A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas is the third installment in her Court series. This is yet another book of hers with astounding reviews that I couldn’t grasp or bring myself to fully enjoy, but it wasn’t as terrible as the previous volume.
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⭐⭐⭐: I ‘liked’ it
It normally doesn’t take me this long to finish a novel, and honestly, I am not sure what rating to give it so I’m going to go with a 3-star rating because overall, it wasn’t as bad as the previous volume.
A Court of Wings and Ruin picks up right where we left off in the previous volume but frankly, the first 10 or so chapters are an absolute clown fiesta. The premise of this book is that Feyre will bring vengeance because she was *spoiler alert* wronged by Tamlin who supposedly became allies with the King of Hybern. She returns to the Spring Court with the intention of bringing it down. Granted, Tamlin allowed the “Evil Priestess” Ianthe to abduct and turn Feyre’s sisters into faes against their will, so I’m not saying the premise is 100% bad but the execution?
I’ve already stated my distaste for Feyre in my previous reviews but the first 10 chapters of this novel only cement it. My problem with her is that she never quite made it clear to Tamlin how she felt even before Book 2 escalated into the whole “let’s make this personality-deprived romantic interest the main villain in Feyre’s narrative”. She sent him a note, which anyone in their right mind could’ve suspected was fake, and when he tries to “save her” her reaction is to drag his court into the ground – not him, not Ianthe, but the whole court full of people who literally worshipped the ground she walked on since she broke the curse in Book 1. So ACOWAR turns into this Gossip Girl rip-off for 10 chapters, with Feyre’s not-so-subtle manipulation tactics that for some reason only Lucien seems to notice [insert temporary IQ nerf for everyone else]. The best part is that she is proud to say she is smart for solving Amarantha’s riddle. I don’t have enough hands for all the facepalming I need.
After this introduction, Feyre returns to the Night Court and for what seems to be like 50 chapters, I was stuck looking for the plot. I had no freaking clue where it was because everything was all over the place. There’s supposed to be a war but there are so many side quests to this RPG that at some point, you wonder if this war is as imminent as they say. I mean, the King of Hybern chilled for what, hundreds of years? Maybe he changed his mind by now because we spend more time with the Bone Carver than planning military tactics.
The book picks up the pace a bit by the time the war is taking place and it was good to see that there were several battles before it ended; my only question is why was the Wall important and why was decimating the human realm important? This King had a better military, more allies (who never showed up, I guess they didn’t get the memo?) and he was supposed to get to the continent. The plot tells us that Prythian stood between the King and the continent but he had a fleet so he could’ve simply sailed away to his actual destination. And what’s with bringing down the Wall when he could’ve docked directly in the South? This makes absolutely no sense. But let’s pretend that it does. Feyre has brought many leveled-up NPCs in this fight like the nightmarish creature from Rhys’ library but they all kind of go down as if they were never “gods” to begin with (looking at you Stryga). Then the temporary IQ nerf is lifted because Tamlin, another “””unexpected””” master manipulator turns out to be an ally and he saves not only Feyre but also Rhys.
I don’t know, this book was very confusing and I think I was put off right at the start due to the scene where Feyre triggers Tamlin’s obvious PTSD and anger issues and doesn’t shield herself from his power to make it look like he beats women. That is so toxic on so many levels.
Anyway, personality-deprived villains and predictable twists aside, it wasn’t all bad and thankfully, the side characters have great personalities and prove to be useful in the most dreadful moments. I enjoyed reading Amren, Cassian, Nesta, Lucien, and even Mor at times. I know a bunch of people think Mor’s bisexuality = harmful representation but as a bisexual person who knows other bisexual people, I don’t think so. A lot of bisexual individuals go through what Mor went through with her family and her feelings. I also disagree with the people who say there is no diversity in Maas’ novels because given the descriptions of all the characters, aside from the Archeron sisters, everyone is either brown or black. Their features aren’t exactly “white” so I’m not sure what’s going on there. Some readers need to check less fanart and read the description of the characters. So maybe everyone is esthetically pleasing but they are faeries. Aren’t they supposed to be beautiful? Or at least exotic?
I will take a break before I resume this series because I can’t deal with this main character. I have high expectations for the book written in Nesta’s POV but I can’t dive in right now.
NY Editors MIA
Up to this day, I think that in this book, the line between author and main character was truly blurred. Feyre is portrayed as a character with egotistical motives and a huge savior complex, and I hope this isn’t Maas’ way of expressing herself. This book needs a lot of critical reading to be properly enjoyed, and I don’t think this is what happened when the series was mainly marketed towards YA. At the same time, the author approached serious themes so superficially that it’s hard to consider this an adult novel. Overall, I think this book needed way more developmental editing than it received, along with some more rounds of content editing. There are too many chapters that take the characters on side quests and oftentimes, these “game-changer” moments are handled with a couple of lines. Not quite sure how this is supposed to be quality writing…
Harmful rep–what representation?
ACOWAR is probably one of my least favorite books alongside ACOMAF. I was so happy to finish it just so I could move on to something else. On the bright side, this book sets up the rest of the series in an enticing way because we see more of Cassian and Nesta, who are supposed to be the main characters of the fifth book in this series, A Court of Silver Flames. I still don’t think Maas has got any harmful representation going on because she simply doesn’t really take the time to delve into such topics. She’s more into going full Tamlin slander and convince us that Tamlin and Hybern are believable villains, or that Feyre’s father is of importance–like, does anyone know his name to begin with?!