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A Court of Jealousy and Haters: ACOTAR chapter 43 or “Feyre Everdeen”

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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.

We’ve read a lot of books over the years. Hang on. Let me count on my fingers. Is it ten? Ten, counting Crave, which is in progress? ed.—And it’s soooooo boring and that’s why I’ve wandered away from it. And also if we count the books that I abandoned because some tiny part of me clings to hope.

Anyway, in all those books that we’ve read, I’m not sure any plot “twist” has ever made me so furious and insulted as the one you’re about to experience. It is possibly the most unfounded “twist” I’ve ever seen in a book, movie, tv show, any medium at all.

It’s time for Feyre’s final challenge.

For my final task, I was given my old tunic and pants—stained and torn and reeking—[…]

Yikes. I mean, it’s not the hardest task but it does sound like a pretty gross one.

[…]but despite my stench, I kept my chin high as I was escorted to the throne room.

Oh. My bad. Continue. ed.—I just realized… I don’t remember her being given extra clothes? Did that happen? If someone has this book and the inclination, I would love to know what’s meant by her “old” pants and tunic. I deleted this book from all my devices and removed it from my Amazon account.

All eyes are on Feyre in the throne room. Nobody is betting against her survival or spitting at her or making fun of her or any of the stuff that’s happened in the past.

Their world rested on my shoulders, Rhys had said. But I didn’t think it was worry alone that was spread across their features. I had to swallow hard as a few of them touched their fingers to their lips, then extended their hands to me—a gesture for the fallen, a farewell to the honored dead.

If you just heard the Mockingjay whistle from The Hunger Games, don’t worry, you’re not having auditory hallucinations. You’re just interpreting the text correctly. Feyre is no longer Feyre the amazing Faerie-Killing Human. She’s their savior.

“Two trials lie behind you,” Amarantha said, picking a fleck of dust on her blood-red gown. Her hair shone, a gleaming crimson river that threatened to swallow her golden crown.

This is the first time Amarantha has been described as having “crimson” hair. It’s been “red-gold” the rest of the time. You might be thinking, “Jenny, that’s a really small nit to pick,” but is it, though? Feyre is a painter. She’s going to remind us of that like a billion times in this chapter (presumably to make up for the reduction in painter talk while she’s been Under the Mountain). Painters know that red-gold and crimson are vastly different colors, with different undertones and warmth values.

In other words: Amarantha’s been into the L’Oreal Feria.

Amarantha points out that if Feyre fails now, it’ll be extra pathetic because she’s gotten so close to the finish line. Feyre notes that none of the fairies in the throne room laugh except Amarantha’s guards.

I blinked to clear my burning eyes. Perhaps, like Rhysand’s, their oaths of allegiance and betting on my life and nastiness had been a show. And perhaps now—now that the end was imminent—they, too, would face my potential death with whatever dignity they had left.

And then the whole bus clapped.

Amarantha asks Feyre if she has any last words, and Feyre turns to Tamlin.

“I love you,” I said. “No matter what she says about it, no matter if it’s only with my insignificant human heart. Even when they burn my body, I’ll love you.” My lips trembled, and my vision clouded before several warm tears slipped down my chilled face. I didn’t wipe them away.

Tamlin has zero reaction to this and Feyre is like, well, that’s because he’s so destroyed by the fact that I’m gonna die. Amarantha is like, lol bitch, we won’t even have to burn you because there won’t be anything left.

I stared at her long and hard. But her words were not met with jeers or smiles or applause from the crowd. Only silence.

It was a gift that gave me courage, that made me bunch my fists, that made me embrace the tattoo on my arm. I had beaten her until now, fairly or not, and I would not feel alone when I died. I would not die alone. It was all I could ask for.

Oh wow, they’re all on Feyre’s side now! She’s their hero!

Hey, wait. Wouldn’t they want to keep up the charade of hating her and wanting her to fail? You know, just in case she fucking fails? Because what happens if Feyre dies and they’ve all just given Amarantha the “you can’t sit with us!” treatment?

I guess in a world where the heroine’s victory is assured, the actions and motivations of the people around her aren’t that important. They can all just behave as though they’re also aware of the outcome and not worried about other possibilities.

Amarantha propped her chin on a hand. “You never figured out my riddle, did you?” I didn’t respond, and she smiled. “Pity. The answer is so lovely.” 

And despite Amarantha giving Feyre a clue that’s two letters off from the actual answer to the riddle, Feyre just plows ahead with the third task.

So, what ends up happening is, three fairies with sacks over their heads kidnapping-style are brought into the hall and made to kneel in front of Feyre.

Amarantha clapped her hands again, and three servants clad in black appeared at the side of each of the kneeling faeries. In their long, pale hands, they each carried a dark velvet pillow. And on each pillow lay a single polished wooden dagger. Not metal for a blade, but ash. Ash, because—

At this point, we all know that ash kills fairies, but once again, Maas decides that we’re all too stupid to understand what’s happening here. All Feyre had to do was say, “Not metal for a blade, but ash,” and we understand that these are fairy-killing weapons. But nope. Sarah cannot resist a “the poison for Kuzco. Kuzco’s poison” explanation, even when it comes at the expense of a nice beat.

