A review by readem_andweep
A Court of Wings and Ruin, by Sarah J. Maas

adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

 After devouring the first two books of this series, I was a bit surprised at how long it took me to get through this third installment. At first I thought I had simply fallen into a reading slump --- but after finally finishing the book and reading other reviews, I can see I'm not alone. After the first two books, this one seems...like a step back, rather than forward. It's like the momentum came to a crashing halt. I'm finding it difficult to review this book because I'm so conflicted about it --- but I'll do my best.

ACOWAR is (I feel like Maas named it A Court of Wings and Ruin just so the acronym would have WAR in it) is the culmination of the first two books: everything leading up to this big war against Hybern. So you'd think this book would be extremely tense, thrilling, and soul-crushing. At least, that's what I was expecting, especially coming in at 700 pages. Instead, I felt like this book dragged. There's lots of planning -- lots and lots and lots -- and none of it is too exciting. Even Feyre's "undercover" moments in the Spring Court weren't really tense, except for her final moments there. There's also no tension between Feyre and Rhys at this point, so the will-they-won't-they vibes between Nesta and Cassian were all I had to cling to in that department --- and it just wasn't enough. And please don't ask me about the steamy scenes in this book. Spoiler alert: they weren't very good. Just read some other reviews if you wanna know. The writing really went downhill in this book, guys.

Despite all of that, I didn't hate the book. I was excited to see where everyone would end up post-war --- who lived or died, who would wind up together, what would happen as a result of the war, etc. I cared about it all despite the odd pacing and lackluster writing. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will make a few brief statements: 1) I was surprised more people didn't die, especially main characters --- not that I wanted them to die, but I was expecting more from what very much felt like a series finale (even though I know it isn't); 2) Many things felt so impossibly coincidental, lucky, and wrapped up perfectly --- I felt like I had to suspend my belief a little too much for this one; and 3) I genuinely think this should have been the end of the series --- I know, writing this in 2022, that there are more books in the series, but since they don't really focus on Feyre, I feel like maybe Maas should have just ended this as a trilogy and written a new spin-off series in the same world.

I'm going to keep reading this series, but I have a feeling none of the upcoming books will ever come close to how much I enjoyed ACOMAF. But, to be honest, we can only go up from ACOWAR, as it's been my least favorite of the series thus far. I really hope Maas continues to work on her writing. I do love this series, but this installment was a bit of a letdown for me. My love for Feyre and Rhys, as well as many of the other characters, is what salvaged this book for me. Though there are issues, I can get past them if only to immerse myself further into this world and surround myself with these characters. Let's just...do better on the next books, okay?