A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings and Ruin
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May 02, 2017
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Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

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gushing too much to write!
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Overall, this was a really fantastic finish to Feyre and Rhys's story. I loved the exploration of the world we see in this one with other courts and High Lords. The world of Prythian becomes much bigger. It's a really fantastic read, and impossible to put down (somehow 700 pages felt too short)! Fans of Maas will love this installment.
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Alright warning time. As with most books that I read, this has been labeled problematic. Though this one is completely unfounded. Someone read a small part and took it out of context. I will explain more after the review.

Guys!!!!!!!! I can't begin to put into words how much I loved this book! I love how strong Feyra grows in this final book. I thought she grew a lot in the last book but this one blows that one out of the water! This is the perfect ending for the trilogy. Not everything is wrapped up with a pretty little bow but we know there will be spin offs so that makes sense to me. I can't wait to see what else we are going to get. Now I know this book came out months ago and everyone has probably already read it but just in case. Everything below will be a spoiler. You've been warned.

Okay now let's talk about all the parts that made me cry, laugh, and squill like the fangirl I am, shall we?

Cassian and Nesta. I love them so much and hope they get together soon. You can totally see the connection between them but our girl Nesta is a stubborn little butt and keeps trying to fight it. I hope we get a book that features them. I think they will work together though because she is such a badass and Cassian will one of the only people who could handle her forward personality. Also can we just stop and praise SJM for giving her characters actual personalities? I mean, I read lots of books with bland characters and I've never had this problem from her. I love it.

Tamlin... I hate him but at the same time when he told Feyra to just be happy my heart went out to him. So I'm so torn for him. It . made me cry ugly tears and I really hope he gets a redemption arc or just dies. There is no in between in my feelings for Tamlin. He either dies for what he did to our girl Feyra or he mans up and becomes a better person.

Lucian! He was always a favorite of mine but in this one he shot up high on my list. He's so cool and so wonderfully loyal. I also love how we find out he's the sole heir to the Day Court! I wonder how that's going to play out in the next books. I also hope he doesn't end up with his mate: Elain as I think she is much better off with Azriel. Am I the only one that thinks that?

Speaking of Elain... she freaking stabbed the damn king! I couldn't believe it! I was so shocked and it was glorious! I loved it!

Mor.... my lovely, sweet, and beautiful Mor, my heart went out to her. Growing up as she did. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I just hope she gets comfortable enough to share it with her friends and family as we all know they would totally accept her. They'd treat her no differently... well maybe Azriel might but yeah... that's a complicated mess right there. I still think after picking up the pieces of his heart he'd be fine.

I loved the part where their father came in on the ships that were named after them and helped. I cried more, it was too sweet and it really touched me.

Amren. She's easily the most badass character. For a moment there I thought she was betraying the group and I wanted to die. Not really but I wanted to throw the book at the wall and just sob till I couldn't anymore. I went from one heartbreak to the next when I thought she was dead. I couldn't take it. I love her so much. She couldn't die and I was so happy that she didn't. It will be cool going forward to see how she takes to being high fae now.

I could never leave out Rhys, I lost my shit when I thought he was dead. I legit could not take that. I would've flipped a table and went insane if he had died. I found myself wanting to smack him so many times in the book and tell him to quit being so self sacrificing but I also love that part of his character so I was torn a lot.

I do have questions, about the Queen and the Death God. Also is the Death God the brother of Bone Carver? That's a thought I had... don't know really.

Overall, this book was the ending I wanted. I loved the little glimpse of their son we got and their future. I want Feyra and Rhys to live a long and happy life. I want them all to live happily. I'm crying just writing this review as the feels come back to me. This will always be my favorite series ever.

Now time to clear up some things that were going around twitter when the first few chapters were released. This to me was so stupid, it didn't even make sense the claims that people were throwing at this book. They clearly didn't read all the way through the book, just picked this little sentence and bam! Homophobic and SJM hates asexuals. Insert eye roll.

