Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult
Published: 2nd May 2017
“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”
Synopsis (from back cover):
She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.
Disclaimer: This review contains no spoilers for A Court of Wings and Ruin, but may contain spoilers or hints to the previous books in the series!
I loved these characters. I LOVED them. I loved this world; its stories and its secrets. But this final book, in what has become one of my favourite series, left me a little less in love with it all. I am aware of the existence of the final-book-syndrome, but A Court of Wings and Ruin left me filled not with joy, nor sadness. It left me neither spellbound nor angry. It left me feeling nothing much at all, save for a degree of disappointment.
This is not to say that this was not at all a good book. I did not love this book, but I still liked parts of it. It is simply that liking a book you had expectations of becoming your new favourite feels somewhat less impressive than liking any other book. However, I will start with the things I liked about this book, because there were certainly a few redeeming factors interspersed with the disappointing ones.
Firstly, I enjoyed the chance to explore the world of Prythian a little more, and particularly to meet the entire cast of the High Lords; enthralling, alluring, diverse as they were. In fact, I wished they could have made it into more of the book, because I was found myself growing increasingly more absorbed in these new, side characters than I was in the leads.
The increased presence of Nesta and Elain in this instalment was also lovely to see. They had grown so much throughout the first two books, but always in the background. Their promotion to the forefront of the story allows the reader to understand the characters a little more, and I felt immensely more connected to them. Elain became, quite possibly my favourite character of the series, (although Lucien might contest that!) and I now want a book completely about the sweet Elain.
I also found the redemption and forgiveness arcs very well-thought out, and set at a realistic pace. Characters we have grown not to trust, reveal their true natures, for good or bad. There is a satisfying closure in some of the characters and relationships explored throughout the series. Although, I do emphasise: some.
I suppose what truly turned my anticipated love for this book, into simply a liking, was it’s lack of ability to grip me for the duration of the story. Both books one and two of this trilogy completely consumed my life for the two or three days it took me to read each of them. If I was not reading those books, I would be wishing I was: they would consume my thoughts, dreams, pinterest searches… But I could not find it in myself to feel so excited, absolved, immersed into this book at all. It had lost its excitement for me. There is not one particular aspect over another that I can ascertain as the reason for this, but I can narrow it down to three key reasons:
Firstly, the action in the plot (or lack thereof) was not sustained throughout. For a book that had been built up as the final battle this series had been anticipating, it contained very little actual battle. And the battle that was included was not exciting at all, but actually caused me to want to skim through. It was a slow book, but where this could have been used to build up character backstory, or give more insight into certain relationships that had been built up throughout the three books, nothing much happened. And those character backstories that deserved so much more time in the story, were explained away in a few pages.
Second of all, Feyre and Rhysand, characters I found so remarkably engaging in the initial two books, began to really grate on me. Feyre and Rhysand became Feysand, by which I mean they merged into one character to me, and I don’t mean in the romantic way in which two people who love each other become one. Their decisions, thoughts, mannerisms, and dialogue all sort of merged into the same thing. When one made a bad decision without the other, there was more upset about the lack of inclusion of the other, than the fact of the poor decision. I just began to find them incredibly unbelievable. Many of the things they said or did started to irritate me and, particularly, Feyre’s decisions and thoughts did not always sit so well with me.
Finally, I did not find the writing in this book as good as Sarah J. Maas’ previous writing. I’ve read every one of Maas’ books, and have really enjoyed the way she writes. But in this book, there were so many cliched and/or repeated expressions that I began to anticipate the words she would use to describe things. The use of ellipses, in both dialogue and description, could also be found on almost every page. Occasional breaks in speech make for a more realistic dialogue, and breaks in streams of thought can successfully emphasise a character’s realisations and revelations, but it was used so often that it began to ruin the flow of the writing for me.
I wanted to love ACOWAR. I really did. But after one month of waiting in between finishing this book, and writing this review, I can mainly remember the lack of emotion or attachment I felt to it. The side characters became of much more interest to me than the main ones, the story lacked the twisty maze-like plots and revelations of the previous books, and I did not feel I got the glorious, epic finale I was so desperately wanting. I am, however, intrigued to see which storylines and characters will emerge in the new spin off series being released, and will be hoping with all my will that one will feature the lovely Elain, and that we get more of the precious Lucien also.