I was very much looking forward to reading this book. Despite having started the Throne of Glass series first, because of the lengths of series and publication dates, I had much less time to wait for ACOWAR to be published than for the final Throne of Glass books to come out. It also helped that this is a trilogy (although there’s a followup trilogy coming, I believe), and ToG is currently seven books. But either way. I was excited for this, because I read the first two last year.
In typical Aislinn fashion, I’ve reviewed the first in the series, but not the second, because I seem to do that a lot. But here is my review of the third in Sarah J Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Wings and Ruins.
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.
Generally, I very much enjoyed this book. Feyre has come into her own, and is embracing her powers, her status as High Lady, and she’s less of a magical guessing girl than in the first of the trilogy. Her family get more of a role as well, which is interesting, and her relationship with her sisters is much more nuanced (from the first book, where it was just… they suck). There are lots of romances and potential romances going on, and plenty of action. Old enmities simmer, new alliances are forged, and obviously the bad guys are defeated.
Lots of my complaints about this book were very spoilery, which makes it hard to discuss them. Basically, though, I was unhappy with the character development of Mor, because of how it framed Azriel, and with the return of a deus ex machina which, seriously, wasn’t once enough? And my third spoilery complaint was that Rhys and Feyre ended on a weirdly codependent note, which soured all of the development of their relationship beforehand. Everything about Feyre and Rhys has been choosing each other, choosing what to do, who to be with, etc. etc., and the final note of their relationship was much less about supporting each other and much more ‘I would die without you’, and it’s a bit bum.
Also, the end of the book was really too much of a HEA. This is supposed to be the greatest threat the Fae have witnessed in centuries. Amarantha killed buttloads of Fae. They’re always off killing each other, too (Tamlin and Rhys’s parents, hello?), but the tally of survivors at the end of ACOWAR? Well… I didn’t see too much ruin there.
While I didn’t have too many issues with the plot, I did have several issues with the way the novel was framed, and I can totally discuss them.
The prologue was narrated by Rhys. I thought this was fun, as then I assumed the narratives would alternate between Rhys and Feyre. But no, Rhys just got the prologue and one later chapter. What’s the point of putting in a new perspective just for those two little snippets? Waste of time, breaks up the flow, and is terribly jarring. I wasn’t impressed with that.
Hybern. Although in the first book I clearly missed what Hybern was supposed to represent (i.e. Ireland), in this book Hybern was all over the page. But the incredibly infuriating thing was that Hybern was used as a) the name of the country, b) the name of the King, and c) to refer to the army.
Now, Maas clearly has been able to use the word Hybernian before, as that was what tipped me off in the first book. So why didn’t she say ‘Hybernian army’ at any point in this book? I have no idea. Also, was the king named after the country, or did he name the country after himself? If so, what was it called before it was called Hybern? And what will it be called after he’s gone? Or does he not have a name? Everyone has a name, ffs. But he was just referred to as Hybern, or the King of Hybern, throughout the book. No explanation was given for this, and I was infuriated.
Feyre was also terribly annoying at several points during this book. With a terrible habit of running off on her own and not telling anyone what she’s doing (shades of Aelin there, does Maas only have one MC?), Feyre ends up putting herself in danger and worrying the hell out of her subjects on several occasions when she just doesn’t need to. And there are never any consequences to this. So she just keeps doing it. It’s head-wrecking.
My last, incredibly petty, complaint is that when the characters ask questions of each other, they often don’t use a question mark. So you get lots of instances of ‘Where is she.’, which I don’t understand and don’t approve of, and couldn’t help noticing, again and again and again and again. Way to pull me out of your fantasy world with your weird grammar, Maas!
Overall, while I enjoyed this book, it was a bit too tropey for me, which knocked it down in my enjoyment stakes. Maas can write some excellent books (although too much weird sex, thanks) so I’ll continue reading, but I don’t know if she’s improving or deteriorating as she goes along.
**** ADDENDUM ***
I totally forgot about this while I was writing the review, but remembered today when I was messaging a friend about the first book, ACOTAR.
Maas egregiously abuses the verb ‘croon’ throughout this book. Rhys croons at Feyre. Feyre croons at the Illyrians. Rhys croons at Keir. Everyone croons at everyone. I can’t tell if crooning is supposed to be sexual or seductive or dismissive or persuasive or all of the above, because it’s used more often than flipping ‘said’ is. I realise it’s good to use other verbs to denote tone and how phrases are delivered, but vary them a bit. Don’t flipping abuse croon to the point where it loses all meaning and infuriates the reader every time they see it. Please!