Monday, 15 May 2017
Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
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A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.
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.
I just want to point out the obvious spoiler warning. This review doesn't hold back. Enter at your own risk.
If I'm being completely honest with myself, ACOWAR is more a 3*. It's just really hard to choose that star number for a trilogy I have been shouting to the stars about being my favourite. The ToG series turned out to be a dumpster fire; it's like Maas can write this fantastic first book, an even better second book, and that third book, that's where it starts to get messy. Maybe duologies should be her thing?...
Although I didn't hate ACOWAR, I had a lot of problems. So this review? It's probably going to seem much more negative than positive. I don't really care. Those problems are what stick out for me because I needed this book to be near perfect, and it just wasn't. But I can start with what I liked.
Feyre, Rhys, Az, Mor, Cassian, Armen, Nesta, Elain and even Lucien; I still like you guys. It's not your fault you were toned down at times. Look how far Feyre has come! She is a strong bamf of a High-Lady. Rhys, you've come just as far with starting to defeat your demons. Nesta, though, that girl is a stone-cold wall and I am here for that. I get you, girl.
We all know there are more books to come in this series, and I mean it's pretty damn obvious who those books will be about. Maas did a good enough job of setting up those characters for their stories. I mean, you can't just touch on their new lives or reveal secrets like that and not wrap them up. So if the next three books aren't centered around who I assume they will be, things will get ugly real fast.
The banter and relationship with Feyre, Rhys and the Inner Circle was still pretty much on point. They fight and love like a family. Even better was the inclusion of more of the different courts. Meeting more High Lords and High Fae was fun. Especially when they all have very long histories with Rhys.
Okay, so I don't know if I want to blame this disappointment on myself, for I clearly put ACOWAR on a very high pedestal. After ACOMAF, I expected ACOWAR to deliver the moon and well it didn't even come close. ACOWAR was fine. But who the hell wants just fine when you're expecting epic?!
I can't even pinpoint what really was my biggest issue. It was more a cumulation of a bunch of smallish things.
I've yet to have issues with Maas's writing, but this time, woah batman. If you dislike the word Mate, well.... It's the repetitiveness of words and those damn - and ... multiple times on a page. HOW IS AN EDITOR LETTING THIS SLIDE?!
The pacing was so off at times. Even Rhys couldn't fix it for me; because the unthinkable happened, I GOT BORED WITH RHYS ON THE PAGE! WHAT EVEN?!?! It was so slow for so much of the book that I knew when we finally got to the battle and action things were going to be rushed. And that sure was what happened.
ACOWAR was missing that spark. Characters felt off, and sometimes one-dimensional. The plot was so fucking predictable and convenient. I never feared for any of the main guy's lives. I go into the last book in a trilogy like this, where war is coming and I know death and destruction are on the horizon. I fear for my precious tears. But at some point into ACOWAR I lost that feeling. So and so is epically hurt, someone screams because they think someone else is dying, but I just knew there was nothing to worry about. Was Maas trying to make up for QoS and mess she made of ToG with that book? I kind of felt like it. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see ANY of my precious babies in pain or worse. BUT when war is happening, death is to be expected. When EVERYONE makes it out unscathed, that's super unrealistic, even for a fantasy. Especially when, fuckface Tamlin is given redemption.
Okay, so I'm sure everyone is aware of the criticism Maas gets for her lack of diversity. She's never addressed it, as happens a lot. ACOWAR has the inclusion of some LGBTQ+ characters. A few new characters, some we already know. Great. Some much needed diverse characters added. Maybe Maas isn't as blind to her world problems as we, the reader, assume. My issue though, how forced and unauthentic this came off. Adding a few gay characters in, having another known character reveal "their secret lifestyle" was very obviously a second thought. So yes, great, Maas realized how much she needs to diversify her world, but hey maybe don't make it seem like you're only doing that because you feel like you have to. You should want to. I sure as hell hope I'm wrong; it just felt so off when I was reading those passages and scenes. Like I said, unauthentic. That is the best word, to sum up how it made me feel every time that character and their lover was mentioned.
There is a lot of uncomfortable, inappropriate and harmful moments throughout the book. Like I mentioned above, the harmful LGBTQ+ representation is too prominent. The icky feelings Rhys gave me at times was super unexpected. From telling Mor that should suck it up and be okay with forming an alliance with her abusers to Rhys telling Feyre that the library is a safe spot for the Priestess who have been victims of sexual assault but then proceeds to stick his fingers in Feyre. Maas's writing and story telling felt super sloppy and almost like she didn't care enough to fix all these harmful scenes.
Fuck, Rhys and Feyre are overly obnoxious for 50% of the book. Now that they're mated, the innuendoes take a front seat whatever the moment. They could seriously be discussing a tragic moment and it quickly turns into something sexual and dirty. Which adds to how inappropriate this book feels way too many times. I realize it's a romance. I'M HERE FOR THAT. But it got old super fast. The banter and sexual tension from ACOMAF were missing. A lot was missing from ACOMAF, but their relationship was my everything from that book. I expected the dynamic to change because obviously(they're mated don't you know?...). I just thought it would change for the better. Not lose half of the elements I loved about them being together, to begin with.
I just am a ball of disappointment. ACOTAR and ACOMAF left me needing more. Wanting more. I had major book hangovers. I was rereading my favourite parts all the time. I finished ACOWAR, closed the book and didn't even want to look at it. I very easily picked up my next read and went on with my life. I had feelings, but they were ones that made me want to vent to Samantha and tell her to hurry up and finish the damn book so we could discuss ALL of my problems. When I should have been saying hurry up and finish so we can bask in our tears and happiness together. Fine is one of the worst words to describe something, especially ACOWAR. ACOMAF gave me so much life, that maybe I should have known ACOWAR couldn't give me that much. But fuck, I was expecting at least almost getting there.
I'm not going to kid myself, I will more than likely revisit ACOWAR before the next book releases next year. I'm not dreading the continuation of the series. The possibilities of where Maas can go in future books is endless. I will try my hardest to not let my lingering feelings over ACOWAR ruin what could be another epic installment to the ACOTAR world.