a bit cold. “What?”
Elain then tells Feyre she seems different and jumps to the conclusion she’s fallen in love, which is correct, but how did she guess that? This prompts Feyre to worry some more about Tamlin.
Feyre returns to their old cottage so she can have the realization that Elain looked at the cottage with hope (what??) while Feyre looked at it with hatred and thinks that Elain was the stronger one (what??)
Feyre goes and hands out money to poor people in town. She runs into Isaac and his wife:
Nothing— there was nothing in my chest, my soul, for him beyond a vague sense of gratitude. A few more steps had us passing each other.
I smiled broadly at him, at them both, and bowed my head, wishing them well with my entire heart.
This was a minor plot point, but I actually think that’s why I loved it so much. In a different book, Isaac would have been a much bigger source of drama. It didn’t need closure, but I’m glad we got it anyway.
It’s also a moment where you know she is truly in love with Tamlin because she’s just able to be so happy for this person who, even though she was never in love with, she was a little jealous over at the start of the story when she thought about the woman he was going to marry.
Back at home, Nesta and Feyre finally have a conversation that makes Nesta seem like a real character and not a caricature.
“Your beast’s little trick didn’t work on me,” she said with quiet steel. “Apparently, an iron will is all it takes to keep a glamour from digging in. So I had to watch as Father and Elain went from sobbing hysterics into nothing…”
Nesta hired the mercenary who bought the pelt from Feyre to take her to the wall between Prythian and the human realm, but she couldn’t find a way through. Feyre is stunned and moved by this revelation that Nesta went to rescue her.
I looked at my sister, really looked at her, at this woman who couldn’t stomach the sycophants who now surrounded her, who had never spent a day in the forest but had gone into wolf territory … Who had shrouded the loss of our mother, then our downfall, in icy rage and bitterness, because the anger had been a lifeline, the cruelty a release. But she had cared— beneath it, she had cared, and perhaps loved more fiercely than I could comprehend, more deeply and loyally.
Feyre tells Nesta everything that happened to her.
I love that we’re seeing these characters in a new light. What I’m slowly realizing, though, is that this is Maas’ thing. Making you think one thing about a character and then completely changing your perception of them, and that works to a point. Unless Feyre is the most ridiculously unreliable narrator in the history of the world (maybe starvation was driving her to madness?), her family was absolutely terrible at the start of this book. Like relentlessly awful. What would have been the harm in giving at least a hint of their true complexity at the start and then expanding on it here? Something that maybe Feyre missed but that we the reader could have clocked. If any of you who read it spotted something I missed, please let me know.
This is a narrative trick I do appreciate, but (spoiler-ish) this happens with the majority of main characters! On the one hand, yay for consistency that Feyre is usually horrible at judging people…? On the other hand, is this just a cheap way to surprise the reader repeatedly?
Nesta expresses resentment towards their father for never providing for them when they were poor, and Feyre points out that Nesta spent all the money Feyre brought home instantly.
“I knew you could always get more. And if you couldn’t, then I wanted to see if he would ever try to do it himself, instead of carving those bits of wood. If he would actually go out and fight for us. I couldn’t take care of us, not the way you did. I hated you for that. But I hated him more. I still do.”
No. This doesn’t make sense. Why couldn’t she have even tried to take care of them the way Feyre did? I mean, she wouldn’t even chop some fucking wood to help out or help them save money. Why did she think spending all the money in the hopes that maybe their dad would…try to do an unspecified something to get them more money was the solution.
But Feyre doesn’t reflect on any of this because Nesta starts talking about how their father let their mother die when he could have sent his ships around the world to find her a cure or sent people to Prythian to beg for help (both of these sound like pretty aimless plans, but I guess the point is that he didn’t even try).
Anyway, it’s all to push Feyre towards a romantic realisation of her own:
“He let her die. You would have gone to the ends of the earth to save your High Lord.” My chest hollowed out again, but I merely said,
“Yes, I would have,” and slipped inside my room to get ready.
