A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (Sarah J. Maas)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

“Only you can decide what breaks you, Cursebreaker. Only you.”

I really enjoyed this third and last instalment of the ACOTAR series BUT (and there always seems to be a “but” when it comes to “A Court of Wings and Ruin”) I still think that it’s the weakest book in the entire series. Even after rereading it and appreciating the little details that were dropped throughout the entire story I couldn’t help but see the weaknesses of it too. Yes, Sarah J. Maas wrote a great book, but it lacked something the first two books had. Something important that every book should have: A good ending. *lol*

It’s as simple as that! As much as I appreciate all the different threads of the story coming together at the end, the way to get there and how the ending was executed just didn’t do it for me. A huge part of the book has its focus on the war and how to either prevent or to win it, people are persuaded to join ranks, a few surprise guests make their appearances, there are some fighting scenes and a meeting with Feyre’s and Rhy’s allies. Well, and then there’s the war and the final battle. See, it only took me a few sentences to convey the main plot of the book. Don’t get me wrong, there actually happens a lot but many of the things that happen ultimately don’t seem to be important for the overall storyline, which is a shame.

There were so many topics I would have liked to explore, yet Sarah never digged any deeper. All this build up, all those revelations and at the end everything is dealt with in a couple of pages. No matter if it’s the Mor/Cassian/Az dynamic, Lucien/Elain, the Queens from the continent, Rhys long lost allies, etc. Or my favourite:

spoiler

Feyre’s father!!! I mean WTH??!!! Let him come to their rescue even though he apparently never gave a shit about his daughters before, let him name his freaking merchant ships after them and join their forces and then for good measure let us kill him and wrap it up with a bow! Yes, that’s exactly how you dispose of a storyline you would have never been able to explain otherwise. Let it be buried and dead. No questions asked, except of that I have a million of questions and will never get any answers!

So yeah, was this book good? Yes, it was! It kept me glued to the pages and I wanted to know what would happen to my beloved characters. I think we can all agree that Sarah J. Maas can write and that her characters are intriguing and complex. Still, despite all that I can’t help but be salty when it comes to the ending. I wanted a little bit more and I didn’t get it. >_< Which is the reason why this only gets 3,5 paws rounded up to 4 from me. Am I being petty? Maybe, but it is the way I feel and I stand by it. *lol*

This said let’s head to my characters section! There are a lot of things I need to talk about and as expected the GR word limit didn’t suffice! So here I am posting my essay on my blog! 😛 Buckle up!

2

Welcome to my spoilery spoiler section! If you haven’t read the book you better turn around and leave this path as soon as possible. To everyone else who already read ACOWAR: Be my guest and enjoy the ride! ;-P

Feyre:

”I suppose that in the past weeks, I had crafted my demeanor as intricately as one of these paintings. I suppose that if I had also chosen to show myself as I truly wished, I would have been adorned with flesh-shredding talons and hands that choked the life out of those now in my company.”

What can I say about the Feyre in ACOWAR? Well, let’s be honest, shall we? I still feel conflicted about her character in this one. I loved how strong she became by the end of book two and I’m all for more independent and badass female characters, yet I’m still not happy about the way her character arc proceeded in this book. It’s like she lost some part of herself along the way. A part I loved and adored: her compassion! I get why she wanted to destroy Tamlin and his court, but she never even thought about the innocent people that still lived at his court. She just didn’t think about the consequences of her actions and this ultimately led to her regretting them in the end. Which is good because I would have been really mad if she would have been called out on it and wouldn’t have given a damn. *lol* Still, to be strong and self-determined doesn’t mean that she had to treat others the way she did. For instance Lucien. I get it, she has a new family and she’s super content with them, but urgh you can still be happy with your new life and appreciate the good parts of your old one. Truth be told, her behaviour towards Lucien and how she spoke about him with Rhys really made me dislike her A LOT. But oh well, I’ll talk about this in my “the relationships & ships” section and you can bet your lovely behind on the fact that it’s going to be a long, long rant! *lol*

”I will use these powers – my powers – to smash Hybern to bits. I will burn them, and drown them, and freeze them. I will use these powers to heal the injured. To shatter through Hybern’s wards. I have done so already, and I will do so again. And if you think that my possession of a kernel of your magic is your biggest problem, then your priorities are severely out of order.”

Rhysand:

”I was willing to lose my mate to another male. I was willing to let them marry, if it brought her joy. But what I was not willing to do was let her suffer. To let he fade away into a shadow. And the moment that piece of shit blew apart his study, the moment he locked her in that house…” His wings ripped from him, and Lucien started.

