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A Court of Jealousy and Haters: ACOTAR chapter 29 or “Feyre Delveigh”

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I accidentally skipped this chapter when porting episodes over. Happy Monday! Here’s a bonus! Although considering the book, is more of it really a good thing?

I’m shamelessly plugging my new Fantasy Romance serial in the intro to an unrelated post. Join the new Patreon tier or my Ream page or read it on Kindle Vella.As promised, I’m importing the A Court of Thorns and Roses recaps here from Patreon. These were originally written beginning in August of 2020, so there will be references to upcoming or seasonal events that won’t fit with our current timeline. I am not a time traveler and you’ll never be able to prove that I am. I will also include editors notes like this every now and then as we go, mostly to amuse myself but to give re-read value to those who’ve already been on this awful, awful journey with me.

This is another short recap. I considered tacking it onto the next chapter, but that recap is, I think, going to be a lot longer than this one and I wouldn’t get a combo of the two done in one week, so we’re going to just do chapter twenty-nine like a shot and chase it with chapter thirty.

Wow. Chapter thirty. My soul died a little when I typed that. If you were curious, there are forty-six chapters.

Now that she’s at home with her family, Feyre has to come up with stories about her time with Aunt Ripleigh (whose name is a tragedeigh) that explain how the fuck Feyre inherited:

[…] trunks that accompanied me hadn’t contained just clothing–several of them had been filled with gold and jewels. Not cut jewels, either, but enormous, raw jewels that would pay for a thousand estates.

So, they have memories of this aunt who has this kind of massive wealth…but do they have memories about why she didn’t help them out when they were in debt before? Like, maybe before her nephew got the brakes beat off him in front of his kids? Or when they were nearly starving to death? What’s the explanation for this, and the fact that they had to mourn her? That would be a pretty complicated relationship, don’t you think?

But this chapter is about the power of money and how it makes everyone and everything better, except for Nesta, who is still a bitch, so we have to really focus on that cash:

My father was currently taking inventory of those jewels; he’d holed himself up in the office that overlooked the garden in which I was sitting beside Elain in the grass. 

What the ass is that sentence? There is way too much going on there. Why does Maas hate periods? Do they charge her extra for them or something? Is it some kind of a la carte punctuation menu where periods are ten dollars, commas are five dollars, and em-dashes are free?

Through the window, I spied my father hunched over his desk, a little scale before him as he weighed an uncut ruby the size of a duck’s egg. He was clear-eyed again, and moved with a sense of purpose, of vibrancy, that I hadn’t seen since before the downfall. Even his limp was improved—made miraculously better by some tonic and a salve a strange, passing healer had given him for free. 

You live in a world where there are fairies, sir. And some mysterious traveller just shows up like, drink this magic potion, and you did it because WHY.

I would have been forever grateful to Tamlin for that kindness alone.

It would be hilarious if literally none of this had anything to do with Tamlin at all. Like, if all these good things just randomly started happening to them and Tamlin had been sending them like, grocery money. Obviously, that’s not the case, but it would still be hilarious.

Elain still loves to garden, but now she has a much bigger garden and a wider variety of flowers to grow:

“These bulbs,” Elain said, pointing with a gloved hand to a cluster of purple-and-white flowers, “came all the way from the tulip fields of the continent. Father promised that next spring he’ll take me to see them. He claims that for mile after mile, there’s nothing but these flowers.”

Because…Holland exists, I guess? Are we in alternate universe England/Wales/Scotland, then? Because “the continent,” “chateau,” and fields of tulips kind of suggests that western Europe exists and we’re cut off from it by water. This is like getting to The Return of the King and suddenly there are “oliphaunts” and you’re like, oh, fuck me, they’re just on regular Earth, there’s no fucking middle about it, fml.

But Feyre can’t mentally let Elain have this awesome moment of having a cool little garden. Even though she doesn’t say anything about it, Feyre thinks:

She would have marveled—likely wept—at the gardens I’d become so accustomed to, at the flowers in perpetual bloom at the Spring Court.

Like, Feyre has to one-up Elain to the reader. She can’t just let it be, wow, my sister is really good at this thing. It has to be, wow, my sister is good at this thing but I’ve seen better. I’ve started reading this entire book with Julia Garner’s Anna Delvey accent because it just makes more sense that way, what with all the complaining about how nothing is as good as it could be.