The very existence of ash weapons in Under the Mountain tickles me because it reminds me of one of the multiple episodes of American Dad! where they die. At some point, we learn that there is such a thing as heaven guns that can kill angels, and a guy in a crowd yells, “Why do we have those again?”

Feyre’s final task is to kill the three fairies.

“They’re innocent—not that it should matter to you,” she went on, “since it wasn’t a concern the day you killed Tamlin’s poor sentinel. And it wasn’t a concern for dear Jurian when he butchered my sister. But if it’s a problem … well, you can always refuse. Of course, I’ll take your life in exchange, but a bargain’s a bargain, is it not? If you ask me, though, given your history with murdering our kind, I do believe I’m offering you a gift.”

Now, I’m sitting here thinking, no, that’s not a problem because Amarantha has already slaughtered Clare and her family, right? Feyre could just be like, “Sure, let’s do this, we’re even,” frankly, and walk away with her hands clean.

But that would mean Feyre wouldn’t get a chance to struggle with the choice of being a hero and the Abrahamic concept of punishment for one’s wicked deeds, which is now the theme of the next few pages.

Refuse and die. Kill three innocents and live. Three innocents, for my own future. For my own happiness. For Tamlin and his court and the freedom of an entire land.

At what point did this go from Feyre trying to free Tamlin and the Spring Court and Feyre being the sole savior of all Prythian? Rhysand says that Tamlin’s going to kill Amarantha after the curse is broken, but there’s still that king over in Hybern. At no point has Feyre ever been fighting for the liberation of all fairies, until right now, the climax of the book.

You might be thinking, “You’re right, Jenny, that is a very bad, infuriating, totally unfounded twist.” But this isn’t the twist. We’ll get there.

It was cold-blooded murder—the murder of them, of my very soul.

She’s so worried about the salvation of her soul that:

I wished I knew the name of one of our forgotten gods so that I might beg them to intercede, wished I knew any prayers at all to plead for guidance, for absolution.

Their religion has been lost to the ages, but not the part they had about souls and absolution and all that.

But I did not know those prayers, or the names of our forgotten gods—[…]

Just in case you missed the paragraph directly above this sentence, where Feyre says she wished she knew the names of the forgotten gods or any prayers to them. Sarah needs to explain this to us because she and Feyre are the smartest people in the room.

Feyre figures that the number of people she’s supposed to kill is less than the number of people she’s going to save from slavery (no joke, the word “enslaved” is used), so she has to kill them.

These deaths would not be wasted—even if it would damn me forever.

Again, a concept of damnation, but no religion? Doesn’t make sense. Makes zero sense. And I’m not saying, “Oh, if you don’t believe in god you don’t know better than to kill people and it wouldn’t bother you.” I’m just saying that if you’re building a fantasy world, at least go to any length at all to complete the worldbuilding. If there is no religion, there can be no hell, no soul, no damnation. If you want those concepts to exist, you have to make them exist. You can’t just be like, yeah, everyone forgot about the gods and religion has been gone for centuries and then shove a bunch of religious thinking into it.

At least we get an answer as to why they have heaven guns. I mean, ash knives.

There were three daggers, because she wanted me to feel the agony of reaching for that knife again and again. Wanted me to mean it.

Feyre is a super good hunter, right? Amazing aim and all that?

Why not grab a dagger and fling it at Amarantha?

Because then we wouldn’t get to read about Feyre killing each fairy! ed.—Also, because then our female main character destroys the villain, which is unacceptable, as that is rescuing herself and not as sexy and romantic as being rescued by someone else. They pull the bag off the first one’s head and he pleads with Feyre for his life.

His eyes were the color of a sky I’d never see again if I refused to kill him, a color I’d never get out of my mind, never forget no matter how many times I painted it.

Did you know Feyre is a painter? The author recently remembered this. Unfortunately.

Though Feyre hears someone weeping in the crowd and she does take a second to think that hey, she’s killing someone’s loved one, the stakes are too high.

I couldn’t think about it, couldn’t think about who he was, or the color of his eyes, or any of it. Amarantha was grinning with wild, triumphant glee. Kill a faerie, fall in love with a faerie, then be forced to kill a faerie to keep that love. It was brilliant and cruel, and she knew it.

“If I tell the reader that this is brilliant, they must believe it.” No, that’s not how this works. Because it makes no sense and will make less sense later.

Rhysand is there, by the way. This would be a perfect time for Rhysand to like, magically appear beside it and stab Amarantha but he just stands by the throne and watches this all go down. He even makes Feyre’s hand tingle to signal that she should kill the doomed fairy.

Please!” His voice rose to a shriek.

The sound jarred me so much that I lunged.

