A Court of Thorns and Roses Chapters 45-46: Feyre’s Not Really Dead

It’s the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the “good” book. Next week we start reading A Court of Mist and Fury, the “bad” sequel. That was how we originally pitched this series in the first place, based on Ariel’s reading (reminder, I went in totally blind), so how’s everyone feeling at the midpoint? How did people like ACOTAR?

Here’s something a little crazy: my younger sister texted me last week that she just noticed we were reading this series and was furious with me because… we have it backwards? I KNOW. PLOT TWIST. My sister claimed that “everyone knows” that the first one is the bad one and the second one is the good one. She took one look at our Bad Sequels, Good Times concept and was all:

BUT I shared this with Ariel and she was UNSWAYED.

Although no one actually gave a shit about any of this except me. And maybe you? Idk, how dramatic does my life sound to you guys?

NOW I SUPER DON’T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ACOMAF. Except that “ACOMAF” is a way funnier acronym. Say it out loud! ACOMAF. It sounds like you’re saying “Aquaman” with a mouthful of food. ACOMAF.

Anyway, we resume our story with Feyre having been killed to death.

Chapter 45

Feyre is seeing her body through someone else’s eyes and eventually realizes it’s Rhysand’s. This isn’t that suspenseful so I’m gonna go ahead and spoil it now, but know that the first two pages of this book are all “I LOOKED THROUGH EYES THAT WEREN’T MINE”. Sorry to spare you from all the excitement. But, like, it’s not the good part:

There my body was, prostrate on the ground, my head snapped to one side at a horribly wrong angle. […] Tears shown in Lucien’s remaining eye as he raised his hands and removed the fox mask.

AW. MOTHER. FUCKIN. YEAH.

This was the closest I could get to putting that soundtrack in your head via gifs

Tamlin’s still-masked face twisted into something truly lupine as he raised his eyes to the queen and snarled. Fangs lengthened.
Amarantha backed away – away from my corpse. She only whispered “Please” before golden light exploded [and threw her] against the far wall. […] She had no sooner hit the wall than he gripped her by the neck, and the stones cracked as he shoved her against it with a clawed paw.

Some of Amarantha’s allies rush to her defense, but other High Fae rush to fight them. It’s an implied free for all that’s over in about two paragraphs when:

“Tam!” Lucien crowed over the chaos.
A sword hurtled through the air, a shooting star of steel.
Tamling caught it in a massive paw. Amarantha’s scream was cut short as he drove the sword through her head and into the stone beneath.
And then closed his powerful jaws around her throat – and ripped it out.

After Amarantha’s death, silence falls and Tamlin despondently returns to Feyre’s body, falling to her side. Feyre anguishes, unable to do anything from her position somehow watching this through Rhysand’s eyes. But one by one, the other High Lords approach Tamlin holding Feyre’s body, bestowing “drops of light” upon her. Rhysand is the last to approach, explaining “For what she gave, we’ll bestow what our predecessors have granted to few before.”

Chapter 46

Feyre regains consciousness, but instead of feeling relief, is overwhelmed with guilt over the innocent faeries she just murdered during Amarantha’s last trial. Then she stops to try to understand how she’s alive and, surprisingly probably no one, she is now an immortal High Fae.

A High Fae – immortal. What had they done? […]
“It was the only way we could save you,” Tamlin said softly. […]
Amarantha was dead. They were free. I was free. Tamlin was-
Amarantha was dead. And I had killed those two High Fae; I had-
I shook my head slowly. “Are you-” […]
“See for yourself,” he said. I kept my eyes to the ground as I turned. There, on the red marble, lay a golden mask, staring at me with its hollow eyeholes.
“Feyre,” Tamlin said, and he cupped my chin between his fingers, gently lifting my face. I saw that familiar chin first, then the mouth, and then-
He was exactly how I dreamed he would be.

I really like how they did this reveal, you guys. A lesser book (like… idk, pick anything else we’ve read on this blog) would have started gushing about his dreamy eyes the color of a brillian cloudless sky perched majestically above a chinline chiseled from marble by the hands of a god or some bullshit. I love how quiet and left to the imagination this reveal is.

Also Tamlin’s heart isn’t made of stone anymore or whatever, because that was a thing too apparently.

