A Court of Mist and Fury Chapters 14 and 15: Welcome to Rhysand’s Vineyard

Guess what! We’re now at Part Two of the book! Apparently so much story has happened that we filled up a whole Part One. Apparently.

A Court of Mist and Fury: Chapter 14

Rhysand and Feyre arrive at Rhysand’s secret home in a secret city, the mere existence of which has Feyre understandably worried.

A city – a world lay out there. […] And the thought of setting foot out into it, into the leering crowds, seeing the destruction Amarantha had likely wreaked upon them… A heavy weight pressed into my chest.

She also casually mentions that there are no human cities in the mortal territory, but there are a few on the continent, because we’re on part two of book two of this story and so little worldbuilding has been done naturally that we still don’t know information like “where do they live”.

Rhysand says that it’s his private residence for “only me and my family”, which is ACOMAF for “as soon as you turn the page, you’ll be introduced to two brand new characters who aren’t those things”. There’s a really weird scene that I think is supposed to be funny where said two new characters are banging on Rhysand’s front door while he’s telling Feyre about who they are, the rules of winnowing into his house, and how the city hasn’t been breached in five thousand years. That’s how bad the infodumping is in ACOTAR, you guys. Rhysand’s guests are banging on his door and he won’t let them in because he needs to explain 5000 years of history first.

“Valaris’s walls are well protected and have not been breached in five thousand years. […] Those two in the antechamber,” he added, eyes sparkling, “might not be on that list of people you should bother knowing, if they keep banging on the door like children.”
Another pound, emphasized by the first male voice saying, “You know we can hear you, prick.”
Secondly,” Rhys went on

Rhysand says Feyre can rest or meet his friends now, and Feyre decides to take a nap, because I think even the main character of this story is fucking sick of meeting more assholes who don’t seem to have any role in the story aside from “witty” banter.

All I heard was that first male voice declare, “Welcome home, bastard” […]
That strange female voice cut him off. “Send your dogs out in the yard to play, Rhysand. You and I have matters to discuss.”
That midnight voice said with quiet cold that licked down my spine, “As do I.”
Then the cocky one drawled to her, “We were here first. Wait your turn, Tiny Ancient One.”

I have no idea how many fucking people are here, by the way. Apparently no one editing this book pointed out that male, female, midnight, and cocky aren’t mutually exclusive. The only other thing of note in this overheard scene is that they complain about wanting food. I honestly don’t know if we’re supposed to find them endearing or not.

The two servants that Rhysand has tending to Feyre (Cerridwen and Nuala, in case anyone wants to pretend they’re gonna remember all these names) explain more about where they even are, now that Feyre’s connecting some dots…

The walls of this city have not been breached for five thousand years.
Meaning Amarantha …
“How is this city here?” I met Nuala’s gaze in the mirror. “How— how did it survive?” […]
“The High Lord is very powerful,” Cerridwen said— carefully. “And was devoted to his people long before his father’s mantle passed to him.”
“How did it survive?” I pushed. […]
The twins exchanged looks again […] “It is not for us to tell.”
“He asked you not to-”
“No,” Cerridwen interrupted […] “The High Lord made no such demand. But what he did to shield this city is his story to tell, not ours.

So let’s talk about that…

Chapter 15

But first we learn that Feyre is finally no longer tired all the time. Only took fifteen chapters.

I’d think about what happened at the Spring Court later. Tomorrow. Never.

I mean, I truly sympathize with Feyre’s shitty treatment from Tamlin, especially after the hell she already went through saving the world in the first book. But this book is so slow and meandering that you could replace “Spring Court” with literally anything and that sentence would work.

Feyre and Rhysand finally step out into the city, with prose so purple this could be a whole paragraph of eggplant emojis.

Each step toward that bright threshold was both an eternity and an invitation.

Some of it doesn’t even make sense.

Buttery sunlight

DOES “NIGHT COURT” SERIOUSLY MEAN NOTHING?

BUT HOW?

Anyway, let’s see this hidden city that was unscathed by the war.

The sea.
The city had been built like a crust atop the rolling, steep hills that flanked the river, the buildings crafted from white marble or warm sandstone.

…ok, how did the war miss a city right at the fucking coast? Those are presumably the easiest to find?

Yes, I am basing this entirely on how that’s how it works in the video game Civilization, but PRESUMABLY????

Thankfully, Feyre immediately notices that the existence of this city has some huge issues.

“How?”
He understood what I meant. “Luck.”
“Luck? Yes, how lucky for you,” I said quietly, but not weakly, “that the rest of Prythian was ravaged while your people, your city, remained safe. […] Did you even think […] to extend that luck to anywhere else? Anyone else?”
“Other cities,” he said calmly, “are known to the world. Velaris has remained secret beyond the borders of these lands for millennia. Amarantha did not touch it, because she did not know it existed.”

