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A Court of Jealousy and Haters: ACOTAR, chapter 39 or “Watch your drink”

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CW: Sexual assault, drugging

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.

Now that Rhysand has intervened, Feyre is getting hot meals regularly.

Stuck in the cell, I had nothing to do but ponder Amarantha’s riddle—usually only to wind up with a pounding headache. I recited it again and again and again but to no avail.

Imagine that riddle giving you a headache.

Now, I’m pretty sure someone said this in a comment because it sounds too smart for me to have come up with it, but looking back through comments, I can’t find it. So, if you were the person who left this comment originally, lemme know. But I’m 98% certain that someone noted in the comments that this could have been good if Maas had done a better job showing the reader that Feyre doesn’t know what love is and hasn’t really experienced it therefore, she shouldn’t have automatically gotten the answer to the riddle. ed.— It was Stormy K: “I guess Feyre’s inability to answer the riddle is thematically appropriate to her character arc, such as it is: she’s grown up without love and doesn’t recognize her love for Tamlin until it’s too late.”

Feyre notes that days have passed and she hasn’t seen anybody.

I was alone—utterly alone, locked in silence—though the screaming in the dungeons still continued day and night.

Okay, Lydia Deetz, but I hate to tell you: constant screaming is THE OPPOSITE OF SILENCE.

What really kills me about some of these painfully bad little tiny parts (like the “alabaster light” radiating from the guy who is pure darkness, for example) is that I just know someone, somewhere, has cited those as examples of how amazing the writing in these books is in their goodreads review.

Feyre has thoughts about her tattoo, as well. Foreshadowy thoughts, like how it reminds her of Jurian and:

Every once in a while, I’d say a few words to the tattoo—then curse myself for a fool. Or curse Rhysand. But I could have sworn that as I dozed off one night, it blinked.

oh wow i wonder if we’re going to find out that he can watch her through the tattoo wow

If I was counting the schedule of my meals correctly, about four days after I’d seen Rhysand in his room, two High Fae females arrived in my cell.

Something about other female characters being described as “females” just… spine crawlies.

These fairies appear in the cell just like Rhysand does, by sort of just coming out of the darkness.

They could have been mutes for all they said to me as they pressed close to my body and we stepped—physically stepped—through the closed door, as if it wasn’t even there.

First of all, I’m pretty sure “mutes” isn’t chill terminology in this century. Second, love the way Feyre/Sarah stops the sentence to make sure all of us understand that stepping is a physical action.

Like I’ve said before, I get the vibe that this is a person with an aching need to be the smartest one in the room. Like, I can imagine if you went to a French restaurant with her, she would explain to you that bread is very common in French cuisine.

The shadow fairies are able to somehow make Feyre invisible or look like a shadow or something. They take her out of the dungeon and to some random room where things get… weirdly sexy with body paint.

Their brushes were unbearably cold and ticklish, and their shadowy grips were firm when I wriggled. Things only worsened when they painted more intimate parts of me, and it was an effort to keep from kicking them in the face. They offered no explanation for why—no hint of whether this was another torment sent by Amarantha.

The thing is, I’m not sure this part is supposed to be sexy? I know that when Rhysand shows up in a minute, it’s supposed to be sexy with him. But Maas writes so much unintentional kink, I can’t help but laugh. Like, this is supposed to be an awful thing that’s happening to humiliate Feyre and it’s like 30% of my favorited stories on Literotica.

From the neck up, I was regal: my face was adorned with cosmetics—rouge on my lips, a smearing of gold dust on my eyelids, kohl lining my eyes—and my hair was coiled around a small gold diadem embedded with lapis lazuli. But from the neck down, I was a heathen god’s plaything. They had continued the pattern of the tattoo on my arm, and once the blue-black paint had dried, they placed on me a gauzy white dress.

What a fucking weird way to end that sentence. “They placed on me a gauzy white dress.” Okay.

If you could call it a dress. It was little more than two long shafts of gossamer, just wide enough to cover my breasts, pinned at each shoulder with gold brooches. The sections flowed down to a jeweled belt slung low across my hips, where they joined into a single piece of fabric that hung between my legs and to the floor. It barely covered me, and from the cold air on my skin, I knew most of my backside was left exposed.

Congrats to Feyre’s outfit for taking up more page real estate than Lucien’s whole entire mom.

Feyre tries to rip the dress off (because that’s somehow going to make her less naked?), and Rhysand appears.

I should have known it was his doing, should have known from the matching designs all over my body.

Yeah, you probably should have. The fact that shadow fairies came to break you out of jail should have probably been a clue. Especially when you noted they specifically appeared the exact way Rhysand had. Oh, and then there was the part where you were like, saying that the faeries absolutely must have been sent from Rhysand. Any of those moments, I guess, could have clued you in, but I’m glad the matching tattoo design cements it.

Feyre points out that their bargain hasn’t started yet, and Rhysand is like, yeah, but I need a date for this party I’m going to. And then:

He waved a hand, and the faerie servants vanished through the door behind him. I flinched as they walked through the wood—no doubt an ability everyone in the Night Court possessed—and Rhysand chuckled. “You look just as I hoped you would.”