Me during Ariel’s recap yesterday

Feyre summarizes the aftermath of Amarantha’s death and the faeries’ freedom. The more evil faeries immediately GTFO, Lucien’s brothers disappear, Rhysand disappears too. Somehow Jurian’s eyeball/ring disappears. Other faeries immediately rush Tamlin and Feyre to thank them for their freedom, while Feyre finds herself at a loss for words given the innocent lives she took in order to do that. She also tells Tamlin she just doesn’t want to talk about it.

“How can I ever repay you for what you did?”
“You don’t need to,” I said. Let that be that […] those two dead faeries – even if their faces would never fade for me. […]
“Feyre-”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I mumbled.

They also consider her contract to spend a week a month with Rhysand, and Tamlin insists they’ll find a way out of it. They spend another night in Amarantha’s court to prepare for their journey home in the morning. At one point, Feyre is unable to sleep and takes a talk outside, where she sees the sky for the first time in months. Also Rhysand is there. They talk about their complicated relationship, which includes Rhysand doing a buuuuunch of shitty, abusive things to her as part of a long con to free everyone from Amarantha’s rule, which only sorta worked and ended with her nearly killing him as he stood up to her.

“Why?” I asked.
He knew what I meant, and shrugged. “Because when the legends get written, I didn’t want to be remembered for standing on the sidelines. I want my future offspring to know that I was there, and that I fought against her at the end, even if I couldn’t do anything useful. […] Because,” he went on, his eyes locked with mine, “I didn’t want you to fight alone. Or die alone.”

Guys, last Friday my phone was blowing up all day with people commenting on how much everyone hates Rhysand, so boy oh boy, am I nervous about this love triangle that’s obviously going to happen in the next book.

“How does it feel to be a High Fae?” he asked – a quiet, curious question. […]
“This body is different, but this” – I put my hand on my chest, my heart – “this is still human. Maybe it always will be. But it would have been easier to live with it…” My throat welled. “Easier to live with what I did if my heart had changed, too.” […]
Rhysand stared at me for long enough that I faced him. “Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

Rhysand then looks like he’s going to take off, but suddenly gets an expression of pure shock on his face before he stubmles and disappears into shadow. I, uh, guess we’ll see if that’s a thing or not in the next book.

The book ends with Feyre leaving with Tamlin, actually with each other now. And with a heaping ton of PTSD. Cue a bajillion YA critics pointing out that, hey, Hunger Games did that!

Tomorrow – there would be tomorrow, and an eternity, to face what I had done, to face what I shredded into pieces inside myself while Under the Mountain. But for now… for today…
“Let’s go home,” I said, and took his hand.

Please let the next book not start with ten chapters of infodump about the new big bad.

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16 comments

  1. Rebecca Reply

    Yesterday’s recap I picked out a thing I had never realized before–the heart of stone thing, that doesn’t actually make any sense unless everyone knew Feyre would save them and they super didn’t–and I’m really looking forward to getting into the second one. Because there’s a lot more stuff that does not make sense. Plot points that are done sort of sloppily, emotions beat over your head to the point of exhaustion, and all of the vomiting, PTSD induced and not. I know a lot of people think the book is amazing, and I’m still planning on reading the third one when it comes out in May. I liked where it ended, I became pretty okay with the love story, and I think barring a few obvious flaws, it was alright. But there is SO MUCH to discuss. The switching of love interests, whatever the fuck happens to Tamlin, the whole end sequence makes no sense again, and Maas’ never ending need to be like “ahhh I got you did you think they were terrible ahhh.” I couldn’t say whether I think it’s a good or bad sequel, but I do know that basically everything you learn in the first one is thrown out the window, and I kind of think that’s an odd thing to do for a series. As well, I think Feyre becomes absolutely insufferable, PTSD or not, and I need to talk about it. Ariel is right! Let’s do the thing!

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  2. Krista B Reply

    I think Rebecca is in my head. WTF was the end sequence in the second book? It makes less sense than the first book. I was just so confused logistically about what was even happening. I can’t wait. Also, there were two or three times where I was just unreasonably angry at the way Feyre was acting, so I’m interested to see whether they were the same things that drove others crazy. I can’t decide which book was better or worse than the other. I do agree that Maas basically threw out the first book when writing the second. I also agree that I will definitely read the third book.

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    • Rebecca Reply

      I like to think the king dude was just watching the whole thing thinking “These are the Fae I’m fighting? Fucking seriously??”