I know I complained a lot, but I actually do have a soft spot for Nesta despite not being 100% on board with the explanations for why she seemed so terrible at the start. She’s got the potential to be a really interesting character, and I’m looking forward to her returning in future books.
Feyre’s family throws her a party that is super pointless because nothing noteworthy happens, and the whole time Feyre is worrying about Tamlin:
I’d known something was wrong. I’d known he was in trouble— not just with the blight on Prythian, but also that the forces gathering to destroy him were deadly, and yet … and yet I’d stopped looking for answers, stopped fighting it, glad— so selfishly glad— to be able to set down that savage, wild part of me that had only survived hour to hour.
The next day, we find out something pretty terrible. When Rhysand asked Feyre her name, she lied and told him it was Clare Beddor. Well, it turns out that Clare’s house was burned down and her whole family died, but Clare’s body wasn’t found.
I was going to make a joke about how it’s obviously a coincidence, but then Feyre says this:
No— no, it couldn’t be possible. It had to be a coincidence— had to be a coincidence, because the alternative …
I had given that name to Rhysand.
And he had not forgotten it.
I sure hope Rhysand is a potential love interest! He has a great memory, which I like in a man.
I pushed back against the guilt, the disgust and terror. I had to get answers— had to know if it had been a coincidence, or if I might yet be able to save Clare.
The only thing less coincidental is this is that when I started eating a Twirl bar every day I started to gain weight.
Before she leaves, Feyre warns her family, but mostly Nesta, about how dangerous Prythian is becoming. Nesta puts two and two together:
“The Beddors,” she said. “That was meant to be us. But you gave them a fake name— those wicked faeries who threatened your High Lord.” I nodded.
Well, I guess when you say it like that it probably isn’t a coincidence.
Feyre shares a heartfelt goodbye with her sisters, and then she returns to the Spring Court where some bad shit clearly went down and Tamlin is nowhere to be found.
No bodies, I kept repeating to myself. There were no bodies, and not much gore. They had to be alive. Tamlin had to be alive.
Feyre wanders around the house acting like this is an episode of CSI: Prythian, which as I’m saying it is definitely an amazing premise and a show I would watch. Sarah J. Maas, hear my plea. Lucien would be a really good leading man for that show.
Alis is still around the manor somehow. This is good because she is able to move the plot forward and give Feyre an ungodly amount of information. He was taken to Amarantha’s “court Under the Mountain”, and I am resentful that I need to capitalise this every time.
Alis shuddered. “You want the truth, girl? Then here it is: she took him for the curse— because the seven times seven years were over, and he hadn’t shattered her curse. She’s summoned all the High Lords to her court this time— to make them watch her break him.”
“Amarantha is High Queen of this land. The High Queen of Prythian,” Alis breathed, her eyes wide with some memory of horror.
“But the seven High Lords rule Prythian— equally. There’s no High Queen.”
“That’s how it used to be— how it’s always been. Until a hundred years ago, when she appeared in these lands as an emissary from Hybern.”
She charmed all the different courts and convinced them she was trying to atone for her sins during the war. Amarantha was the king’s most horrible general, and her sister fell in love with a human who was only using her to get information about Amarantha’s army. Amarantha had suspected this, but her sister was in love, damn it.
I didn’t mind this info dump when I first read the story because I was so happy to finally be getting some answers, but reading it now it’s hard to recap and everyone in the story sounds incredibly stupid. How were all the courts tricked and then under her command? What kinds of secrets about her troops did her sister have access too? Amarantha had suspected this human guy of being a snake, so why didn’t she feed her sister bad information?
Amarantha loved her sister too much to kill her human lover, but then he got what he needed from the sister and killed her. Anyway, this is why Amarantha despises humans even more than she already despised them when she was torturing and killing them during the war already.
The High Lords never knew that those same ships that brought over Hybernian goods also brought over her own personal forces. The King of Hybern didn’t know, either. But we all soon learned that, in those fifty years she was here, she had decided she wanted Prythian for her own, to begin amassing power and use our lands as a launching point to one day destroy your world once and for all, with or without her king’s blessing.
