REREADING FAVORITES & SERIES: 2019 Reread Goals

Us book bloggers (okay, ME) always talk about books that we need to reread.

I am definitely someone who’s been working on her rereading over the past two years -yes, my TBR still scares me, but we’re working on our relationship. I intend to reread the following books  at some point this year, either for revisiting a favorite read or necessary for continuing a series.

FAVORITES REREADS

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Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Stay Sweet was the type of book I went in expecting to love and I thankfully did. Siobhan Vivian has become one of my favorite contemporary authors. I’m really hoping her next book comes out this year, but nevertheless, I want to revisit Stay Sweet to re-experience those ice cream and summertime feels.

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The Anna and the French Kiss trilogy by Stephanie Perkins: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, & Isla and the Happily Ever After

The Anna and the French Kiss trilogy is such a YA staple. I often reference these three book in Top Five Wednesday or recommendations posts, so I think it’s time to re-learn why I love this series so much.

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Empire of My Tears: Empire of Storms Reread Discussion

I, Haley of Fangirl Fury, have conquered the beast that is Sarah J. Maas’s Empire of Storms for the second time. Meaning that I have also conquered my #1 rereading goal of 2018 by rereading SJM’s Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Queen of Shadows, and EoS. Can we all just take a minute to appreciate that I’ve already reread 5 books in 2018– not to mention the 30+ books I’ve read this year overall??

If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I am not a big rereader. Like many, I am distracted by all the shiny, new releases and have a big backlist TBR. That being said, I used to feel like I wasted time by rereading books. However, I’m quite happy with my decision to reread the first 5 ToG installments because they reminded me how much I love this series and SJM’s writing (even if it meant putting off writing a paper or two, like I’m doing as I write this review).

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Because EoS is the one of the latter books in ToG, there will be spoilers from here on out for ToG and even A Court of Mist and Fury. You’ve been warned by Leslie.

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So Empire of Storms caused a big stir when it first came out in September 2016 among ToG fans. People were quite upset with SJM for not including Chaol in this installment (little did we know that he’d be getting his own book a year later), and many felt that the book didn’t fit in with the earlier installments. I think was laregly caused by that EoS is more slow-moving and world-building heavy than the past books, since Aelin and company are basically preparing for the war to come in Kingdom of Ash.

I love Empire of Storms mainly for its world-building and character/relationship development. Not that I’d recommend skipping any of the books, but EoS is especially important in understanding Aelin’s family history and relationship with the Gods and what she must do to bring Erawan down, aka sacrifice her life.

All I’ve been thinking about since my reread is if SJM WILL REALL DO THIS TO US??!? In a way, I think I’d appreciate if SJM did sacrifice Aelin for the sake of authors not saving all of their characters/ everyone not having a happily after/ a “realistic” ending.

HOW HORRIBLE AM I??BUT ALSO DON’T LET ANYTHING HAPPEN TO ANYONE PLEASE, PLEASE.

That last chapter, with Maeve disappearing with Aelin in the iron box and Rowan calling for HIS WIFE, was enough for me to rename this book Empire of Tears. AND I SEE YOU SJM, throwing that marriage shocker at us twice in 2016, the other in a teeny book called A Court of Mist and Fury. I admit that I used to hardcore ship Chaol and Celaena, but I am here for Rowaelin, and Lysandra and Aedion, and even Elide and Lorcan. Yes, even I felt sympathy for Lorcan at the end of EoS, EVEN THOUGH HE PRETTY MUCH ROYALLY SCREWED UP EVERYTHING. I think he’ll have to do something major in Kingdom of Ash to get Elide to forgive him or at least convince her that sending out his power to Maeve was for her sake. I know some people complain that SJM just pairs off her characters, but I really don’t mind because I think her pairings work really well. The only ship that I’m not too sure about, but still appreciated their flirting and uh, moments, is Dorian and Manon. I love them each as characters (let’s be real, Abraxos and Manon are the best ship in this series) and their relationship is fun, but I can’t see the King of Ardarlan and Queen of the Crochans and Wing Leader of the Blackbleaks having the happiest ever after.

