A Court of Mist and Fury: Chapter 34
Feyre experiences a restless night thinking about Rhysand flirting with the Summer Court princess, worrying that she’ll eventually overhear noises coming from his room. She sorta reflects on her feelings towards Rhysand, but it’s a little too subtle for a reader who’s now halfway into a whole book of this.
He could still be my friend. Companion – whatever this thing was between us. His taking someone to bed didn’t change those things. […] I didn’t have the nerve to come out of my room for breakfast, to see if Rhys had returned.
She also briefly reflects on what she thinks of Tarquin and his social justice interests, but immediately arrives at the wrong conclusion.
[…] a High Lord who might very well overturn the order of things.
For a heartbeat, I missed Velaris.
“Dear Diary, I met this great new world leader who wants to break down the rigid social barriers between the upper and lower classes! It made me miss a city that systemically excludes subpopulations that are just too unsavory for us to conduct trade. I miss Margaret Thatcher.”
Feyre spends her morning experimenting with her newly discovered water-manipulating magic in the tub, making little animals out of water. When she meets up with Tarquin later for their tour of the Summer Court’s treasure troves, she wonders if Tarquin can tell she was using powers that she inherited – or took – from him. Also of note is that when Tarquin arrives at their agreed-upon meeting place, he arrives with Rhysand and the others, who he just had a discussion about potential military strategy with, but they immediately don’t stick around, because I guess they thought it was fun to follow Tarquin to his next meeting that they weren’t attending.
Before departing, Feyre notices that Rhysand brushes against her mental shield, almost like a warning to be careful. Tarquin takes her to the first trove of treasures, which Feyre finds impressive, but doesn’t see any books or feel any magical pull towards any item.
“What’s the most valuable thing in here?”
“Thinking of stealing?”
I choked on a laugh. “Wouldn’t asking that question make me a lousy thief?”
Tarquin studied me. “I’d say I’m looking at the most valuable thing in here.”
Ariel made an observation to me in our personal chat that as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series goes on, Feyre gets more and more… shall we say… Zoey Redbird. And now I can’t not see all the little House of Night-y ways that ACOMAF keeps insisting that Feyre is the specialest chosen one who is special. Which is really disheartening since she started out the series as a self-driven young woman who used her own skills to make her own decisions, but now she’s just been given more magic than anyone ever for reasons while everyone keeps telling her how important she is, yet somehow has less agency than before.
Feyre comes across a mysterious necklace in the treasure trove that seems like the sort of thing that would not be remotely surprising if it turned out to be a trap.
a necklace of black diamonds.
Each of the dark stones was a mystery— and an answer. Each of them slumbered.
Tarquin came up behind me, peering over my shoulder at what had snagged my interest. His gaze drifted to my face. “Take it.”
This can’t not be a trap, right?
He rubbed the back of his neck. “As a thank-you. For Under the Mountain.”
Ask it now— ask him for the Book instead.
But that would require trust, and … kind as he was, he was a High Lord.
He pulled the box from its resting spot and shut the lid before handing it to me. “You were the first person who didn’t laugh at my idea to break down class barriers.”
GODDAMMIT, I CAN’T TELL IF THIS IS A TRAP OR NOT.
Feyre accepts it, and Tarquin says that he could use an ally in the North. He very openly explains that he knows she has sway with Rhysand, whom everybody has told him can’t be trusted but he isn’t totally buying it.
“Other High Lords have told me about Rhys – and warned me about him. But he spared me Under the Mountain. […] Sometimes, I think Rhysand… I think he might have been [Amarantha’s] whore to spare us all from her full attention.” […]
“You know I can’t tell you anything. And I can’t promise you anything.” […]
“Forgive me if I’ve been forward. I’m still learning how to play the games of these courts – to my advisers’ chagrin.”
“I hope you never learn how to play the games of these courts.”
They end the day subtly indicating that the two of them might forge a genuine friendship, but Feyre’s mission to detect the book proves fruitless and she determines it must be hidden elsewhere in the city, or even another city. She returns to Rhysand with this information, but he sees it somewhat differently.
“Tarquin is a good male— a good High Lord. You should just ask him for the damned Book.”
Rhys snapped shut the lid. “So he plies you with jewels and pours honey in your ear, and now you feel bad?”
“He wants your alliance— desperately. He wants to trust you, rely on you.”
This obviously just becomes a fight about how they have feelings for each other they won’t openly talk about, but sure will openly fight about constantly.
“Is that why you wouldn’t look at me? Because you think I fucked [Cresseida] for information? […] Jealous, Feyre?”
It’s inscrutable how these two talk so openly about their interest in each other without actually talking about their interest in each other.
“What got under my skin,” Rhys said, his breathing a bit uneven, “is that you smiled at him.”
The rest of the world faded to mist as the words sank in. “You are jealous.”
He shook his head […] “I heard [you tell him] it would be easy to fall in love with him. […] I was jealous – of that. That I’m not… that sort of person. For anyone.”
The chapter ends with Feyre and Rhysand somehow not realizing this conversation about their feelings for each other is about their feelings for each other, but instead just pouring each other a drink and having a toast to “the dreams that are unanswered” after Rhysand laments how he, the guy who keeps the secret and segregated city of Velaris up and running, is somehow falling short of his own social justice interests. Somehow.
“I spared Tarquin’s life because I’d heard how he wanted to even out the playing field between High Fae and lesser faeries. I’ve been trying to do that for years. Unsuccessfully”
Neoliberalism is a hell of a drug.