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.
I missed last week’s post! It was just a weird week. I won’t get into it all. Just a busy week on top of disabled stuff and a release day, perfect storm of bad stress/good stress and I dropped so many balls.
Previously on ACOTAR, Feyre got her arm fucked up because her plan sucked. Now, she’s in a dungeon with a compound fracture.
No one, not even Lucien, came to fix my arm in the days following my victory.
Man, poor Lucien. Doesn’t count as someone.
I wish you could see the tears of laughter I’m wiping away as I write this because every time I see it, it gets funnier.
But yeah, Feyre is laying there with a broken bone jutting out of her arm.
But worse than that was the growing panic—panic that the wound hadn’t stopped bleeding. I knew what it meant when the blood continued to flow.
Blood has been “flowing” from her arm for days? And she’s still alive? Dang, she has to be the most everything. The most intelligent. The most resourceful. The most full of blood.
She’s afraid of getting an infection, and the food they’re serving her is rotten and she can’t keep it down.
Okay, let’s do a check-in here. Feyre has been in the dungeons for, eh, we don’t know how long but definitely more than couple days. No food, idk if they’re giving her potable water, she’s already been beaten nearly to death once before, and now she has a compound fracture that’s been bleeding for days and which is smeared in worm shit.
I’d awoken from a fitful sleep and found myself burning hot.
Look, be glad you woke at all, okay. ed.—Although I am not.
A kind of fire that made everything a bit muddled. My injured arm dangled at my side as I gazed dully at the cell door. It seemed to sway, its lines rippling.
Uh-oh, is it the door or is it someone phasing into the cell?
The heat in my face was some kind of small cold—not a fever from infection. I put a hand on my chest, and dried mud crumbled into my lap. Each of my breaths was like swallowing broken glass. Not a fever. Not a fever. Not a fever.
I feel like we need a little more in that passage to tell us that this is Feyre in denial, not Feyre relaying the narrative. Even putting those “Not a fever”s in italics might have made that clearer.
The door actually did move then—no, not the door, but rather the darkness around it, which seemed to ripple. Real fear coiled in my stomach as a male figure formed out of that darkness, as if he’d slipped in from the cracks between the door and the wall, hardly more than a shadow.
Whoooo is it? Is it someone, or is it just Lucien?
Rhysand was fully corporeal now, and his violet eyes glowed in the dim light. He slowly smiled from where he stood by the door. “What a sorry state for Tamlin’s champion.”
Oh weird it’s Rhysand what an unexpected turn I’m shocked.
“Go to Hell,” I snapped, but the words were little more than a wheeze.
There’s that pesky mention of Hell again. I almost expected Rhysand to break the fourth wall and mention it, because up until this point he’s really struck me as one of those characters who is fully aware that he’s in a story.
His pale skin seemed to radiate alabaster light.
In every scene up until this one, he has radiated darkness. Now, he radiates a light so white, it’s comparable to a stone whose name has become synonymous with the color white. ed.—Remember, though, Rhysand is BIPOC and these books are super diverse. He just stayed under the mountain so long that he looked this way in this book. That’s how melanin works. You just don’t go in the sun for a few days and you turn caucasian. The fans will tell you so. They won’t have an answer when you bring up his presence at the Spring Court several times, indicating that he was not always kept away from the sunlight that makes their preposterous vanishing melanin theory possible. Don’t worry, I’ve been assured by a furious SJM fan that I’m racist for even questioning this.
Even though Feyre is nearly dead, she’s still sassy to Rhysand throughout the entire exchange, which I get because he’s a walking pastiche of every elegant bad boy type from every 00’s supernatural drama.
“What would Tamlin say,” he murmured, “if he knew his beloved was rotting away down here, burning up with fever? Not that he can even come here, not when his every move is watched.”
I wonder if Rhysand is saying this to purposely inform Feyre of why Tamlin isn’t coming to see her.
There’s more about Feyre being too weak but also very sassy, and Rhysand tells her that he’s there to help her.
“You made me a lot of money, you know. I figured I would repay the favor.”
What did I say? He was the one who bet on her to win. So, even Tamlin and Lucien, they didn’t bet on her surviving? I would be so pissed if I were Feyre.
