I’ve been meaning to write this review for centuries, but alas, it did not happen. Let’s just say life and other blog posts got in the way. Anyway, a while ago I finished reading the (for now) last instalment in Sarah J. Maas’ A Court Of..series. If you are a frequent reader, you might have already read that I had mixed feelings on the first book, but loved the second book. The third book in the series, A Court of Wings and Ruin, was released earlier this year. The question is, does it live up to its predecessor or does it leave me with mixed feelings again?
As always, GoodReads is much better at summarizing 600+ pages, so I have taken their summary.
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.
War is coming (Spoilers)
In the second book, the stakes were already high. The King of Hybern found the powerful Cauldron and planned to tear down the wall. He managed to drastically hurt Feyre by hurting her sisters in a way and in order to get her friends out of Hybern’s castle, she sacrificed herself. At the end of book 2, Feyre returns to Tamlin and that is where book 3 picks up. She plans to destroy the Spring Court from the inside after Tamlin’s betrayal. While this should have been an exciting part of the book, it was mostly just Feyre moaning about how much she hates Tamlin and his court. It takes too long for the action to happen, which is unfortunate.
When Feyre finally returns to the Night Court, most of the book is about the plotting of the war and it feels a bit repetitive. I just wanted exciting things to happen. A war was coming! It really is coming! Just you wait, it will be here in just a little bit! When it finally came, it felt so sudden and the action all felt a bit rushed. Yet the action was the most exciting part of the book so I am not really complaining about that.
Everybody gets a lover
I feel like Sarah J. Maas was all about shipping the hell out of her characters. While Feyre and Rhys are hitched now, and their love/flirting scenes are not nearly as exciting any more, everybody else gets a lover as well. Or it is at least hinted that they will get some. I am all for love and fictional characters being happy, it does kind of feel like an overload of relationships or possible relationships. In real life, not everybody falls in love with the first person that walks into the door, so it is not believable that in a novel, it does happen. There is only one character truly left behind on the love front and that is poor Tamlin. While we’re at it, why not just give him a mate as well? Someone call Oprah!
One of the most heard criticisms about this series is the lack of the diversity. Maas probably thought: “THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN!” and she decided to put in as many LGBTQ characters as was possible. While this is admirable because there can never be enough diversity in books, it felt very forced in some ways. It is hard to explain, but when a major character came out of the closet, I wasn’t happy/amazed/moved because of the big reveal. Once again, I am all for diversity, but it would have felt so much more authentic, had this revelation happened when the character was introduced and not as an afterthought. Oh well.
Why I like it
Despite all the things that I did not like about the book, there were plenty of things that I did like. There are plenty of characters I have fallen in love with. When action finally happens, it is exciting and kept me up reading all night. Somehow it is still a story that I enjoy very much, despite its flaws. I love the world-building and I love the dynamics between the main characters. Considering there will be two novellas and three novels published in the next few years, I hope Maas will manage to fix the flaws.