Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3)
Author: Sarah J Maas
My Rating: 3 Stars
While this book wraps up the story of Rhysand and Feyre nicely, I had a lot of issues and problems with the final instalment of this series. This may turn into a bit of a winge, so be aware that these are my own opinions and this will be a VERY SPOILERY review!
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.
With this pegged as my predicted top favourite book of the year, I was unfortunately very disappointed with this book. While I loved the beginning two thirds of the book and returning to the world Sarah J Maas has created, there were more questions than answers in the final third and I felt that the build up to the giant war did not deliver whatsoever. ACOMAF was an absolutely amazing book (and was very hard to follow) and I feel very flat whenever I think about this book. I have read it twice and these thoughts are ones that have been pondered on very deeply.
At the end of ACOMAF, we are left with Feyre in the Spring Court, ‘a fox in a chicken coop’, Rhysand and the Inner Circle back in Velaris, Cassian and Azriel both injured and Tamlin unaware of the fact that he has let the High Lady of the Night Court into his territory. Such a good set up for the book. I really enjoyed reading the beginning of the book. It was a bit slower than I would have liked but seeing Feyre mess with Ianthe and Tamlin was awesome. It was very Aelin-like planning, where you don’t see it till the end but being in her head and seeing her plotting was really satisfying. The way she was going about it was so unexpected and not at all what I had predicted so I loved it. Feyre stealing the spotlight during Ianthe’s moment was 100% perfection. I would have liked to have more time in the Spring Court with plotting Feyre but all good.
When Feyre and Lucien escape the Spring Court, the story steps up a bit with the return of Cassian and Azriel. The moment they were back on the page I was cheering – I was very worried Cassian would have lost his wings. The Feysand reunion was beautiful and lovely and I really loved being back with the Inner circle and all the planning for the war against Hybern. A lot happens during this part of the book. We have visits to the Bone Carver, lots of conversations between Rhysand and Feyre, war councils with Keir and the Court of Nightmares and a lot of different character interactions. There is too much for me to mention but so much happened in this part of the book. The war in the Summer Court was intense, especially with Tarquin and Hybern appearing and I loved the reveal of Feyre being High Lady and seeing how different people responded to it. Some of the plot points were all over the place and I think that there may have been too much shoved in this book. Was Tamlin good or bad? What was going on with Jurian? What was happening with Elain and Nesta? Why was Eris even playing a role? So many unanswered questions!
The final third of the book was so unimpressive. We have the big war happening, and Feyre doesn’t even play a role. The whole of ACOMAF and beginning of this book talks about her skills with the power of all High Lords and she is on the sidelines doing nothing. I understand that she doesn’t have practice being in war, but we didn’t see her use her power very much at all! She goes to see the Suriel (an interaction that I really loved and that cut my heart to bits) and uses her skills then but unless I am missing some key parts, the men in this book are the ones that do the majority of fighting. For a series that was so focused on female empowerment in book two, this final third fell short. I would have loved to have seen her use the skills she had, especially considering that Rhysand spent so much time training her in ACOMAF. The war happens incredibly quickly, the allies that were brought forward were not actually helpful (what was the point of the Bone Carver and the Weaver?) and don’t even get me started on the return of the Archeron Father. So unnecessary. It all happens so quickly with no time to breathe (Maas’ mode of operating) but it wasn’t enjoyable. Amren was unleashed, Feyre told to fix the cauldron and Rhys gave his life for everyone – a move that didn’t worry me for a moment. After all the discussions about sacrifice in this book, I knew that something would happen, but it felt very predictable that Rhys would give his life. The book ended way too quickly and way too neatly for my liking. I like tied up endings, but this was too perfect. There should have been some sacrifice on somebody’s end. Losing Feyre’s father was such a non-event – honestly, had he not shown up in the book, I would not have missed him. While the story wrapped up with Rhysand and Feyre, I can’t help thinking it would have been nicer to have more happen. I understand that Maas has set up the series to continue with another three books, but I feel that Rhys and Feyre’s story was done a disservice in this book. I would have preferred to read a complete story with some things left hanging, rather than this one which had so much left unanswered.
A little bit on the characters: I love Rhysand and Feyre. Their reunion is every bit of perfect and I love the connection and chemistry between the two. Despite this, I can’t help feeling that their relationship was a bit too perfect. They had a lot of conflict in the previous books and this book they didn’t fight and didn’t disagree at all – I missed their banter and conflict! However, they were still wonderful and I loved seeing them have each other’s back through the meetings, through discussions with the Inner Circle and through the war. I just missed a bit of the spark they had in ACOMAF. Cassian and Azriel were fantastic as usual – I loved seeing them healed and better but also loved seeing the banter between all of them. They are such a good family and you can see how much they love Feyre as High Lady. I also really enjoyed seeing the character progression of Nesta and Elain and the gifts that they have.