Rhysand asks to see Feyre’s arm, and when she doesn’t comply he just grabs it.
I bit my lip to keep from crying out—bit it hard enough to draw blood as rivers of fire exploded inside me, as my head swam, and all mys senses narrowed down to the piece of bone sticking through my arm. They couldn’t know—couldn’t know how bad it was, because then they would use it against me.
I’m not buying it—not buying that a person with a compound fracture wouldn’t involuntarily scream or make some sort of sound when the limb was suddenly and roughly grabbed. And the idea that the fairies will somehow not realize how bad it is for a human to have a bone on the outside of their body that’s usually on the inside of their body is absurd. It sounds like Under the Mountain is vivisection central. These fairies know exactly how a human body works because they’ve taken apart so many.
Rhysand examined the wound, a smile appearing on his sensuous lips.
When you are dying from a raging infection, the last thing you’re worrying about is sensuality. As someone who has nearly died from a raging infection, I feel I can speak quite strongly on this.
“Oh, that’s wonderfully gruesome.” I swore at him, and he chuckled. “Such words from a lady.”
We have to be sure that we get some Not Like Other Girls™ in here somewhere, huh? Swearing and being admonished by the hot guy for not being ladylike is required in terrible books.
Feyre tells Rhysand to get out, and he’s like okay, but don’t you want to like… not die from your fucked up arm?
“At what cost?” I shot back, but kept my head against the stone, needing its damp strength.
That is a hell of a word choice.
Meanwhile, look for my super explicit sea creature monster erotica, His Damp Strength, coming out never.
“Ah, that. Living among faeries has taught you some of our ways.”
Don’t worry, she literally hasn’t learned anything from that teaching. For example, she was warned not to make any deals, but she made a deal, and now because she made that deal she’s gonna have to make another deal at a time when she has zero leverage and no brain power.
IDK if you’ve seen Our Flag Means Death on HBOMax, but there’s a scene where a pirate who’s betrayed another pirate dismisses the idea of friends because “we’re all just in various stages of fucking each other over.” That’s kind of how I imagine the world of Prythian. Just constant curses and deals and nobody ever being trustworthy.
Which I assume will lead to Feyre fucking every single male fairy who shows up in this book series before they’re revealed to be the real villains and the non-villains originally perceived to be villains turn out to be fuckable. ed.—I don’t think I had even read spoilers for this series at this point.
“I’ll make a trade with you,” he said casually, and gently set my arm down. As it met with the floor, I had to close my eyes to brace against the flow of that poisoned lightning. “I’ll heal your arm in exchange for you. For two weeks every month, two weeks of my choosing, you’ll live with me at the Night Court. Starting after this messy three-trials business.”
Okay, so that’s more fairy tale stuff (also, very Hades/Persephone). Various fairy tales have the heroine spending nights, weeks, years, etc. with someone who usually looks like a bear or something, and then more trickery happens like someone is drugged or someone else is tricked into stealing the bear’s skin or something.
Feyre has clearly read those stories because she turns down Rhysand’s offer immediately.
“You must be holding out for one of your friends—for Lucien, correct? After all, he healed you before, didn’t he? Oh, don’t look so innocent. The Attor and his cronies broke your nose. So unless you have some kind of magic you’re not telling us about, I don’t think human bones heal that quickly.” His eyes sparkled, and he stood, pacing a bit. “The way I see things, Feyre, you have two options. The first, and the smartest, would be to accept my offer.”
Interesting. The fairies do know that humans can’t heal quickly, but Feyre is still lying there injured. Which means that yeah, no, Amarantha is fine with Feyre dying in the dungeon. After all, she never said she’d keep Feyre healthy while this was going on.
Which is why Feyre shouldn’t be making deals.
“The second option—and the one only a fool would take—would be for you to refuse my offer and place your life, and thus Tamlin’s, in the hands of chance.
I mean, and the lives of everybody else in the Spring Court. She’s fighting for them, too.
