Monday, May 22, 2017

Spoiler Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Release Date: May 2, 2107

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.

This review will contain spoilers, so don't say I didn't warn you.

I've been procrastinating writing this review, because I honestly don't know what to write. 

I want to end on a positive note, so I'm going to start with what I didn't like.

What did I not like?
Well... First, the pacing. As someone who thought ACOTAR moved too slowly and that ACOMAF was just perfect, much of this book seemed to drag. It was 650 pages of planning with 50 pages of action. 

I love Rhysand and Feyre together, but they didn't have that special spark we saw in ACOMAF. There was no exchanging of snarky notes, no flirting, no big Rhysand ego. They became just like any other couple that is together, except they pretty much never fought. There was one time Feyre got mad at Rhysand, but that was about it. That's not how real couples and real relationships work. Not to mention Feyre constantly spent time being annoyed at Rhysand in ACOMAF.

There were certain things about the end that bothered me. Namely: everyone lived. It was implied over and over that Cassian was going to die. Did I want him to die? No, but that doesn't change that with the ending, the stakes were lowered even more than they were to begin with. And Cassian was warned about his impending death by the newly resident seer, so what gives?

And then we have Amren and her betrayal. Okay, I can totally see the betrayal, because she wanted to get back to her own world and she was willing to do anything to get there. Fine. But why not leave her gone? Bringing her back served no purpose aside from to annoy me because now we have lost literally no one from the inner circle, when I was expecting death and destruction everywhere.

I honestly don't understand Nesta's power. I get that she was connected to the Cauldron, and it has something to do with death? But that's about it. I would have liked to actually see more of her training with Amren and maybe get a better idea of what else she could do.

I was glad to see Feyre's father pop up, but the way it was done seemed so... random. He is a merchant, not a fighter. And he is suddenly there with a fleet of ships fighting against Hybern. I get that he went to the Continent to meet about the Hybern problem, but it seems unlikely he would suddenly come back leading an assault. Maybe join in on one, but lead it? And then, of course, he had no more purpose. So he was killed. Which, okay. But was there even really a purpose to bringing him back in the first place? The fact that Feyre and Rhysand had two death gods and whatever Bryaxis is on their side should have been enough to mow over all of Hybern, and yet somehow it wasn't. I don't care how powerful the king was, he wasn't ancient in the way the death gods were. He should have been no match for them, even with the Cauldron.

And then we have Mor. At first, I thought it made sense. We read everything about her in ACOMAF through Feyre's POV, so of course Feyre saw what she wanted to see. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. I don't mind Mor being gay, I just think it should have been so obviously implied that she was supposed to be with Azriel from the very beginning. It really seemed like it was tossed in there because Maas has been under fire lately for not writing diversely. I mean, great! She added a diverse character. But I think it could have been handled better. If anything, I think she should have focused more on the diverse background characters that basically got no screen time and were completely undeveloped instead of blindsiding everyone with Mor.

Finally, the ending itself. There were just so many things that weren't wrapped up at all. I get that this series is continuing, but this is the end of Feyre and Rhysand's story. So I was expecting things to be at least kind of wrapped up. At least with them. Instead, we get cliffhangers and unresolved plotlines that started near the end of the book.

What did I like?
Oh my goodness, that turned more ranty than I expected. So I want to talk about some of the things I really enjoyed.

I loved that we got to see more of the other courts. Helion was a really cool character, and I'm guessing he's going to have a large part to play in one of the standalones. 

I was glad to see Lucien get a bigger part again, and that he finally truly saw the light with Tamlin. Even though he disappeared for half the book.

The twins from Hybern were absolutely terrible, and I was glad to see some tension in the beginning of the book. I was also glad to see that Feyre hadn't completely lost her human heart, and she constantly tried to save people, even though she was trying to destroy Tamlin's court at the same time. 

Nesta was really awesome. She got even crabbier than she was before, and I loved seeing the tiny bit of blooming between her and Cassian. I seriously hope for a Nessian book to be one of the standalones. 

I was personally glad to see Tamlin go through some personal growth. I was happy that he ended up not being such a total monster without having a full redemption arc. Because no one changes 180 that quickly, but it seems like he's slowly finding his way. Honestly, I didn't like Tamlin from the very start of the series, so it was easy for me to see him as an asshat in ACOMAF, but that doesn't change that he did care for Feyre. And he did help her family get their fortune back. The guy was a controlling jerk, but he wasn't all bad from the start. I want to see him heal and find his way in the world, and this was a great start.

I've seen mixed thoughts on Rhysand's "death". I personally liked the way this was pulled off. Was I expecting him to stay dead? No. But I liked the way it mirrored the end of the first book, bringing everything back full circle.

And then we have the suriel. Such an awesome character, so kind of sad to see him go. This was the only part of the book that almost managed to get me choked up. Almost. But what Feyre did in revenge was absolutely amazing. Ianthe was terrible and deserved what she got, so having the Weaver kill her was wonderful.

Speaking of Feyre getting revenge, what she did to those twins from Hybern was pretty epic. 

I was glad to see Myriam and Drakon finally make an appearance, but I wish it had been longer. They just showed up at the last minute, and I had hoped they would be more instrumental to the entire story. Still, with everything left unsaid, I'm sure they will play a role in one of the standalones.

Don't let all my negatives at the beginning fool you. I did actually really enjoy this book. And I still liked it better than ACOTAR. But I think people need to lower their expectations a bit. Don't go in expecting the perfect book after reading ACOMAF. Otherwise, you're likely to be disappointed.

Characters: 4 stars
Plot: 3 stars
Writing: 4 stars
World: 5 stars
Feels: 2 stars
3.5 stars

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