This reminds Feyre of the thing Tamlin said to her after they banged but I’m kinda hung up on this “no doubt an ability everyone in the Night Court possessed.” How could she possibly know that? Why would she make that random guess like, well, seen a few of them do it, so obviously they all do. And if they do all have that power…

Why hasn’t Amarantha taken it away?

I find the whole “Amarantha took our powers” thing very fluid, to tell you the truth. Everyone is just working magic all willy-nilly. Rhysand is able to take a prisoner out of the dungeon because he feels like it. Lucien can heal people. It’s… interesting.

And by interesting, I mean not interesting at all.

So, what’s the point of all the paint?

“How else would I know if anyone touches you?”

He approached, and I braced myself as he ran a finger along my shoulder, smearing the paint. As soon as his finger left my skin, the paint fixed itself, returning the design to its original form. “The dress itself won’t mar it, and neither will your movements,” he said, his face close to mine. His teeth were far too near my throat. “And I’ll remember precisely where my hands have been. But if anyone else touches you—let’s say a certain High Lord who enjoys springtime—I’ll know.” He flicked my nose. “And, Feyre,” he added, his voice a caressing murmur, “I don’t like my belongings tampered with.”

Feyre realizes that Rhysand basically thinks he owns all of her time, not just that one week.

Keep that paint thing in mind, though. The part where if Rhysand touches it, it magically goes back to the way it was. We’re gonna talk about that. Whoo buoy, we’re gonna talk.

While Rhysand walks Feyre through the halls of Under the Mountain, she thinks again about how skimpy her dress is and specifically which parts everyone is able to see. It would be disconcerting to walk around feeling so exposed, but I’m already predisposed to hate this book and I think that’s what makes it feel so unnecessary and repetitive. It’s a whole second description of the damn outfit.

Queer, off-kilter music brayed through two stone doors that immediately recognized.

Queer and off-kilter? They’re listening to Tegan and Sara?

They’re at the throne room, and Feyre is like, oh no, anywhere but here. And I gotta say… like, anywhere? Even the worm pit?

When they walk in, Lucien’s brothers give Feyre “vulpine” smiles. That’s a ten-dollar word that means “like a fox.” Get it? Because Lucien wears a fox mask? But it is his brothers who are the true… foxes, I guess.

Rhysand didn’t touch me, but he walked close enough for it to be obvious that I was with him—that I belonged to him. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d attached a collar and leash around my neck. Maybe he would at some point, now that I was bound to him, the bargain marked on my flesh.

Honestly? I doubt it. Rhysand appears to be a manifestation of repressed kinkiness, not an actually kinky person who wants to do kinky things, you know? He’s just stumbling around as this chaotic, unaware Dom.

Whispers snaked under the shouts of celebrating, and even the music quieted as the crowd parted and made a path for us to Amarantha’s dais. I lifted my chin, the weight of the crown digging into my skull.

What crown? She was wearing a diadem before. It’s like a headband.

Tamlin was seated beside her on that same throne, in his usual clothing, no weapons sheathed anywhere on him.

Why does she always note that he doesn’t have weapons? He’s a prisoner, jackass. We know he wouldn’t have weapons. Prisoners don’t get weapons. But it’s not even that it’s only being noted Under the Mountain; she’s mentioned a lack of weapons several times throughout the story, and I’ve never quite understood why.

“Merry Midsummer,” Rhysand said, bowing to Amarantha.

Um. Sarah? Ms. Maas? MIDSUMMER AND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE ARE THE SAME THINGS AND YOU JUST HAD MIDSUMMER HAPPEN. In some traditions, Midsummer doesn’t happen right on the solstice, but certainly not weeks or a month after it.

I don’t believe this is a matter of choosing different mythology or following some obscure lore. I think she just didn’t know the difference.

Tamlin’s face was like stone—like stone, save for the white knuckled grip on the arms of his throne.

His face was like stone, except for his knuckles, which were not part of his fucking face, Sarah.

I’d done such a foolish thing in binding myself to Rhysand. Rhysand, with the wings and talons lurking beneath that beautiful, flawless surface; Rhysand, who could shatter minds. I did it for you, I wanted to shout.

You did it for Rhysand, Feyre? Because he’s the only person you mentioned in this paragraph. And you mentioned him a lot.

Rhysand explains to Amarantha that he made that one-week-per-month bargain with Feyre.

“For the rest of her life,” he added casually, but his eyes were now upon Amarantha.

The Faerie Queen straightened a little bit—even Jurian’s eye seemed fixed on me, on Rhysand. For the rest of my life—he said it as if it were going to be a long, long while.

He thought I was going to beat her tasks.

Or, he’s teasing her, making her think he doesn’t believe she’ll win, without any real concern for Feyre. I wish this would occur to her somewhere in all this so that she could appear like, you know. Observant. The riddle certainly isn’t proving her cleverness to me.

Amarantha is just like, okay, enjoy the party, and dismisses them, and Lucien takes Feyre to get some wine.

Alis’s first rule. I shook my head.

What did I fucking say?

He smiled, and extended the goblet again. “Drink. You’ll need it.”

Don’t worry. She’s gonna drink it.

Drink, my mind echoed, and my fingers stirred, moving toward the goblet. No. No, Alis said not to drink the wine here—wine that was different from that joyous, freeing solstice wine. “No,” I said, and some faeries who were watching us from a safe distance chuckled.

“Drink,” he said, and my traitorous fingers latched onto the goblet.

