A Court of Mist and Fury Chapter 28: Do Attors Dream of Electric Sheep?

awkward sadie you're welcome

A Court of Mist and Fury Chapter 28:

Whilst Rhys and Feyre have breakfast with her sisters, Azriel goes to torture the Attor with Cassian not far behind:

He’d given Nesta a mocking bow, and she’d given him a vulgar gesture I hadn’t realized she knew how to make. Cassian had merely laughed, his eyes snaking over Nesta’s ice-blue gown with a predatory intent that, given her hiss of rage, he knew would set her spitting.

No. I refuse to fall into the trap of thinking that this is chemistry. I know Tamlin got crap for being dull or not having chemistry with Feyre, but I’m not on board with every relationship needing to be contentious to have chemistry in this series. It can be fun and interesting sometimes, but it’s not the only way. I might be getting too far ahead of myself and maybe Cassian will be paired off with Amren or something (let’s face it, everyone is going to be paired off eventually), but I can’t help but feel like that’s what’s being signalled to me between Cassian/Nesta right now. Like oooh Nesta has met her sassy match! No. Stop. I don’t care about or feel like I know either character enough for this to work.

Rhys glamours himself and Feyre so they can follow her sisters into town while they mail the letter. Presumably this is to ensure nothing happens to them or the letter along the way, but we’re not given more than a throwaway line about this, so it just sounds like Rhys and Feyre are incredibly creepy.

After dropping Feyre back in Velaris, Rhys goes to check in on Azriel and the Attor. When he returns, he gives Feyre some updates. This is of course revolutionary for Feyre who had grown used to Tamlin being ludicrously secretive about everything. I was honestly surprised there weren’t occasions where he kept what he had for breakfast secret.

In fact, Rhys doesn’t just tell Feyre what happens, he shares a memory with her again. It’s a bit gimmicky, but I do think it’s pretty cool that they can do this. One thing I’m intrigued by is whether the memories Rhys is sharing are subjective. I think we’re supposed to read them as the absolute truth, but this would be such a cool thing to play around with, that even though Feyre is in one of Rhys’ memories she’s not getting the full story.

A few levels above, the Court of Nightmares reveled on, unaware their High Lord had come.

I’d have to pay them a visit soon. Remind them who held their leash.

Soon. But not today. Not when Feyre had winnowed.

And she was still pissed as hell at me.

Rightly so if I was being honest.

I am so confused. How is he sharing his exact thoughts in that moment and not just what he was seeing? Also Rhys’ internal monologue is strange (and split into far too many lines). What the hell does Feyre winnowing have to do with reminding his people that he’s in charge? He could have literally said, “Not when Feyre had tried cottage cheese” and it would have been equally as relevant.

Is he trying to curry favor with Feyre by sharing this memory where he’s showing so much concern about her being angry with him and then pointedly thinking that she’s right? Man, what a tactic. I bet if my husband could use this technique to make me forgive him, he’d use it constantly. “Wait wait, just watch my memory so I can PROVE that I was thinking this nice thought about how right you were to be mad at me and how sorry I am. All good?”

There are some torture-lite moments with the Attor, but more interestingly we get an tidbit about Azriel I really like:

There was an icy rage in Azriel I had never been able to thaw. In the centuries I’d known him, he’d said little about his life, those years in his father’s keep, locked in darkness.

Again, I am not really sure how Rhys is perfectly sharing every thought that went through his brain in the memory, but I find Azriel intriguing, and I feel like in such a small space I got a bit more insight into Rhys and Azriel’s relationship.

Speaking of packing a lot into a small space, I’m impressed by how many “what the fucks?” can be elicited from me in the next couple lines:

His half-brothers hadn’t been forthcoming either. I knew because I’d met them, asked them, and had shattered their legs when they spat on Azriel instead.

I don’t even know where to begin. Rhys went to Azriel’s half-brothers and asked about his past…in front of Azriel (I mean, if they immediately spit on Azriel then presumably he was standing right there). What did Rhys expect them to say? Did they just immediately turn to Azriel and spit on him? Was Azriel just standing there silently? The mechanics of this scenario require more explicit detail.