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As much as I could keep rambling on about my love for Abraxos and Manon (I screamed when the Thirteen come to fight), and my fear for basically everyone in Kingdom of Ash, I’ll be leaving you with some of my favorite EoS quotes:

 “This thing between them, the force of it, could devour the world. And if they picked it, picked them, it might very well cause the end of it” (94)

“Aelin shrugged. ‘Rowan’s always looking for an excuse to show off. Dramatic rescues give him purpose and fulfillment in his dull, immortal life.’ ” (251)

After writing this discussion, I plan on moving on to Tower of Dawn shortly after, where I can finally reunite with my love, Chaol (UPDATE THAT I HAVE FINISHED TOD AND I SHALL NOW REFER TO IS AS TOWER OF FEELS). 2018 is going to be the year of Sarah J. Maas. I’ll reading A Court of Frost and Starlight sometime this week, and then there’s Catwoman: Soulstealer in August, and then that little finale called Kingdom of Ash coming out on October 23. And I also believe 2018 is the year that we’ll be getting the Throne of Glass guide/encyclopedia. I am so excited to be getting 4 new SJM books this year, but I’m also slightly afraid she won’t come out with anything else for a while!?!

Have you read Empire of Storms or any Throne of Glass books? What are your thoughts on those last two chapters?? Share in the comments!

The Fae Have Landed: Heir of Fire Reread Discussion

The Fae are here to stay in Sarah J. Maas’s Heir of Fire, and I am here for it.

My reread of the Throne of Glass series continued in February with Heir of Fire, and I am having a great time being back in this series. Just as a refresher, one of my reading goals for 2018 is to reread ToG in anticipation for the final book to come out on October 30, 2018. I know some readers aren’t happy that the book isn’t coming out until Halloween-time, since ToG usually releases in September, but I don’t mind as much. Yes, I do find time to read during the school year, but I want to be able to set time aside to solely focus on the ending of my favorite fantasy series either during Thanksgiving or winter break.

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Since Heir of Fire is the third book in the series, this discussion will be featuring spoilers. Before my non-spoiler readers leave, just know that my 5 Star rating for this installment remains. One of the reasons why I’m rereading the series is because I’ve forgotten a lot of the plot details surrounding the magic system and Fae. After my reread, I am really impressed with how SJM was able to interweave new information about magic in Wendlyn and Adarlan with new characters and multi-POVs. Heir of Fire also has a special place in my heart because SJM signed my copy at my first signing of hers in 2015. I remember talking to her about Queen of Shadow’s release and writing & editing, with my college application deadlines coming up.

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And listen, I am all for the envrionment, but ToG-wise, after the publication of Heir of Fire, SJM’s books got a lot thinner because of Bloomsbury’s paper-saving ways. The hardcover of HoF is over 550 pages long AND I LOVED HOW IT FELT LIKE A 550+ PAGE BOOK IN MY HANDS.

When thinking about each book in ToG, I’ve started to break them down by how much Fae have come into play, hence the title of my discussion. I reread Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight back in January, and you can find my discussion points in Before the Fae.

For my non-spoiler folks, this is where I leave you, courtesy of Ron & April.

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I don’t really remember my exact feelings of HoF from my first time around, other than my immediate need for QoS after that ending with the King of Adarlan. However, I do remember my feelings over Sorscha’s death and the fact that Dorian gets turned into one of his father’s demons. I LOVED Sorscha and Dorian’s relationship, and I am so sad that we obviously won’t see her in the series any longer. It would have been really interesting to see her survive and escape to the South, especially since she was low-key part of the resistance with Ren and Tower of Dawn takes place in that setting . The only thing I’m grateful for during that scene is the survival of my bf, Chaol. AND I ALSO COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THE FOLLOWING FEELS BETWEEN HIM AND DORAIN:

“He looked at his friend, perhaps for the last time, and said what he had always known, from the moment they’d met, when he’d understood that the prince was his brother in soul. “I love you.”

