Book Review : A Court of Wings and Ruin

Book Review : A Court of Wings and RuinA Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 705
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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.

Unfortunately, I can’t help but to consider this book a disappointment. After the empowerment, sweeping romances, and intrigue of A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF), A Court of Wings and Ruin just felt lacking. The book was disappointing from the get-go and failed to deliver on what the last book promised, and actually lacked a bit of pacing in some parts. I also didn’t like that one of my built-up ships was sunk, the many perfectly timed coincidences, or the overly happy ending.


ACOMAF ended with Feyre returning to the Spring Court as a spy, in order to feed information back to Rhysand and the rest of the gang at the Night Court. I expected tension, high stakes, plotting, and maybe even a forced seduction of Tamlin. What I got was Feyre acting like some kind of a saint to undermine Tamlin’s authority and likability (honestly not sure how this would be at all effective considering how little anyone in the Spring Court cared about her well-being in ACOMAF or how little everyone liked Tamlin already). Instead of a top-secret mission to save everyone at the Night Court, Feyre was really just locked in a middle school-esque manipulative battle against the Priestess Ianthe, and spent most of her days pretending to paint happy flower pictures, wearing pretty dresses, and making Tamlin even more jealous (as if that were somehow even possible). It was so lackluster and anti-climactic, that I was quite relieved when Feyre decided it was time to leave (even though it really didn’t feel like she gained any mind-blowing information or wreaked damage enough to warrant her going home, but I digress), and she murdered a couple of people before raging in battle with others!  What a relief.


But when she finally returned home to Rhysand and the Night Court, things died down again. Instead, it was more of the same, dealing with a heartbroken girl, (Elain instead of Feyre this time) and her spurned/pining mate; translating an ancient book; visiting the Bone Carver and the Court of Nightmares; summoning the Suriel; meeting with other Courts in hoping to form alliances; training as Illyrians; gathering an army of weirdos (which smacks of Aelin in Empire of Storms). Yawn. Been there, done that.  As much as I love Sarah J. Maas, her formula was starting to feel a little old to me—I’d like to see her branch out a bit from these tried and true trappings that are also present in Throne of Glass, her other series.


Though that wasn’t to say the book isn’t worth reading. There were some good parts in it. View Spoiler »


Plus, I had to hope for something, after the author effectively murderedView Spoiler »


But one thing I especially liked about this book was how Maas handled Tamlin. She crafted the Spring Court Lord as pitiable and understandable, despite his controlling and abusive ways, and in the end, made him believably redeemable.I actually felt proud of him when he played a double agent, saved the gang from Hybern’s forces, and even chipped in to resurrect Rhysand in the first unselfish and ultimate act of love for Feyre.  I was really stunned that Tamlin willingly gave his power to help revive someone he hated so much. And honestly, with the amount of times he was spurned, I am not sure that I could have done the same thing if I were in his position, though I like to think that I would. Regardless, Tamlin was a truly flawed and complex character throughout the series—a vision of Maas at her best—and  Feyre was not alone in wishing him happiness. After all, hasn’t the guy been through enough? And admittedly, he did a better job at being a double agent than Feyre, despite all of his flaws.


View Spoiler »I wanted to beg Maas to stop with the perfectly timed saves—they were just unbelievable! The main cast’s sacrifices, which had been pretty heartbreaking—yes, I cried a bit—were simply immediately rewarded with a second chance at life instantaneously! It felt like a flip of a switch, effectively rendering their earlier selfless actions meaningless.  I hadn’t even had time to truly grieve their deaths, before they were alive again. The book put me to mind of a car crash where the person walks away without a scratch—it happens, but it’s really not likely. And when car crashes and zero injuries keep happening, it’s really not plausible or remarkable. I couldn’t help but feel Maas only brought these characters back from the dead for future books in the series, and not for the sake of a well-written story. [/spoiler]


View Spoiler » In turn, Feyre could have realized her full potential, truly coming into her own as the High Lady of the Night Court, soaring on her Illyrian wings, and protecting the city of Velaris and everything her Mate had built with her own personal strength. She might have even been able to help bridge the gap between other courts, uniting them with her powers that were born from each of the High Lords of those courts. Or, perhaps she could’ve even discovered she was pregnant after Rhysand died and raised their child as a High Lord or Lady. To me, any of those scenarios would have made for a stronger and more emotional ending that clearly displayed how far Feyre had come from the little human girl in the first book.


Despite not enjoying this book as much as the others in the series, there were still enough things to keep me interested, and I planned on giving the next book in the series a try. Admittedly, my expectations definitely will not be as high as they were for the this book, but I still wanted to know what becomes of the rest of the characters in the series—even though Maas has said that Feyre and Rhysand’s stories are over. I hope that future entries in this series stray from Maas’s formula of mates, coincidences, misfit groups of friends of supernaturally gifted characters, etc.. While I love these concepts to a certain extent, I was starting to fear that I was reading the same series and that one day Maas would announce that Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses was actually in the same universe or something—I don’t think I could take it! So while I’m sticking out this series for future entries, and the book is certainly worth reading—especially for Maas fans—to know what happens, don’t expect greatness.

Book Reviews - - A Court of Wings and Ruin

Posted July 27, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Young Adult

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