Azriel’s brothers sound terrible, but why is this yet another book where I am supposed to be awed by the violence of the main love interest? Oh wow he is so loyal and passionate and would do anything for his friends including extremely violent acts, he is so great and you sure can count on him.

Anyway back to the Attor’s information:

As the Attor spoke, I rummaged through its mind, each thought more vile and hideous than the next.

I honestly want to know what he’s thinking about. What do Attor’s daydream about, you guys? There’s no way one of his vile, hideous thoughts isn’t about the racist bullshit happening over on The Bachelorette? Like his brain is probably just thoughts of Confirmed Racist Gaslighter Extraordinaire Lee going round and round in his mind.

What I can tell you is that the Attor doesn’t have the Book of Breathings on his mind (we can all breathe a sigh of relief), and he tries to convince Rhys that he can keep Feyre if they all just work with the king. Though the king sounds like an otherwise upstanding guy, I don’t think I can overlook his blatant objectification of Feyre in the way he describes her being “taken” from Tamlin and offering to let Rhys “keep” her.

There is very vague talk of a “situation” going on at the Spring Court, so Feyre writes a letter explaining she’s safe but not coming back hoping that it will resolve said “situation”. I feel there was a lot more that should have been in that letter like outlining how Tamlin’s behaviour was destructive, but maybe it shows how far Feyre has come that she doesn’t even bother. I’m not really sure. This book feels so slow and dragged out but also incredibly rushed, which seems to betray the laws of time and space.

Rhys tells Feyre the next steps in their plans to stop the impending war:

“Once Azriel returns from dealing with the Attor, he’s to put his other skill set to use and infiltrate the mortal queens’ courts to learn where they’re keeping it— and what their plans might be. And as for the half in Prythian … We’ll go to the Summer Court within a few days, if my request to visit is approved. High Lords visiting other courts makes everyone jumpy. We’ll deal with the Book then.”

You would think it would be pretty standard for High Lords to visit each others courts for diplomatic reasons, not sure why it would make them so jumpy, especially if they have to request the visit in advance. Unannounced guests would make anyone jumpy.

The chapter ends with the gang getting ready to go for a night out on the town as Feyre declares she wants to see the city at night. Before they go, Feyre chats with Amren for a bit and finds out some very random information:

  • Azriel spies on Amren, and even though this isn’t technically allowed, he’s doing it for the right reasons so he won’t be punished? I think we need to understand more about Amren for this to make sense.
    • The weirdest part is that he uses the two Fae who work for Rhys to report on Amren’s movements. They see Amren in Feyre’s room and “vanish into puffs of smoke” to go tell Azriel, which is awful spy work firstly. Secondly, Amren’s movements are literally that she is in Rhys’ house hanging out with Feyre before they go for a night out. This is the most useless update ever since I’m 99% sure Azriel is also going on said night out! What a colossal waste of time for everyone involved.
  • The necklace Amren lent Feyre before her trip to meet the Bone Carver was NOT MAGIC AT ALL WHICH I PREDICTED IMMEDIATELY!
  • It’s more likely that Feyre will find out the amulet was useless and the power was inside her all along. 

OMG I can’t believe I was right! The last line of the chapter is Amren sassily telling Feyre, “You’re welcome”, so she is obviously Sadie from Awkward. It’s canon now. You’re welcome.

awkward sadie you're welcome

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5 comments

  1. Rebecca Reply

    Can we talk really quick about how these books get weirdly more and more sexist as they go on? Like Amarantha was a big deal in the first book and people feared her and aren’t all High Fae badasses regardless of gender? And then we get Feyre set to to be basically a housewife, and the king of Hybern acting like Feyre is an object, and some other stuff comes later I think. I just don’t understand why a super old society (thousands and thousands of years of progress!) where the men and women are basically equal (maybe I’m wrong, I just think the first book tried to make this seem like a thing) would be sexist. What’s the point? It seems like it’s just a vehicle for the author to comment on sexism in modern times, rather than like…tell a cool story. And I think it’s interesting to see fantasy books where sexism isn’t even a thing because of the way the world is built. Why not do that here as a contrast to the human realms or something?

