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Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (ACoTaR #3)

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas // VBCA Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)
Sarah J. Maas
Published: May 2, 2017 (Bloomsbury)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Jo

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Note: while this review will be spoiler, it will make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

After Tamlin’s betrayal at the end of A Court of Mist and Fury, resulting in her human sisters being Made immortal, Feyre is playing a deadly game back in the Spring Court. Publicly relieved to have been “rescued,” Feyre does all she can to spy on the Spring Court and their allies, whilst sowing the seed of dissent throughout their ranks.

But war is coming, and the King of Hybern has had hundreds of years to prepare. Feyre, along with her family at the Night Court, must travel to the further reaches of Prythian, and beyond, to convince the other High Lords to fight for what is right. But with so much bad blood through out the centuries, can any other Court be trusted? Who will stand and fight with them on the final battlefield?

Fueled by the need for vengeance, A Court of Wings and Ruin opens with a much more ruthless and cunning Feyre than we’ve seen before. She doesn’t spend long in the Spring Court, but while she’s there she wreaks silent havoc, bringing some much needed just desserts to certain characters (*cough* Ianthe *cough*), while always managing to make herself seem like a savior. It really was masterfully done.

The main issue I had with ACOWAR was that once she leaves the Spring Court, Feyre as a character doesn’t have much room for growth. Sure, she has a new position as High Lady to navigate, but her relationship with Rhysand is rock solid in this installment, she has essentially mastered her new powers (or continues to do so with little difficulty here) and has a very clear and uncomplicated (morally speaking) objective: fight the good fight. There was little of the light and shade we’ve seen from her character arc before, and I definitely missed it.

This then filtered into the plot, causing a rinse-and-repeat spiral of battle, persuade, battle, research, battle, persuade, and so on. It began to feel repetitive, lacking in any real forward movement and when a book is 700 pages long, this becomes a problem for me. Seeing more of Prythian, the High Lords and the creatures that inhabit it was fascinating, but not enough to make up for the lack of twists or a largely off page antagonist. The final battle did redeem ACOWAR somewhat, feeling pretty epic in nature, but it didn’t have that Sarah J. Maas sucker punch I’ve come to expect.

Where this installment did excel, however, was the secondary characters. Feyre may have been livid at Nesta and Elain’s turning, but this reader was ecstatic! Their introduction into the Nigh Court brought much needed heartache, tension and unpredictability. I would have happily read this whole book from Nesta’s Pov (gah, so spiky, so superior, major girl crush on her), and I lived for her and Cassain’s will-they-won’t-they. Lucien and Elain were simply heartbreaking, both together and apart. And there was a serious curve ball thrown in regarding Morrigan and Azriel. The intensity of this circle of characters, their relationships and potential individual arcs drove this book forward for me.

For all that I love messy and complicated when it comes to relationships though, I actually really appreciated just how stable Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship was. They present a united front throughout, supporting each other, protecting with out stifling, with no angst for the sake of it. (Rhysand continues to be a merciless flirt…watch out for the library scene *fans self*). I would have liked to have gone deeper with Rhysand’s character though. He was so dynamic and enigmatic in the first two books, yet here he is firmly in the role of ‘hero.’

A Court of Wings and Ruin sees the conclusion of Feyre and Rhsyand’s trilogy. Plot wise it ties things up well, while at the same time opening up new threads just enough to make me super excited for where this series goes next. The secondary characters continue to shine, but seeing as this was supposed to be the finale of their story, Feyre and Rhysand got somewhat lost under their white hats, which is a real shame after such fantastic character arcs in the first two books.

Sexual content: graphic sex (definitely not in YA Kansas anymore folks), references to rape

2 Responses to “Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (ACoTaR #3)”

  1. Shannon says:

    This review is totally fair. I felt the same way regarding the battling, repeat nature of the second half of the book. I would like to throw in that I think the way Maas uses “power” in her novels (this includes the Throne of Glass series) is tedious and cyclical as well… Use power, drain power, now not enough power to help, oh now I have my power back. That was the pattern that I found boring/frustrating in this book…

    But with all of that said, I still just love Maas and her work. The world building is the best in ya adult imo. The romance was solid and beautiful. The battles were epic. Rhys is my top book boyfriend.

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