A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Court of Mist and Fury, sequel to Sarah J. Maass best-selling A Court of Thorns and Roses, has lots of sex and gore. It's aimed at 14-and-up readers but includes several prolonged, intense, explicit sex scenes, most featuring protagonist Feyre with two "males" (they're faeries, so they're never called "men") and another spotlighting a villainous priestess sprawled naked and making suggestive moves on the bed of a character she's trying to seduce. The story is saturated with violence, from imprisonment, forced marriage, and mind control to brutal massacres of loved ones and family members, and one character drinks blood. Crude and profane language ("f--k," "s--t," "ass," "prick," "hell," "damn," and the like) is plentiful. On the positive side, the plot's a page-turner (a good thing, as there are lots of pages). There's a strong theme of characters struggling to do the right thing and protect their loved ones, even when all the options are bad; the two central figures, Feyre and Rhysand, have emerged from the events of Book 1 traumatized by guilt, struggling for redemption, and willing to sacrifice themselves to save others.
- Parents say
- Kids say
As a 23 year old avid reader and, this is my new favorite series of all time. The character development in this book blew my mind. #TeamRhysand
What's the story?
Following the events of Book 1, heroine Feyre is now an immortal faery who retains a human heart. She's wracked by guilt for the horrible deeds she's been forced to do to save faery lord Tamlin and many other faeries and humans. She's also preparing for her wedding to Tamlin, the love of her life -- or is he? He says he loves her and will do anything to protect her, but that seems to mean keeping her confined in his castle, suffocated in party planning, pretty dresses, and court intrigue. Then, on the big day, Rhysand, the fearsome High Lord of the Night Court sweeps her off to his realm, which turns out be be quite different from what she expected. So does dark, snarky Rhysand, with whom she soon discovers intense sexual chemistry. But an evil faery lord is plotting an invasion that will destroy both human and faery lands, and Rhys and his friends are the only obstacle in his path. Worse, Tamlin is mortally offended by Feyre's defection and plans war. Meanwhile, Feyre discovers she's acquired remarkable powers since her transformation and struggles to learn to use them.
Is it any good?
Sarah J. Maas delivers magical mind melds, hack-and-slash violence, ethical hand-wringing, emotional angst, and lots of hot faery sex in this hefty series installment sure to delight her fans. She also throws both heroine Feyre and the reader a bit of a curve, turning Book 1's romantic hero Tamlin into a control freak and sinister Night Court lord Rhysand into Feyre's new love. Whether the subject is a glorious night sky, a character's gory injuries, or raging lust, the skillfully crafted descriptions grab your attention.
A COURT OF MIST AND SHADOWS will please fans who like their romantic fantasy dark, violent, and convoluted. It's action-packed and loaded with complex, shifting cosmology, as well as real-life issues that resonate with teen: friendship, changing relationships, love gone wrong, family, loyalty, and more. For some, the oft-repeated hand-wringing and internal debate, as well as the dialogue's tendency to veer from medieval to millennial and back, may get old; for others, it's part of the charm.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories that put their heroes in impossible situations, where all their available choices have terrible costs. What other examples do you know?
What do you think of the level of sex and violence in A Court of Mist and Fury? Is it necessary to the storytelling and the characters, or is it excessive? Is there a different standard for fantasy books than realistic fiction?
If you were suddenly reborn as an immortal being, what would you find the hardest thing to get used to?
- Author: Sarah J. Maas
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Superheroes, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
- Publication date: May 3, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 640
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: August 22, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love magic and romantic fantasy
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.