Yeah, so she kills the dude. She kills him and then staggers backward and drops the knife and there’s all this stuff about how she feels numb and disconnected from her body and how could she have done this and the blood, the blood, the blood, etc.

The next fairy to go is a woman who sits there and prays while Feyre feels sorry for herself. The entire chapter kind of gives the impression that somehow Feyre has it worse than the people she’s killing.

Silent tears slid down my face and neck, where they dampened the filthy collar of my tunic. As she spoke, I knew I would be forever barred from that immortal land. I knew that whatever Mother she meant would never embrace me. In saving Tamlin, I was to damn myself.

More with the damnation, now with the added fear of not going to heaven. In a world where Feyre was never, ever religious because there is no religion.

But yeah, don’t you just love the vibe? This chick is sobbing and praying because she’s going to get stabbed in the heart and Feyre is like, yeah but this is really hard for me.

Here is a selection of other religious references in this section:

“Let me pass through the gates; let me smell that immortal land of milk and honey.”

Revelations 21:21, Exodus 3:8

“Let me fear no evil,” […]

Psalm 23:4

“Let me enter eternity.”

So much of the Bible. Just so, so many parts. ed.—I was absolutely stunned when I learned that Maas is Jewish, because the Christianity in this book is overwhelming.

This fairy actually like, nods at Feyre to indicate it’s okay to kill her. Hey… this is a neat trick. Feyre killed the first fairy because Rhysand was making her hand tingle and then the guy’s begging for his life startled her into stabbing him. Now, the second fairy is silently urging Feyre to kill her.

Isn’t it convenient that other people are responsible for these actions? Like, it’s not enough that Amarantha is responsible for putting Feyre in this situation, Feyre also can’t act on her impulses and make these decisions herself. She has to be nudged into them because Feyre cannot have flaws.

As I lifted the ash dagger, something inside me fractured so completely that there would be no hope of ever repairing it. No matter how many years passed, no matter how many times I might try to paint her face.

Did… did George W. Bush write this?

It would be more honorable to refuse—to die, rather than murder innocents. But … but …

We don’t get to the “but” before Feyre knifes this fairy. Can you imagine if she just decided to stop there? Like, sure, she’s already killed one fairy and now his family is still doomed to an eternity under Amarantha’s rule because Feyre gave up. Obviously, that’s not what happens but just the fact she was entertaining the idea is kinda hilarious.

One faerie—and then we were free. Just one more swing of my arm.

And maybe one more after that—maybe one more swing, up and inward and into my own heart.

I mean, if you’re taking feedback, Feyre, I think that would be a swell idea.

It would be a relief—a relief to end it by my own hand, a relief to die rather than face this, what I’d done.

Rather than to die by em dashes, which is definitely how I’m going to die before the end of this book. Crushed to death in a pile of strikingly unnecessary em dashes.

I tried to search for em dashes in my Kindle app and the fan on my laptop sped up like a helicopter lifting off and everything froze and I never learned how many em dashes are in this book but I learned my lesson about trying to find out.

Anyway, they take the hood off the next fairy and oh my gasp, it’s Tamlin.

I whipped my head to the throne beside Amarantha’s, still occupied by my High Lord, and she laughed as she snapped her fingers. The Tamlin beside her transformed into the Attor, smiling wickedly at me.

“Oh, so that’s the twist,” you’re thinking to yourself. “The Attor has never displayed any kind of shape-shifting abilities before, yet here he is, shape shifting. Yeah, that’s sloppy.”

Nope. That’s not the twist. It gets worse than simply adding vague powers onto random characters 92% into the book.

Feyre is like, that’s not fair.

“Fair?” Amarantha mused, playing with Jurian’s bone on her necklace. “I wasn’t aware you humans knew of the concept. You kill Tamlin, and he’s free.” Her smile was the most hideous thing I’d ever seen. “And then you can have him all to yourself.”

What the fuck did I say? What did Alis say? Don’t make deals with fairies without being real, really specific.

“Unless,” Amarantha went on, “you think it would be more appropriate to forfeit your life. After all: What’s the point? To survive only to lose him?” Her words were like poison. “Imagine all those years you were going to spend together … suddenly alone. Tragic, really. Though a few months ago, you hated our kind enough to butcher us—surely you’ll move on easily enough.” She patted her ring. “Jurian’s human lover did.”

Hey, you know what doesn’t make any god damn sense? Amarantha wanted to prove that Feyre, like Jurian, can’t love a fairy. To disprove Amarantha’s assumption, Feyre has to… do exactly what Jurian did and kill the fairy she claims to love.

How does that work? Even from a “ha ha, I tricked you with my wily fae deal” standpoint, it doesn’t. Maybe if Feyre made that connection, maybe if she thought something along the lines of wow, there’s no way for me to win at all, here, because if I kill Tamlin I lose the wager automatically because it will be proof that I’m treacherous and faithless like Jurian.

Or maybe I’m just not smart enough to understand these twists and turns.