It’s kind of funny but I think Feyre’s lost compassion was somehow added to Rhys character instead. *lol* Now that we know about his true feelings and have seen the real Rhysand he seems to be more and more human and we get to witness his weaknesses as well. He is still cunning, sassy, caring and all the other adjectives I used to describe him in my review of ACOMAF, but there’s a soft core to his character now and you can see it shine through. His actions and everything he does, it’s way easier to understand the mind behind it all. And we see how truly broken he was while he had to serve Amarantha during his time under the mountain. What it did to him to do her bidding, what he had to sacrifice in order to keep others safe. Quite honestly, I have no idea how he even managed to keep his sanity. 50 freaking years! T_T I’m can only agree with Feyre here: I love every single part of him. Okay, well, except of the part that dislikes Lucien. *LOL* (Also is it just me or did Rhys actually become too good to be true? No wonder everybody wants a bf like him. XD)

”Rhys sacrificed his legion in the process, got all of them captured and tortured afterward. Yet everyone insists Rhysand is soulless, wicked. But the male I knew was the most decent of them all.”

Lucien:

Lucien sat against a nearby tree, folding one booted ankle over another. “Whatever you’re planning, it’ll land us knee-deep in shit.”

I LOVE HIM WITH ALL MY HEART!!! <333 Yes, I’m obsessed with Lucien but really, how is it possible I’m the only person who loves this man?!! Why is everyone so mean to him?! I don’t get it! The inner circle is weary of him and doesn’t really trust him, even worse Feyre and Rhys talk bad about him behind his back and this even though he went through hell and back!!! It’s like Sarah created his character just to torment him. My poor boy is like a kicked puppy and no one is even willing to lend him a hand. WHY??!!! After everything he did for Feyre: he got whipped and tortured because he helped her, he almost died because Amarantha wanted him to pay for it, he tried to talk some sense into Tamlin and got hurt because of it, he got raped and abused by Ianthe because he did what Tam couldn’t in order to keep the spring court alive. His own family hates him and wants to see him dead, his best friend isn’t talking to him anymore, his freaking mate can’t even be bothered to look at him!!! ARHKADFKASJDFAKSDFJASDFK! Sarah I ask you: When will you finally have enough of torturing my boy?! And now to add even more fun to it, it’s revealed that he’s Helion’s son! My heart broke so often for him in this book. Like every single moment when Elain didn’t look at him, when he was surprised about the children in Velaris, when Tam ignored him… I swear if he doesn’t get the spotlight and a HEA after this I’m going to riot and won’t continue to read the other three books of ACOTAR. I mean it!

”Would you want it – your father’s crown?”
“No one’s ever asked me that,” Lucien mused as we moved on, dodging fallen, rotting apples. The air was sticky-sweet. “The bloodshed that would be required to earn that crown wouldn’t be worth it. Neither would its festering court. I’d gain a crown – only to rule over a crafty, two-faced people.”

At last, Lucien looked at me. At us.
He said, “There are children laughing in the streets.”
I blinked. He said it with such… quiet surprise. As if he hadn’t heard the sound in a long, long time.

”And you love him. And he – he truly does love you.” Lucien dragged a hand through his red hair. “And all these people I have spent my centuries hating, even fearing… they are your family.”

My friends glanced to each other. Mor said, “It will be – very dangerous.”
A half smile curved Lucien’s mouth. “Good. It’d be boring otherwise.”

Cassian:

”Good,” Cassian said, glancing at Nesta. “If I end my life defending those who need it most, then I will consider it a death well spent.”

Cassian really grew on me in this one and I’m glad he’s part of Rhys inner circle because he actually seems to be the only one who dares to call Rhys out! *lol* I loved that he confronted him with the fact that he always wants to save everyone and doesn’t even think about the possibility that people feel the same way about him. His character has so much potential and even though we got to see more of him in ACOWAR I still feel like I don’t really know him. I need more of his character and I’m pretty sure that we will get a lot of him in those next three books. Well, at least I hope so! XD

”So you’re allowed to be mad about our choices to protect you – and we’re not allowed to be furious with you for your self-sacrificing bullshit?”

”I’m a warrior. I’ve walked beside Death my entire life. I would be more afraid for her, to have that power. But not afraid of her.” He considered, and added after a heartbeat, “Nothing about Nesta could frighten me.”

Mor:

”I hate war.”
“Likewise.”
“Not just for the death and awfulness,” Mor went on. “But because of what it does to us. These decisions.”

