Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

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Photo courtesy of GoodReads

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis:

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Rosesseries.

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 POST CONTAINS SO MANY SPOILERS AND I AM SO SORRY BUT I NEEDED TO WRITE ABOUT ALL OF THE THINGS. THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS.

DO NOT READ PAST THIS LINE IF YOU WISH TO KEEP THE HAPPENINGS OF ACOWAR (AND ADDITIONALLY, ACOMAF AND ACOTAR) A SECRET. 

“It is a new world, and we must decide how we are to end this old one and begin it anew.” – Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Wings and Ruin

Let me start this by saying–wowza. Sarah J. Maas amped up the ACOTAR world to a whole new level in this third installment in the series. Following the turmoil that faces Feyre and the Inner Circle at the end of A Court of Mist and Fury, SJM fans were left theorizing for a whole year about what exactly would happen when we reentered Prythian and the fan theories were definitely how I kept myself from missing this world too much.

With such high expectations and a mega-fanbase, SJM had to deliver an epic follow-up in A Court of Wings and Ruin, especially after tons of fans deemed ACOMAF as the real start to this series. Because let’s be honest–Feysand is everything.

However, the series only grows into something more promising with ACOWAR. It’s fast-paced, intense, and all-around electrifying. A Court of Wings and Ruin gave me everything I didn’t know I needed in a finale.

While the first two books in the series focused on Feyre/Tamlin and Feyre/Rhysand, respectively, the third book was driven by characters who had merely sat on the sidelines in the previous two. The Inner Circle–Azriel, Amren, Cassian, and Mor, and additionally, Feyre’s sisters Nesta and Elain, play a crucial role in this part of the story. While we get considerably fewer pages devoted to Feyre & Rhys’ love, SJM makes up for that by giving us so much more about our beloved Court of Dreams. This was one of my favorite parts of ACOWAR, because each and every character’s story is executed with so much precision. The vivid detail with which each character is crafted truly brings the characters to life and makes it that much harder to part with them come the novel’s end.

Honestly, I thought I knew what was going to happen in this book. I had it all mapped out in my head with what I wanted to happen, but I threw in a couple more character deaths and intense battles to satisfy what I thought would’ve been SJM’s game plan. However, in typical SJM fashion, she worked her own faerie magic to defy these expectations. After playing along for a chapter or two, of course.

For starters, I had definitely anticipated Feyre spending more time in the Spring Court than she actually does. Yet the time she spends there is so calculated. As Feyre herself notes, any more time than that would be tricky, because Tamlin may be a jerk, but he’s not a complete idiot, and he would have sensed that something was up with her.

Lucien is a whole different story–he actually leaves the Spring Court with Feyre in hopes that he can see Elain at the Night Court. The Elucien mating bond is something that I’m still unsettled by–whether Elain accept it and offer Lucien soup is the real question. He waits so patiently for her, but she deals with some intense personal issues in this book, and despite my hesitancy to completely trust Lucien, I do applaud him for his dedication to her. But more importantly, I’m awaiting a Nessian mating bond because the two of them in this book are perfection.

Speaking of mating bonds–when Rhys and Feyre reunited, I cried. I don’t know how I have become so emotionally invested in a fictional relationship, but I have. My ONE hope for this book was that it was going to leave my babies Feyre and Rhys happy and healthy. Each page I turned where nothing detrimental occurred with them, I was immensely thankful. But then Rhys dies. And my own heart stopped.

I just stared at the page for a few minutes trying to gather my emotions and form a coherent thought; to be honest, I was kind of mad at SJM when she resurrected him. Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful that my OTP was back together. Feyre already spent a majority of ACOMAF as a shell of herself, so if that were to happen again because of Rhys dying, I would have finished the trilogy infuriated. The ONE thing that I wanted was no one messing with our OTP and sure enough, it happened. For the approximately two minutes where I contemplated where the heck this story was going with Rhys gone, I wanted to bawl. I knew she had to bring him back. And thank you, SJM, for doing just that.

In regards to Rhys’ resurrection, can I take a moment to share how surprised I was by Tamlin in that moment? The way that he handles the situation is actually admirable, and made me hate him a little less for an instant. His remark, “Be happy, Feyre” is realistic. Whatever pain he was feeling caused by lost love doesn’t matter, because Feyre was still more important to him than his own heartbreak.

The way that Sarah J. Maas handles situations like that of Tamlin is one of the most beautiful elements of her books. I truly appreciate that she doesn’t shy away from real issues. Somehow she embodies really humanistic traits within fictional characters and showcases that there really are many sides to one person and their struggles. That can be seen with Tamlin’s ignorance to Feyre’s depression in A Court of Mist and Fury, his anger and obnoxious behavior towards Feyre and Rhys at the meeting of the High Lords (I wanted to strangle him, actually), and ultimately, his choice to choose Feyre’s happiness over his own hate. Despite my distaste for Tamlin, he becomes much more three-dimensional in this book. The same argument goes for characters like Mor, Cassian, Nesta, and Elain, who are all depicted with layers of depth.

Speaking of real issues, SJM brings about even more serious hardships and circumstances in this book. Following Feyre’s depression and PTSD, her search for identity, and the transition of a toxic relationship with Tamlin into a healthy, empowering one with Rhys in ACOMAF, A Court of Wings and Ruin delivers even more challenging issues. The first is with Ianthe (UGH!) and her near-sexual assault of Lucien. I mean, I was not expecting that, but honestly, it’s Ianthe so I really wasn’t that surprised. She’s convinced herself that everyone wants her so she can justify forcing herself on others. There is, in fact, this thing called consent, which she chooses to forego. So you go, Feyre, for breaking Ianthe’s hand and then leading her to The Weaver’s Cottage to face her end–she deserved it.

Then there’s Mor’s story. Mor is revealed in ACOWAR as lesbian, and honestly, it makes so much sense. I finally was able to understand why she and Azriel were never together. Though I do wish that she would just tell the poor guy that it’s never going to happen between them, instead of being so passive about it and hoping he gets the point because she pursues relationships with so many guys that aren’t him. But back on to the point of harsh struggles, Mor reveals that though the Inner Circle would be accepting of her sexuality, the Court of Nightmares and other parts of Prythian would not be so accommodating. Mor is stuck living in the shadows, unable to pursue who she is fully, which is not dissimilar to those in our own society who are left feeling devalued and outcast because of their sexuality, race, background, social class, etc.

However, I was curious about the placement of Mor’s reveal, because I know it follows a lot of backlash that Sarah J. Maas’ series lack diversity. We do see more diverse ethnicities portrayed in ACOWAR, with our introduction to the various Prythian courts, and we are given more variation in sexual orientation–with Thessian, Mor, and Nephelle. Yet I still wonder if the heavy LGBT presence was initially planned when SJM outlined the series, because it was not given to readers until the trilogy’s third book. I also am unsure as to how the LGBT presence came off to other readers–did it seem like a ploy to reach out to a wider range of audiences or did it seem intentional and crucial to the story? Disregarding my curiosity, I was still pleased that this variance was present. It added another layer to the book’s development.

SJM is truly a mastermind and ACOWAR entirely supports that claim. A Court of Wings and Ruin is heartwarming, heartbreaking, and altogether satisfying. I cannot get this book out of my mind and probably won’t for a long while; it’s the end of an era for ACOTAR, but I am so excited to see what else Sarah J. Maas has in store for the rest of the series. I’m sure it will be nothing less than brilliant.

As to be expected, A Court of Wings and Ruin gets all of the stars.

ACOWAR – 5/5 stars!


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