Oh, speaking of twists? Tamlin being under the hood and this whole deal with Feyre having to kill him? That’s not the twist. We’re getting close.

Kill him and save his court and my life, or kill myself and let them all live as Amarantha’s slaves, let her and the King of Hybern wage their final war against the human realm. There was no bargain to get out of this—no part of me to sell to avoid this choice.

I cannot believe that I’m meant to sit here and think that if Feyre kills Tamlin, that somehow is gonna prove she loves him and wouldn’t betray him the way Jurian betrayed wasserfuck. The point is to prove her love to break the curse, right? That’s still this book, right? We didn’t start a new one and it just slipped my mind?

Also, as I stated before… the King of Hybern can still wage war on the human realm. Defeating Amarantha only defeats someone who was actively standing in his way.

Good news! We’ve arrived at the Horrible Twist.

Alis—Alis had said something … something to help me. A final part of the curse, a part they couldn’t tell me, a part that would aid me … And all she’d been able to do was tell me to listen. To listen to what I’d heard—as if I’d already learned everything I needed.

Think back over the whole book. Think really hard. What stands out to you from all the conversations Feyre has overheard? Look for the foreshadowing. Really, really hard. Search for it.

Here’s the twist: Feyre realizes that every time she overheard a conversation, it was on purpose. Tamlin wanted her to overhear the stuff he was talking about because he was having conversations specifically where she could overhear. And then she remembers that Alis told her there was a part of the curse nobody could tell her. 

Milady makes no bargains that are not advantageous to her.

She would never kill what she desired most—not when she wanted Tamlin as much as I did. But if I killed him … she either knew I couldn’t do it, or she was playing a very, very dangerous game.

Conversation after conversation echoed in my memory, until I heard Lucien’s words, and everything froze. And that was when I knew.

What do you know, Feyre?!

I couldn’t breathe, not as I replayed the memory, not as I recalled the conversation I’d overheard one day. Lucien and Tamlin in the dining room, the door wide open for all to hear—for me to hear.

“For someone with a heart of stone, yours is certainly soft these days.”

Then she also remembers the Attor saying:

“Though you have a heart of stone, Tamlin,” the Attor said, “you certainly keep a host of fear inside it.”

Amarantha would never risk me killing him—because she knew I couldn’t kill him.

Not if his heart couldn’t be pierced by a blade. Not if his heart had been turned to stone.

That’s the big twist. That’s the big old twist predicated entirely on two lines of dialogue. That was the foreshadowing you got.

Now, we’re all supposed to go, oh my gosh, what amazing, intricate plotting, this author is truly a genius and a master of the storytelling craft.

Perhaps I was wrong—perhaps it was just a faerie turn of phrase. But all those times I’d held Tamlin … I’d never felt his heartbeat. I’d been blind to everything until it came back to smack me in the face, but not this time.

Wait, what? What does that mean, “not this time?”

That was how she controlled him and his magic. How she controlled all the High Lords, dominating and leashing them just as she kept Jurian’s soul tethered to that eye and bone.

Probably the most infuriating part of this section is that Alis straight up mentioned this in her pages and pages of expository monologue. She said that when the High Lords were “prone” Amarantha took their powers “from where they originated inside their bodies.” But that never gets brought up at this point! THE ONE THING THAT MAKES THIS TWIST SLIGHTLY LESS FLIMSY IS NEVER, EVER MENTIONED.

Trust no one, Alis had told me. But I trusted Tamlin—and more than that, I trusted myself. I trusted that I had heard correctly—I trusted that Tamlin had been smarter than Amarantha, I trusted that all I had sacrificed was not in vain.

…like, do you trust ALIS thought? You left her off that list.

Feyre picks up the knife and she sees that Tamlin and her are somehow on the same page because he has a little bit of a smile. She suddenly believes in fate (apparently, Feyre not believing in fate has been a major theme in this book and it’s being wrapped up? I looked back and couldn’t find evidence of that, but whatever) and tells Tamlin she loves him and stabs him in the heart.

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  1. Mab

    Huh? So Tamtam knew way back when Fayray first showed up that Amafariarep was going to try to get Fayray to stab him in the heart so he dropped tons of hints that he doesn’t actually have one? The FUCK?!?!?! So are these “Trials” some tradition he knew about? Or is he from the future and knew Fayray would need to know about his stone heart later on so the book could finally come to an end.

    I will say, the idea that the final trial would involve Fayray having to kill Tamtam was not the least bit shocking. It’s one of the first things they teach at Villain U. (or so I’ve heard). Make your enemy kill the thing they love most is about as basic as it comes. What I don’t buy is that she’d really care if her toy got killed. I think she’d just find herself a better one. (That could be my bias that Tam is just so bloody bland and boring that I don’t get why anyone would care other than idiot Fayray or lovesick Lucien).

    Was this book really written by one person? Because it seems like it was written round robin style but the various writers didn’t bother to read what the last person wrote.

