A Court of Mist and Fury Chapter 16:
Damn this chapter was long and both full of ALL THE INFORMATION and full of dodging the answers to very interesting questions. I actually enjoyed the second half of this chapter quite a bit, there’s some good world-building and hint of dangers to come.
First we meet Azriel and Cassian, who Feyre is sure to tell us are sexy:
if Rhysand’s mother had also been Illyrian, then its people were blessed with unnatural good looks.
Feyre describes Azriel as being classically beautiful while Cassian is, well, Feyre explains it better than I can:
There was something rough-hewn about his features— like he’d been made of wind and earth and flame and all these civilized trappings were little more than an inconvenience.
I have no idea what any of this means, but it’s apparently very sexy. That much I can tell you.
I know you’re dying to know a bit more about the mysterious Azriel:
Beautiful, but near-unreadable. He’d be the one to look out for— the knife in the dark. Indeed, an obsidian-hilted hunting knife was sheathed at his thigh, its dark scabbard embossed with a line of silver runes I’d never seen before.
Rhys said, “This is Azriel— my spymaster.” Not surprising.
I can’t imagine two words you’d want to hear less than “not surprising” after revealing someone is a spymaster. Maybe it’s part of some super spymaster, reverse-psychology strategy that Azriel looks as much like a spymaster as humanly possible.
Mor shows up, and Feyre immediately notices that Azriel has a crush on her. Damn, Feyre is the Azriel whisperer.
The final member of the inner circle, Amren, shows up:
Her silver eyes were unlike anything I’d ever seen; a glimpse into the creature that I knew in my bones wasn’t High Fae. Or hadn’t been born that way.
Amren said, “So there are two of us now.”
My brows nudged toward each other.
Amren’s lips were a slash of red. “We who were born something else— and found ourselves trapped in new, strange bodies.”
Shit that sounds interesting! Tell me more!!
I decided I really didn’t want to know what she’d been before.
WHAAAAT??? Feyre, why are you so hell-bent on avoiding anything interesting?
Amren reveals that she doesn’t eat “this sort of food”, and again Feyre is like NOPE DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT. But I fucking do! What if Amren only eats Lean Cuisine because she is so powerful she opened a portal into our world and fucking loves that shit? What if she only eats cold SpaghettiOs from the can also because of the portal to our world of course? I need to know!
There’s some good and bad infodumping. We learn that Cassian and Azariel wear gauntlets with jewels called “Siphons” that help them channel their powers. We also learn that Illyrian’s aren’t High Fae but they’re also not lesser Fae, and their society is pretty barbaric. They usually serve as “cavalry for the Night Court.”
Feyre confirms that none of the inner circle were Under the Mountain (what else is new?) and that Rhys made sure Amarantha didn’t find out they existed either. Mor assures Feyre that everyone was aware of what went on “or of the cost”, but I still need more information on exactly what happened here to pass judgement.
Feyre asks how Rhys, Cassian and Azriel all met:
Azriel merely turned to Cassian, who was staring at Rhys with guilt and love on his face, so deep and agonized that some now-splintered instinct had me almost reaching across the table to grip his hand.
Damn, that’s cute. I wish it meant things were going to take a slashy turn in this book, but I’ve heard that’s a no-go in Maas’ books.
Because they were bastards, Azriel and Cassian were sent to training camps. Azriel is something extra special called a “Shadowsinger”
“…shadowsingers are rare— coveted by courts and territories across the world for their stealth and predisposition to hear and feel things others can’t.”
The way Feyre talks about this for the rest of the chapter, saying things like, “Perhaps those shadows were indeed whispering to him”, it sounds like Azriel can…literally hear the shadows? Sure, okay.
Rhysand cuts in and explains how horrible Illyrians are to women:
“They cripple their females so they can keep them for breeding more flawless warriors.” Rhys cringed. “My mother was low-born,” he told me, “and worked as a seamstress in one of their many mountain war-camps.
When females come of age in the camps— when they have their first bleeding— their wings are … clipped.
This was about to happen to his own mother when his father happened to show up, realize they were mates, and saved her. Rhys mentions that even though they were mates, they actually weren’t that great together, which I find really interesting. I hope that actually is something that gets discussed more about mates in general. Given how every time I want to know more about something in this story, I don’t get it, I probably won’t learn anything more about this ever again or maybe in like five books.
Rhys’ mother decided to take him to the war-camps to learn about her people’s awful culture/to get him away from his father. There, Rhys took pity on Cassian even though he was a dick to him and invited him to stay with him and his mother since he didn’t have a family. Azriel showed up at the camp, and Rhys’ mother had known his, so she asked him to move in…and eventually enemies became friends became brothers <3
There is a sweet moment worth mentioning where Feyre connects with Cassian:
I’d never met anyone else in Prythian who had ever been hungry, desperate— not like I’d been.
Cassian blinked, and the way he looked at me shifted— more assessing, more … sincere. I could have sworn I saw the words in his eyes: You know what it is like. You know the mark it leaves.
We also find out that Azriel can’t fly, but Cassian is cut off before he can explain. I’m disappointed, but not surprised.
Cassian explains that the three of them were basically the strongest team ever, so strong that eventually Rhys’ father split them up because he was scared they’d turn against him and win.
“We only saw each other on battlefields for the seven years the War raged. They’d send around casualty lists amongst the Illyrians, and I read each one, wondering if I’d see their names on it. But then Rhys was captured—”
“That is a story for another time,” Rhys said…
DAMN IT, ACOMAF!
After Rhys became High Lord, he brought his crew together including Amren and Mor. A lot of Night Court residents did not approve. The ones that reluctantly accepted things built a city under the Night Court, which Amarantha was so impressed by, she modelled Under the Mountain after. Apparently the people of the “Hewn City” are awful and just kind of rule themselves in a cesspool of evil. Mor was born there but escaped, but we don’t learn more about that yet.
Feyre shares her own story with them about her family and hunting, and Cassian offers to train her properly.
But what Ianthe and Tamlin had said … “You don’t think it sends a bad message if people see me learning to fight— using weapons?”
The moment the words were out, I realized the stupidity of them. The stupidity of— of what had been shoved down my throat these past few months.
Oh thank god! Mor steps up and gives a very empowering speech about how Feyre isn’t at the Spring Court anymore and fuck reputation. She clearly is speaking from very personal history and understand where Feyre is coming from, and she ends her speech with, “You do what you love, what you need.”
I had never had a female friend before. Ianthe … she had not been one. Not in the way that mattered, I realized. And Nesta and Elain, in those few weeks I’d been at home before Amarantha, had started to fill that role, but … but looking at Mor, I couldn’t explain it, couldn’t understand it, but … I felt it.
Fuck yes! I’m all for this friendship. Bye, Ianthe!
Feyre agrees to work with Rhys and his crew. They tell her that the King of Hybern plans to resurrect Jurian to relaunch the war!
Jurian— the ancient warrior whose soul Amarantha had imprisoned within that hideous ring as punishment for killing her sister. The ring that contained his eye …
I do not understand this plan in the slightest, but maybe it’ll make sense later. Even Mor is confused by this:
Mor groaned, “Why would the king want to resurrect Jurian? He was so odious. All he liked to do was talk about himself.”
Anyway, Feyre and Rhys are going to talk to someone called “The Bone Carver” to figure out what’s going on. Everyone thinks he’ll talk to Feyre because she’s a “mortal soul in an immortal body”, which I have a feeling is going to be repeated at least 1000 times in this book. For some reason everyone warns her that this is going to be very bad, so get excited for tomorrow’s post, I guess?