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

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After finishing A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR), I knew that I wanted to write some sort of blog post about it–even if it wasn’t the traditional sort of review you typically see here. When I write a review on a book, I try to maintain a balance between constructive criticism and how I just liked it overall. I don’t want this to turn into a fan-girly post, but we’ll see what happens.

I’m kind of late to the Sarah J. Maas party, and I don’t have a good reason as to why it’s taken me this long to read her novels. Originally, I had wanted to start with the Throne of Glass series, but two of my good friends were both reading A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) and raving about it. Needless to say, I borrowed ACOTAR from my local library ASAP and was instantly hooked.

Upon completing the third book, I wanted to do a review on not only the third book, as well as my final thoughts on the series so far. That being said, please note that this post will contain spoilers. Do not read this review if you have not finished A Court of Wings and Ruin.

The Inner Circle: Ever since A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF), I have been completely obsessed with these characters and their complex, yet loyal friendships with one another. It didn’t take long until I was worrying less about the relationship between Feyre and Rhys and turned my attention to the other members of the group. I love how the members of Rhys’s inner circle differ from one another in more ways than one, yet they compliment each other so nicely. There’s a deep respect that exists among them, and I loved that Feyre developed a special relationship to each and every personally (especially Azriel–my sweet shadow angel). 

The Monsters: I am utterly fascinated by the dark creatures that Maas has created, but I’m disappointed at the lack of attention they are given. Don’t get me wrong–Maas provides minor backstories and descriptions, but I almost always have questions left unanswered or find that she breezed over the character’s introduction. I thought that the Bone Carver was such an intriguing character, and I wish he was given a deeper purpose than influencing Feyre to look in the Ouroboros and helping her fight against the Hybern army. What does Cassian see when he looks at the Bone Carver? What about Rhys? What “other world” are these creatures actually from? And don’t even get me started on the Suriel. Talk about a rather brief redeeming moment ruined by an ash arrow. However, none of these factors contributed to my rating of the book because I applaud Maas on the fact that she’s created a world that her readers want more of. I liked how these characters not only blurred the lines between good and evil in regards to themselves, but also the inner conflicts they provided to the major characters in terms of just how far they’d be willing to go to win this war against Hybern.

Characters (Sort Of) Dying: I’ve noticed that Maas has a tendency to kill off major characters, but later brings them back to life–sometimes it only takes the span of two pages. I thought it was acceptable when she did that at the end of ACOTAR when she brought Feyre back to life because obviously she’s the main character. However, her repeating this same method of revival for Rhys almost seemed like a cop out, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong–I’m 100% happy that he came back because I can’t even imagine a fake world without him, but I did not like that particular stylistic choice. In addition to this, Amren coming back to life didn’t sit well with me. I adore her character, but just how many people can die and be brought back to life? She puts you through the distress of thinking these characters are dead, but I don’t feel relief when they’re brought back because she does it too often. Maybe letting one of them stay dead wouldn’t have been “right” for the story, in which case I’d just argue let them not die in the first place. Did anyone else feel this way? I realize this is such an odd part to critique.

Tamlin: The character I hate to love. Ugh. I really didn’t want to like Tamlin, and I’ll admit I was among the many who swooned over him in ACOTAR, partially because Maas wrote him that way. We were supposed to like him. I still liked him in ACOMAF and was rather pissed off when I found out Rhys was supposed to be the new love interest–don’t worry, that ended about as soon as it started. But ultimately, Tamlin is possessive and suffocating, and he reminded me of a whiny teenage boy trying to assert his dominance. *rolls eyes* Even his dialogue was irritating, and I did not have a problem whatsoever with the explicit content in this book, but hearing it come out of Tamlin’s mouth during a government meeting? I just couldn’t wrap my head around someone actually doing that. See Page 418 if you don’t believe me/need your memory jogged. But then, of course, Tamlin did a few things to redeem himself (i.e. use his magic to conjure a wind to help Feyre fly after fleeing the Hybern camp, as well as giving Rhys a bit of his magic in order to bring him back to life). Let’s not forget the infamous, “Be happy, Feyre” (670). That being said, I guess he’s moderately okay now…

Nesta: Another character I was not completely thrilled by until about 70% through the novel. I know a lot of readers have liked Nesta since the very first book, but she’s always rubbed me the wrong way. I usually have no trouble empathizing with the characters in the books I read, and I get it–Nesta went through a lot. Even when they were still living in the small house in the village, Nesta’s attitude–especially toward Feyre–seemed too much to me. Maybe it was because almost every word out of her mouth was negative or directed to hurt someone (except Elain obviously). As I’ve mentioned before, I really didn’t like her until I was a good portion into the novel, and I think the moment that did it for me was when she and Feyre were attacked by Hybern soldiers in the library. This is when Feyre finally asks Nesta why she pushes everyone away except Elain. While I don’t think we ever get an answer to that, Nesta shows the readers that she does, in fact, care about Feyre enough to at least seemed panicked and fearful when she tells Cassian that Feyre is still in the library with the attackers. Speaking of Cassian, I do quite like the tension between him and Nesta. I know Maas had been hinting at the relationship for quite some time, but I wasn’t 100% sure what would happen given Nesta’s harsh words and distant personality. Her feelings for Cassian and the times that she showed them (usually when he was injured or about to die, but hey, it’s something), helped me come around to her as a character. Really, I just wanted to know that she was capable of showing kindness to anyone but Elain, and she finally showed me that.

Mor’s Sexuality: I’m going to preface this section by stating I like diverse books. I want more of them. This is not a critique of a gay character in the story, but rather how Maas incorporated it into the story. Mor confides to Feyre that the reason she cannot love Azriel is because she likes females. It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me because I feel like it didn’t fit the story. I guess what I mean is, I wish Maas hinted more at the fact that Mor was gay as opposed to not only springing it on us, but breezing by the issue in maybe four or five pages. This is an extremely important part to Mor’s identity, and I feel like it deserved more time in the story. Furthermore, I know that this is not what Maas had planned to do, but to me, it felt like this moment was implying that the only possible way that Mor could deny Azriel’s love is if she preferred females not even hinting at the possibility that it could be simply because she doesn’t love him the way he loves her.

Final thoughts: Overall, I absolutely loved this book. The characters are genuine and intriguing, and I think that Maas does a really great job at not only world building, but creating a novel with complex plots and relationships. I ended up giving this book a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, which I think is not only a fair rating, but a rating the book deserves. I thought that the series as a whole was absolutely brilliant, although I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to read ACOTAR again. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series and finally figuring out whose point of view the remaining books will be written in. Any guesses? 

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on ACOWAR and feel free to mention any of the above topics I’ve discussed because I’d love to hear more opinions about them to gain some clarity. 

Happy Reading, everyone! ❤

 

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5 comments

  1. OK, I’m super glad to see that you had the same issues with the book as I did! I was writing my review earlier today and, to avoid making it too obnoxiously long and to keep spoilers out, I cut out some stuff bothered me but everything you said was so true. I thought that Rhysand and Amren coming back was a major cop-out, and as much as I like Mor being gay/bi, I thought it seemed a little bit forced. I didn’t mind that one though. I actually really liked Tamlin in this book just because he was so sick and conniving sometimes, I found it funny oops. I thought the Bone Carver, the mirror, and Bryaxis were just way to easy. As much as I loved the book, I had a number of problems with it as well and I love that you covered all of them. This was an amazing review! ❤

    Like

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