It’s technically not her fault that she drinks it, but… come on. We knew it would happen.

There’s another section break, and Feyre is waking up. She’s super hungover, and we’re treated to descriptions of her throwing up and not being able to sleep because, for some reason, Feyre being sick or injured is super interesting to the author. Then Lucien shows up.

“Shit,” said Lucien. “It’s freezing in here.”

It was, but I was too nauseated to notice.

But… you did notice. You just acknowledged that it’s cold.

I fucking hate this. It’s another one of those moments that feels like Feyre must be right somehow, even if there’s no argument. Lucien could have said it was freezing, then put his cloak over her, which he does in the next paragraph, and we would have gotten the point. There wasn’t any need for Feyre to like, explain to the reader why she hadn’t already noticed it was cold. ed.—This is even more infuriating on my second time around, because I’m noticing it even more. Feyre cannot let anyone be the first to observe something, and if they do, she has to assure the reader that the other character is correct. Like none of the other characters are smart except for her, and we need her to let us know that in her expert opinion it’s okay for us to trust the other character’s observation.

Feyre notes that the body paint is “all intact, save for a few places on my waist,” and remember what I said before about how we were going to talk about the body paint? This is the part where we talk about the body paint. And warning, this is where we’re going to talk about potential sexual assault. Whoo hoo. ed.—We’re also going to talk about the continued “save for” trend, in which Feyre uses some words, then announces that actually those aren’t the words she means. Rooms are empty, “save for” all of the fucking furniture in them. Her body paint is “all intact save for a few places.” Well, that’s not “all,” is it, dipshit?

Feyre doesn’t have any memory of what happened after she drank the wine, and when she asks Lucien he tells her:

Lucien drew back. “I don’t think you want to know.” I studied the few smudges on my waist, marks that looked like hands had held me.

“Who did that to me?” I asked quietly, my eyes tracing the arc of the spoiled paint.

Lucien said that first line of dialogue. I know it could have gone either way, with how it’s buried between two different characters’ actions.

Lucien tells Feyre, “Who do you think?” and she asks if Tamlin saw. Of course, Tamlin saw; Rhysand did it on purpose to get a reaction out of Tamlin and, spoiler, it didn’t work. ed.—”Who do you think?” Well, not Rhysand, since we’ve just been shown that HIS TOUCH DOESN’T CHANGE THE WAY THE PAINT LOOKS. But somehow, Feyre immediately deduced that it was Rhysand because…the paint is messed up. WHAT IN THE UNEDITED FIRST DRAFT.

I knew, at least, that I hadn’t been violated beyond touching my sides. The paint told me that much.

The paint, my darling, tells you nothing of the sort because we saw that Rhysand’s touch doesn’t necessarily alter the paint.

Further proof?

“He had you dance for him for most of the night. And when you weren’t dancing, you were sitting in his lap.”

And that didn’t mess up the paint? No smudges on her thighs? Just the handprints on her waist?

Did I happen to mention that Rhysand is the love interest in this series? Rhysand parades her around naked, drugs her, and forces her to dance provocatively in front of the entire court while she’s blacked out and has no control over herself; he also forces her to sit on his lap, which is taking intimate liberties with someone who can’t consent.

Fantastic. Perfect hero, exactly what the straight women seem to desperately want (judging by BookTok and sales numbers and the upcoming streaming series on Hulu), no notes! ed.—The straights are NOT okay, but frankly, they don’t seem to want help.

Lucien is pissed off that Feyre didn’t wait for him to show up and rescue her, and Feyre points out that she could have fucking died. Plus, he didn’t help her when she was screaming and running from the Naga.

“I swore an oath to Tamlin—”

“I had no other choice! You think I’m going to trust you after everything you said to me at the manor?”

“I risked my neck for you during your task. Was that not enough?” His metal eye whirred softly. “You offered up your name for me—after all that I said to you, all I did, you still offered up your name. Didn’t you realize I would help you after that? Oath or no oath?”

I may have just forgotten whatever the fucking oath was, but was there ever any talk of an oath that required Lucien to let Feyre get killed?

Either way, Feyre was actively dying and couldn’t count on him.

They argue a little more about how Rhysand is a bad guy and how Lucien got whipped by Tamlin for interfering in the task.

He walked to the door, and for the first time I noticed how stiffly he moved. “It’s why I couldn’t come sooner,” he said, his throat bobbing. “She used her—used our powers to keep me back from healing. I haven’t been able to move until today.”

Okay, so what you’re telling me here, Lucien, is that FEYRE WOULD HAVE FUCKING DIED IF SHE DIDN’T MAKE THE DEAL WITH RHYSAND. Lucien is standing in this cell, arguing with Feyre that she’s done something stupid and she doesn’t understand what Rhysand is, and she should have known Lucien would come to help her, but LUCIEN HASN’T BEEN ABLE TO MOVE UNTIL THIS VERY DAY?! She would have been DEAD, YOU NUMBSKULL.

Lucien has to leave because the guards are changing shifts.

“Wait,” I said. “Is—is Tamlin all right? I mean … I mean that spell Amarantha has him under to make him so silent …”

“There’s no spell. Hasn’t it occurred to you that Tamlin is keeping quiet to avoid telling Amarantha which form of your torment affects him most?”

No, it hasn’t.

No, it hadn’t.


