A Court of Mist and Fury: Chapter 56
Rhysand and Feyre finally winnow back to the Illyrian camp. Feyre notes that “we wouldn’t be staying long enough to be at risk – and with ten thousand Illyrian warriors surrounding us [no one] would be stupid enough to attack”. Which… simultaneously confirms that Lucien and the Spring Court would have been able to track them if they had just gone back to the camp in the first place instead of hiding in that tiny in… and also confirms that it still would have been safe to do so anyway. ACOMAF in a nutshell, you guys: there was a reason the whole time, not that it actually mattered.
Anyway, what’s really important right now is that Rhysand is magically horny, because this is actually that kind of story.
Cassian crossed his arms. “Mating bond chafing a bit, Rhys?”
Rhys said nothing.
Cassian snickered. “Feyre doesn’t look too tired. Maybe she could give me a ride—”
Rhys exploded. […] And Cassian had known exactly what he was saying and doing, I realized […] He’d seen the edge in Rhys’s eyes and known he had to dull it before we could go any further […] until Rhys had worked off his temper. […] If the average male needed a week to adjust… What was required of Rhysand? A month? Two? A year?
Cassian laughed as Rhys slammed a first into his face, blood spraying.
I can’t get over how if this book weren’t so thirsty for Rhysand, this whole “after a male faerie first has sex with his predestined true love, he goes into an uncontrollable magic rage where he is jealous and violent towards any other man who even looks at her” thing would actually be a quietly brutal metaphor for toxic masculinity. I also can’t get over how this is a really real part of this story in the first place too, of course, but also missed opportunities.
So strange, the High Fae with their mating and primal instincts. So at odds with their ancient traditions and learning.
Yes, so at odds with their ancient traditions like how women can’t be High Lords. What a thought-provoking contradiction, Feyre.
It gets hornier.
Rhys and Cassian spent an hour pummeling each other into exhaustion, and when they trudged back into the house, bloody and filthy, one look at my mate was all it took for me to crave the smell and feel of him.
Cassian and Mor instantly found somewhere else to be, and Rhys didn’t bother taking my clothes all the way off before he bent me over the kitchen table and made me moan his name loud enough for the [rest of the Illyrian warriors] still circling high above to hear.
After things settle down, they winnow back to Velaris because – and no matter how many times I type this actual plot detail will this ever not sound stupid – he got all the magic horniness out of his system. The rest of the gang is super happy that Rhys and Feyre finally boned. Weirdly, this is the most I’ve understood how much the characters in this book have suffered.
The gang goes to Feyre’s human sisters’ home to meet with the mortal queens again. Ominously, three of the queens don’t attend the meeting this time. The oldest queen continues to be the T Swift of the squad, and also Feyre’s love life continues to be of utmost importance to the world order.
“After being so gravely insulted the last time…” A simmering glare thrown at Nesta. […] “As you can see, three of us found the insult to be unforgivable.”
Liar. To blame it on Nesta […] I said with surprising claim, “If that is the worst insult any of you have ever received in your lives, I’d say you’re all in for quite a shock when war comes.”
The younger one’s lips twitched again [and] purred to me, “So he won your heart after all, Cursebreaker.”
Why does no one in this book segue from one conversation to another? It’s like a world full of people who learned how to talk by only listening to the first five minutes of all their podcast subscriptions before skipping to the next one.
They all fight about a bunch of other mortal-immortal issues and personal conflicts that I couldn’t get less of a shit about, honestly. Although at one point, Rhysand says “Is there a point to your questions, other than to hear yourself talk?”, which is pretty rich.
Eventually they bring out Mor’s Veritas, which they plan to use to show the mortal queens a vision of Velaris, to prove that they’re actually the good guys and can be trusted with their half of the Book of Breathings. Yeah, that plan that’s somehow supposed to make sense. We’re back on that bullshit. Feyre gets a gut feeling not to tell the queens about Velaris right before Rhysand does it, just in case you somehow haven’t figured out yet that Velaris is a more obvious sacrificial lamb than an unnamed cop character who’s one day away from retirement.