But it’s on the fucking coast how is that hidden I don’t understand how this is supposed to-

“And when Amarantha came,” I said, nearly spitting her name, “you didn’t think to open this place as a refuge?”
“When Amarantha came,” he said, his temper slipping the leash a bit as his eyes flashed, “I had to make some very hard choices, very quickly. […] Now’s not the time for that conversation.”
Fine. I’d heard that sort of thing a thousand times before at the Spring Court, anyway.

Even the main character is complaining about how nothing in this book ever gets explained.

But seriously, Feyre makes a very good point. It’s sort of a huge issue (both morally and boyfriend-materially) that Rhysand has this secret city untouched by the war where the privileged reside without a care in the world. I’m glad that this story is recognizing the complexity of that, and pressing it.

“So what is there that was worth saving at the cost of everyone else?”
When I faced him, his blue eyes were as ruthless as the churning winter sea in the distance. “Everything,” he said.
Rhysand wasn’t exaggerating.

I’m less glad to learn the answer is apparently “shopping”.

There was everything to see in Velaris […] shops with delicate tables and chairs scattered outside their cheery fronts […] There were four main market squares […] The first market we entered, the Palace of Thread and Jewels, sold clothes, shoes, supplies for making both, and jewelry

Yeah, it took basically no time at all for ACOFAM to go from “Velaris is a secret city where Rhysand preserved the last bastion of society is actually complicated and problematic” to “Velaris is Martha’s Vineyard LOOK HOW PRETTY”.

To be fair, it does let it get complicated again later on, when Rhysand takes Feyre to the art district and Feyre’s feelings about this place reach a new boiling point.

if the residents of this place, this court, had the freedom, the safety of enjoying the sights whenever they wished. And had never known otherwise. I wanted to scream at them, wanted to pick up a loose piece of cobblestone and shatter the nearest window

goddamn, I miss this comic

But, again, it understands that this is messy and complicated.

“My people are blameless.”
That easily, my rage vanished

Sigh. Yeah. I have feelings about this. It’s a complicated thing that leaves both me and Feyre with a gross feeling. That was a success, but I’m not sure what the point of this is supposed to be yet, because this story is so obviously setting up Rhysand to be a heart-of-gold love interest that this reveal is just entirely too messy for. So if Velaris doesn’t fit into Rhysand’s story, then it’s pretty obvious that it’s just here to inevitably get destroyed later when the plot finally bothers to happen. Hopefully we care about it even a little bit by the time it does, but I’m betting all these people will probably just end up dying as a way to make us feel sympathetic for Rhysand and see that he really does care (AKA not the same thing).

Anyway, all that being said, this is ACOTAR, so time for more infodumping:

  • Rhysand wants Feyre to come to dinner with his inner circle so she can decide if she wants to work with them
  • Their names are Cassian, Azriel, and Amren. We only learn that Amren is very old and Rhysand is pretty sure she’ll clash with Feyre. Then they stop talking about this, because that’s a good way to introduce new characters.
  • Rhysand realizes that Feyre has absorbed some of his powers to walk into other peoples’ minds. He realizes that this is a good time to remind her that she really needs to practice her mental shields now that she knows about Velaris, in case she encounters anyone else with this gift, which really seems like something he should have taken into consideration before this point.
  • Rhysand assures Feyre that working with his friends or not is entirely her choice, and if she doesn’t want to do it, they’ll “find some other way for you to live here, be fulfilled, regardless of what I need”.
  • Feyre admits feeling like she was “a fool in love to allow myself to be shown so little of the Spring Court” (agreed) and that Tamlin probably intended to have her “living in ignorance forever like some pet” because she would have “fallen in love with the first thing that showed me a hint of kindness and safety” and that “maybe he knew that – maybe not actively, but maybe he wanted to be that person for someone” (agreed, not because Book One Tamlin had the malice that Book Two Tamlin does, but boy was he basic)

The chapter ends with them about to join dinner, where hopefully some story in this book will finally start to happen but probably not.


Just a bit of housekeeping. On Monday we won’t be starting the next Calendar Girl. We’re taking a short, two-week break from that series while we spend some time with a new, surprising palette cleanser. Also your cryptic hint is “palette cleanser”. You’re gonna fucking hate me when you find out what I meant by that.

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3 comments

  1. Krista B Reply

    The chapter meeting the inner circle was so much infodumping and was so annoying to me. I can’t wait!

    I like some of this analysis about Velaris. To me it was just a boring description of a city, which I didn’t find more compelling than any other city. I think my irritation with it gets even stronger once we go Under Rhysand’s Mountain. If you’re pretending to be a bad person, you might just actually be a bad person. That’s how I felt about Rhysand with his subjects underground. It was creepy to me how he has a privileged class and an under class, but somehow this is supposed to be a selling point. He does bad things for good reasons, but even the good reasons don’t make sense half the time.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Yeah, I got to the point where he described how he left his Bad Guy subjects to just have some territory of their own to rule themselves as they see fit, and it just feels like lazy fantasy tropes that border on racism and classism but are totes ok here because FaNtAsYyYyY. It’s pretty half-assed.

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  2. Cara Reply

    I already hate you for the incoming pun. I don’t know what exactly it is yet, but how dare you.

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