Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Note: I have changed my thoughts on this book twice. You can scroll all the way to the very, very bottom for updated opinions. 

I read the entire series in the span of the last couple months.

  • A Court of Thorn and Roses: 5 stars
  • A Court of Mist and Fury: 5 stars
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin: 4 stars

Wow! I can’t even begin to describe how much these books spoke to me. Feyre is a nineteen year old woman when we first meet her in ACOTAR. I felt she acted her age in the situations she was in. I also related more because this wasn’t just another teeny-bopper romance (*ahem* Twilight).

“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”

If the Harry Potter series was my childhood then the ACOTAR series speaks to my adulthood. I have not read a series in the last 5 years that was as strongly and beautifully woven together and was on the same maturity level as me.

The reason why I love this series is because Sarah J. Maas wrote Feyre with so much self-empowerment, something I didn’t have as a teenager but I have only just recently begun to learn in my adulthood. In the first book, Feyre hunts to help her family survive and after breaking the Law she is swept away into a Beauty and the Beast re-telling in which love and sacrifice are the initial theme. While there is a love interest, there is so much character growth when it comes to her soul and how her choices either tarnished or healed it. Eventually, she learns to accept her new soul flaws and all. There is a significant turning point that occurs to solidify that later on in A Court of Wings and Ruin.

SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!

It would take too long to summarize the entire series so without further ado…

In A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre is taken by her ex-lover back to the Spring Court. She pretends she was under Rhys’ mind control to infiltrate Tamlin’s Court. Tamlin has allowed Hybern to take up residence in his home to find ways to take down the wall as a deal with the King. He literally makes a deal with the devil to everyone’s dismay. Tamil betrayed Pythian and put everyone he loves at risk just to get Feyre back. But Feyre is the Night Court’s High Lady and at equal standing as Rhys, meaning she is a wolf in the chicken coop. In other words, the Spring Court is screwed.

Thoughts: This feels very out of character for Tamlin. But I also wonder if it’s absolutely in his character considering his and Rhy’s history. I just feel like waging war directly with Rhys would have made much more sense.

Eventually, Feyre escapes with Lucien in tow leaving Tamlin’s Court in pieces. It turns out Feyre’s fae-turned sister, Elaine, is Lucien’s mate and he’d do anything to see her, including leaving Tamlin and the Spring Court behind. At some point we learn Hybern’s plans to destroy the wall, Nesta may have taken some of the power of the Cauldron wth her, and that the Queens transformation wasn’t successful.

We can’t trust Ianthe. We can’t trust Jurian. We can’t trust Tamlin. They all have alternative motives. The motives help to drive the drama and direction of the novel. It gets very interesting.

Feyre is back at the Night Court and she reunites with Rhys and her friends. However, her sisters are very not okay. They were turned immortal and have suffered a lot. This puts even further strain on Feyre’s family.

A  lot of plotting, planning, and surprise attacks occur. Alliances are being forged, even with hesitant parties. We see first hand how Pyrthian must come together if they want to defeat Hybern.

It’s in Part 3 of A Court of Wings and Ruin that things start to slow down. The battle field scenes are incredible and epic. We see even more character development and even more surprises coming from characters that we didn’t expect to have a shining moment. Right when I thought things were slowing down again, there would be another twist. However, the very end left something to be desired.

I expected to have a book hangover and be bawling for the next several hours. While there were some tear-jerking moments in between, I felt like something was missing. I appreciate that the last book especially was not focused on the love interests, but I would have loved if it were lengthened at the end. I feel like the journey with Rhys and Feyre had just begun only to end in one final chapter. I needed needed more of their relationship. Someone else pointed out that they wished there was more witty banter toward the end, too. This isn’t to say it was a bad ending, but definitely a rushed one.  I didn’t mind that there were all these plots open because I know Maas is planning to extend the series. I just won’t ever get as much Rhy and Feyre again and that makes me the most sad.