Dorian merely nodded, eyes still blazing, and lifted his hands again toward his father. Brother. Friend. King” (550)

Regarding Chaol, I never really had the impression that he was scared of Dorian’s magic or helping the resistance because it went against his loyalty. Above all, I think he was just scared for Celaena and Dorian’s futures and what he might do that could make matters worse (especially after everyone freaks out over him sending Celaena to Doranelle, aka Maeve). I did enjoy seeing him partake in the resistance in Aedion, who has definitely become one of my favorite characters in the series.

While I could read a book all about Chaol all day (and one day soon, I can!!), my favorite character and perspective in HoF goes to Manon Blackbeak. I know some readers aren’t totally sold on having Manon in the series, but I freaking love her. Yes, we do get badass Celaena in this series, but Manon takes cold-heartedness to a whole new level. BUT OF COURSE THAT COLD HEART HEATS UP WITH HER LOVE FOR ABRAXOS. Correction, Abraxos, Manon’s soft yet menacing yet loveable dragon (yes, I know he’s a wyvern) is my favorite character. He brings out a softer side to Manon that she begins to acknowledge, especially with the Crochan witch and her grandmother at the end of the novel. I don’ t exactly remember where Manon is and what’s she doing by the end of Empire of Storms, but I could totally foresee a spin-off about the Wastes.

The biggest plot element I wanted to explore in this reading of HoF is Celaena’s relationship with Rowan. Before jumping into their relationship, I forgot how much goes down at Mistward, between the skinwalkers and all the information revealed about the Wyrdkeys. Like I said, my memory of EoS isn’t too reliable when it comes to the smaller details, but I hope to see Luca and Emrys make a reappearance. Regarding Rowan and Celaena as a couple, while the two don’t get together in this installment, I think SJM layed enough of their relationship out for them to become mates in QoS. Their relationship in HoF progressed at the right rate, and it’s not like they ever get down to some intimate business. I loved how much they opened up to one another, especially since learning more about Celaena’s experience during the downfall of Terrasen was among my favorite scenes in the books. So my conclusion? I like Rowan and Celaena as a couple. However, I do think they need some time to develop romantically in Queen of Shadows before sailing as a ship.

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I plan on rereading Queen of Shadows in March and Empire of Storms in April, so I’ll be able to treat myself at the end of my spring semester in May by FINALLY reading Tower of Dawn– I know Chaol is waiting for our reunion!.

Do you read Throne of Glass? Have you read Heir of Fire? Share in the comments!

Before the Fae: Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight Reread Discussion

I am definitely not a new-year, new me kind of person. But when it comes to being a reader, I guess I kind of am because I started one of my 2018 reading goals ON THE FOURTH DAY OF THE YEAR. On the first snow day of the year, I craved a fantasy read and I knew that it was time to reread Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Until now, I hadn’t picked up Throne of Glass since 2015, and with the final book coming out in October(not to mention the fact that I still haven’t read Tower of Dawn) , I want to give myself plenty of time to reread the series before then.

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Because I still need to reread Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms, today I am only going to be discussing Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. I’ve decided not to reread The Assassin’s Blade at the moment because I actually have a pretty decent memory of the short stories in that book. However, if you are currently or planning on reading the Throne of Glass series, I recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade before Queen of Shadows because this is where the characters from the short stories really come into play.

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I’m not going to be going into serious spoilers for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight until closer to the end. Call me lazy, but I’m also not going to be giving a synopsis for the Throne of Glass series because after reading the first 6 books, Throne of Glass’s (the book) blurb barely covers the world and fantastical elements that make up the series. Also know that I am a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas’s books; I don’t want to use the term that “I am trash” for them because I think Sarah’s books are insanely good and have really gotten me into the fantasy genre overall; it’s not like I’m reading them because they’re easy to fly through (granted it was my first semester of college, but it took me two weeks to read Empire of Storms in 2016) or that I enjoy just one character  (but please, give me all of the Chaol). And as much as I love the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I admit that I enjoy ToG more than ACOTAR. For me, it comes down to the main protagonist; Celaena over Feyre, please. Honestly, I just love Celaena’s brutalness and sass in her world.

