Thursday, November 9, 2017

Review of A Court of Wings & Ruin by S.J. Maas

A month or so ago, one of my online besties, Nada and I were talking about A Court of Mist & Fury and how we just genuinely adored it, and SJM for her talent for transcending her own series'. A Court of Wings & Ruin had already been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months by that point. I just hadn't gotten around to it yet, so I proposed, once she finished ACOMF that we form a mini-book-club and read Wings & Ruin. All the years I've been an avid reader I've always done it solo. But it was so much fun reading with someone and being able to fangirl over silly little details while we read. We exchanged theories for how we thought the book would end, while also dreading the inevitable end. 

I don't know about you, but I love the Court books by SJM. I've read all the Throne of Glass books and while I adore the epic scope of them, there's just something about the Court books and Feyre's character that I resonated with more. They've been my favorite SJM books so far. So I was beyond ecstatic when I learned there wouldn't just be more novels in the same world she had created for us, but multiple novellas as well. 

My Official Review

4 of 5 Stars

The epic conclusion of the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy is rife with intrigue, adventure, romance and a battle between gods and souls that will have you on the edge of your seat. 

Favorite moments in the book included all the big Game of Thrones-esque moments between the High Courts. The face-off between opposing forces, Autumn vs. Night, pretty much everyone vs. Night for that matter. Words and magic both come into play in greater measure. Whereas Feyre spent most of ACOTAR dazzled by Tamlin and the Spring Court's beauty, and ACOMAF seduced and romanced by the wonder of Rhys and his Court of Dreams, in this latest installment she comes to terms with herself and her magic. Where before she was uncertain of her place in the Fae world, or if she even wanted a place among them, now she finds the courage to claim her power. 

Central themes to this book are not being afraid of who you are meant to be, to accept both the bad with the good and to savor every moment with the family you are born into and choose. I loved how the Night Court finally revealed their true selves to the other Courts. Much of this book was about unveiling the masks we wear to protect ourselves and others. I loved the fact Nesta and Feyre finally lowered their guard enough to truly be sisters again, and how Elaine overcame her trauma in surprising ways.

Big favorite moments for me included Lucien and Feyre's journey, the library chase, every scene with the Bone Carver and the ancients. While the Rhys/Feyre romance is still strong in this book, it takes something of a back seat as the war looms over Prythian. Instead we have a lot of Nesta and Cassian teasers. For me, I would have loved to see some real Lucien/Elaine bonding, but while I enjoyed the romance elements in this series, I wasn't disappointed with the lack-of. What I would have enjoyed more of was a little less Courts and more adventuring. Several times side characters leave on their own adventures and part of me wanted to go with them instead of more research and talking with Feyre. Although Helion was a pure delight and the Bone Carver had me wishing Feyre would steal him away and adopt him into the Night Court. And Amren continued to be both the most surprising and fun character to read. I wasn't satisfied with the results of the battle for reasons I won't mention due to spoilers.

It is difficult to write or review the third book in a trilogy because it is impossible to satisfy everyone. While there were many elements I would have rather seen SJM leave off or do differently, I can't say I didn't love this book, in spite of its flaws. I loved the beauty and ugliness of the world SJM wove. And I would be lying if I said I didn't just go and pre-order the novella companion. Excited for more adventures and fresh perspectives as we explore more stories from the Court of Thorns and Roses universe.

*Spoilers Ahead Mates*

Things I liked / didn't like:

1. I did get tired of all the Hybern talk. I wanted more adventuring, like Feyre bucking up and running right back to that cauldron, or maybe Nesta actually doing something with her super power? (though Amren in the end made up for a lot of that) Also, I would have much rather gone on a quest to find the missing queen with Lucien than hang around for more court conferences lol. I think he got the better gig out of the group, honestly.

2. Lucien and Feyre's friendship was one of my favorite things from the first book and I loved how he was super loyal to her in this one. But she kind of ran all over him to get her way with everything without trusting him to actually double check on Tamlin's big agenda. She acted like the vengeful ex keying her boyfriends car instead of being a super spy like Az. And I had big hopes for some revealing character moments between these two while they were on the run, but instead we get a lot more of Feyre keeping her mouth shut and Lucien coming with (mostly for Elaine at that point). I love Lucien's character and feel like he deserved a lot more than he got, especially after we find out Helion's his dad. 

3. I was soooo upset with Mor during her big coming out talk with Feyre. I hate that she waited five hundred years to tell anyone in the main group and it's really hard for me to believe that none of her group knows. Especially with Az being the big spymaster, he has to be able to know what's going on, which makes his love for her more tragic. I'm half convinced he already knows but will hold out hope since she still has relationships with males. And I HATED how she ran and slept with Helion instead of just telling Az to his face that she doesn't want to be in a relationship with him. It just didn't feel like something the Mor from the last book would have done. I would have much rather had the guys cover up her big secret maybe, with Az still loving her anyway, instead of her fears about Nightmare Court. Honestly, in Velaris, everyone is super open and cool and Rhys' court doesn't seem to answer at all to the underground, so why is she so scared? Obviously I'm still a little miffed with her and having feels for poor Az lol.

4. The Carver may have been my favorite character in this book. I was so pissed the way he ended. I had this theory going for a while that he would actually take on the body of Feyre and Rhys' son, and maybe have a funny thing later on where they kind of adopt him in a way into the Night Court. Since you know after Amren became Fae-sorta she took on more mortal characteristics. I just loved all the ancients and honestly would have rather seen some of the main crew die by the end. Which leads me to the other point. 

5. The whole "everyone lives" ending (besides the absentee estranged dad) kind of bothered me. I didn't like the ending of Breaking Dawn for the same reasons. When you have this all-powerful super bad come at you, I feel like an author should have the guts to permanently kill at least one character we love. Otherwise it feels like there's no consequences, like they're a team of superheroes or gods who can't be touched. I think it would have been more moving and romantic to have Cass and Nesta die together like they almost did, or at least let Amren stay gone (even though she's arguably my second-favorite character). 

What did you think of A Court of Wings and Ruin? Loved it? Hated it? Let's talk books! 

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