Chapter 39 

Feyre visits Amren, who is working on decoding the Book, and brings her blood to drink. Earlier, Rhysand sent her a thank-you note for helping with his nightmare, and she wrote back asking what the tattoos on his knees mean. He explained that they mean he will bow before no one but his crown. Amren is using a blood ruby as a paperweight, but Varian also sent her a necklace to ease the news of the bounty on her head. As they wait for the mortal queens to write back, Feyre trains. When she asks Rhysand if he always wanted to be High Lord, he says that he had a vision for a less corrupt, more peaceful future for his court and didn’t want to rule like his father. She realizes that in this way, he resembles Tarquin, which is why the rupture in their friendship is so painful. Eventually, the queens agree to a meeting, and Mor, Feyre, and Rhysand leave for Feyre’s family mansion.  

Chapter 40 

Rhysand asks where the sixth queen is, and an ancient-looking queen says she is too ill to travel. Rhysand introduces Feyre and Mor, whom the queens recognize as the Morrigan from the War. The queens say they know a new war is coming and have been preparing for years. When Feyre points out there are no preparations in this territory, the golden-haired queen says it would be a waste of their resources to protect it, and that Prythian should look after it or let it be sacrificed. Nesta challenges the queens, saying they can’t abandon their people to the care of faeries, but the old queen insists they will keep their half of the Book unless Rhysand can prove that he is indeed peaceful. The five queens leave, and Elain says she hopes they all burn in hell.  

Chapter 41 

The Inner Circle returns to Velaris and gathers in the garden at the town house. Rhysand has an idea: to show the queens Velaris using the Veritas orb. Mor, Cassian, Rhysand, and Feyre are to be distractions while Azriel steals the orb. After dinner, Feyre wanders to the artists’ quarter, the Rainbow, but can’t bring herself to enter. She returns to find Rhysand reconsidering whether to take her to the Court of Nightmares because he doesn’t want her to see the way he acts when he’s there. He tells her how Mor was physically abused and abandoned by her own family for sleeping with Cassian when she was supposed to marry a cruel lord of the Autumn Court. The story makes Feyre even more resolved to help. 

Chapter 42 

As they fly to the Night Court, they are attacked by ash arrows. Rhysand lands and asks Cassian to take Feyre to the palace, but she wants to stay and help them hunt the attackers. Rhysand allows it, and the two search but find nothing. When Rhysand walks into the Court of Nightmares with his full power on display, everyone bows. He pulls Feyre onto his lap so she can play the role of the High Lord’s new pet to distract Keir while Azriel steals the orb. Feyre finds her body responding sexually to Rhysand’s caresses as Keir reports all the business of the Night Court. As Feyre leaves Rhysand’s lap, Keir calls her a whore. Rhysand breaks Keir’s bones, demanding he apologize, and Feyre realizes that her physical reaction to Rhysand has woken her body from a long sleep.  


Feyre’s relationships with members of Rhysand’s Inner Circle deepen into meaningful friendships, giving her a found family in the land of High Fae. When she brings Amren blood, she asks thoughtful questions that will help her better understand the mysterious character, signaling that their relationship is important to her. Freyre’s interaction with Amren and her growing friendships with Cassian, Mor, and Azriel indicate that she plans to stay at the Night Court for a long time, even though she had initially planned for her stay to be temporary. The way the members of the Inner Circle rely on one another, respect each other’s past traumas, and care for each other’s needs is very much like the closeness of a family. One thing all of these characters have in common is that they have been separated from their relatives in traumatic ways, whether because they were orphans, abused, or made into High Fae and forced to leave their families behind. The theme of found family continues to be interwoven into the plot, with Feyre beginning to feel a sense of belonging that she always craved but failed to experience with her mortal family.  

The encounter with the five mortal queens reveals a surprising degree of political interconnectedness between humans and faeries. The queens are able to winnow and have the second half of the Book of Breathings because faeries and humans used to cooperate and share a connection. The queens also reveal that Mor is famous among mortals for her role in the war, again illustrating how much human and faerie history overlaps. The fact that the queens are already anticipating and preparing for a new war with Hybern suggests that they still have a line of communication with the faerie world. Despite this, Elain’s unexpected hostility emphasizes how unhelpful and uncooperative the queens are being, foreshadowing trouble to come. It is clear that they could form an alliance to help Rhysand, but they are choosing not to, even though this choice requires sacrificing some of their own citizens. 

Rhysand’s reputation for cruelty is contradicted by the care he takes in helping Feyre reach her full potential in all areas, including literacy and the mastery of her many powers. This desire to see Feyre become as powerful as possible appears to be strategic, since he wants to use her as a weapon in the impending war with Hybern. However, given his obvious romantic interest in her, it appears that, unlike Tamlin, he is not afraid of having a relationship with a strong, proactive female. He isn’t a fairy tale prince who wants to rescue the damsel in distress. Rather, he’s a warrior who wants his partner to fight alongside him. Considering the risks Rhysand’s eventual wife must take, he understands that he must find someone who is willing to carry the burden of his reputation and past, and also appreciate his true self.  

Rhysand’s reluctance to take Feyre to the Night Court reveals his fear that she will be repulsed by the mask of depravity that he has to wear there to keep the people of Velaris hidden and safe. However, Feyre shows her willingness to accept even this dark version of Rhysand, since she knows what the mask conceals. As their plot unfolds, Feyre is turned on by Rhysand’s vulgar behavior, feeling sexually excited even though she knows that his caresses are just for show. By communicating through small gaps in their shields, they are able to reassure each other and put on a convincing performance to distract Keir. Keir’s presence keeps the story of Mor’s abuse at her family’s hands, which Feyre has just learned about, in view. This only intensifies Feyre’s commitment to doing whatever it takes to steal the Veritas orb from Keir.  

Rhysand parades Feyre as his new pet, fondling her as he sits on the throne dealing with matters of state, blurring the division between personal gratification, personal trauma, and lordly business. While Feyre can’t help being physically aroused by this encounter, despite the strange circumstances, she condemns herself for enjoying Rhysand’s touch so soon after leaving Tamlin. In fact, she is almost inclined to believe Keir’s evaluation of her as a whore. However, Rhysand’s reaction when Keir insults Feyre reveals that even though Rhysand is willing to have Feyre play the part of his pet, he will punish anyone who dares to judge her. This reaction reveals the danger of blending political intrigue with personal trauma, something the characters seem unable to avoid.