Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Thoughts at a glance: ***** (It was amazing!)

Summary: This is book 3 of the ACOTAR series; therefore, this review contains spoilers of the first two books. You have been warned! You can click to read my reviews of A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury.

At the end of the last book, Feyre, who has been made High Lady of the Night Court, is taken back to the Spring Court by Tamlin, who sold out his own people to the King of Hybern to get her back. In addition, Tamlin's priestess Ianthe had sold out Feyre's sisters to the King as well, and Feyre had been unable to save them from being changed into Fae by the King.

So now she's in enemy territory, forced to pretend that she is no longer connected to her mate, Rhysand, so that she can gather information and bring down the Spring Court. And that's only the first step in a long and brutal battle to protect all of Prythian and the humans who live in the bordering territory.


Thoughts: HO. LY. GODDDDD! I thought I was ready for this book. I've been counting down the days since I finished the ACOMAF (and you KNOW how much I love that one!), and when ACOWAR finally hit my Kindle on Monday night, I launched into it, pausing only to attend a book signing by THE QUEEN HERSELF (more on that later) and to pass out from sheer exhaustion. It's been less than 48 hours since I started it, and oh my god, I feel like I don't know what hit me. I was NOT ready for this book. And I definitely am not ready for this to be over.

(Okay, look - this is not much of a review, in the sense that I am TOTALLY BIASED about this series, so... if you're looking for objective analysis, you're not going to find that here. This will be mostly fangirl squeeing. #sorrynotsorry)

I will discuss spoilery stuff way at the bottom of my post, so that I don't ruin things for you if you haven't read it yet. Here's what I can tell you:

  • As SJM herself has said, you will get to see more of the Courts, as well as their High Lords. I loved this. No, they're not all likeable, as you can probably guess. 
  • Contrary to Tumblr rumors, the book does not alternate between Feyre and Rhys' POVs. There are maybe a couple parts that are narrated by Rhys, but the vast majority of it is Feyre. (Well, she does have the ability to enter other people's minds, so that is definitely an important part of us getting to see things that she is not physically present to witness.) But no, this is not Allegiant.
  • We get a very real, intimate look at the dynamics of our Night Court Dream Team, and not all of it is pretty. I really, really appreciated this. I know it's been hinted at before, but yes, they definitely disagree and have fights sometimes, and this is definitely laid out for you in this book. And I love it. Is it uncomfortable to see people you love fighting? Absolutely. But it was so real and so great. Like, even Rhys and Feyre didn't get along EVERY second, and I appreciated that.
  • For that matter, I love that her portrayals of each character individually are (ironically) very human as well. No one gets it right ALL the time. They are all flawed beings; they all occupy the gray area.
  • I have never cared about Nesta and Elain more than I do in this book. Especially Nesta. She's SUCH an unlikeable person, and yet... I ended up rooting for her too.
  • FEYRE IS A GODDAMN SLYTHERIN BOSSSSSSS. (Will elaborate in the spoilers section.) Voldemort himself could learn a thing or two from Feyre. 
  • At the event last night, SJM talked a little bit about how the future ACOTAR-universe books will feature some of the characters we've already met (and some new ones as well), and so she deliberately left some threads loose. I have my guesses as to whose stories she will tell :) But that said, if she didn't end up writing more books in this universe, it wouldn't feel too much like we were left hanging. (Just a little bit. Not TOO much.)
  • Tamlin is still a tool. Well, you could probably have still guessed that without me saying so. But like I said earlier, everyone lives in the gray area, and that includes him too. (But he does inhabit the TOOL part of the gray area.)
  • It gets INTENSSSSE. I was shaking as I read through some of these scenes, especially the Big Meeting (which is all I can say without being spoilery) and the big final battle(s).
  • The only thing that kept me from losing it was that I had flipped through the coloring book, so I already knew for sure that some of the characters I'm very invested in survived. But other than that, I was crying with nervousness and trying not to chew off my shellac manicure the entire time. Because I no longer trust YA authors not to kill off people that they made me fall in love with.

I do feel like this was a wonderful ending to this trilogy. I was a bit worried, considering how much I loved ACOMAF, that this book wouldn't be able to top it, and it would end up disappointing me somehow, but NOPE. It just about blew the hair off my head. I don't know that I will reread this one as much as I've reread ACOMAF, but that's only because it's so harrowing, and I can only put my heart through that much stress so often.

In the end, I really have to say that this is probably my second favorite book series, ever, behind Harry Potter. It is THAT good. Just.. everything - the character arcs, the action, the romance (and yes, the sex), the feminism (from the men as well as the women), the handling of PTSD/depression/sexual assault/abusive relationships, the incorporating of fairy tales and various mythologies... the entire universe. I think I have grown to love this more than Throne of Glass even (and you know I love that one).  I was happy with how things turned out, but sad that it was over, like saying goodbye to beloved friends.