    December 1, 2023
  2. Lena

    Maybe she’s been walking around (and chilling in the dungeon) in Rhys’s gauze scarf of a “dress” this whole time. In which case, it really would have been more grotesque to make her commit multiple murders in front of an audience while nearly naked. But hey, maybe there’s some deep symbolism to executing hostages while wearing clothes covered in worm shit that I’m just not sophisticated enough to understand.

    December 1, 2023
    • Dove

      I can’t remember if they even bathed Feyre before dropping all the paint onto her but why the hell did no one launder her clothing, just as a gift? Amarantha doesn’t seem to care if she’s in the fucking throne room for a week and the bitch knows this stupid human was healed, why would she care about that even though she had Lucien flogged and later chained up? Even if they DGAF about Feyre and wanted her to suffer from her own stupid mistakes, that’s just nasty. I don’t care where they’ve been keeping those filthy things but that’s fucking weird. It’s been a week if not longer. Those are crusty. And like… was she doing that stupid ceiling puzzle in nasty clothes?

      December 1, 2023
  3. bewalsh7

    I was actually confused there for a minute, because when “Tamlin” turned into the Attor, I thought maybe she was supposed to kill the Attor. It didn’t cross my mind that she still needed to kill the real Tamlin. It does make more sense though since the Attor was smiling and all. I thought it was strange that the Attor thought it was funny that Amarawhatever was going to put him up for Feyre to kill.

    And so stupid about the heart of stone thing. Like someone up there mentioned, this would mean that Tamlin knew that Feyre would:
    1) Come to rescue him
    2) Amara would agree to free Tamlin if Feyre completed some trials
    3) One of them would involve her stabbing Tamlin in the heart

    The chance he would have ALL of that information AND think to drop hints when Feyre was around is just too unbelievable.

    What a crock of shit!

    December 1, 2023
    • Lena

      If they’d actually done all this multiple times during the past 50 years of the curse, they could have it down to a science. Statistically, a human placed on this track has always independently run counterclockwise in a circle and so forth. They need just one to do something original and break the cycle, but all fairy-killing humans seem to be wired exactly the same. Time is running out! Most despair, but some cling to desperate hope that this one will be different and bring an end to their suffering.

      Alas, this is apparently the One True Heroine Who Can Save Everyone, First of Her Name, and we mustn’t look too closely at the “logic” shoving her through the plot.

      December 1, 2023
      • Mab

        You know, if the whole story had revolved around, say Tam, or Lucien, and it went this route it could have been pretty interesting. See Tam and Lucien talking about how tired they are of luring these humans to their deaths, how all they want is to break this horrible cycle they are all trapped in.

        Then, from their POV, we meet Fayray. T+L think, “well, this one is clearly cannon fodder” but they try anyway, their dropped hints, their covert assistance to her, and she actually exceeds their expectations and makes it all the way to the end.

        Expectations build up, this could be it, she could, to the shock of EVERYONE, be the one to finally stumble upon the secret, the trick that will free them all. I would actually probably even like Fayray more if all the fairies were like “She’s toast” but, since they really want to break this curse, they give it the old college try and she somehow stumbles into the answer. Maybe it’s because she is the only one who was so desperate for love/belonging/a place to fit in that she overlooked all the horrible things done to her and remained in love with Tam through it all and that was the key because the answer wasn’t “twu luv” but being willing to sacrifice your own desires for the good of all by killing Tam.

        Anything where it wasn’t the One True Heroine thing because Fayray just hasn’t been written as smart enough, kind enough, good enough to be that OTH.

        I am still trying to figure out how this went from “not like other girls” idiot trying to save her boyfriend to “one true heroine who will save them all”. Up until now she’s been fully willing to fuck over anyone and everyone to save Tam, now she’s all “I will save all of fairydom?” I’m confused, but not enough to look too deeply into it.

        December 1, 2023
  4. That is the weakest fucking twist I’ve ever seen. It also makes the protagonists look like psychos. Like they don’t give a shit that several innocent lives were lost on their behalf and because of Feyruh’s stupidity. Like haha, I can’t kill Tamlin, he’s got a stone heart, sucks for those other fairies that had to die but at least WE’RE happy. Fuck these protagonists and fuck these books.

    December 1, 2023
    • Dove

      Yeah it’s so frustrating. I understand some stories require death as misfortune and violence as woefully realistic but it genuinely feels like literally every death could’ve been avoided in some way. It would’ve been hard but it would’ve been a lot more satisfying if the main character and her love interests and her few acquaintances hadn’t been shitty assholes and if the author hadn’t decided she needed a ton of randos on the chopping block.

      Feels like she was waving Lucien’s potential death in the reader’s face and then going “haha but it’s okay because Feyre can’t die here don’t worry I guess he’ll live.”

