Category: review

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

Posted March 14, 2018 by Kim in books, review / 1 Comment

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Published: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Source: Purchased

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings 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.

Eight months.

A Court of Wings and Ruin was published in May 2017, and I finished up the original trilogy in December 2017. It certainly breaks some personal records; it rarely takes me eight months to finish any reasonably sized young adult book. I’ve taken this book across countries, on trains, stuffed it in too-small backpacks, and now it sits next to a twin copy.

Don’t laugh but I went out to Target on release date and bought the exclusive edition, even though I already had one on route. One is pristine and pretty, and the other I gave in and started annotating half way through. I wish I had perfect handwriting, since some of the pages are scary to look at now. There’s definitely a learning curve here. It was fun though, and the only reason I remember anything in detail is because my “travel edition” is filled with tabs and writing.

On release day for A Court of Wings and Ruin, I sat there skimming through the whole book because I had to know what happened after the last ending. But because I had this hazy idea of how the whole narrative arcs, it tempered down my excitement when it came down to reading it seriously.

When Treachery Is Now Your Middle Name

There’s something disconcerting about seeing a generally good person turn vicious and calculating. It put a strain on my connection to Feyre that probably wouldn’t have been there if she started out that way — like Kaz Brekker or Laurent did. I admire her decisiveness, and I even appreciate the kick to Ianthe and Tamlin’s abusive behind, but damn. I can’t say I don’t like to read about some clever underhanded methods, but the voice in the back of my head wouldn’t stop chanting: “You’re going to need his army eventually. Don’t destroy all of it. That’s not smart. Take out the manipulative priestess and ditch.”

Feyre splits the Spring Court in half when she leaves, but doesn’t realize that she’s not the only one scheming until its too late. But Tamlin, for the love of whatever you worship, why in the world would you side with Ianthe over your own sentries? These are the same men who protect you, who risked being slaughtered every day on the other side of the wall so you could break your bloody curse. You thank your own men with a whip and twenty one lashes? You send your one true friend to complete the Rite at Calanmai, because you couldn’t stomach it and Lucien has a strong sense of duty?

“Pitied that not only Lucien had lied to him, but Alis as well. How many others had seen the truth of my suffering—and tried to spare him from it?”

It’s not a secret I’m far from Tamlin’s biggest fan, but I can’t say that I wasn’t affected by the few lines that advanced his development. Sarah J. Maas struck the perfect balance when acknowledging Tamlin’s potential to change. I wasn’t ready to receive him with open arms (too soon, too soon), but maybe it’ll happen one day. And that’s the promise she leaves his character on.

The Love Pentagon

Cassian’s wings rustled. “Daylight is a precious resource.”
“We live in the Night Court,” Mor countered.

I love the Inner Circle the same way I love to see make-shift families in television shows. There’s something about it—the coming together even when blood isn’t binding you—that warms my heart. I think Feyre would agree.

But if the Illyrian warrior no longer stood as a physical and emotional buffer between her and Azriel … And worse, if the person who caused that vacancy was Nesta …
More said flatly, “When he gets back, keep your forked tongue behind your teeth.”

It sucks how often I found myself at odds with Mor in this book, because I love how she stands up for herself. She’s always a force to be reckoned with. The Inner Circle joke, argue, and spar with each other. At the end of the day, however, they’re friends who’ll always have each other’s backs.

They’re also not perfect. It was glaringly obvious that these characters have problems they can’t work out because they’re friends. The thorn that’s hard to see prickling into Azriel and Cassian’s bond always circles back to Mor. It’s her presence that asserts itself onto Cassian and Nesta’s fragile relationship. It’s one of the few times we see an unusually antagonistic side of Mor. But why? Because Cassian is on the brink of moving on from the girl who got away, and you’re in danger of losing a physical buffer against Azriel’s feelings?

I can understand where Mor is coming from, and I respect it. Which drives me more into frustration because now I’m in a deadlock of she can tell her friends when she’s ready vs. she could just say I’m not interested. “No, Azriel, it’s never going to happen. It has nothing to do with Cassian, or you. It’s just how things go sometimes.” That wouldn’t be too much to ask, would it? Unless she is trying to string him along because it’s comfortable until it gets uncomfortable and she distances herself. The cycle makes the whole situation even worse.

I hope that we’ll see Mor get to a point where she’s comfortable enough to share an important part of her with her friends. Before then, I don’t see Cassian and Azriel being able to fully move on. Even with their long immortal lives ahead, I selfishly want some stress free Nestian scenes sooner rather than later.

High Lord and Lady of the Night Court

“I believe my little lessons helped.”
“Yes, ‘Rhys is the greatest lover a female can hope for‘ is undoubtedly how I learned to read.”

In A Court of Mist and Fury, the tension between Rhysand and Feyre was so palpable that it amped up my love for the second book. A Court of Wings and Ruin marks a noticeable change in their dynamic; gone is the I-hate-everything-you-stand-for banter and their resistance to being attracted. It’s admittedly not as exciting to read about a couple utterly in love, but it is a nice change of pace to see such a well balanced relationship without unnecessary fights. The two of them have some good communication.

And the Interesting Things That Don’t Fit in Categories

  • Azriel and Rhys can point fingers and shoot off raw power. lt sounds like a handy trick.
  • Varian and Amren are a favorite. I wish we had more of their relationship development, but maybe it was so precious because there was so little.
  • I feel almost nothing when it comes to Elaine. She’s sweeter than the unhealthiest candy, which is nice yes, but why is she so obsessed with Greyson? YOU DESERVE BETTER GIRL.
  • I love all the other High Lords (not Beron) can we please get their stories like now
  • Viviane and Kallias are so cute
  • I wanted more than a stranger glance of Thesan and his male Peregryn lover
  • the bone carver and the form he takes (the Charlie Bowater drawing of that scene is so ahhhh)
  • the art in the ACOTAR coloring book is beautiful

In Conclusion

It may have taken a little short of a year to finish A Court of Wings and Ruin, but I had a great time reading it. The cast is one that I’ve really grown attached to. When you know you wouldn’t mind reading about the characters sitting around discussing their grocery lists, you know you’ve found something special. I have a special place in my heart for Azriel (I’m telling you he deserves better), and I’ll gladly follow on whatever adventures Sarah J. Maas has planned next.

Although I have to say, I’m pulling for a Cassian and Nesta centered spin-off. One of them has to be about Azriel too. It just has to. You don’t need to give me the Elain storyline, but give me Azriel. Please?

Rating Report
Characters
4.5 star rating
Plot
3.5 star rating
Writing
3.5 star rating
Pacing
3.5 star rating
Overall 3.75 stars

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