I mean, we already discussed this a couple times, and I love that Feyre never hit on “maybe he’s just good at controlling his face”  because she’s been so thoroughly convinced that he must be under a spell because otherwise, he would be showing some huge expression of love or concern.

Lucien says they’re “playing a dangerous game” and leaves the cell before another section break.

The next night, I was again washed, painted, and brought to that miserable throne room. Not a ball this time—just some evening entertainment. Which, it turned out, was me. After I drank the wine, though, I was mercifully unaware of what was happening.


I mean, as much as I want to imagine they’re getting her drunk and watching her dance because she’s so bad at it and it’s hilarious, we all know that she’s so sexy and beautiful but unaware of her beauty that they’re watching her do sexy, sexy things. And I take massive offense at the idea that it’s a mercy to be drugged while you’re being violated.

I take that offense because I’ve been drugged and violated and you know what the worst part was? Not the waking up still in the guy’s house and going to the bathroom and being like, holy shit, someone came in me and then having to exit said bathroom and act like everything was totally normal and I didn’t suspect a thing. It was and continues to be the two decades that have followed, in which I have no memory of what happened to me during those hours, whether it was just that guy or that guy and his roommates, whether someone filmed it or took photos of me, you know. All that stuff.

Maybe I’m overreacting to one tiny little statement in this book due to oversensitivity or just outright bias because I fucking hate the book, but that “mercifully unaware” sent me into rage mode because it seemed to imply that if you’re assaulted and exploited, but it happens when you’re drugged, it’s not as traumatic or serious. ed.—Before the Breonna Taylor instagram post, this was what made me hate Sarah J. Maas as a person. I don’t just hate her books. I hate her as a human being. She is a bad person.

Night after night, I was dressed in the same way and made to accompany Rhysand to the throne room. Thus I became Rhysand’s plaything, the harlot of Amarantha’s whore. I woke with vague shards of memories—of dancing between Rhysand’s legs as he sat in a chair and laughed; of his hands, stained blue from the places they’d touched on my waist, my arms, but somehow, never more than that.

As I’ve already mentioned: we know that Rhysand can make the paint not smudge. So, she has no idea where he’s touching her. Just that he’s touched her.

When I could, I contemplated Amarantha’s riddle, turning over every word—to no avail.

Honestly, an editor should have told Maas to cut the riddle loose. I’ve read all the way to the end of the book at this point (okay, I skimmed, I’m not deep-reading twice) and the way the riddle is “solved” is as painfully cringe as the BIG TWIST right before it. There is way too much plot in this fucking book. ed.—It’s just that none of it is interesting.

And when I again entered that throne room, I was allowed only a glimpse of Tamlin before the drug of the wine took hold. But every time, every night, just for that one glance, I didn’t hide the love and pain that welled in my eyes when they met his.

Because everything in the world happens in this chapter, from the moment the space rocks collided until the inevitable heat death of the barren rock we will leave behind, there’s another god damn section break.

The pacing in this fucking thing is so uneven. We spent chapters upon chapters painting and riding and going to dinner, and now that the book is almost over, it’s like Maas just realized she needs to finish the story.

Hey, somebody recently said they thought chapter forty was the longest and most boring thing they’d ever read. Did you mean chapter thirty-nine, maybe? BECAUSE IT’S SO LONG AND SO BORING.

Anyway, Feyre is once again painted up and dressed in something skimpy, and Rhysand arrives and notes that her second trial is the next night.

“Aren’t you going to beg me to give you a night with your beloved?”

I mean, based on the fairytale this came from? She should. Instead, she’s like, no, when I finish this task, we’ll have every night. Which is a pretty good response.

Rhysand asks Feyre if she was this sassy to Tamlin when she was his “captive” and she’s like, he didn’t treat me like a “captive” and I’m all, okay, but he did kidnap you and keep you at his manor and warned you to never leave the grounds and stuff, that sounds pretty hostagey to me.

Rhysand thinks Tamlin wasn’t cruel to Feyre because Tamlin’s father was such a cruel person, and Tamlin is laughably noble to try to rise above it or something.

“[…]But perhaps if he’d bothered to learn a thing or two about cruelty, about what it means to be a true High Lord, it would have kept the Spring Court from falling.”

So, the endgame love interest is basically saying that Tamlin should have kept slaves. ed.Sarah J. Maas is a bad person.

What’s even weirder is that Tamlin is plenty cruel. He was ordering members of his court to sacrifice themselves so they could find the girl who would eventually love him. How is that not cruel?

Feyre snaps back that the Night Court also fell.

Sadness flickered in those violet eyes. I wouldn’t have noticed it had I not … felt it—deep inside me. My gaze drifted to the eye etched in my palm. What manner of tattoo, exactly, had he given me?

She doesn’t ask him, though, because that’s going to be the big twist in the next chapter. Instead, she asks him if he was free on Fire Night because he “sold allegiance” to Amarantha so he doesn’t have to live Under the Mountain.

Why would that be? Like, Amarantha doesn’t really need allegiance from anyone, does she? She’s more powerful than everything in Prythian. She doesn’t need to make deals; she can just force them to do what she wants, right?

Oh no! Did someone accidentally make their villain too powerful?! And it’s making the rest of the story make zero sense at all?!