THINGS I LOVED ABOUT THIS BOOK:

  • An aspect I loved about this book is how pro-consent it is. At one point, Lucien is cornered and is taken advantage of by Ianthe. Feyre finds them. She says to Ianthe, “You will never touch another person against their will. You will never convince yourself that they truly want your advances; they they’re playing games. You will never know another’s touch unless they initiate, unless it’s desire by both sides.” 
  • How much Azriel and Cassian mean to Rhys. How much Mor and Amren mean to Feyre. FRIENDSHIP GOALS.
  • I thought Jurian was such an interesting and well-written “villain”.
  • How uplifting and real Feyre is as a character. If I was still going through the things I did in my early adulthood, I think I would have come out better reading these books.
  • I didn’t love Suriel’s death, but that scene made me cry.
  • The ships Feyre’s father named after all his daughters made me cry.
  • Lucien’s real father… WHAT. Lucien is too good for this world.
  • “Be happy, Feyre.”  CRYING.
  • None of the House of Wind/Night Court died. I wanted more death, but I’m so happy they were kept alive. Finally, a book that doesn’t have a shocking death just for the heck of it!
  • How Feyre faced herself in the mirror and faced all the bad and the good
  • Female friendships and sisterhood
  • The PTSD/abuse recovery journey

It’s crazy to me that some people claimed this book was homophobic, antifeminist, and racist. I personally didn’t find these as issues at all even before the improvements. Apparently, Maas was trying to answer criticisms of lack of diversity with making Mor bisexual and some people thought it was forced in. I don’t think a single author can make hundreds, and in some cases, millions of people happy. By not having characters of other sexualities, she was criticized and by having them she still is. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another time.

I gave A Court of Wings and Ruin 4 out of 5 stars because I cared more about the relationships than the wars and battles and politics. I’m glad the politics were there to weave together a more interesting and unique story, but I wanted the FEELS. Give me more FEELS!


Quotes I Loved:

“My goal was bigger than revenge. My purpose greater than personal retribution.” (pg. 80)

“I see all of you, Rhys. And there is not one part that I do not love with everything that I am.” (pg. 402)

“Remember that you are a wolf. And you cannot be caged.”  (pg. 565)

“It’s a rare person to face who they truly are and not run from it-not be broken by it.”(pg. 607)


Update: 4/26/18

It’s been nearly a year since I read this book and man, have my critical thinking skills improved. I could not put my finger on what exactly I didn’t like about this book, but I knew ultimately I liked it because it was FUN to read. However, I recently read a review that was able to articulate my thoughts better. I mean, this book is a 700 page beast. Imagine taking the time to analyze everything. I tend not to nit-pick unless a book is really bad to me. That being said, this book is really 3.5 stars not 4 stars. I think it should have been shorter and I sort of kind of would’ve liked there to be more emphasis on the romance, not politics. I don’t read SJM books searching for a deeper, hidden meaning. I read them because they are simply fun to read. I don’t take them seriously or literally. As much as I had fun reading ACOWAR, I contend that Book 3 was a bit of a hot mess. That is all.

Update: 5/09/18

Wow! I changed my opinion on this again. After reading ACOFAS every glaring problem there was came to light. I admit I viewed this series through “rose-tinted glasses”. I mean, just think about my blog name. I get that the novella was meant to be light-hearted and fun, but there were so many instances where I felt like the author didn’t try to make the issues better that I realized I could no longer ignore them. I thought she was at least trying to approve, which is why I gave the author the benefit of the doubt.

While there were moments that spoke to be personally in Feyre’s journey and I do find this book very quotable, I have to say I’m pretty embarrassed for not catching the: sexism, biphobia, homophobia, heteronormativity, ace phobic-incest line, tokenism of POC, and more. In my original review and I just bluntly stated I didn’t see any of these things. AHHHHHHH. Me now wants to shake me a year ago. The ACOTAR series as a whole was an escapism for me. I’m a pleasure reader, so I don’t heavily criticize what I read (that’s changed some). Now that I realized that the novella was a cash grab, I will no longer continue.

It was fun while it lasted. If you’re here and you haven’t read ACOFAS, I find that I can’t relate to characters who are all rich, immortal, gifted, and hot. It’s kind of boring to me and I struggle to immerse in a story where no one has any believable flaws or authentic backstories. If YOU like this story, I would never shame you for it. But I highly urge anyone who has read it or plans to read it to keep an open mind and see how a lot of the content can actually be harmful. I don’t plan to read the spin-off series.

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