Review: ‘A Court of Wings and Ruin’ by Sarah J. Maas

Please note if you haven’t read this book: this review contains spoilers! Read at your own risk! 🙂

 

Blurb from GoodReads: 

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.

Ok guys, fasten your seatbelts, grab your popcorn and GET READY because this review is for one of THE MOST HYPED YA releases of…well, ever, really. I’m not really going to even bother introducing it, because most people on the planet who love YA fiction as much as I do will have heard of it, and if not you can catch up on the plot and main characters of the ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ (ACOTAR) series by reading my reviews of Book 1 and Book 2 (‘A Court of Mist and Fury‘- ACOMAF.)

All I will say is that, whilst I loooooved ACOTAR (I even made Lucien my Book Boyfriend of the Month once,) and enjoyed ACOMAF, I didn’t connect to all of the characters (e.g. Amren) and all the shipping between characters (Mor/Azriel, Elain/that annoying human jerk) and felt parts lagged, the descriptions clunky and underwhelming. This book- ACOWAR- kind of changed a lot of that, so without further ado:

Things I really enjoyed: 

  1. Lucien is finally, FINALLY redeemed and once again becomes the sexy, tormented guy we (I mean, ME) all loves. More Lucien please. I also really liked the idea of him having a mate- and even though I STILL wasn’t keen on Elain, I did end up shipping them far more than (SPOILER) her and Azriel. (Like, wtf? #Lulain forever.)
  2. I actually really liked Feyre’s and Rhysand’s chemistry in this- I appreciate the risk Maas took with switching over the love interests, and this time I really think it works. Rhys is like a thousand times better than Tamlin. IN. EVERY. WAY.
  3. Omg, the twists in this novel almost made me gasp! (Spoilers ahead!) Feyre’s father coming back with ships to rescue his daughters in the battlefield- gasp! The real reason behind the Bone Carver’s lovely appearance- gasp! The Suriel’s death- so heartwrenching! Gasp! The Bone Carver AND the Weaver storming the battlefield! Gasp! Amren dying and then not dying! Rhys…aaaaaaargh….gasp! gasp! GASP! All I will say is, all your fave characters live until the end. *WINK WINK.* Because of this, this book goes waaaay up in my estimation- parts were so gripping, I could barely put it down.
  4. Horrible corrupt high priestess Ianthe finally meeting her demise at the hands of the Weaver in her hideous cottage- YESSSSS!!!! FINALLLY!!!
  5. Talking about deserved demises, Nesta and the King of Hybern had me going YES! HURRAH! And the fact that he got dispatched by both her AND precious (kind of pathetic) little petal Elain? Who suddenly turned into a badass? Yep yep yep, this ticked all boxes.
  6. Beron was such an evil git, but his snarkiness and scheming had me hooked, even if I never could root for someone so misogynist and horrible. Speaking of which- Eris, you’re awful.
  7. I love the Winter Court, with its army of polar bears and arctic foxes, and I loved the mischevious dynamic between High Lord of Winter, Kallias, and his mate, Viviane.
Things I wasn’t so sure about:
  1. Problematic LGBT representation- heterosexual partners are called ‘mates’, yet the same terminology isn’t afforded to gay couples like Thesan and his ‘lover’, or (SPOILER) Mor and her lover, Andromache. Uh, why?? I felt this to be demeaning, reductive and a bit heteronormative- especially as all the sex scenes were heterosexual. Thesan’s lover is never even named, for Christ’s sake. One character is bi, but then this is demeaned by him using his bisexuality to try and instigate an orgy (no lie.) Is this what bisexual characters are meant to do/be like? Yeah right! It felt dated to me, and also I felt it was a bit offensive to equal bisexuality with being indiscriminate in this way, and as though it was put there just for titillation. I also had MAJOR issues with Mor suddenly coming out as bisexual- not that this was neccessarily ‘wrong’, I just didn’t like the way it was handled. Not only did this kill the Mor/Azriel shipping stone cold (and in such a way that it made me wonder why their yearning for eachother was so heavily alluded to in the first place- hardly fair on the reader and all those Mor/Azriel fans. Hmmm…) It also felt kind of thrown in. I felt annoyed that Mor, confident and proud in so many other areas, couldn’t own her sexuality and be open about it. It also made me feel so very sorry for poor Azriel, who’d pined over her for centuries. CENTURIES, dammit. Come on, Mor, that’s just not fair- it’s not even kind. It’s selfish. Be honest with your friends, and yourself. (Having said that, I do kind of ship her and the queen, Vassa.)
  2. Why introduce the poor, vulnerable character of Lucien’s mother, trapped in a loveless marriage to Beron the Git, if you’re not going to give her some kind of agency and free her from it? I also didn’t like the alludes to domestic violence here, as it seemed to go unpunished- she was still married to the brute at the end of the novel, and so I would like to see Beron get his comeuppance in the next spin-off ACOTAR novels.
  3. Everyone was so beautiful, at times it got kind of boring.
  4. Speaking of boring, still no idea what happened with Miryam and Drakon, or boring-as-sin Jurian. Did we really need them and all of their (endless) back stories? Nah.
  5. The Cauldron idea felt like it had been done before.
  6. All of Feyre’s flying lessons…again, yawnsville… (apologies, but it’s my honest opinion, this was a major book and I think a lot of it could have been edited out.)
  7. Tamlin, you’re still an utter dickhead, and yes, okay, you did help out (especially with helping to save Rhys and all,) but seriously…NO, NO, NO. You’re still a first class idiot.
  8. Really, really, didn’t like Elain (far too passive and ‘victimy’,) and Nesta was (on the whole) just a one-dimensional stone cold bitch, even if she did have a few good moments.
Having said all that, this book was both gripping and enjoyable, and very immersive. I will definitely be reading the future ACOTAR novels (out in 2018) and loved the magic, the romance and the mythical allusions of this work.
Overall rating: 8 out of 10
Read if you enjoyed: ‘Wicked Lovely’  or ‘Ink Exchange’ by Melissa Marr
Image is from nightcourtslytherin on Tumblr and is a completed page of the incredible-looking A Court of Thorns and Roses: Colouring Book, illustrated by the amazing Charlie Bowater.
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