Rhysand and Feyre argue a little bit about Amarantha until Rhysand is like, nah, we’re going to the throne room now. Feyre wants to know why Rhysand is doing all this stuff to her and is it all just to fuck with Tamlin.

“Taunting him is my greatest pleasure,” he said with a mock bow. “And as for your question, why does any male need a reason to enjoy the presence of a female?”

“You saved my life.”

“And through your life, I saved Tamlin’s.”


He winked, smoothing his blue-black hair. “That, Feyre, is the real question, isn’t it?”

Translation: the author hasn’t thought that far ahead.

They get to the throne room, and suddenly Feyre realizes everyone is looking at Rhysand. Amarantha calls him over.

He paused, glancing at Lucien’s brothers stalking toward us, their attention pinned on me. Eager, hungry—wicked.

Everybody wants to fuck Feyre. I will never tire of it.

Whoops, I’m tired of it.

Rhysand tells Feyre to stay close to him and shut up.

But guess what happens?


A brown-skinned High Fae male was sobbing on the floor before the dais. Amarantha was smiling at him like a snake—so intently that she didn’t even spare me a glance. Beside her, Tamlin remained utterly impassive. A beast without claws.

I just want to note here that while she didn’t mention a lack of weapons, every time Feyre sees Tamlin, she references his claws. Since he does fuck all on the page the entire time he’s there, I’m mentally replacing him with a cardboard cut-out of Wolverine.

Rhysand flicked his eyes to me—a silent command to stay at the edge of the crowd. I obeyed, and when I lifted my attention to Tamlin, waiting for him to look—just look at me—he did not, his focus wholly on the queen, on the male before her. Point taken.

What point?! Are you really going to feel slighted because Tamlin won’t look at you when you’ve already been told why he won’t react to your presence?

Plus, there’s a dude on the floor sobbing. Maybe that situation requires the most immediate attention, Feyre.

The guy on the floor is from the Summer Court, and he tried to escape Under the Mountain.

There was a tall, handsome High Fae male standing at the crowd’s edge—his hair near-white, eyes of crushing, crystal blue, his skin of richest mahogany.

Okay, Effie Trinket.

Now, for the return of “words mean things and I don’t think these particular words mean what Sarah thinks they mean”:

The summer faerie cringed, his face shining with tears. My own bowels turned water with fear and shame as he wet himself at the sight of Rhysand. “P-p-please,” he gasped out.

Feyre has diarrhea again. Feyre has diarrhea so much, I’ve actually learned to spell it correctly. Thanks, Feyre!

Note, please, that in a story with characters of all different colors except for human skin tones other than boiled chicken white, the two characters who are described as having human-like dark skin tones are here to piss themselves and be tortured.

Rhysand does his mind trick to the faerie while the High Lord of the Summer Court watches.

The High Lord of Summer had gone still, too—and it was pain, real pain, and fear that shown in those stunning blue eyes.

Watch out, dude. She’s talking about your eyes. You might accidentally end up being a love interest.

Summer was one of the courts that had rebelled, I remembered. So this was a new, untested High Lord, who had not yet had to make choices that cost him lives.

Sorry, I meant the people who aren’t white are there to piss themselves, be tortured, AND be naive in the company of the much more experienced white faeries.

Rhysand reports that the faery from the Summer Court was trying to escape to the human world, nobody helped him, and he ran because he was scared. 

So, then this horrifying shit happens:

“Shatter him, Rhysand.” She flicked a hand at the High Lord of the Summer Court. “You may do what you want with the body afterward.”


So now, one of the only dark-skinned characters in the book is in the book to cry on the floor, piss himself, get tortured, and then apparently violated or something?

And the pissing thing? She mentions it two more times, going so far as to describe the guy falling into “the puddle of his own waste.”

“But Jenny, why would you think Rhysand would violate the dude, and that’s what Amarantha meant? Maybe she meant he could dispose of it any way he wanted, not that he was going to do something gross with it? I mean, she told Rhysand to kill the guy.”

Excellent question, but no. She did not intend for Rhysand to kill the fairy. Amarantha actually gets mad about it.

“I said shatter his mind, not his brain,” Amarantha snapped.

I guess she intended for the guy to be locked-in or trapped in some kind of fugue state or something? But instead, Rhysand killed him.

Feyre looks at Tamlin to see what’s up with him during all of this.

What horrors had he witnessed in his long life if this hadn’t broken that distant expression, that control?

He saw that girl you knew get skinned alive.

I know there’s a lot about Tamlin not expressing emotion in here, but trust me, it matters deeply in the most infuriating, insipid, last-minute plot twist way. You’re gonna hate it.

Rhysand takes Feyre with him and leaves the general dead body (and piss!) area. Clare’s body is still hanging on the wall, by the way. After months.

People call Rhysand a whore and some of them are like, good job killing that guy.

Rhysand didn’t deign to acknowledge any of them, his shoulders still loose, his footsteps unhurried. I wondered whether anyone but he and the High Lord of the Summer Court knew that the killing had been a mercy.

Oh, you mean like you do? Since you’re reporting the fucking information to us? If only Rhysand and the High Lord of the Summer Court know that, how the fuck are you telling it to us?


I was willing to bet that there had been others involved in that escape plan, perhaps even the High Lord of the Summer Court himself.

Oh, this you can figure out but not that fucking riddle?