"Dagdan and Brannagh had listened to her fawning with enough boredom that I was starting to wonder if the two of them perhaps preferred no one's company but each other's. In whatever unholy capacity."- Page 32

"Perhaps any sort of physical passion had long ago drained away, alongside their souls." - Page 32

First off these two are related and secondly, they are the bad guys. They work for the king that our group is trying to take down. That's what SJM meant by soulless = evil. Also they aren't even asexual like the ones of Twitter were claiming.

"But it was their vacant, unfeeling faces that snagged the eye. A lack of emotion honed from a millennia of cruelty." - Page 20

That's the reason for their boredom. They are freaking evil bitches. Not asexual.

'She shrugged, her smile growing, "Autumn court males have fire in their blood and they fuck like it, too."' - Page 58 (Brannagh)

All this was just people who read something out of context and then decided to use it to fit their own agenda and nothing more. Don't believe everything you hear. Also, always think for yourself and read things for yourself. Don't let other's opinions become yours. You have a brain for a reason. Use it. That wraps this up. Have a wonderful day little butterflies.
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A semi-satisfying conclusion, but mainly disappointed
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To invoke Ross Geller, I think Sarah J. Maas and I need to go on a break.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is perhaps the most highly anticipated novel of 2017. I know it, you know it, your old neighbour who doesn’t even know what YA is knows it. The book didn’t capture my heart the way A Court of Mist and Fury did, but it was still an entertaining novel and a semi-satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Did it have its problems? Yes. Could I ignore said problems and focus on the story? Eh … for the most part. Why do I keep reading SJM’s books if I steadily grow to dislike them more and more? You got me.

A Court of Wings and Ruin picks up not too long after the conclusion of ACOMAF. Feyre, the High Lady of the Night Court, is in the Spring Court with her old lover Tamlin. After Tamlin’s unforgivable betrayal in ACOMAF, Feyre is determined to bring down his court and spy on any plans to do with the King of Hybern’s impeding invasion into Prythian. When she is reunited with her mate Rhys, Feyre and her family, with the information they now possess, must figure out how to gather the High Lords and join forces in a temporary peace, before Hybern arrives and uses the Cauldron to wage war on Prythian.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone went into this novel with very high expectations, especially after the flawlessness that was ACOMAF. I fully expected this book to be my favourite of 2017, and I can’t tell you how upset I am that it’s not. That is not to say it is a bad book – it’s not; it’s just disappointing.

Before I get into that, let’s talk about the good parts of the book:

(Some spoilers, nothing major – I don’t directly mention names for any big events in the book.)

The plot didn’t let up for a moment and, for a majority of the novel, I really enjoyed it. Maas has set up quite a lot for the next novel in this world, which I look forward to reading. I know many people were put off by the slow pacing, but I have always liked slow novels so that didn’t bother me as much. I will admit the Spring Court scenes were a little boring, but I still found them fascinating as Feyre worked to disintegrate the court from the inside, by turning Tamlin’s own people against him. Not as overt as typical warfare, but still just as engaging. The final battle was riddled with tension and suspense as everything Maas had been alluding to in previous novels finally came to fruition.

Like in Empire of Storms, the background characters were the stars of the novel: Nesta, Lucien, Cassian, Azriel, Amren, Jurian, and even Eris! (I’m sure you’ve noticed one background character’s name not here: I’ll talk more about her later.) I loved learning about the histories of different characters, which is where Maas really shines as a writer. My favourite character was Jurian – admittedly, I really like him in ACOMAF, but in ACOWAR we see more of his character. I wouldn’t call it a development because he’s not in any scenes for a long period time; nevertheless, his arc is intriguing and I really hope we get to see more of him in the next books. Eris is still a despicable person, but I have always been a sucker for the bad guy, so I wonder where SJM will take this character next.

I have to mention Cassian and Nesta. I can’t not talk about them. Trust me when I say no one was more surprised than me when I realised I liked their tension and budding romance. Not only did I like it, I looked forward to the scenes they were in to watch it further develop! When I could see Maas taking this direction with the characters, I was annoyed – why can’t anyone stay single in her books? But the tension between the characters, so subtle and barely there, was written to almost perfection.