She does the same thing about the food back home in the human world:

So much of it was the same—the meat, the bread, the vegetables, and yet … it was ash in my mouth compared to what I’d consumed in Prythian.

Nothing is as good as what your oppressors can give you, kids! Even when money is no object, the luxuries you can obtain are no where near the tremendous splendor of that which only the oppressive class can attain!

Feyre points out to Elain that tulip season happens at the busiest time of the social season, and Elain is like, yeah, I’d be okay missing it because this year was weird.

She shrugged her slim shoulders. “People acted as if we’d all just been ill for eight years, or had gone away to some distant country—not that we’d been a few villages over in that cottage. You’d think we dreamed it all up, what happened to us over those years. No one said a word about it.”

Feyre’s kind of like, why would they, considering they’re able to overlook the fact that we were poor now that we have money. But I think the bigger point that’s being missed here is…why would Elain or Nesta or their father want to associate with peers who abandoned them before and now won’t acknowledge that snobby behavior?

That doesn’t really get mentioned.

Elain says that being around those people made me her wish they were poor again, because now she’s lonely all the time. Their dad is obsessed with business again and Nesta is being weird.

She’d barely spoken to me the night before, and not at all during breakfast. I’d been surprised when she joined us outside, even if she’d stayed by the tree this whole time. “Nesta didn’t finish the season. She wouldn’t tell me why. She began refusing every invitation. She hardly talks to anyone, and I feel wretched when my friends pay a visit, because she makes them so uncomfortable when she stares at them in that way of hers …” Elain sighed. “Maybe you could talk to her.”

My assumption would be that she wouldn’t want to be around those people who abandoned her. I mentioned last week that I have been spoilered for something involving Nesta that we learn in the next chapter, but without mentioning that twist here? It still makes sense to me that Nesta would become hardened and bitter having gone through this traumatic poverty, then thrust back into a society that refuses to acknowledge how easily they cast her aside in the first place. ed.—Due to me accidentally skipping this chapter, some of you have already been spoilered for it.

Feyre thinks about telling Elain, duh, Nesta and I don’t like each other, but then Elain drops the bombshell that Nesta actually tried to go visit Feyre at Aunt Ripleigh’s house.

“Well, she was gone for only about a week, and she said that her carriage broke down not halfway there, and it was easier to come back. But you wouldn’t know, since you never got any of our letters.” 

I looked over at Nesta, standing so still under the branches, the summer breeze rustling the skirts of her dress. Had she gone to see me, only to be turned back by whatever glamour magic Tamlin had cast on her?

There’s an interesting twist, huh? Tamlin can control where the family goes?

IDK about any of yous all, but I kind of feel like the “oh no, we’re running out of magic!” element of the blight really isn’t ringing true. In the past two chapters we’ve learned that the fairies can glamour themselves to not look like they’re wearing masks, they can make lost ships suddenly somehow reappear, they can make an entire town forget that nearly a decade of a family’s life have happened, and now we’re learning that Tamlin can even stop them from traveling, in certain situations.

Hey, remember when making a table smaller taxed Tamlin so much his hands trembled?

But there I go again, expecting consistency.

Silly Jenny.

Feyre doesn’t question that. You know, Feyre doesn’t question a lot of super obviously contradictory stuff. But if she did, I assume she’d answer herself with some flavor of, “because he loves me so much,” and things would just move on.

Like how they move on here, with Elain telling Feyre how different she looks and sounds now.

Indeed, I hadn’t quite believed my eyes when I’d passed a hall mirror last night. My face was still the same, but there was a … glow about me, a kind of shimmering light that was nearly undetectable. I knew without a doubt that it was because of my time in Prythian, that all that magic had somehow rubbed off on me. I dreaded the day it would forever fade.

Just by being with the ruling class, she’s become more beautiful. All she had to do was embrace those who grind her people beneath their heels!

Feyre tells Elain the change is the result of being fed and well-rested, and we go to a section break because you know you were curious:

Days passed. The shadow within me didn’t lighten, and even the thought of painting was abhorrent.

She can’t even paint! Can you imagine a time when Feyre can’t even paint?!