She got everyone to trust her, and then at a party “she slipped a potion stolen from the King of Hybern’s unholy spell book into their wine. Once they drank, the High Lords were prone, their magic laid bare— and she stole their powers from where they originated inside their bodies.” The lords weren’t strong enough to fight against her and her army which was apparently bigger than 7 courts?? So they have been enslaved for 49 years, and she wants to take back the human realm too.
Feyre is like, “But what about the blight?” and Alis is like, “DUDE, AMARANTHA IS THE BLIGHT!”
Alis emerged from the pantry, her arms full of various root vegetables. “You could have been the one to stop her.”
Omg, Alis, now is not the time for fucking root vegetables! This is serious! Put the carrot down!
Alis continues to empty the pantry while she info dumps how Tamlin and Amarantha knew each other because Tamlin’s father had worked with the evil king and Amarantha when he was a kid. Later, she realized she wanted to bang him, but Tamlin was not into it because of how horrible she’d been during the war.
I get that they are immortal beings, but I find it very creepy we’re being told he knew her as a kid, and then a line later that she, “grew to desire [him].” Yuck.
After she stole Tamlin’s powers, Lucien went to speak to her and was not very nice:
She took his eye as punishment. Carved it out with her own fingernail, then scarred his face. She sent him back so bloody that Tamlin … The High Lord vomited when he saw his friend.”
So then she threw the masquerade party…to make amends…and acted like she was being nice so Lucien could hide the scar on his face…I guess people had to go because she had all the power, but this was like the most transparent plan in the history of transparent plans. We’re told that Tamlin agreed in order to make peace, but I would have bought it more if Alis said he was scared shitless at this point.
At the party, Amarantha publicly announces that if Tamlin becomes her consort she’ll make peace with everyone there. Tamlin says he would rather sleep with a human and then rubs salt in the wound by talking about her sister preferring human company to hers. These seem like two threads that did not need to be tied together. “I’d rather sleep with a human, and your sister would have rather slept with a human than hang out with you!”
Amarantha says she’s in a good mood (villains are always in good moods when they interact with main characters because otherwise they would kill them instantly) and she gives Tamlin “seven times seven” (that’s forty-nine!) years to find a human who will fall in love with him and agree to marry him. BUT it has to be a girl who hates faeries. BUT ALSO the girl has to kill one of his men.
The girl could only be brought here to be courted if she killed one of his men in an unprovoked attack— killed him for hatred alone, just as Jurian had done to Clythia … So he could understand her sister’s pain.
THE MOST SPECIFIC CURSE/PUNISHMENT IN THE WORLD.
The treaty was a lie all along, and Andras has been sent with the intent/hope he would be killed. I know this is endless explanation, but at least now it makes sense why everyone moved on from Feyre killing their friend very quickly.
Amarantha bound the mask to everyone’s faces since she thought it would make it harder for a human to fall in love with him. Also everyone was bound so they couldn’t say a word about the curse. To cover up the fact that it doesn’t make sense that Alis can tell her his now, Alis says that Amarantha must think “the game is over.”
Some courts tried to rebel, but it failed, and they’re all Under the Mountain too. Alis then gets upset because all Feyre had to do was tell Tamlin she loved him, and the curse would have been broken. This convoluted, crazy curse couldn’t have been broken even though Feyre felt the love? God damn.
Tamlin resisted at first because he felt like bringing a human there to free him was another form of slavery and that Amarantha would try to destroy this person if he fell in love with her too. But he got desperate and finally started sending his men across the wall. Also, he sent Feyre away three days before the time was up. I’ve always felt like this was proof he truly loved Feyre and was more worried about protecting her than trying to manipulate her into saying she loved him.
Feyre decides she’s gotta go Under the Mountain to save Tamlin and make things right.
I’m sure I’m leaving things out because there was just so so much to summarize and this is the longest post.