“Let’s say I walk out of here. Perhaps Lucien will come to your aid within five minutes of my leaving. Perhaps he’ll come in five days. Perhaps he won’t come at all. Between you and me, he’s been keeping a low profile after his rather embarrassing outburst at your trial. […]
(This would be a really effective spot to point out that Lucien didn’t bet she’d survive the worm maze. And that Tamlin didn’t, either.)
“[…]Tamlin even broke his delightful brooding to beg for him to be spared—such a noble warrior, your High Lord. She listened, of course—but only after she made Tamlin bestow Lucien’s punishment. Twenty lashes.”
Rhysand is always involved in the gayest shit, I swear. He made Tamlin and Lucien get on the ground and kiss his boots; now he’s like, let me tell you about your boyfriend whipping his bro. I don’t think Under the Mountain is a royal court at all. I think it’s a fairy kink club.
I started shaking, sick all over again to think about what it had to have been like for my High Lord to be the one to punish his friend.
If it helps, Feyre, I’m imagining that scene where James Bond is tied naked to the chair and Mads Mikkelsen is hitting him in the balls with a knotted rope.
But in fairness, I often imagine that scene.
I’m not sure, though, that it would be such a big deal for Tamlin to hit Lucien, considering Tamlin sent hundreds of his own people into the mortal world specifically to be slaughtered. Doesn’t seem like he’s above causing injury and death if it suits him.
Rhysand is like, you know, you’re right, you might not have a gruesome infection. That fever could be totally unconnected. Oh, and the worm could have had very good toilet hygiene, and obviously, Amarantha could always send someone to heal you. And then he’s like, yeah, you know what’s gonna happen if I leave here.
I stared at him, sending as much hate as I could into my gaze. He’d been the one who’d caused all this. He’d told Amarantha about Clare; he’d made Tamlin beg.
And Lucien, too. But in Feyre’s own words, “No one, not even Lucien […]”. Still, it’s not Rhysand’s fault that Clare was killed. It was your fault, Feyre. If you hadn’t blurted out Clare’s name, Rhysand would have never known she existed at all.
We’re not going to let Feyre pass the buck on this one. She was fine with Clare getting killed instead of her, or she wouldn’t have given Rhysand Clare’s name.
I bared my teeth. “Go. To. Hell.”
Stop. Using. Hell. As. A. “Tough”. Or. “Sassy”. Response. If. You. Don’t. Have. A. Concept. Of. Hell. In. Your. Book.
Swift as lightning, he lashed out, grabbing the shard of bone in my arm and twisting. A scream shattered out of me, ravaging my aching throat. The world flashed black and white and red. I thrashed and writhed, but he kept his grip, twisting the bone a final time before releasing my arm.
HOW ON EARTH DOES SHE MAINTAIN CONSCIOUSNESS. HOW IS SHE NOT GOING INTO SHOCK?
I’m sorry, but this whole thing with her arm is UNBELIEVABLE. That she is still alive after days and days of non-stop blood flow, that she’s got this raging infection and delirium that conveniently disappears when she needs to talk tough to the “bady guy” she’s definitely going to end up with, that someone is grabbing and twisting exposed bone from a compound fracture and she’s able to bounce back a moment later to spit in his face… none of this is believable. In a story about fairies and monsters, THIS is the thing that I cannot believe.
“This is the last time I’ll extend my assistance,” he said, pausing by the cell door. “Once I leave this cell, my offer is dead.” I spat again, and he shook his head. “I bet you’ll be spitting on Death’s face when she comes to claim you, too.”
Oooh, Death is a woman. Girl power.
Rhysand starts to fade away and Feyre has some second thoughts:
He could be bluffing, trying to trick me into accepting his offer. Or he might be right—I might be dying.
No, you’re actually dying. You might have to begrudgingly concede that someone else in this book is right about something. I know that will hard for you, but I’m 100% sure you’ll find a way to explain how you actually knew that before Rhysand pointed it out to you because YOU CAN NEVER BE WRONG OR DO ANYTHING WRONG BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST INFURIATING MARY SUES IN THE HISTORY OF FANTASY.
I was dying. I’d known it for some time now.
Good ole’ reliable Feyre.