I mean, she spends more time talking about how she can’t paint or doesn’t want to paint in this book than she does actually painting. From an artist’s perspective this is pretty accurate, but it would have made even more sense if Maas had made Feyre a writer. ed.—For those of you who’ve read the follow up books: does Feyre continue to think about painting after this? Or does that just get dropped once all the fated mates shit drops in?

Feyre’s been spending a lot of her time with Elain, who sounds like the character I would much rather read about:

She had come alive here, and her joy was infectious. There wasn’t a servant or gardener who didn’t smile at her, and even the brusque head cook found excuses to bring her plates of cookies and tarts at various points in the day. I marveled at it, actually—that those years of poverty hadn’t stripped away that light from Elain. Perhaps buried it a bit, but she was generous, loving, and kind—a woman I found myself proud to know, to call sister.

Wow, who knew that poverty isn’t what makes someone a whining asshole! What super power does Elain have to avoid this fate?!

Seriously, how insulting is that? The idea that if people are impoverished, they automatically become dull, mean, and stingy? Excuse the fuck out of me, Maas, but poor people are far more “generous, loving, and kind” than the super wealthy.

This really, really makes me dislike Sarah J. Maas as a human being, on a deeply personal level. She very, very clearly hates poor people. ed.—I have since learned that Maas grew up wealthy and privileged. This truly is what she thinks of poor people.

This becomes even clearer considering the fact that the very next paragraph begins:

My father finished counting my jewels and gold; I was an extraordinarily wealthy woman.

Isn’t it wonderful that poverty didn’t make my sister awful like all the other poor people? But don’t worry, I am extraordinarily wealthy.

And also, generous. More generous, even, than her generous sister, because Feyre immediately sets out with bags of cash. As she walks to their old cottage, she thinks about how much she wishes she was back in Prythian, with Tamlin, and how they boned down and how maybe he’s in danger. Then, she arrives:

So small—the cottage had been so small.

Maybe I’m just at the point with this book where I hate it all and it all seems terrible (spoiler alert: I am at that point), but it seems like we read a lot of sentences like this, where something is stated, then there’s an em-dash and it’s stated again with more of a flourish. I mean, earlier on this same page was:

I could almost hear the words—almost hear him saying them, could almost see the sunlight glinting in his golden hair and the dazzling green of his eyes.

Twice on one page with that concept–concept but with more words pattern. After a brief description of the now-abandoned cottage, she does it again, twice in a row:

The forest—my forest. 

It had seemed so terrifying once—so lethal and hungry and brutal. And now it just seemed … plain. Ordinary.

What about this style is so compelling that one would want to use it this much? Especially when it sounds so much smoother with commas instead of hard stops like that. And the ellipses. Every time I get worried that I’m using too many em-dashes and ellipses, I think of Maas and E.L. James and I’m like, you know? I’m probably fine.

I mean, Maas does it AGAIN in the next paragraph, as Feyre tries to figure out why Elain has nostalgia for their old life :

If she beheld not a prison but a shelter—a shelter from a world that had possessed so little good, but she tried to find it anyway, even if it had seemed foolish and useless to me.

What is the point?! Why not just, “If she beheld not a prison but a shelter from a world that had possessed so little good,” and leave it there? Was the author desperately trying to “win” NaNoWriMo? Because this sounds like the “writing advice” people will give you so that you can “win” that has now become hellishly enmeshed with actual rules of grammar.

You know earlier when I was like, fuck you, Maas, with your bullshit about how it’s surprising that someone didn’t become a cruel monster because they didn’t have money? I take it back because you also wrote:

She had looked at that cottage with hope; I had looked at it with nothing but hatred. And I knew which one of us had been stronger.

See? It’s NOBLE to not let poverty make you a monster. But you have to be STRONG or else you’ll become bitter and horrible. Oh, if only Feyre were so simple and pure and able to simply embrace poverty.

Ever read a book and just know, deep in your bones, that you and the author have had wildly disparate experiences?

Anyway, that’s how this chapter ends. Tune in next time for more “oh look…poverty,” from our heroine.

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  1. Ironwort

    The name Prythian says to me that we’re in Fantasy Britain*, we saw a mention of Hybern (i.e., Hibernia) across the water to the west, which would be Fantasy Ireland**, so yeah, I imagine there is a Fantasy Continental Europe somewhere to the south.