And … well, looks like that’s it for the good parts of the novel. Here we go with the disappointing:

The search for allies was pulled off a lot better than it was in Empire of Storms where Aelin apparently wrote some mysterious letter and called in her debts. In ACOWAR, most of the novel surrounds this search for allies and subsequent meetings to promise soldiers and negotiate terms. It was interesting. However, the allies Feyre and Rhys made were utilised only as a Deus ex Machina tool, and didn’t contribute much else to the story. Maas could get away with using the technique once in the novel, maybe twice, because after that it is just so not realistic anymore, but she uses the Deus ex Machina in six other fighting scenes. Six! And in the final battle alone it’s utilised three times! Three! That smacks of lazy writing to me. Come on, Maas.

Maas’s writing really fluctuated in ACOWAR. At times, the prose was so beautiful I was left speechless. But other times, it was bogged down with such unnecessary detail that I became confused and couldn’t understand what was happening. Feyre also has this annoying habit of obsessing over everyone else and what someone else is potentially thinking of or feeling. Like, Feyre: shut up. Who cares? I know this is just Maas struggling to reveal information about another character because she is stuck using the first person point of view, but she is a skilled writer who could have found a way around it. It was like every time Feyre entered a room, she described in agonising detail what everyone’s facial expressions were, what they were wearing, if two people were looking at each other, if one character was blushing, if another turned their head and coughed … just enough! There is too much information! We don’t need to know every little thing about every character. No wonder the book is 700 pages long! There is such a thing as letting the reader use their imagination – so let us! Also, if I read the phrase ‘for it was’ one more time, I was going to scream. You can use the word ‘because’, Maas. It won’t hurt you.

There were a few characters that really irked me in ACOWAR. I’ll mention the one that made me see red first: Mor. Don’t hate me, but I absolutely detested Mor in this novel. I’m sorry, but where was that badass warrior The Morrigan? Where was that fast-talking, fearless woman who fought in the War 500 years ago? Well, she was gone and had been replaced with an annoying, whiny primadonna. The scene that made me begin to dislike her was when they were in the Court of Nightmares, negotiating with her father. After Rhys allowed the Court of Nightmares some freedom, Mor sat there with a ‘beseeching expression crumbling on her face.’ She literally sat at the table, almost crying, in front of her evil father who ruled the Court of Nightmares, and stared at Rhys like he just took away her favourite toy for no reason. Even Eris said to her, ‘You had every emotion written right on that pretty face of yours.’
So you understand what I’m saying: THE MORRIGAN, WHO WAS A WARRIOR IN THE WAR ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, ACTED LIKE A FREAKING CHILD IN FRONT OF THE EVIL COURT WHO ONLY ASKED FOR THAT PARTICULAR THING BECAUSE THEY KNEW IT WOULD UPSET HER. And I thought they were supposed to act powerful in the Court of Nightmares. There were a few other occasions where she annoyed me as well, but I won’t mention them because they’re too spoilery.

You may think I’m overreacting, but some of the characters’ personalities were just all over the place. Feyre really let the power get to her head, allowing her to invade people’s minds with no remorse. She even asked Rhys if it was okay and he pretty much said, yes, because she was doing it for the right reasons, and yet if someone had done that to her, he would have ripped out their throats. Can’t say hypocrite fast enough. She also inserted herself too much in other people’s dramas. It also irked me just how powerful and unique she was and how we were reminded of that pretty much every chapter. We get it, Feyre, you’re a special snowflake, the most powerful female in all of Prythian. It was all just so … excessive.

This is going to break my heart to say, but Rhys let me down. In ACOMAF, he was such an intensely complex character and Maas developed his arc to absolute perfection, revealing his inner personality and true self. It was beautiful. In ACOWAR, he seemed to be stuck in a continually revolving circle of ‘I love Feyre. I must protect my friends. I must protect Prythian. I love Feyre. I must protect my friends. I must protect Prythian’, and that’s it. A real shame.