I decided to commit to taking notes for my reread by using the “Rattle the stars” notebook I received from the preorder promotion for Empire of Storms. I actually haven’t written in it before (I might have lost my temper a bit when I found my sister ripped out a page; IT’S A BOOKSHELF DECORATION,OKAY?) so I’m glad it has more of a purpose now. My notes vary anywhere from some of my favorite quotes to my reactions and finally taking down details or page numbers about the main plot.

Speaking of plot, my main reason for rereading this series is because it’s one of my all-time favorite series and I wanted to be reacquainted with some of my characters (hi Chaol)…. Sounds typical, right?

 I sort’ve wish this was my main reason, but in all reality, I’ve forgotten most of the basic plot details of the series, especially when it comes to magic and the Fae. Even when I read Empire of Storms, I found myself having to flip back to Queen of Shadows for reminders. Granted, there isn’t too much about Fae in these first two books, but there’s a lot about the magic system in Erilea, including WYRDMARKS (aka, something that I almost entirely forgot about). I also caught a lot of hints about what is to come for Celaena in the other books with the Fae and Terrasen.

I really enjoyed this section of my reread because I got to revisit what I currently believe is my favorite book in the series, Crown of Midnight (as you can see below, I was able to have Sarah sign my copy at Book Con in 2017!). I 100% admit that this mostly because of how much Chaol we get in this book (which I know is a hot topic that I’ll get into more in the spoilery section), but I also enjoyed seeing Celaena’s role in Adarlan and watching her explore magic.

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With this go-around, I found myself less invested in the Team Dorian vs. Team Chaol debate– I think this taken a lot more seriously in the ToG fandom until Queen of Shadows. Without considering anything else in the later books, I think either would be a great partner for Celaena– and if Celaena doesn’t take Chaol, I will!

I loved being back in Dorian, Chaol and Celaena’s dynamic. Yes, Chaol is my book boyfriend, but I also love Dorian for his caring nature and how different he is from the king. And I absolutely love the sass, sarcasm, and humor between the three. I feel like we miss this in Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms, although they are dealing with more serious issues. And without mentioning a spoilery name, I remember missing Celaena so much in the later two books. She just don’t feel like an act or disguise to me…

As you may tell, I am on the verge of spilling a thing or two so IT’S SPOILER TIME: IF YOU HAVE NOT YET CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, THIS IS WHERE YOU SHOULD LEAVE

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I think Parks & Rec gifs are going to be a new feature of some spoilery reviews

The only spoiler I really want to discuss right now is Chaol and Celaena’s split, and I think this is where we see a divide in the Throne of Glass fandom over Chaol. Before rereading, I had forgotten what had happened surrounding Nehemia’s death, other than Celaena putting a lot of blame on Chaol. There is some sort of resolution between the two, as Celaena realizes that they were both set up, but she repeatedly says that she cannot trust him again. While I think Chaol does have some responsibility in the matter, I think he is not deserving of Celaena’s wrath. What it really comes down between the two is one factor: loyalty.

If Celaena’s been reminded of anything, it’s that 1. fortunately or unfortunately, Chaol is true to his word and must abide by his position as Captain of the Guard and 2. He’s the enemy. Even without factoring the Aelin stuff, Celaena represents Terrasen, while Chaol represents Adarlan, the kingdom that destroyed Celaena’s family and home. It makes me sad for the both of them, just because they care so much for one another and if there weren’t the whole following her destiny/Queen of Terrasen thing, I’d sure they’d be together (and we’d have less books).

So that does it for this recap of my Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight reread! Have you read the Throne of Glass series? If so, what’s your favorite book?

AND HAVE YOU SEEN THE COVER FOR A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT??Share  in the comments!