MY ONE AND ONLY DISAPPOINTMENT about this book is that they had to print it on super, super thin paper (like Empire of Storms) so on my shelf, it's thinner than ACOMAF, when it's actually 70 or 80 pages longer. It just doesn't look right.

Before I get into the spoilery parts, here are some pictures from last night's event at Powell's! (Don't worry, I'll put a spoiler buffer below these too.)



My tote bag. Support Charlie Bowater!
Dude, MR. MAAS is quite the looker himself. Basically, SJM is young, beautiful, talented, creative, funny, down-to-earth, and has a hot husband. QUEEEEEEEN.

Also, I now have the entire trilogy signed. Well, technically, I got ACOTAR stamped, but it's because SJM has had wrist issues lately, so we were limited to one book hand-signed and one book stamped, AND it was stamped by Mr. Maas himself, right beside her, so IT COUNTS AS SIGNED.




Okay. NOW SPOILERS. Stop reading NOW if you do not want to be spoiled! Also, my spoilers are not in any sort of order, so beware even if you've already read a chunk of the book.
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OH MY GOD. Where do I even start?

  • Let's start with the big one. As I said above, I did already know that Rhys and Feyre both make it, so when I got to the end of chapter 76, I was not AS destroyed as I could've been. That said, the entire scene following - Stay, stay! - was absolutely gut-wrenching to read.
  • You know whom I did get destroyed over? Goddamn Cassian. He got injured SO much during this book and when he said his final goodbyes to take off with Nesta and lure the King away, I was definitely crying. (Rhys and Cassian's exchange - I can't believe bromance made me cry!) If JK Rowling can kill off a Weasley twin, then SJM is definitely capable of killing off Cassian. But thank goodness that didn't happen. 
  • In fact, no one on the Dream Team dies. (Not exactly.) I thought the Amren thing felt a leeeeetle deus ex machina, but dude, I'm not going to say I wasn't happy to see her back.
  • Tamlin is SUCH a tool. The Big Meeting I alluded to earlier was the meeting between the High Lords and he is SUCH. A. TOOL. He's AWFUL. He's DISGUSTING. I was shaking with anxiety about this meeting, and then I was shaking with anger. 
  • But, AGAIN, he too lives in the gray area, and by the end, when Feyre explains the note she sends to him (no, he doesn't die), it actually made me hope (a little) for some sort of happiness for him. 
  • Okay, but actually, the one person who doesn't remotely occupy a gray area (besides the King) is Ianthe, and I GODDAMN FIST PUMPED when Feyre (and we the reader) realizes that she is leading Ianthe towards the Weaver's cottage. I literally shot my fist into the air and stage-whispered "YES!!!!! HOLY F*** YES!!!!!" I have never cheered for a character's death so much in my life. 
  • Similarly, I cheered when the Bone Carver, the Weaver, and (new scary creature) Bryaxis show up for the big battle. 
  • Speaking of Ianthe, I am actually really super glad that the theory we all had about her and Tamlin hooking up for the Calanmai rite did not actually come to fruition. But on the other hand, it ended up being so much worse than that :(
  • There was no resolution or happy ending to the Cassian/Nesta ship or the Lucien/Elain ship. I'm hoping these get addressed in the new novels, because it's kind of torturous. I just want my precious babies to be happy!!!
  • I did not expect Mor being bi (but leaning more lesbian), and I LOVE that it was addressed so wonderfully. Of course, this means that Azriel is SOL, but maybe there's a future book in store for him too. 
  • Nesta and Elain are so fabulously written in this book. They are each dealing with the aftermath of being changed against their will, and they each handle their trauma in different ways, both of which are real and valid. I grew to care about them in a way that I would not have predicted after reading the first two books (well, prior to their big change).
  • I did NOT expect that the death of the King would happen the way that it did. Holy hell. I CHEERED though. 
  • Jumping around a bit here, but to explain the FEYRE IS A SLYTERIN BOSS statement I made earlier, the whole beginning part of the book where she's still in the Spring Court and slowly sowing the seeds of discontent and getting revenge on Tamlin and Ianthe... BOSS. BOSSBOSSBOSSBOSSBOSS. When the plan all comes together, I absolutely had to tip my hat to her. WELL DONE. 
  • Totally cracked up at "Let's see who really has the largest wingspan." OH RHYS. I LOVE YOU.
  • Alas, there is no baby-having in this book. I guess that's what fanfic is for.
I love these books. I love, love, love these books. 

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