Maybe sparing that faerie male by killing him swiftly, rather than shattering his mind and leaving him a drooling husk, had been another calculated move, too.

It wasn’t about body disposal. It was about Rhysand taking the body and like, torturing a vulnerable person.

But he’s so merciful, right? Because he didn’t do that this time.

Oh, and then he drugs Feyre again. The end. Of the chapter, at least.

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  1. Mab

    “Feyre has diarrhea again. Feyre has diarrhea so much, I’ve actually learned to spell it correctly. Thanks, Feyre!”

    So, this whole experience was good for something. Well, two things really, how to spell diarrhea and how not to write a book. This shit is educational yo!

    Also, more and more I’m starting to think Lucien would have made a better love interest. You could keep the whole TamTam got her to fall for him as a bet, and makes Lucien do this, that, and the other as a way to get her to fall for Tam, but while doing this, that, and the other, Lucien begins to fall in love with her. Why? I have no idea, but everyone else seems to be doing it in this book so why not him too?

    Anyway, Lucien is trapped between his love for this mortal and his duty to TamTam, who saved him when his own court tossed him out. Now he has to watch as Rhys treats her like a sex puppet, and he can’t do anything to stop it because Rhys is being supported by Aminvincible and Tam has changed sides and it’s little low power Lucien and teflon human Fayray against the forces of the greatest power in fairidom. But Fayray will learn that LOVE is the greatest power of all when Lucien sacrifices himself for her. But being Fayray, she nullified his sacrifice by agreeing to join Amabadguy’s court to be near Tam who is all “oh, fuck, what do I have to do to get rid of this chick?” While Rhys, who isn’t interested in her, his whole focus is on Tam, gives him a paintjob and is all “let me teach you”.

    IDK, it just seems, out of all the male options (and let’s face it, Maas is not going to go with a female love interest for her arrow straight self insert) Lucien is the only one whose cruelty towards Fayray could be written off as anything but him being a total asshole.

    November 20, 2023
    • Al

      I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s a good point. Lucien does have potential.

      November 20, 2023
  2. Kat

    “I was alone—utterly alone, locked in silence—though the screaming in the dungeons still continued day and night.”

    For some reason this is the thing that broke me and turned me into an incoherent, screaming wreck.

    Feyre is just so fucking horrifically, unbearably, unconscionably selfish I want to see her torn apart by a pack of wolves. Oh woe is she, trapped all alone in silence in her cell, nevermind the people screaming as they’re being tortured nearby, they don’t count because she’s all alone with no one to talk to.

    Good God, I have not LOATHED a “protagonist” as much in all my life. She is the absolute worst fucking person and I know she doesn’t die in this series, but I bloody well wish she would so we didn’t have to be inside her horrible, insipid, stupid little head anymore.

    November 20, 2023
    • Al

      Does temporarily dying count?

      November 20, 2023
  3. Mab

    The one unsettling thing about this chapter (as opposed to all the unsettling things in the book as a whole) is that I’ve been picturing Fayray as this rather stunted 12 year old this whole time, the kind of 12 year old who’s been homeschooled by illiterate parents, and in no way at all as a sexy woman who would at all be enticing as a half dressed harum girl. So this whole drugging her and making her dance stuff comes across more pedo than is intended. Maybe if Maas had written her to at all sound mature it wouldn’t creep me out as much as it did.

    Even her descriptions of Fayray’s “sexy thoughts” comes across as very naive and immature. Maybe it was all that “he’s too beautiful for me to paint” stuff that makes her seem like she’s never seen a man before.

    It just dawned on me she’s not actually a virgin is she? There was that guy in town she did the whole benefits thing with. God, that seems like a lifetime ago.

    November 20, 2023
    • Al

      She also banged Tamlin some chapters ago!

      November 20, 2023
      • Mab

        Is it a bad sign that I completely forgot they actually had sex? I remember all the touching his abs stuff, but totally forgot (blocked from my mind for self preservation?) there was actual penetration.

        Still see her as a child though, based on her general personality and non-sex related actions.

        November 20, 2023
        • Al

          Yes, but not for you!

          It’s very damning for the book that the most explicit Tam/Feyre sex scene — the one that was supposed to be the culmination of months of pining and suspense; the one romance readers should have been waiting for with bated breath from the start — was just. Forgettable. Absolutely zero impact to the story, nothing particularly hot or memorable. Honestly could’ve cut it and this book would have had the same spice rating imo. Rhysand and the groveling scene was the hottest thing in the entire book; none of the lackluster Feyre/Tam scenes came close.

          November 22, 2023
  4. Al

    This was one of the things I was so mad about when she retconned Rhysand into being wholly good and unproblematic!!! I mean, this could totally have worked as some kind of yandere dark romance with serious consent issues and a whole lotta sexual humiliation and sadism. A lot of people are into that. That includes a lot of the readers of this series, I’m sure.

    But it DOESNT work as a hearts-and-flowers romance where Rhysand was a good guy all along! It doesn’t work as a “Beauty and the Beast subversion” that’s somehow “more feminist” because Feyre’s always grabbing knives and doesn’t end up with the Beast in the end, and also the Beast has secretly been a problematic asshole the entire time. Instead, it kinda just seems like the author is like “okay, well, you’re all horny for Rhysand because of the hints at maybe kink happening in the next city over, so now you can use your horny-brains to decide that logic and continuity don’t matter and you want to see him fucking someone 🙂 now let me explain to you why Tamlin is awful and misogynistic and WAYYY worse than Rhysand, who is a traumatized feminist at heart and therefore very very good for Feyre.”

