My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked this
WARNING: This review will contain some gushing, some ranting, and a fair amount of SPOILERS!
What it’s about:
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.
My thoughts (spoilers):
“Night Triumphant – and the Stars Eternal.
If he was the sweet, terrifying darkness, I was the glittering light that only his shadows could make clear.”
After a year of anticipation following A Court of Mist and Fury, my favorite read of 2016, the next and final installment in this series, A Court of Wings and Ruin, is finally here. And while it was great and I loved it and this series as a whole, I was also… just a tad disappointed. Because the unfortunate truth is that it did not live up to my expectations, or match the gloriousness that was ACOMAF. And while I couldn’t think of a bad thing to say about ACOMAF, I have several complaints about ACOWAR.
So why did I still give it four stars? Well, even though this review may sound a bit bitter and negative, I still REALLY ENJOYED this book. I did. There were several things I loved so much about it and that I wanted to give 5 or more stars. And then there were a few things I didn’t love so much and were more deserving of a 3 (or even 2) star rating. Overall, I think 4 stars is still a very fair average.
So how do I do this? I’m not used to writing reviews where I myself have such mixed opinions on one book. So how about a good old-fashioned bullet list of pros and cons?
What I loved (AKA a gush):
- The characters, especially the Inner Circle
I fell in love with these characters in ACOMAF and I loved seeing them again here and spending more time with them. The Inner Circle will forever be one of my favorite cast of characters. I adore each character separately, but they really shine when they all are together and working as a team.
- Feyre and Rhys
Though most of their relationship development happened in ACOMAF and ACOWAR is mostly just them cementing their relationship, they’re for sure still my OTP. I love how they are equals and respect each other so much. The flirting and banter is also still very present, which only makes me adore them more.
- Feyre vs Ianthe
Even more than Tamlin, I wanted Ianthe to get her comeuppance. I wanted Feyre to utterly destroy her. And I was so satisfied with every single interaction these two had and I think Ianthe’s fate couldn’t have been any more satisfying.
Lucien was one of my favorite characters from ACOTAR and though he did wrong in ACOMAF, I really wanted more of him. I wanted him and Feyre to rekindle their friendship and I believe this was handled perfectly in ACOWAR. Lucien admitted he had been a shitty friend to Feyre, while she had always been a good friend to him. I loved them slowly growing to trust eachother again and I adored seeing Lucien react to everything about the Night Court and the Inner Circle.
- The look into the different courts
While the world was already pretty well developed in the previous books, we still had a lot more to discover about the other Courts and their High Lords and I was pleased to see this explored in ACOWAR. The meeting with all the High Lords was one of the highlights of the book for me and I loved the look into all the courts and their interactions with each other.
- The Bone Carver, the Weaver and the Suriel
They may be three minor characters in the previous books, but I was so excited to see each of them again and learn more about them. Surprisingly, they also provided some of the most emotional scenes of the entire book for me.
What I didn’t love (AKA a rant):
- The pacing
There just seemed to be too big a difference between the pacing in the first half of the book and that of the second half. The first half, though it was a great focus on the characters and their development, felt really slow and had me struggling to keep interested at times. On the other hand, the second half was a roller-coaster ride of events that left me unable to put down the book. BUT though the action was there, it was TOO fast. Huge plot points and events unfold and get resolved in one or two chapters. The pacing thoughout the entire book should have been a bit more balanced.
- Too many new characters with not enough development
There were just too many side things going on. Though I loved the addition of Elain and Nesta, it felt like a lot of the story focused on them, but without offering any real answers or resolutions. I know there will still be more books coming that will probably focus on them more, but I just feel like then too much of this book was spent focusing on them. Same with Vassa, Drakon, Miryam and Feyre’s dad. Seriously, why bring in all these characters without hardly building them up? I would have preferred more scenes with the Inner Circle. Or scenes with Feyre using her powers, which were built up for most of the previous books and then hardly used. They took the focus away from all my favorite characters and I didn’t like it.
- The “mate” thing
The mate thing was cute for about a minute in ACOMAF. Then it got used in the Throne of Glass series AND was beaten to death in ACOWAR. And it got old REAL fast. Stop calling each other mate. You have names, use them! “My mate” feels awfully possessive, impersonal and just annoying.
- The unneccessary smut scenes
I didn’t mind the smut scenes in ACOMAF. They felt like a natural culmination of the tension between Feyre and Rhys. But they should have stayed there. We don’t need a whole book of smutty and extremely awkward Feyre and Rhys smut scenes. Sometimes a subtle reference or fade out works so much better. The word ‘feast’ has now forever been ruined for me.
- The diversity that was shoe-horned in and led to bad rep
While I do appreciate that Sarah J. Maas tried to add more diversity in her series following a lot of (just) criticism, and I think it was still done ok with the other High Lords and other minor characters (correct me if I’m wrong), there was one instance in particular that was just not right at all. It is not okay to turn a major character homoromantic as a plot twist. It is not okay when previous books very obviously had this character written differently, and it feels so obvious that this was suddenly changed, just to be able to tick off a ‘diversity box’. By having handled it this way it’s just bad rep and it would have been better to have no rep than bad rep.
- The Deus-Ex-Machina ending
Though I loved all these characters and wanted them to live happily ever after, I also understand that in times of war not everybody gets their HEA. The stakes were supposed to be high and the sacrifices should have been emotional and heart-wrenching. But this was just too easy. Every single moment of despair or sacrifice was undone within a chapter. Realising the good guys are outnumbered and about to die? No problem, here comes a (not so) surprise extra army to help you! Major character died in epic sacrifice? No problem, here’s a resurrection for you. And one for you too! Resurrections for everybody! This should have been a super emotional and heart-wrenching ending that had me sobbing and unable to function for days (I’m normal, I swear). But instead, everything was shrugged off in one chapter and as a result I just wasn’t as emotionally invested in these characters and their fates as I should have been.
So there you go. I loved this book and I hated this book, but overall I just adore this world and these characters that Sarah J. Maas has created. Though I have some issues with it and I feel like I spent most of this review ranting, I’m still very satisfied with the final book in this series and this series will always have a special place in my heart.
“It’s a rare person to face who they are and not run from it – not be broken by it.”
“What we think to be our greatest weakness can sometimes be our biggest strength.”
“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”
“I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have… the wait was worth it.”
“Why should I be scared of an oversized bat who likes to throw temper tantrums?”
“The great joy and honour of my life has been to know you. To call you my family. And I am grateful – more than I can possibly say – that I was given this time with you all”
“It is the family you make, not the one you are born into, that matters.”