What I Read In April

April was the most demanding month of my life. Between classes and papers and finals and meetings and work and trips and friends, the month completely flew by. That being said, I’m so happy with past me for reading 5 books! My semester/freshman year ends tomorrow (internal screaming), so here’s to some much needed time off with ALL the books!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.Maas (4/5 Stars)- This was my second time reading ACOTAR, as I was anticipating the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin, the final book in the trilogy (I know that there are more books coming out in the ACOTAR world, but I’m considering the first three books about Feyre a trilogy). While I enjoyed my reread, I was not as enchanted with ACOTAR this time around, especially knowing what happens in the second book. However, I was reminded of Feyre’s strength, and I also noticed more of the Beauty and the Beast elements this time around. I posted a reread review of ACOTAR a few weeks ago as well.

Wires and Nerve, Volume #1 by Marissa Meyer (4/5 stars)- As a fan of The Lunar Chronicles, I was so excited to get my hands on the series’ first graphic novel. I loved seeing the characters the way Marissa Meyer envisioned them, and I enjoyed having Iko as the main protagonist. I always wanted her point of view in the original four books (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter) to begin with. However, I wish Wires and Nerve had taken place after Stars Above, the TLC novella bind-up, instead of taking place before the final novella in the book. I’m also a bit disappointed about the next volume not coming until 2018.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (5/5 stars)- Between Angie Thomas rocking the New York Times Best Sellers List since The Hate U Give’s release in February and all the hype surrounding this book in the YA community, I was so excited to get my hands on this 2017 release. If there’s one thing (there were many things, don’t worry) that stood out to me while reading THUG, it is its contemporary relevance. THUG is based on the Black Lives Matter Movement, as our main protagonist Starr witnesses her childhood best friend die at the hands of a police officer. I haven’t rated a book 5 out of 5 stars in a while, and I have a full review of THUG up on the blog.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (4.5/5 Stars)– In addition to rereading ACOTAR, I reread A Court of Mist and Fury this month in anticipation of ACOWAR. I enjoyed my reread of ACOMAF a lot more than ACOTAR, as I loved being reunited with the Court of Dreams and Velaris. My biggest issue with this read was most of the romantic elements set in the novel, which I discuss in my reread review of ACOMAF.

South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf (3/5 stars)South of Sunshine follows Kaycee, a high school senior living in Sunshine, Tennessee. Kaycee does her best to hide that fact that she is a lesbian in her small, Christian town, until Bren shows up and turns Sunshine and Kaycee upside. I really enjoyed the setting of this book, and it made sad that Kaycee felt that she couldn’t be herself around her friends and family. However, I felt a big disconnect with this book , as I did not enjoy the writing style and often grew frustrated with the characters.

Favorite Book: The Hate U Give. THERE ARE HARRY POTTER AND HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL REFERENCES PEOPLE!!!

What books did you read in April? Share in the comments below!

A Court of Mist and Fury Reread Review

Happy A Court of Wings and Ruin Release Day!!With Sarah J.Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin’s finally out, I knew I had to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury before starting the last book in this trilogy. ACOMAF was one of my favorite reads of 2016, again hailing Sarah J.Maas as the queen of fantasy. While I really enjoyed my reread, I wasn’t completely memorized by ACOMAF this time around. Without going into spoilery detail, I was not too enchanted by the romance in this novel, as I was more focused on the characters’ backstories, action, and world-building. Despite my dislike for the romantic elements, I cannot wait to get my hands on ACOWAR once my semester is over! I preordered the book from Barnes & Noble and completed the preorder promotion for a map of the ACOTAR world!

**Warning:This review contains ACOMAF spoilers. **

What I Liked :