      These other two nameless yahoos could’ve survived if the author wasn’t determined to kill nameless people for pathos. I mean biggest F U to any major villain is to save all the people they’re trying to kill or help the people that they’ve traumatized.

      but mostly I just hate everyone in this book and can’t wait for it to be over

      December 2, 2023
      • Mab

        Maas just doesn’t have the balls to kill someone who matters. Instead of killing Clare, who Fayray clearly didn’t give two shits about, have Fay’s sister killed. It could bring up so much conflict for Fay because while she didn’t really like her sister either (has she liked any female character in this book?) there was that promise to her mother (OMG I just remembered that, it feels like it was years since it’s been mentioned) and she is her family. But nope, that would be veering the story to something about the power of boners.

        Killing Lucien would have been a big blow too, an OMG moment. It could have been Fayray’s call to action. It could have been right after he helped her. That would have given Fay the conflict of wanting help but fearing what would happen if someone else came to her rescue. It would give her that moment of “I really have to do this all on my own”.

        She could have had a great hero moment when she informs Ama that “this is for Lucien!” Tam hears this, that she is avenging his oldest friend, and that gives him the push he needs to finally join her in the fight. Not save her, but join her.

        And while at the end Tam and Fay share a tender moment, the power of boners (and Fay’s fetish for violence) make her break it off with Tam because she realizes it is Rhys who will treat her like the piece of shit she really is deep down.

        December 2, 2023
        • Dove

          I find it so amusing there’s apparently some sequel/side-quel/whatever (I didn’t really do research, I just stumbled onto this information in either the comments here or somewhere else by accident) where Nesta is the protagonist of that book. I can just imagine Maas going “PHEW! Good thing I didn’t actually kill this one. I’ve got another little cash cow here. No idea what to do with her but we’ll find some way to ruin you further than I did by bringing the sisters back together and just canceling out their conflict.”

          Because yeah, actually killing people we’re supposed to care about would leave some impact, actually generate some interest. I don’t want Nesta and Lucien dead but that would’ve been more entertaining than frustrating (I hope… meh.)

          I still think a version where “no one dies” could’ve been an interesting writing challenge though. It would help build up to this nonsense of Feyre suddenly becoming the One True Protagonist if at every turn she put her ridiculous stubbornness and refusal to simply accept what other people told her to use by actually saving lives.

          Tamlin: this guy is gonna bleed to death cuz his wings are gone.

          Mr. Wonder: she took my wings.

          Lucien: I feel sick

          Feyre: ok chew on this plant and don’t look directly at him; that’ll stop your nausea. Now I need Tamlin to help me put these tourniquets on his stumps.

          Tamlin: that’s not how those work. At all.

          Feyre: You have magic; you can make edible food. Give Mr. Wonder more blood after we put these on, bandage him properly, and hook him up to a magical IV tubing system for IDK nutrient and fluid infusion with a second one for waste removal so he can lie in bed for a week or more and get bedsores but also recover completely.

          Lucien: that’s so ridiculous. also wash your damn hands before you give me something to cram into my mouth next time.

          Feyre: fine, I will, just give me a minute. I’m trying to keep this guy alive!

          Tamlin: well it might work if we do those other things also, I guess, but he doesn’t even have stumps? She pulled them right out of their sockets? He has big gaping holes in his back?

          Feyre: Look you can give him some stumps. I know all about the disabled because my dad has a limp. They need stumps in them so he’ll survive.

          Lucien: Let’s just heal him after we cover his injuries, then we add more blood filled with nutrients and oxygen, and we have someone remove the waste and essentially make your idea work in a more fantasy way.

          Feyre: THAT. We’ll do that. Here, I’m washing my hands and drying them and now I’m going to clean and dress his wounds.

          Tamlin: no wait, umm, let me show you how to handle that. Also this feels stupid but I don’t want people coming to me just to die; my house isn’t a hospice. And I might be heartless but I hate all of this fucking drama and Amaballa gonna hate me for keeping him alive, so yeah, screw her (but not literally ong.) Let’s do it!

          Lucien: yes yer so heartless, Tamlin. So so heartless. Funny that. It’s incongruent with what we’re doing right now. I wonder why I’m saying it out loud and repeating it a few times. Heartless Tamlin the Heartless high lord with a heart of stone for extra measure. Stone is very tough material. Incredibly hard to stab with sharp, pointy objects.

          Tamlin: ok enough of that hint-dropping. it’ll take all of our magic but we can do this. Please hold his hand or something and comfort him, Feyre.

          Feyre: I’m awful at that but I’ve gotten better over the years so here goes nothing. Mr. Wonder, you’re gonna be okay.

          Mr. Wonder: she took my wings.

          Feyre: yes you’re in shock, and that might kill you on its own, but we do have magic sometimes so you’ll be okay.

          Mr. Wonder: oh tdil something from you

          Feyre: holy shit things are changing in my life! I might be improving in some kind of way, like empathy perhaps.

          Andras: yup, so much empathy.

          Feyre: shut up, Andras. I’ve apologized zero times because my aim was off and you let me live and dragged me back here.