And Lucien had underestimated my abilities in the past—had never quite grasped my limitations as a human. He’d sent me to hunt the Suriel with a few knives and a bow.
Hey, remember how I got ALL CAPS about how Feyre can never do anything wrong or foolish and if she does, it’s always explained away as being someone else’s fault in hindsight but AKSHULLY she was right and good and perfect all along?
LUCIEN DIDN’T “SEND” YOU AFTER THE SURIEL. YOU CHOSE TO GO AFTER THE SURIEL DESPITE BEING TOLD NOT TO.
But of course, it’s all his fault that she almost died because he underestimated her abilities, and now, gosh dang it, he just doesn’t understand that she’s got this infection.
It couldn’t possibly be that he’s decided not to put himself into even more danger to help her out of a situation that she has caused and which has already created a ton of problems for him. That couldn’t possibly be the reason. That would be a consequence of her actions, and those are unacceptable.
Feyre tells Rhysand to wait.
For Tamlin … for Tamlin, I would sell my soul; I would give up everything I had for him to be free.
There’s another one of those pesky allusions to something that doesn’t exist in this world. The concept of selling one’s soul is very much rooted in Christianity, which again does not exist in this particular fictional world.
She double-checks Rhysand that it’s just two weeks, and he’s like, yeah, just two weeks a month, that’s all.
“Why? And what are to … to be the terms?” I said, fighting past dizziness.
“Ah,” he said, adjusting the lapel of his obsidian tunic. “If I told you those things, there’d be no fun in it, would there?”
With everything Feyre already knows, she’s obviously not going to just go, yeah, fine, sounds good.
Let’s see what happens.
Nesta would have done the same for me, for Elain.
This would be a nice sentiment if I didn’t think it would later be used to justify why it’s really Nesta’s fault that Feyre ends up fucking Rhysand.
And Tamlin had done so much for me, for my family; even if he had lied about the Treaty, about sparing me from its terms, he’d still saved my life that day against the naga, and saved it again by sending me away from the manor.
Yeah, he kidnapped me and that was wrong, but he at least saved my life when I was attacked by monsters at the second location. Plus, he eventually let me go after my life was endangered again.
Rather than asking things like, you know, what are you going to do to me during those two weeks, Feyre barters the time down to a week, which Rhysand accepts. He heals her, which knocks her unconscious, and when she wakes up there’s something new that’s wrong with her arm.
Rhysand stood, running a hand through his short, dark hair. “It’s custom in my court for bargains to be permanently marked upon flesh.”
I rubbed my left forearm and hand, the entirety of which was now covered in swirls and whorls of black ink. Even my fingers weren’t spared, and a large eye was tattooed in the center of my palm. It was feline, and its slitted pupil stared right back at me.
Now she’s got a rad tattoo.
From a distance, the tattoo looked like an elbow-length lace glove, but when I held it close to my face, I could detect the intricate depictions of flowers and curves that flowed throughout to make up a larger pattern.
Lace is never like that. Hardly any flowers or curves in larger patterns when you’re talking about FUCKING LACE.
Plus, “from a distance?” It’s your fucking arm. How far away could you possibly get from it to see how it looks from afar?
God damnit I hate this book.
Feyre is pissed, she’s like, you didn’t tell me this was part of it and Rhysand is like, well, guess you should have asked. And I’m like, this is exactly why you needed to not be making deals with fairies because you don’t know enough.
Rhysand is like, you’re only upset about it because of how Tamlin will react.
Tamlin. I could already see his face going pale, his lips becoming thin as the claws came out. I could almost hear the growl he’d emit when he asked me what I had been thinking.
Ma’am. So far, he hasn’t had any reaction at all to you about anything. You’ve perceived like micro-expressions that you’re sure you’ve seen, and that’s it.
“I think I’ll wait to tell him until the moment’s right, though,” Rhysand said. The gleam in his eyes told me enough. Rhysand hadn’t done any of this to save me, but rather to hurt Tamlin.
After that, Rhysand tells Feyre to “rest up” and vanishes, leaving me with my utter despair at knowing we’re going to have to read a second bland as unsalted oatmeal sex scene in this book that is scorchingly erotic and dripping “spice” from every page.