    My kingdom for a proper yandere romance with all the appropriate warnings…

    November 20, 2023
    • Hek

      Truly. This shit is making me want to write a better dark romance story or something

      December 24, 2023
  5. ShifterCat

    “Some heathen god” only makes sense if there are orthodox gods, and we haven’t gotten the slightest bit of info about who worships what.

    Okay, I hate that I’m in the position of defending Sarah J. Maas on anything, but: I’ve read the phrase “bowels turned to water” in a few other stories, and it’s clear from context that it doesn’t mean diarrhea. It’s a description of that sensation of sudden fear such that it feels like your gut suddenly dropped.

    November 20, 2023
    • phenks

      Since they’re always swearing “by the cauldron,” does that make the “heathen gods,” like…. a non-stick skillet?? Some all-clad????

      November 20, 2023
      • Sr4f

        I had to read your comment twice, and when I got it, I had a tea accident.
        I now have spilled tea on my desk and it is your fault.

        November 20, 2023
      • ShifterCat


        I suspect SJM vaguely recalled some Welsh stories featuring a cauldron, like the ones belonging to Cerridwen or Bran, and didn’t consider that those are magic items owned by gods, not deities in their own right.

        And it’s fine to have people swear by god-related things: “Zounds”, for example is short for “God’s wounds”. But any fully-fleshed-out religion will have an assortment of profane oaths, as well as the standard bodily-function cuss words.

        For the TTRPG character I’ve mentioned a few times now, I decided that one of his feytongue phrases translated to “Horned Lord’s balls”.

        November 22, 2023
      • Dove

        I’ll gladly worship the non-stick skillet. The least trouble with clean-up! The mighty cast iron skillet is powerful and wondrous, almost immortal, but treacherous if you be ignorant or weak (like me!)

        November 26, 2023
    • Jessica

      I don’t want to defend her either, but I second this.

      November 20, 2023
  6. Lena

    “a heathen god”

    As opposed to the One True God because Fayray is super duper devoted to her faith, praying constantly and giving thanks for all those timely rescues… oops, no, the only reference to any religion has been by fairies using “hell” as mild profanity.


    November 20, 2023
    • Al

      I literally didn’t even notice this but AUGH you’re so right T_T

      November 21, 2023
  7. kristy

    “The pacing in this fucking thing is so uneven. We spent chapters upon chapters painting and riding and going to dinner, and now that the book is almost over, it’s like Maas just realized she needs to finish the story.”

    I just can’t with this book. Granted, I’m only reading it through these recaps, and I know I’m not observing anything Jenny and others of you have already observed, but I can’t understand WHY you spend basically the entire book setting Tamlin up as the love interest, he does so much nice stuff for Feyre (as nice as one can be to his captive, I suppose) and her family, spares her, blah blah, then at the end he turns out to be the bad guy? Or at least “a” bad guy, if not “the” bad guy? I don’t feel like I got the red flags (or maybe that wouldn’t have worked from Feyre’s POV, if she was supposed to be so in love, but then maybe don’t write from one person’s POV).

    November 21, 2023
    • Mab

      I do think the book would have improved at least a bit if we got out of Fayray’s head a bit. It would have been more interesting if we could have gotten the conflict within the mind of the love interest of the week.

      Tam’s moment when he went from trying to trick her into falling for him to actually falling for her, Lucien’s conflict between doing what he’s being told, loyalty to his friend and what he thinks is right, Rhys’s mindset when he’s torturing her.

      Any of that would have added some depth to the story as well as to the “hot guys” because so far their only personality traits are hot and cruel, which could work in an erotica book, but thusfar this doesn’t seem to be that kind of book. I forgot she had sex with Tam which doesn’t bode well for the eroticness for me. lol

      Plus, I wonder if Fayray would have been less insufferable if we were given a break from being trapped in her head for a chapter or two. Nahhh, she’d still suck, but at least we’d get a break

      November 21, 2023
      • kristy

        Hot, cruel, and confusing, because we can only guess at the reasons for their actions, or have someone else (who may or may not be–and probably isn’t–trustworthy) tell us why they’re doing whatever they’re doing. I guess Feyre can be forgiven for not trusting Rhysand’s explanation for Tamlin’s behavior, because really, why should she trust Rhysand? What he’s saying might make sense, but I wouldn’t exactly trust the guy who’s drugging and doing who-knows-what to me every damn day.

        November 21, 2023
    • Al

      Huge spoilers for book 2, but if you were curious, Tamlin’s problematic behavior is mostly that he wants to protect Feyre and doesn’t want her to be hurt, and the result is that she feels stifled and trapped because after everything shes been through with Amarantha, Tamlin is now super overprotective. That said, a lot of his behavior felt like major retconning… like there’s scenes in this book where he’s angry or scared and ends up slicing himself with his claws or breaking furniture, which is admittedly a bit of a red flag; but there’s usually some cause behind it, like Rhysand threatening Feyre; and then he usually waits for everyone to leave before trashing the room, which sounds less like abuse and more like those “trash the room” things you pay to do as a stress release.