  • Learning more about the Court of Dreams My favorite part of ACOMAF are the members of the Court of Dreams– Rhysand, Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Amren. While I don’t mind Feyre as the main narrator, I enjoy reading about the members of the Court of Dreams so much more. They all add their own character to the story, and I love the humor and Cassian and Mor often bring. I laughed out when Mor hopes that Feyre isn’t dead when she checks in on her at the cabin.
  • The world-building I loved going to the Summer Court and meeting Tarquin and his court. I have a feeling Tarquin will definitely make an appearance or two in ACOWAR, as the Summer Court and Spring Court are allies. I also fell in love with the city of Velaris. I love the contrast between the darkness that comes with being labeled as the Night Court and the rainbow and color that is Velaris. I was screaming during the battle over the city.
  • The ending The court’s trip to Hybern comes shortly after the Rhysand and Feyre are mates/let’s have sex and celebrate scenes, so I was looking for more action as the pages dwindled.  AND SARAH J. MAAS COMPLETELY DELIVERED. Between the appearance of Jurian, the arrival of the Spring Court and Feyre’s sisters, and all the drama and tension in that scene, I was again having all the fangirl feels.
  • Remembering scenes that I had forget about- I think by just focusing on the ending of the novel and thinking about what’s to come in ACOWAR, I forgot a lot of the plot details and scenes in the novel. For example, I forgot about the mortal queens’ involvement with the Book and Lucien’s hunt for Feyre.

What I Disliked:

  • The emphasis on the romance– Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Feyre and Rhysand as a couple and I understand that their bond is a key element to the novel’s plot. However, I hated how almost every scene had to have some sort of detail about their feelings and how hot one looked with their Illyrian wings. I just felt like it took away from the novel’s action and suspense.
  • The sex scenes– In my opinion, the sex scenes in ACOTAR and ACOMAF place the series into the new adult genre instead of the young adult genre. Personally, I do not enjoy the sex scenes because I find them a bit unnecessary and a bit too detailed. I understand Feyre and Rhysand have these deep feelings for each other, but I don’t need to know about what Rhysand wants to do his mate laying on the kitchen table.

What are you most looking forward to in ACOWAR? Let me know in the comments below!!

A Court of Thorns and Roses Reread Review

As I began to anticipate Sarah J.Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin more and more, I knew I had to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury before ACOWAR comes out on May 2nd. I was even more motivated to reread the first two books in the trilogy when Kristin from SuperSpaceChick, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, and Cristina from Girl in the Pages announced that they would be hosting a A Court of Thorns and Roses Reread. Below, you’ll find my own non-spoilery thoughts of my ACOTAR reread.

ACOTAR Summary: When nineteen year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf, the last thing she expects is a beast-like creature to come and knock down her family’s door. The beast demands a life for life, dragging Feyre to Prythian, the land of the faeries and magic. Feyre’s kind have come to fear and hate the faeries, and Feyre’s own hatred grows when she learns that her captor is not a beast, but Tamlin- one of the powerful, immortal High Fae. As she adjusts to living in Prythian with Tamlin, Feyre’s feelings transform from hatred to passion, and she must find a way to help Tamlin stop a magical being from taking over the faerie lands.

My Reread Feels (warning: there are some minor spoilers about plot details below) 

My favorite part of rereading this book was noticing more of the Beauty and the Beast elements. A Court of Thorns and Roses is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and the two stories hold many similarities and differences. One of the differences I noticed in this reread is between our two female protagonists. While Belle is obviously a huge bookworm, Feyre is unable to read. The coolest similarity I noticed was the physical element of the curse. In Beauty and the Beast, all of the Beast’s servants transform into objects. In A Court of Thorns and Roses, all of the people in Tamlin’s court, including himself, are stuck wearing masks. I thought it was so cool of Sarah J.Maas to incorporate this physical element in her book.

I really love the world-building throughout this series, and I’m so excited to refamiliarize myself with the rest of the courts in A Court of Mist and Fury. While I enjoy Feyre as our main protagonist, I enjoy interacting with the side characters so much more. Lucien, Alis, and Rhysand add such character and humor  into the story. Rhysand is a much bigger character in the second novel, so I enjoyed rereading his parts  and how he helps set up the plot for ACOMAF. This book also reminded how strong of a character Feyre is. She totally held her own while living in the human realm and living beside the faeries. However, in this reread, I went from loving Tamlin to holding a lot of animosity against him. Without being too spoilery, Tamlin feels that he has to have complete control over Feyre’s whereabouts and knowledge, which was completely unnecessary and too controlling at times.

Are you rereading A Court of Thorns and Roses & A Court of Mist and Fury in anticipation of ACOWAR?Share your non-spoilerly ACOTAR thoughts and feels below!