Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
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.
Review: This review contains small spoilers for A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury.
I feel a little meh about the ‘final’ instalment in this series. While I didn’t dislike it, I certainly didn’t like it as much as I have enjoyed some of Sarah J Maas’ other books.
I did have issues with A Court of Mist and Fury, but they weren’t enough for me to dislike the series, and I still had hope for A Court of Wings and Ruin. I was sure that this series, and characters, could redeem themselves. Sadly, that was not the case.
We enter A Court of Wings and Ruin with Feyre back at Tamlin’s court, playing a game that we could only begin to guess at. And it was here that my annoyance for Feyre came back. She came back into our lives as the selfish, hypocritical and frustrating character that we found in the previous book. I understand the characters in this series have issues, and in fact, I don’t even mind a character who is flawed (it makes for far more interesting reading when there are flaws) but Feyre’s hatred and selfishness is so consuming that all her good qualities are over-ridden. She does not look at the big picture, either past or future, and is only set on her own goals without looking at the consequences. I think it is the consequences part that really bothers me, as I can understand some of the hatred and vengefulness.
But, obviously there was still hope for Feyre in this massive book! There were plenty of pages for her to redeem herself, so did she succeed? Sadly no. There was one part where I thought it may happen, but for hundreds and hundreds of pages I felt a disconnect to her and her actions, to hope for redemption, but I only got a paragraph or two – and those paragraphs seemed to be flippant rather than true realisation and/or understanding. I was disappointed that this storyline was not developed further. Maybe it is just her character, may be is just meant to be an ungrateful, self-absorbed character.
What I didn’t like in the previous book was the complete 180 with the relationships between Feyre and Tamlin, and Feyre and Rhysand. I am not saying the change in feelings and actions weren’t allowed, or even justified, but it was how dramatic and quick and unforgiving it was. But what I did like was that Maas was not afraid to show us characters that were flawed, which allowed so much room for them to grow. And to be honest, I didn’t see much of that growth eventuate for any of the characters in this series. If anything, I saw Tamlin grow the most, and that was tainted through the eyes of Feyre.
What I did like was getting to understand some of the secondary characters a little more. There were some very intriguing storylines within these characters, some of which were explored and some were only hinted at (teasing for future books). But the one thing I don’t like about the characters, or their storylines, is the mating thing. For one, it feels like that a character is not complete without their “mate” (which is terrible message) and secondly, I just don’t like the whole “mate” thing in general. I am not a fan of this in any type of story, whether it be mate, bond, sire etc. To me it feels like a forced and false connection, that free-will is taken out of it, and that bothers me.
There were also two things that were continually said throughout this book which frustrated me to the point of distraction, and this resulted in me being drawn out of this world every time it was said. First was the term “mate”. At first I thought it was because I was Australian and our very first thought on hearing this is ‘buddy/friend’. However I got past that and started hearing it in the context it was meant. However, it was just said ALL THE TIME. It was like Rhysand didn’t have a name. Every time she referred to him it was by “mate” (I mean there are so many other options, I would have been happy with Rhysand, Rhys, High Lord of the Night Court, husband, soulmate, love of my life, loverboy – anything other than mate!).
The second one was “vulgar gesture”. I don’t know how many times someone did a “vulgar gesture”. They never “flipped me off”, “flipped me the bird”, “stuck their middle finger up”, it was always a vulgar gesture. Also in saying this, if this was not in fact the vulgar gesture Feyre was referring to, I have no idea as no other description was ever used, so I am making an assumption here.
The overall story arc was good, but the pacing was off for me. Some parts were very chopping and some things seemed to be very in-depth while others glossed over quite quickly. For example the lead up to battle was lengthy and sometimes irrelevant (ie sex in the middle of camp with people injured around you etc) while the actual battle scene was quick and rather uneventful (in terms of action) for the most part. The major story arc was resolved, although some of it felt lacking. And there were certainly parts of it that were a little too Meyer-esque or Clare-esque for my liking (ie convenient and nicely wrapped up in a bow). There were questions answered (some adequately, some not) and loads of questions left unanswered, which I think will be something to take into the spin-off series.
Where does it go from here? Well there are a few options, and I would really love to see which secondary characters the spin-off series will be focusing on. So many questions are left unanswered about some of these characters, and their journey ahead could be quite eventful. Some of the characters really stole the show for me in this book, partly because I found Feyre so frustrating but partly because there are interesting stories there. I would have liked to see some of them developed a little more, or given their story a little more focus, so I am hoping this will eventuate in the spin-off series for some of my favourites.
For me, this series started strong, but went downhill from there. I certainly did not hate it, but this series seemed somewhat forced and rushed towards the end. However, there is still room for some fantastic spin-offs in this world. Sarah can write, she has proven that, so if Sarah gets back to the basics, there may be a justified happily-ever-after for the readers of this series yet.