      In the second book, he wrecks a room because he’s mad that Feyre didn’t like the present he gave her. Which is a much more extreme extension of what’s going on here, but still not really justified or supported.

      He also demands a tithe from these faeries who are starving, and insist that their species is just “inherently greedy” when they say they can’t afford to pay it, which is obviously problematic, but it’s ALSO completely inconsistent with anything we’ve seen from him in this book. Idk; I know he didn’t have a particularly firm character in this book, but throughout these two books he’s just all over the place, to the point where I don’t know if he ever had a personality.

      November 21, 2023
      • Dove

        Yeah, I’m willing to buy there are red flags because no one here is great but it feels as if Maas is just used to going into a fandom, choosing whatever pairing you want (which is ok, there’s nothing wrong with that ever) and then demonizing the standard partner for this one character while erasing all of the genuine flaws of another choice to make them “acceptable” as this character’s partner. And while it’s entirely possible to do this, even make it interesting sometimes, it’s fucking annoying as all hell if you don’t actually understand what is incredibly toxic or normal flawed behavior. Writing nuance is hard, don’t get me wrong, but it’s trying to view the love interests in black and white thinking instead of touching on actual gray morality and just… ugh. I hate that. I’m assuming a lot but I’ve seen that kinda thing and that’s what it feels like is going on here based on all of the spoilers you’ve given so far.

        It’s especially annoying because sometimes people break-up and it isn’t a catastrophe and abuse wasn’t involved. People fall in and out of love, things change, sometimes people just move on from a relationship. That can happen. And it can be interesting FFS. :p

        November 26, 2023
  8. Lydia Valentine
    Lydia Valentine

    Ooof! Don’t do that to Lydia Deetz! She’s 100x a more awesome character than Feyre could ever aspire to! Dx

    November 21, 2023
    • Dove

      Yeah Lydia Deetz has a soul. I’m not convinced Feyre does lol.

      November 26, 2023
  9. Rhinodon

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned elsewhere, but this chapter is giving me strong vibes of a PG-13 version of Kushiel’s Avatar. The part where Phèdre’s in the dark kingdom and essentially has to be a living doll for its awful ruler? Except, he’s an actually terrible person and doesn’t become a love interest like it sounds Rhysand is going to be…

    November 21, 2023
    • Dove

      Oh it’s always possible that was an inspiration! Her name is even similar lol. Plus it wouldn’t surprise me if Maas enjoyed Phèdre/dark kingdom ruler or any pairing like that and decided to shove that randomly into this novel when she thought of it.

      November 26, 2023
  10. Person

    I was waiting for a reveal that it wasn’t actually Lucien handing her the blackout wine, but it seems it was? So…her friend was helping drug her as a courtesy because her violation and humiliation were going to happen regardless? Yikes.

    November 21, 2023
  11. Dove

    Yeah it dawned on my last time with the retconn of Lucien as a POC that him being the only one we’ve seen whipped, and Amarantha making Tamlin do it to him, was a big yikes since it’s not as if we’ve seen anyone else whipped (could be implications Clare was but I kinda assumed the red lines were cuts and I didn’t realize she was skinned so yay. ALSO STILL THE ONLY CORPSE ON THE WALL. IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE RANDOM AND AWKWARD DECOR AT ALL.)

    But further fucking yikes that not only was this guy going to be tortured and violated and become a meat puppet, the only obvious solution is death. Not like IDK finding some way for Rhysand to fake it and sneak him out again… death is the only way out and that kinda has a whiff of the ableism regarding her dad.

    Also WHY the fuck does Amarantha care if these people are beneath her mountain? I’m just… WTF does this woman even want from anyone besides ASMR screams from her dungeon? ugh idk i don’t like this book

    There is so much horribleness going on. And the relevant insight is helpful for conveying just how fucked up this situation for Feyre actually is since Maas certainly doesn’t understand it fully or else doesn’t want to which is fair but then don’t umm make the book the genre that it is ok. I didn’t know exactly how fucked it was either (I’ve also never been black-out drunk) but those are chilling thoughts to have. It absolutely sucks that anyone is drugged and violated IRL and I’m sure remembering it is fucking awful but having to wonder about it is awful too. 🙁

    This is why consent needs to be taught and why sex education should be thoroughly informative, inclusive, and mandatory. but yeah idk I just… this book is draining. forgive me that I keep beating a dead horse.

    November 26, 2023
  12. Hek

    > Something about other female characters being described as “females” just… spine crawlies.

    I already said this but it gets SO MUCH WORSE IN BOOK 2

    Enough that I stopped reading early on even though I otherwise have a decent trash tolerance

    > From the neck up, I was regal: my face was adorned with cosmetics—rouge on my lips, a smearing of gold dust on my eyelids, kohl lining my eyes—and my hair was coiled around a small gold diadem embedded with lapis lazuli.

    So that’s… red, gold, black and blue? Sheesh, someone can’t pick a colour scheme for the accessories and stick to it.

    > “How else would I know if anyone touches you?”

    > He flicked my nose. “And, Feyre,” he added, his voice a caressing murmur, “I don’t like my belongings tampered with.”

    This is one of those things that’s fantastic in a story that’s kinky and KNOWS it’s kinky, and super unsettling in the Twu Wuv love interest anywhere else.

    December 24, 2023

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