    *The faerie realm being to the north across a barrier…wait, is it Fantasy Hadrian’s Wall? Do the faeries live in Fantasy Scotland?
    **I leave as an exercise to the reader what it says about Maas that the only mention of Fantasy Ireland is about how it’s known for its savagery.

    October 30, 2023
    • Lena

      Based on the map in front of the book, Fairyland is indeed Scotland.

      October 30, 2023
      • Mab

        That explains so much. I just got back from Scotland and I don’t think I could ever paint it – paint it the way I see it in my … soul.

        Seriously, it is magical, and is totally the inspiration for my fantasy story, but only because the highlands took my breath away and felt like magic could exist in those misty hills, far from any sign of human civilization. But, though not entirely confident in my writing, I know without a doubt I will tell a better story than Maas. So, she has done one good thing in making me feel better about my writing skills. 😉

        October 30, 2023
        • Al

          It’s honestly beautiful that the place moved you so much. It’d be cool to see what you write!

          October 30, 2023
  2. Rebecca P.
    Rebecca P.

    I haven’t read this recap yet, but maybe it’s kind of telling that I read the chapter 30 one and didn’t even realize a whole chapter had technically been missed.

    October 30, 2023
    • Rowan


      October 30, 2023
  3. Mab

    I hadn’t even noticed a chapter was skipped, and now I know why. Nothing happened.

    There are some books where you kind of have to turn your sense of reason off to enjoy it, but either the characters or the writing are good enough to overlook the massive plot holes. This is not that kind of book. This is the kind of book where you kind of have to have your brain completely removed, then rolled over repeatedly by a massive steamroller, then buried deep within the earths core never to be seen again, or, get a far better writer to read it for you then recap it in a way that points out how terrible it is but how much potential it could have had, and openly weep about the loss of that story.

    October 30, 2023
  4. Al

    Didn’t realize you were curious XD otherwise I might’ve commented over on Patreon. But, yeah — she spends the first half of the second book so traumatized she can’t paint at all, which could actually be a good portrayal of trauma except that she never paints anyway. She had PTSD triggered by the color red, because it was the hair color of the evil woman; except it’s triggered by EVERY shade of red, including completely different shades from her hair. Bit of an odd choice, that.

    Anyway, (huge spoilers) Tamlin is clueless and doesn’t realize this and gets her fancy paints as a gift, she doesn’t like it and they fight, things get bad.

    I haven’t actually gotten to where she starts painting again yet, but apparently once she heals enough with Rhysand, she starts painting again and it’s an indication that she’s recovered.

    October 30, 2023
  5. Ranting Fil
    Ranting Fil

    Now that Jenny mentioned it, there seems to be a better book here somewhere if Elain were the main character. She’s fond of plants so imagine how ecstatic she could be to see Spring Court. And I bet she’ll have a better perspective of the land since she’s interested in the flora. It also makes more sense storywise to sacrifice herself to Tamlin to protect Feyre and they suddenly forge a relationship, instead of what really happened of Tamlin suddenly favoring his friend’s murderer more than the friend. And her going back and missing her old life while her family are spoiling themselves, it’s like a classic fairytale. And I bet Nesta wouldn’t be described as such a bitch.

    October 31, 2023
  6. Lena

    “There wasn’t a servant or gardener who didn’t smile at her, and even the brusque head cook found excuses to bring her plates of cookies and tarts at various points in the day. ”

    People who think you have to be extraordinarily, unrealistically nice in order to get good service have, without exception, earned every dirty look and gallon of spit in their food. I am devoid of cheer, yet I get smiles and freebies and discounts all the time for simply not being an abusive asshole to the “servants.”

    Alis had a name, a physical description, and a hint of life beyond brushing the missus’s hair, but HUMAN servants are livestock, I guess.

    At least the money the fam is blowing is going back into the local economy, to people who have less and need it more. It would have been nifty to use some of that apparently limitless windfall to actively improve society somewhat, but no character written by this author will ever think beyond “it’s so virtuous of me to give money to the nameless urban poors, about whom I will never again have a thought unless they spoil the view from my mansion.”

    October 31, 2023

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