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    • Andreas Reply

      I agree that the sexism is pointlessly increasing in the book and doesn’t add anything worthwile to the story, but I disagree with the “super old society”. I mean, we have no immortal / super-ling lived beings in reality, so it’s difficult to analyze their society and minds, so my argument could easily be wrong, but in my opinion social and cultural progress doesn’t necessarily happen based on time but much more based on generations: young people trying to do things different than their parents, but each generation has in average just one or two of these Impulses and is not constantly changing. Societies which are as strongly caste-based as the faeries are, are inherently more conservative than societies with open social mobility, so there might be whole generations without such changes.

      So I would argue that the faeries’ culture might be much older in age but not older in progress than the society of humanity.
      And if the books weren’t set in Standard Fantasy World #723 With Appropriate Faux-Medieval Window Dressing ™, there could be things like a French Revolution-like event which heralds the end of monarchistic rulership for humans and the faeries watch as human society outruns their own.

      Of course, that just explains why sexism is still there, not where it comes from. For humanity it is ultimately based on the difference between sexes and the difficulties and dangers faced by women when giving birth to and caring for our freakishly big-headed and weirdly support-needing offspring. Maybe it’s the same with faeries: with all their magic it might be not as pronounced as for humans, but if biology creates an exploitable imbalance there is a high chance it will be exploited and enshrined in culture. The law of the strongest is a very strong instinct and it takes much work to identify it and remove it and its ugly children from a culture … which the High Lords most likely don’t really want, after all, it benefits them.

      All in all it is based on the faeries in this story having some flashy special effects but otherwise their society and their minds are not especially non-human. So of course their problems and failings are human too. That’s not bad in itself. Writing believable really alien creatures is hard, not really what the author intended to do anyway and that’s ok.

      But … it’s still fantasy and a certain amount of handwaving is included by default. So it’s possible end legit to write an old-fashioned, monarchistic, caste-based society which is egalitarian at least in regards to genders/sexes, even if it were unlikely to exist. So why not do that, if it would make the story less annoying to read, and reserve sexism for symbolism (the bad guys mistreat their women!!!) or in-story critique (this is a wrong in our society that needs to be corrected).

      Although, maybe it is the second option here. Apparently there was never a High Lady and Amarantha was just a bully. But Feyre with all her magical powers which were given to her by the High Lords (a symbolic election?) could maybe become the first High Lady or High Queen of all Faeries or something like that. Of course, that only works if she doesn’t stay the only one.

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      • Rebecca Reply

        You make really good points! And it reminds me that someone, somewhere in these books said Fae children were difficult to conceive, so it would make sense for the women to be treated differently in that respect. And it also makes sense why Feyre is sometimes talked about like a brood mare by some of the men–they want powerful children and she’s a vehicle to that. I think the first book tricked me into thinking the social commentaries might be a little different, and then this book decided to back out of that. I understand that sequels get more in depth world building, on the whole, but it almost feels like an active rejection of what we might have gleaned from book one.

        All in all, I guess I just wanted there to be some interesting contrasts between Fae and human society, but they’re mostly the same. Your idea for human society progressing past Fae is really cool.

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        • Anne Reply

          My main issue with how sexism is portrait in fantasy novels is that it takes a very simplistic view towards the position of woman in history (mainly the medieval period). It is definitely true that woman rights were pretty much non-existent, but saying that all noble woman were nothing but a brood mare pretty much ignores all the great women who have had a huge influence on history.
          A lot of noblewoman had to act as diplomats because they were the link between two families and had to help keep the peace between the two, especially when the families lived far apart. Even running a household in those days was more like running a business. Just because a lot of the accomplishments of women were not properly recorded in history, have been forgotten or ignored does not mean that woman did not do anything.
          I’m not saying that the position of the woman in those times should be glorified, because of course they were put behind men and a lot of woman suffered because of that, but it would be nice if there were more fantasy novels that showed all the important things woman did and the influence they did have on society or the men around them or even just a queen who is smart and cunning and not evil.

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          • Rebecca Reply

            I read part of this book, Queen of the Tearling, that I think was trying to do that. The main character kind of beat you over the head with how plain looking she was but she seemed capable and I was pretty stoked about where it was going. As soon as a sexy mysterious man appeared, though, and she started thinking about how she wished she was prettier I went “oh for fuck’s sake” and put it down. 🙁

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