Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Sometimes there are no words, and those reviews are the hardest.

ACOTAR was a contrary introduction to the series: flawed and splendid, slow and action-packed. It featured a heroine who drove many crazy with her senseless decision-making and a plot which only emerged in the last hundred pages of the book. The rest was mostly romance, and a glimpse into a rich world.

And I loved it. I didn't love the pacing which was split 3-parts-romance, 1-part-action, in a fantasy book. I didn't love the initial plot. But I loved the fragments of the world we got to see, and I endlessly loved the flawed characters.

The. Flawed. Characters. Beautifully flawed, tragically flawed, humanly flawed. Feyre, who had never gotten a chance to allow her sense to catch up with how quickly her instincts had been forced to grow up. Lucien, whose better judgment was rarely better, and rarely judgment, and who fled physical horrors only to spend a hundred years bracing against mental horrors and came out of it sassy, hilarious and shielded. Rhysand, who traded brute strength and weapons for secrets and schemes, and whose outward battles seemed to wage a larger war against his internal ones. And Tamlin, who was as big of a puzzle at the end as he was at the beginning.

My expectations for ACOMAF were astronomical. They were higher than astronomical. I held it to a standard that I thought no book could ever achieve.

And those expectations were laughable - just laughable compared to what I got in their stead. My 'astronomical' was surpassed around chapter 5. Sarah J. Maas had me expecting romance, sexual tension, some societal squabbles and light political scheming. But in that world, with those characters, it would have been a dream.

But what I got instead... *laughs* (See: line 1 of this review for my in-depth thoughts. That's right, they are all screaming too loudly for one to winnow the others out.(And yes, that was an ACOMAF pun right there.) 

It's not just that the world expands, it's the wonder it expands into. From a single mansion and a single cavernous dungeon to sprawling courts, kingdoms, entire worlds, all intricately weaved together and all rich and vivid and... amazing. I'm not just saying this. I was dead serious that time I offered up my soul in exchange for life in certain parts of Prythian. The world is that glorious thing that happens once in a blue book (and blue it is!), where to pry yourself away from it makes this real world so bleak by comparison. (Don't live in books, children. But leave me in this one forever. Do as I say, not as I do.I am now a proud citizen of Velaris, and I shall defend it with my soul.

(For example, I scream at its enemies when they attempt to uncover it. And by scream, I mean throat: hoarse, neighbors: concerned, explanation: futile. It was a blast.)

And then there are the flawed characters. Those flawed characters I loved so much who now evolve. Progress. Regress. Unravel. Dim. Shine. NEVER has Sarah J. Maas done character development like this. Not like this. And never could I have imagined it being this good. One, whose development goes in a way I've never ever seen done in NA to this extent. One, whose development goes exactly as expected - sinister, and cruel, and scheming, and awful. One, whose renewed struggle mirrors their past and regurgitates old fears. One, who was nothing like what they seemed. One, who was exactly what they seemed. And a new cast I loved so, so very much that they are my honorary family and don't you dare tell me they aren't real.

I know people who can hurt you. And they may or may not live in Prythian. Beware.

But none of this was as mindblowing as the themesThis is a book of plot, a book of messages, and a book of subtle background romance and powerful foreground themes. It's a sort of fantasy that weaves subtext of such enormous importance into an utterly engaging plot. I cannot, cannot explain what the exploration of abuse, consent, agency, freedom, depression, captivity, trauma and anxiety has meant to me.

There will never be words, possibly. I've done the best I can with the ones I have at my disposal. The real words, though... they just don't exist quite yet.

In the publishing industry, you know springtime has come when you find yourself buried under a pile of (a) anticipated releases, and (b) soul-crushing joy and despair, and book hangovers of astronomical proportions. And just in case The Raven King (review here) and This Savage Song (review to come) haven't done me in yet - ACOMAF has effectively finished the job. I am now a blob of cackle, tears, feminism and profound nostalgia. I like to believe said blob is black in color.

What about you, lovelies? What is the last book that has swept you off your feet, and what are your most anticipated releases coming out these days (or have yet to come out)? Any similarly-shaped blobs out there? Leave us a comment and let us know.