          Andras: yeah, you need more empathy, but so do I perhaps. We’ll learn together, my new frenemy. You and me can hang out with Alis later and then I can teach you how to read so you’ll know how at a crucial moment in your life. For example, reading these letters your sister sent you.

          Feyre: you guys have postage??

          Andras: I’ve been fetching it from the PO Box we gave to you, yeah. We thought you might wanna keep in touch or something.

          Feyre: HELL YEAH! WOO WOO I’m gonna be literate at last! hahahaha wait Nesta knows I can’t!! OOH I’m gonna blow her mind telling her how I learned when I’m such a stubborn little shit mwahahaha. It’ll bring a tear to my dear ol’ dad’s eyes, it will. He always told me that was important and I brushed him off by asking when the wildlife was gonna send me some strongly worded cease and desist messages. Man, I was cheeky. And now I can be cheeky in written form! Yeah. *pats self on back literally*

          Andras: You’re insufferable but somehow charming I guess.

          Feyre: god I hope so. The blessing of charm comes from somewhere and I really hope it’s an actual blessing and not some weird curse since we kinda lost track of our traditions and didn’t replace them with something new somehow. Possibly laziness.

          December 2, 2023
        • Dove

          also meant to say I did love the alternatives you came up with, especially how Rhys and Fay end up together anyway because they’re awful. And yes, Lucien’s sudden death would not only be shocking repercussions but actually feel important. You could also bring his mom back to spur Feyre on so she doesn’t lose hope immediately after that.

          December 2, 2023
  5. Midoriboshi

    And what did she mean there wouldn’t be anything left of Feyre to burn? After a trial about stabbing people? Even if she sacrificed herself (which I don’t think Amarantha was counting on), she’d leave a body behind?

    I have to say, it makes me sad that you won’t continue this series. I’ve watched a review before but it was from someone who did enjoy the books (and even then there are parts where she’s like “this part isn’t clear, I don’t know”), so I’ll have to find someone else or read it myself.

    But I won’t ask you to subject yourself to something that upsets you.

    December 1, 2023
    • Al

      One of my friends is pushing me to do recaps of ACoMaF XD I’ll let you know if I post them anywhere when I finally do them

      December 2, 2023
      • Al

        Tbh I might skip that one and just do recaps for ACoWaR, because while acomaf is fun, ACoWaR might be the one where the pregnancy stuff happens and that’s deeply squicky to me, which will make me more likely to be mean about it.

        December 2, 2023
  6. Milly

    This book is so fucking stupid. Kudos for managing to get through it, Jenny, because actually reading it must have been absolute torture.

    December 1, 2023
  7. Cheezits

    Good grief! If Tamlin really had been deliberately talking so that Feyre would overhear him, he could have come out and actually said what she need to know instead of just dropping cryptic little hints. But fantasy characters aren’t ever allowed to speak plainly.

    December 2, 2023
    • Lena

      The whole thing is probably written down in his library, casually left where even a slightly nosy person couldn’t miss it. Imagine everyone’s dismay when their last chance can’t read.

      The art in the gallery could spell it out just as well, but there’s a high likelihood this savior would overlook the content of a stake bouncing off a stone heart in favor of whining she “could never paint that.”

      “GOLLY, TAMLIN, WHAT AN IMPENETRABLY STONY HEART YOU HAVE” might have been the last desperate attempt to hand Master Detective Feeree a clue after she missed the first hundred.

      December 2, 2023
      • Dove

        OMG you’re right. If the curse was extremely literal, reading and painting could’ve been a great way to get that stuff across. And the worst part is it’s not like this is brought up that she missed all the other clues… so instead we suffer through that stupid shitty trap that probably makes the Saw franchise cry, just to make her inability to read have any impact whatsoever.

        December 2, 2023
  8. Kikibu

    This whole “human who hates fairies so much she’s happy to murder them all” thing has me confused.

    Am I misremembering, or was this human confronted with a maybe larger than average but otherwise normal predator and killed it out of fear? She took the pelt for money to feed her starving family? She didn’t even know she’d killed a fairy until another fairy came to kidnap her?

    She said she hated fairies, but she wasn’t this ruthless, fairy-skinning assassin chasing down and murdering fairies. She accidentally killed a fairy who was sent to the human world *in wolf form* specifically to trick a human into killing him.

    If they wanted a killer, why didn’t they grab the hot assassin woman from the town square or wherever? This book needed more of her.

    Also, I’ve been pronouncing Feyre as Fairy. Fay ruh is super close to Fair eh, which is basically Fairy. I’ve been expecting the twist to be everyone’s jealous and resentful, and she’s so much better than everyone, and everyone falls in love with her because she’s secretly part or full fairy.

    December 2, 2023
    • Dove

      It’s all over the place. The whole thing is pointless anyway. The motivations make very little sense even IF somehow Feyre absolutely hated all fairies at any point. Amarantha and her entire deal and the curse and frankly everything else is crafted very slapdash while Maas is pretending it’s oh so clever.