I have always felt for Tamlin in the novels, even in ACOMAF. Don’t ask why, you guys should know by now I have a thing for the villain. Except that he’s not really the villain: he’s a scorned lover who can’t let go of the woman he loves. At least, that is who he was in ACOMAF. In ACOWAR … I don’t even know anymore. He’s working with Hybern, then he’s not, then he is again, oh wait, no he’s not. I don’t think Maas even knew what he was doing with his character anymore – there was no development whatsoever. If the Deus ex Machina technique could be personified, it would be Tamlin. I think he was only in certain scenes and situations as a plot device. That being said, I did enjoy his specific action at the very end of the novel. Good for you Tamlin.
I will also quickly mention I was annoyed by the fact that every villain, aside from Hybern, suddenly turned out to be good. IS NO ONE JUST EVIL ANYMORE? I feel like Maas loves her characters too much and wants us too. Here’s the thing though: you can have a beloved evil character. Many authors do it: think of The Darkling as an example.

A few nitpicks because I love to complain:

- I know a lot of people – a lot – hate the whole ‘mate’ vibe. I don’t mind it so much, but I do not like the constant ‘male and female’ thing. And that is because it is in both of Maas’ series’. Someone needs to tell this girl that you cannot have two book worlds which are almost completely the same. It is getting hard to differentiate between Prythian and Erilea because both series’ focus on faeries and mates and males and females.
- Also, every faerie and their dog has a mate. How is that possible? I thought mates were rare? Or am I mixing that up with Throne of Glass? See how easy it is to mix up the books BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE SAME FAERIE CULTURE?!
Two characters die … and come back to life. I knew Maas didn’t have it in her to kill off a character. She loves them too freaking much. I understand how one particular character came back, but not the other. That was confusing. I don’t know why everyone is worried about Throne of Glass #7. No one is going to die, it’s so obvious. I’m not asking her to turn into J.K. Rowling, but for god’s sake, it is war – how can no one from the Night Court die?! Seriously?
- A character comes out as potentially gay, perhaps bisexual. While I am glad that Maas is becoming more diverse, it is so obvious that this was not her original plan for this character. The scenes where this character came out is sloppy, and the reasons behind remaining in the closet simply unrealistic. This character had 500 years to tell someone they didn’t want to be with them because they were attracted to members of the same sex, and kept backing out. I understand how difficult it can be for people to come out – trust me, I know – but they had 500 YEARS. See how I think it wasn’t the original direction for this character? It was simple fanservice.
- Sex scenes: while I don’t mind the occasional sex scene in a book, Maas takes it too far. Just … stop. This is a YA book, okay? We get that your characters love each other, but there are other ways to convey love and affection without the use of graphic descriptions of sex. It almost felt as though the only way Feyre and Rhys could prove their love was through sex, which is not true at all.

I think many of the issues I found in Maas’ novel can be fixed with time. Maas is contracted to release two books a year, but why? I understand she is popular, but the girl must be exhausted writing such massive novels. Let her take her time and develop her novel so it resembles the perfection that was ACOMAF. I am more than happy to wait a few more months if that means the book will be near flawless, as opposed to a chaotic, confusing mess. Someone said that Throne of Glass #6 – a.k.a. Chaol’s story – was written in five days. Five! I can’t even imagine how bad that book is going to be, how poorly written. I honestly don’t even want to read it, but if I don’t, I probably won’t understand Throne of Glass #7.

Like I said, Maas and I need to go on a break. At the moment, I’m disappointed with her novels (especially Empire of Storms), but that disappointment is fast straddling the line onto outright hate.

So ACOWAR wasn’t the amazing conclusion I thought it would be, but the parts that didn’t anger me were enjoyable. A lot has been set up for the next book series, which will follow a different protagonist. I’ll say this much for Maas – even though this book disappointed, she’s gotten me excited for the next one!
Good Points
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