Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 3)

By: Sarah J Maas

Published: May 2nd 2017 by Bloomsbury Childrens Books

699 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Fae, Faeries

Source: Borrowed from Holly

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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Goodreads description--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.

The ending of A Court of Mist and Fury didn't exactly have me rushing out to pick up A Court of Wings and Ruin immediately. Of course, I wanted to read it and knew that I would, but the precarious situation of the characters that I care so much about made me feel the need for a break. So I read a contemporary and a non-fiction book between these two. Not a spoiler if you've read A Court of Mist and Fury, but we pick up the story with Feyre back in the Spring Court as a spy for Rhys. Tamlin and everyone else thinks that the King of Hybern broke the mating bond between Feyre and Rhys, but what he broke was actually just the bargain they created Under the Mountain in A Court of Thorns and Roses. Feyre pretty much loathes Tamlin at this point because not only did he ignore her wishes of leaving her and Rhys in peace, but he also sold his soul and his court basically to Hybern to get her back. And in the process, her sisters were captured and turned into Fae against their will.

As I said, I wasn't happy with where the characters begin this story. Not only is Feyre back in Tamlin's court but Azriel and Cassian were both injured and we have little knowledge of how they're healing. This time with Feyre playing spy against Tamlin wasn't the most enjoyable for me, but thankfully it didn't drag on too long. Maybe 20% if I remember correctly.

As always, Sarah J Maas has so many pieces of her puzzle to weave together that it's hard to imagine her keeping it all straight. Yet, I've learned that each piece has a purpose and therefore some things that possibly should have been twists and turns were a bit more predictable for me than I'd like. Holly and Lacy both said they were surprised at some of these pieces so it's good to know that not everyone will feel the same way that I did. Holly and Lacy both told me they prefer not to try to guess how things are going to turn out, but my brain can't help but analyze all of the pieces of this puzzle along with my knowledge of all prior books that I've read to see which pieces will play out in certain ways. I don't always mean to predict the events of the book (right or wrong). I just can't help it. And surprisingly for me compared to how frequently Sarah J Maas surprised me with her Throne of Glass series, I actually found myself guessing correctly* more times than not. I truly hope this doesn't come off as arrogant as I've sometimes felt other reviewers to be when mentioning pieces of books that they've figured out. I personally enjoy a mix of being able to predict twists while also remaining surprised at some of the turns as well. Because, as I said, I've seen Sarah J Maas do just that, I found myself a little disappointed with not being as surprised with this series ender.

Speaking of series ender...this is one of those times when the true ending seems unclear. Sarah J Maas states in her FAQ on her website that A Court of Thorns and Roses is intended to be a trilogy, but that she has more books planned for this world. This indicates a spin-off series, but I'm curious to see what the spin-off will be named as Goodreads currently has ACoTaR showing as a 6 book series.

Regardless of my predictions, there is still much that I'm dying to know about. Things were left very open for most of our side characters that I feel a pressing urge to know more about--to see how things will play out. My biggest questions revolve around Elain and Lucien* as well as Nesta and Cassian*. I don't want to give anything away between these characters, but I will say that I was left wanting to know much more than I was given. Speaking of side characters, I was not entirely happy with the actions of Tamlin or Mor. Tamlin's behavior toward the end of A Court of Mist and Fury as well as A Court of Wings and Fury felt a good bit out of character from the man he appeared to be in A Court of Thorns and Roses. I suppose in some ways he redeemed himself, but I wasn't completely satisfied overall. Mor gives Feyre a detailed explanation of her complicated relationships with both Cassian and Azriel. But beyond her actual revelation, I was disappointed and downright angry with her treatment of the two guys, but specifically Azriel. She was beyond unfair but utterly selfish and even what I would call cruel in truth. This story didn't endear her to me. I didn't feel sorry for her or her struggles. Instead, I felt her story made her weaker than I felt she'd been throughout the prior two books. In the end, I was just really disappointed in the direction that Sarah J Maas chose to go with her.*

Favorite quotes:

-"You can't be too careful while sharing camp with enemies..."

-"You come between a male and his mate, Nate Archeron, and you're going to learn the consequences the hard way."

-I realized that the color of death, of sorrow, was white. The lack of color. Of vibrancy.

-I see you ... And it does not frighten me.

-"Remember that you are a wolf. And you cannot be caged."

I'm sure I'm not saying much of what should be said about A Court of Wings and Ruin. I am including a rather lengthy spoiler section at the end of this review so check that out if you're interested...or avoid it if you don't want anything spoiled. I found A Court of Wings and Ruin a little more predictable than I wanted it to be. But I was still completely sucked into the story. I was connected to the characters so much, and I wanted to see how everything was going to play out. In the end Sarah J Maas left me wanting more and I can't wait to see which pieces get tied up even more in her spin-off series to come. A Court of Wings and Ruin gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read A Court of Wings and Ruin? What did you think? Let me know!

Highlight for spoilers: Feyre's mission to retrieve the mirror for the Bone Carver: It was obvious to me that she would indeed look into the mirror and come away just fine. Otherwise mentioning the mission and visiting the Bone Carver at all would have been pointless and a waste of words and pages for nothing.

I also never bought Rhys's death. Once a character dies and comes back to life no matter the method (actually being resurrected, a faked death, or however), I find all other deaths in the series to be lacking in impact because the potential is for them to "come back" also. And because Feyre survived her broken neck by the High Lords bringing her back to life, I didn't emotionally connect to Rhys dying or Feyre's panic and heartbreak through these scenes. Not to mention, Sarah J Maas's constant planting of how "Rhys would sacrifice all so that the others don't have to" (I'm paraphrasing here) felt like overkill. She essentially prepared me for his death by constantly offering it up as an option throughout the book.

In the same way, Amren's betrayal didn't affect me at all because given her relationship with Varian in addition to her speech about how transforming into her original form would mean that she lost who she had now become. It was obvious that in doing so Amren would consider this a loss too great to risk. She didn't intend to do it because she didn't want to lose the family she'd come to love. So I didn't buy her betrayal.

Also predictable was the girls' father returning with his past actions not being as they all assumed. This is another thing I've come to learn. Any time a character assumes without foolproof knowledge leaves their assumption open for being flat-out wrong. And in this case, it was.

I need to know if there's hope for Elain and Lucien or if their story would end up being one where the mating bond "chose incorrectly."

Similarly, much was said that could indicate that Nesta and Cassian are actually bonded as well. Yet, I couldn't be 100% sure that this was the case. Either way, I'm dying to know.

I feel like I said all I needed to say about Mor. Despite her turning out gay, I was so disappointed that she's been using Azriel as a cover essentially for 500 years. !!!500 years!!! She led him on. She let him continue to love her. Even if she didn't encourage him necessarily, she could have (SHOULD HAVE) been up front with him about her feelings. She didn't even have to explain that she was gay. But she owed it to him at some point during the last 500 years to DISCOURAGE him in a more clear manner than periodically sleeping with someone and rubbing it in his face.

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