      Every single element of this is the same as Feyre covering herself in literal feces to avoid detection but then slicing her hand to attract attention. None of it really makes any sense and the narrative has to twist itself into knots to convince you that it does.

      And YES the hot mercenary deserved more and better screen time. A lot of characters do TBH.

      December 2, 2023
    • Al

      One of the Patreon comments said it was supposed to be pronounced like “Fair”, as a pun on Belle being beautiful. Which would’ve been silly but in a way I could get behind! Sadly, the pronunciation guide Maas included at the end of the book confirms its supposed to be “Fay-ruh”, so Maas didn’t even have that much cleverness/originality 🙁

      Also, you will be DELIGHTED to know (sarcastic) that there actually HAD been older women who killed faeries disguised as wolves! Some of them were even hired mercenaries who regularly killed Fae folk. Tamlin just didn’t grab them because they weren’t young enough. No idea why.

      December 2, 2023
  9. Dove

    BTW Jenny, since you might not be in the mood to do much posting in the near future, would you consider updating your website to be HTTPS compatible? After this buffer of recaps ends, of course.

    I don’t know what exactly this would entail and thus how easy it would be to implement nor do I know if you’d have the spoons to deal with it at all. (I realize even the simplest of coding can take some time and effort because you have to check and make sure it’s doing what you wanted it to do.) This is such a busy time of year anyway that taking some time off entirely might be better, but I thought it could be a useful project to look into if you just felt like tinkering around with something at any point. But I know you have a writing career, multiple hobbies, a family, and working with that volunteer organization, plus many other things going on in your life so this isn’t something I’m demanding or expecting. I just feel like it might encourage more visitors, which is the only reason I’m bringing this up at all.

    I have an extension in Firefox which automatically enables HTTPS for every website and it gives me a gigantic warning if I’m about to visit any website that doesn’t have that compatibility. In most cases I decide that I don’t need to go there after all, but I realize a lot of older websites simply haven’t been updated so I make exceptions at times. It does make me nervous if I’ve never been to that website before and I assume other people might feel the same if they’ve never been here.

    Regardless, I hope your day is going well. 🙂

    December 2, 2023
    • Dove

      dammit meant that to be more like “entail nor how easy” as in IDK what all goes into this, IDK if it’s relatively simple to add or a pain in the ass and a complete overhaul or somewhere in between. That’s what I was trying to say.

      Point being I will understand if the answer is simply no.

      December 2, 2023
  10. ShifterCat

    At the end of the Tam Lin ballad, after Janet has won him from the Faerie Queen, the Queen tells Tam Lin that if she’d known he would fall for a mortal woman, she would have taken his heart of flesh and replaced it with one of stone. (In other versions, she says that she would have replaced his eyes, or turned him into a tree.) The point, of course, is that if he had a heart of stone, he couldn’t have fallen in love with Janet.

    But this version of Beast/Tam Lin obviously CAN fall in love, so what was the purpose of all this heart transformation stuff?

    If it’s a side effect of the whole “taking most but conveniently not all of their magic”, wouldn’t EVERY enemy fae have a stone heart?

    This is not even touching on the fact that there are lots of ways to kill someone that don’t involve stabbing through the heart. I mean… you could say that because the heart is spiritually considered the seat of both emotion and life, turning someone’s heart to stone means they can’t be killed. It’s similar to the way Koschei the Deathless keeps his heart in a hiding place outside of his body. But why would you make your enemies unkillable?

    December 2, 2023
    • Dove

      Yeah you’d think Amarantha would’ve gone all Koschei the Deathless, with her heart inside more things to the point it gets silly, as a backup surprise.

      December 3, 2023
  11. Dove

    So, after watching HBomberGuy’s most recent video, I honestly wonder how much of this particular series is plagiarized. Maybe none. Maybe Maas only took the ideas from those other fantasy books, which isn’t great either but it’s not quite the same level of evil as ripping off entire passages of something else.

    I just can’t help thinking there’s so much weirdness in the prose here, so much information not meshing, that maybe it’s truly cobbled together somehow. However I’m certainly not digging further, I don’t have the resources or spoons, and I’ve speculated other stupid shit before that’s probably not true. This book is so generic after all and it’s more likely Maas never once reread it after, as Jenny suggested, she was asked to revise it from a One-Off to a Series.

    But then there is that vent leading straight into the dungeons so idk. Feels weird man.

    December 3, 2023
  12. ShifterCat

    Another thing that’s been bugging me? There is NO fucking REASON to have the two random faeries there to be murdered. Amarantha could have just said, “Here, one life for the freedom of the entire Spring Court, easy-peasy, right?” and then been all “Bwahahaha, it’s really your lover!” while her courtiers cackled wickedly (because there’s also no logic to having them do a heel-face turn en masse, dammit).

    It’s yet another example of how SJM puts in tons of “nameless NPC” deaths to make everything seem dark and edgy, but always pulls back from having anything permanent happen to anyone her protagonist cares about.

    December 6, 2023

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