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A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Description⎮Reviewed Jun. 2015
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Length: 23h 16m
Published: Recorded Books⎮2016
5 ★ Audiobook⎮ Let me just say that I didn’t want to like this book as much as I did. I read the first installment, A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) about nine months ago and rated it five stars. By the time A Court of Mist and Fury was released, my enthusiasm for the series had greatly waned. Hey, that happens sometimes. Over time, some stories “savor” and some “sour” in my mind and only time will tell if my initial reviews hold up. In my initial reviews (the one written right after completing the audiobook), I rate stories based on my level of enjoyment while listening to them.
ACOTAR was a story that had me in the palm of its hand almost from the get-go. But as the months went by, I began to dissect it and allowed some other reviewers’ feelings to influence my own. I never changed my initial five star rating, because I don’t believe in re-rating, but my opinion of the series was definitely diminished by the time A Court of Mist and Fury came out. The only thing that made me want to continue with the series was the hope that the instincts that led me to give ACOTAR five stars way back in September weren’t wrong.
It took me well over a month to finish A Court of Mist and Fury. Not only is it extremely long (22 hours+), but I found the first 65-70% to be as slow as molasses in January. It creeped along so painfully slowly that I kept putting it down in favor of other things. I think I finished three other audiobooks in the time it took me to finish this one. I mean, it was good. But to go from such a high intensity ending in ACOTAR to this slow, dare I say stagnant, beginning in A Court of Mist and Fury was painful as watching paint dry. However, I have no doubt that the negative feelings I accrued in the last thing nine months between installments was largely to blame for my listlessness. Someone reading these two installments back-to-back would likely have a much easier time with it. To be clear, I’m taking responsibility for not being as satisfied as I could have been with the first two thirds of this.
My one legitimate complaint was the amount of prominence given to the very lengthy and descriptive sex scenes. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but it was the only thing that really bothered me about the way this story was written. I don’t consider myself prudish by any stretch of the imagination, but my issue with these scenes is that I didn’t understand their point. Don’t get me wrong, they were absolutely killer. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy them, but even after having completed the book, I still don’t think they added anything to the story. I could possibly see the point of having one and then maybe some strong implications of continued relations (“fade to black” style) to reiterate the point later on, but the way these were written quickly became redundant and, in my opinion, it cheapened the story. Those repeated scenes made me feel like I was reading fan fiction, not a best-selling novel (…that isn’t 50 Shades). They have a lot of sex. Okay, I get it. But I don’t need a play-by-play every time they do. We all know sex sells and there’s clearly a reason, but most of these scenes seemed like a forced, unnecessary way to get “cheap pops” (bonus points to those who get that reference!). Most annoyingly of all, these scenes added absolutely nothing to the overall plot.
In addition to not believing in “re-rating”, I also don’t believe in re-reading a story I’ve already completed, mostly because I have too many others waiting. With that said, I’m currently considering listening to ACOMAF again because I don’t feel like my heart was in it the whole time. Again, I take responsibility for that. I was initially very perturbed (but also sort of excited?) that Maas was basically changing everything (setting, characters, love interest) for A Court of Mist and Fury and it’s possible that I let some of those feelings interfere with my ability to immerse myself in this book.
Sidebar: I’ve read multiple reviews from fuming fans of ACOTAR who actually DNF’d this installment (or outright refused to give it a try) because of all the changes or because of ship-related issues. Without getting into spoilers, suffice it to say that if they had actually bothered to finish this installment, a lot of words would have been eaten by now. I ate quite a few of my own words during this installment as well. Maas apparently took it upon herself to teach us all a lesson in patience because so many of the complaints levied at her over ACOTAR were rendered null and void in A Court of Mist and Fury.
Now that I have a better grasp on the new characters and whatnot, I actually really want to try listening to this again. I think the best time to re-listen would probably be just before the next installment is released next year. If I can wait that long.
Narration review: Jennifer Ikeda has yet again proven herself to be a premier narrator. I’m so pleased that she returned for A Court of Mist and Fury, not just because a new narrator would have compounded all of the aforementioned changes and probably sent me into a tailspin, but because Jennifer=Feyre to me now. I’ve become so accustomed to hearing her as Feyre that I’m currently having a bit of a problem adjusting to her narrating Diana in A Discovery of Witches. Feyre matured so much in this installment and I really feel like Jennifer Ikeda was able to capture that new maturity and development in her narration. She also does an absolutely fantastic job of providing voice distinction for all of the characters. I’ve never had trouble discerning between Amren and Mor because their personalities are clearly evident in the way she voices them. ♣︎