“Is that the proof we asked for?”
Don’t do it, my heart began beating. Don’t show them.
Yeah, Velaris totally isn’t gonna make it to the end of this book.
it was Rhys who said, “You desire proof of our goodness, our intentions, so that you may trust the Book in our hands?” The Veritas began pulsing, a web of light spreading with each throb. “There is a place within my lands. A city of peace. And art. And prosperity.” […]
A picture appeared. It was Velaris […] People, happy and thoughtful, kind and welcoming […] images of the Palaces, of the restaurants, of the House of Wind. All of it—all of that secret, wondrous city.
Surprising approximately zero people, the leader of the mortal queens is unswayed by this. I still don’t understand how this plan to gain the trust of the people who think you’re all elitist, class warfare profiteers who sometimes murder them for fun by showing them your city where your people live in affluence, safety, and privilege was ever supposed to make any fucking sense.
“if the cost of protecting my city and people is the contempt of the world, then so be it.”
“Anywho, I need that thing you have so I can save the world that I’ve scorned in order to protect my people. Well, some of my people. Just the ones that like art. What? What do you mean you still don’t trust me?”
Old Queen T Swift tells Rhysand they’ll think about it and get back to him. Yeah, we don’t get a name for any of the queens and Feyre only refers to them as “the eldest” or “the golden one” or some shit, so the head honcho of the mortal queen squad is Taylor Swift now. This is blog canon.
“Do you not understand the risks you take in doing so?” Rhys said, no hint of condescension. Only—only perhaps shock. “You need this alliance as much as we do.”
Taylor Swift then pulls out a letter Rhysand wrote to the queens appealing to them not as a politician but as “a male in love” and drags him over it. Obviously, I am all for this.
The ancient queen shrugged her frail shoulders. “Did you think we would be moved by your letter, your plea?” [She] read, “I write to you not as a High Lord, but as a male in love with a woman who was once human.”
Admittedly, the letter does get idealistic after that absolutely cloying start, but Taylor Swift doesn’t give a fuck.
“I write to you to beg you to act quickly. […] So I might one day be able to live in a world where the woman I love may visit her family without fear of hatred and reprisal. […] Who is to say this is not all some grand manipulation?”
By this point, Nesta is fucking sick of Taylor Swift, and – I shit you not – the two start yelling “Gimme!” “No!” “Gimme!” “No!” at each other.
Nesta stalked forward a step, face white with rage. “Give them the Book.”
The queens blinked, stiffening.
My sister snapped, “Give them the Book.”
And the eldest queen hissed, “No.”
I wasn’t even exaggerating that much.
Taylor Swift tells Rhysand the mortals don’t need their help and could totally take care of themselves and evacuate. Nesta points out this is logistically impossible and basically an admission that Taylor Swift is willing to let huge portions of her people be stranded when war comes. Taylor Swift tells Rhysand “We appreciate the gesture of your trust” and peaces with her #squad. So I guess Taylor Swift is gonna be the reason why Velaris inevitably gets its shit wrecked.
After the queens teleport away, the gang feels like they failed, until they notice one of the other queens… smuggled in the book and left it behind. Even Feyre throws in a “somehow” while describing the scene, which is fun.
somehow hidden by her voluminous skirts while she’d sat, was a box […] A note lay atop the golden metal of the book.
I read your letter. About the woman you love. I believe you. And I believe in peace.
I believe in a better world.
If anyone asks, you stole this during the meeting.
Do not trust the others. The sixth queen was not ill.
Rhysand tells Feyre’s human sisters that they may no longer be safe in the mortal lands, assigns some of his guards to them, and tells them that they’re welcome in his home whenever they need to escape. Just like with the other half of the Book, it communicates telepathically to Feyre, but this half is creepily, maddeningly singing to Feyre about death and rebirth, fanged beasts and trembling founds, and asking to be touched. I’m glad at least Feyre gets a sequel that’s more interesting than the first book.