      I think we will continue to be in each other’s heads in the second one, because I bet we found Feyre insufferable at the same points…

      One thing that I’m really excited to talk about that I had completely forgotten is the thing with The Weaver. When we find out why that happened, I was SO PISSED. It’s super manipulative and shitty.

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      • Krista B Reply

        OMG – I was just thinking about the weaver part. Ugh.

        Also, I was so furious with Feyre with how she reacted about finding out about being mates. That’s the part I’m not sure whether others agree with.

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        • Rebecca Reply

          Oh you mean when she was like “I super love him but I’m still going to run away for a bit because I have all these FEELINGS,” and the feelings don’t make any sense? She’s in love with him, but she’s mad at him for hiding it from her for one of the few motivations in that book that made actual sense to me–he didn’t want to influence her decision, and her agency was very important to him.

          Yeah. I wanted her to pull her head out of her ass at that part.

          I think we might be best friends.

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            • Rebecca Reply

              I HATE tortured, indecisive, whiny book 2 Feyre. So much. The only reason I tolerated it is that she loops around at the end and gets pretty badass when she finally decides to make a decision for herself. The very, very end of the book had me pretty stoked for the next one, and I hope it lives up to my expectations.

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              • Krista B Reply

                Agree! And so much angst about whether or not Rhys is into her. There was a lot going on in her head in the second book.

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  3. Krista B Reply

    Also, I don’t think I’m that sensitive to infodumping, but I thought the second book had so much infodumping that took forever.

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  4. Dana Reply

    To be honest (and I don’t know how to explain my feelings here in a way that makes sense), I sort of hate Feyre’s PTSD over the fairies she killed. Not the fact that it exists, because obviously that is a very real consequence of being forced to do something like that, but the way it’s executed. SJM does similar stuff in her Throne of Glass series, where again, to me all the misery she lays on her main characters feels less like a truly thoughtful and gut wrenching portrayal of trauma and more, I don’t know, written just for the sake of being dark and miserable. As if that’s the only way her series can be perceived as mature and serious. I’m not exactly saying the author includes this stuff just to be “edgy,” but in both series, the main characters’ reaction to their trauma always come off as very … hollow and undeserved to me.

    Maybe it’s because I don’t connect with the characters or world enough; maybe it’s because the innocent people Feyre is so upset about were less people than plot devices (particularly because of how Othered and animalized the Fae often are); maybe it’s because SJM does not properly utilize a lot of known literary techniques that would make the experience far more harrowing and visceral for the READER (not just Feyre); or maybe it’s because I just feel like all mentions of the trauma seem very clunky. I very much can sense SJM’s hand in the writing whenever Feyre talks about her misery over the Fae she killed. I just don’t believe it. Feyre’s lines feel so manufactured; it jumps out to me that the author is clearly not writing from a place of personal emotion or experience (which may be an unfair criticism, considering we’re talking about forced killing here, but I don’t care). Just whenever Feyre says “their faces will never fade” or “I have to face what I have done,” my brain immediately goes “Oh BULLSHIT.”

    I’m sorry if this didn’t make any sense. I don’t even fully understand my feelings on this matter!

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      …hot take: I kinda thought this whole book was hollow and fluffy? But it does seem too soon to me to weigh in on whether the PTSD is more real or gimmicky since the book ended with it. We’ll have to see where it goes in book 2, but boy oh boy all our commenters are not instilling me with confidence.

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  5. Cara Reply

    I have some thoughts about the fairy-killing, but I’m not sure if they’re fully formed because I didn’t read the book. It just seems like it was totally unnecessary. Like since killing them didn’t fix everything and she solved the riddle shortly thereafter, the plot would have been largely unchanged if she hadn’t killed them. If anything, her refusing or being unable to kill them would show how her attitude toward fairies has changed from the beginning of the book. Or like, if it was really necessary to do the stone heart thing (debatable) then why not just present “killing” tamlin as the trial? Like, why did Feyre have to kill these two random fairies? What does the book gain from it, aside from grimdark points? I could be missing something that doesn’t come across in the recaps, but it really seems like the protagonist’s sacrifice of two innocent people is of very little consequence to the plot as a whole.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Hmmm, this is a really good point. I’m swayed.

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    • Rebecca Reply

      What you’re seeing here is SJM’s boner for hard choices, and little else. I think your trajectory would be much more powerful. I wonder that none of SJM’s beta readers brought up any changes like that.

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    • Krista B Reply

      Oh, I really like the point that it just could have been Talking. That could have worked.

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