I did, however, have issues with Amren and Mor in this book. I felt that Mor was out of character the whole book. In ACOMAF, Mor was not scared of Keir and very happily watch him get hurt and hurt him. She is described as “A queen who owned her body, her life, her destiny, and never apologized for it.” In ACOWAR, she is scared of him, frightened of Eris and announces that she has been hiding her sexuality from her family for decades. For a world that is very accepting of various relationships and a family that is even more so, I found it very unbelievable that Mor could hide this for so long, particularly when she doesn’t have a real reason to. I also feel it makes a mockery of Azriel and her relationship – it turns it into something awful and horrible. Why would she tell Feyre this as well? I felt it was Maas’ attempt to add diversity into the Inner Circle but done a little too late. I’m also really disappointed by Amren’s character. Not only does she compare Feyre to Tamlin (HONESTLY) it is also never explained what or who she is. I thought she was a dragon but from what I’ve read she’s somewhat an archangel? I don’t even know and that is so frustrating. I wish we had heart less about Jurian, Drakon and Vassa, and more about Amren, someone we all cared about.
And finally Tamlin. I hate that Tamlin didn’t ever get told what he did and received somewhat of a redemption arc. He never understood what he put Feyre through, and he never saw what he did to Lucien either. I believe it would have been better for him to give up more and understand what he put Lucien and Feyre through rather then being the one to save Rhysand. He is left believing that Rhysand is at fault, not him which is so frustrating and really bad for people who related to the story of Feyre’s abuse. I really hope that he is not part of the other books because he does not deserve to be.
Despite my issues with some of the plot, Sarah J Maas does have a wonderful way with words. She can weave them into great quotes and great stories and you can’t help but feel like you are in another world while reading. I adore some of the quotes in this book and I feel that the concept of dreamers is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve read this book twice, and when I pick it up and read it again, I love being in the world.
Now while I have explained that this book disappointed me quite a bit, let me give you some things I loved in this book (this is just a small list!):
- Seeing the Suriel was wonderful (and heartbreaking!) I love that he is described as a dreamer, like so many of us.
- The diversity in this book definitely stepped up with all the High Lords in one room – so much testosterone!
- Azriel’s sarcasm and sassiness was awesome. He really stepped up in this book and reading his interactions with Feyre while he taught her how to fly was great.
- Feyre and Azriel going in to save Elain is one of my favourite scenes. I love how Rhysand is so formal when he is giving orders to them and my favourite quotes come from that chapter.
- Feyre hurting Ianthe and stealing her thunder is amazing and such a good scene.
- Cassian being mad at Feyre for leaving them was such a gorgeous scene – I really love how he explained how he felt and that it wasn’t ok. It was such a family moment and I love seeing the love between them all.
- Lucien experiencing the family dinner of the Inner Circle was such a precious moment. Considering everything he has gone through with Tamlin, it was great to have him see what another court could be like.
- The Rhysand and Feyre reunion was wonderful and I loved how Rhys explained that while he missed sleeping beside Feyre, he also missed her as a friend. This is what I want in life. Their relationship is truly romantic and fantastic.
Recommended for: If you have loved any of Sarah J Maas books, then you should definitely read this. Also, if you enjoy New Adult fantasy, you should check out the whole series! Please be aware that there are a lot of sex scenes in this series.
Quotes (Spoiler Free):
“Only you can decide what breaks you, Cursebreaker. Only you.”
“Remember that you are a wolf. And you cannot be caged.”
“I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have… the wait was worth it.”
“Night Triumphant – and the Stars Eternal.
If he was the sweet, terrifying darkness, I was the glittering light that only his shadows could make clear.”
“No going back now,” Cassian said to Rhys, gesturing to his wings.”
“Rhys slid his hands into his pockets. “I figure it’s time for the world to know who really has the largest wingspan.”
Cassian laughed, and even Azriel smiled. Mor gave me a look that had me biting my lip to keep from howling.”
“You do not fear. You do not falter. You do not yield. You go in, you get her, and you come out again.”
“You belong to all of us, and we belong to you.”
I hope this hasn’t been too much of a doom and gloom review!
What did you think of ACOWAR? Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your opinions!
x Maddy x