How is it possible that Mor is such a wise and strong woman but completely insecure when it comes to other things? I hated to see her get all weak in front of Eris, Beron and her father. She hides it well, but deep down within her she’s still so very broken. What they did to her… No one should have to experience anything like that. >_< Poor Mor! Still, after everything that was revealed in this book I can’t help but feel very conflicted about her character. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Mor, but urgh seriously Sarah, how could you?!! This is the worst, I repeat: THE WORST bi rep I ever read about in my entire life. In fact I’d even go as far as to say that this is the reason why people think that you can’t have a serious relationship when you’re bi. Urgh! Just urgh! Right now I have no words and that’s really, really rare!!! Let’s hope I’ll be able to write something coherent in the “relationships & ships” section. >_<

”We’re all broken,” Mor said. “In our own ways – in places no one might see.”

”I do find pleasure in them. In both.” Her hands were shaking so fiercely that she gripped herself even tighter. “But I’ve known, since I was little more than a child, that I prefer females. That I’m … attracted to them more over males. That I connect with them, care for them more on that soul-deep level.”

Azriel:

Again that dry, quiet smile. “Why do you think Illyrians are so fit?”
“Why did no one warn me about this cocky side of yours?”

Let’s move on to more pleasant themes, like for instance Az! I really began to appreciate his character in this. In ACOMAF he was always the silent presence in the background and we didn’t get to see an awful lot of his character. This time around however, more facets of him and his life were revealed and I loved every single one of them. ❤ Azriel is such a sweet character and in the right company, when he feels secure enough to open up, he’s even pretty funny. *lol* I really hope to see more of him in the next 3 books and considering his particular situation with Elain, I’m pretty sure my wish will be granted. XD

Azriel, wreathed in shadows by the front door, chuckled quietly. Cassian shot him a glare. “I don’t see you sprouting poetry, brother.”
Azriel crossed his arms, still smiling faintly. “I don’t need to resort to it.”

Amren:

”You should kill Beron and his sons and set up the handsome one as High Lord of Autumn, self-imposed exile or no. It will make life easier.”

I always knew why I love Amren! *lol* For that sentence alone she would have gotten in my good books. XD I think after this book we all know how she feels about Rhys and his inner circle. 😉 I always knew it, but it’s good I was proven right! To hear about how she got out of the prison was heart-breaking though and I can only imagine how she must have felt living in her new body. So much raw power trapped in that small form of hers. I was really shocked when I realized that she betrayed Feyre but she did it for a good reason and after everything that was revealed I can’t hold it against her. Also her and Varian!!! <33 I loved those two and I wanted to see more of them! Varian has guts! Boy, does he have guts to pursue a relationship with her! He’s my hero and once again a character I’d love to see in those other three books! 😉

”You did not fit – the mold that they shoved you into. The path you were born upon and forced to walk. You tried, and yet you did not, could not, fit. And then the path changed.” A little nod. “I know – what it is to be that way. I remember it, long ago as it was.”

”I yielded my grace – my perfect immortality. I knew that once I did… I would feel pain. And regret. I would want, and I would burn with it. I would… fall. But I was – the time locked away down there… I didn’t care. I had not felt the wind on my face, had not smelled the rain… I did not even remember what they felt like. I did not remember sunlight.”

”I wasn’t entirely sure how Varian managed to walk them out of the tent while still kissing her, Amren’s hands dragging through his hair, letting out noises that were unnervingly like purring as they vanished into the camp.”

3

Feyre & Rhys:

”I’m grateful,” he said after a while, as the camp beneath us stirred in the building light. “To have you at my side. I don’t know if I ever told you that – how grateful I am to have you stand with me.”

Their relationship is still solid and wholesome! ❤ I love how they respect each other and talk things out. They don’t have any secrets (well at least none regarding their relationship) and they are the equal of each other, which makes for a really nice relationship dynamic. A lot of YA books have that alpha male vibe going on so it’s refreshing to have a counterweight with Sarah’s books. If there is one thing I feel an urge to point out, then it’s the fact that they are almost too good to be true. *lol* They finally found each other in ACOMAF and they somehow became an inseparable item in ACOWAR. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where Feyre ends and Rhys begins. XD I know that’s some sort of weird criticism but I feel like both of their characters lost their independence and a part of what made them… well them, because of their relationship. It’s something I already noticed in Sarah’s “Throne of Glass” series and it happened in here again. Maybe that’s because Sarah is such a fan of all consuming and encompassing love? Yes, you’re allowed to call me a bean counter. I won’t hold it against you. ;-P This relationships is still one of the best in the entire YA genre so there’s that. XD

“I see all of you, Rhys. And there is not one part that I do not love with everything I am.”

Feyre & Lucien:

”This situation is terrible,” I said, and it was the truth.
A low snort.
I knocked my knee against his. “Don’t let Jurian bait you. He’s doing it to feel out any weaknesses between us.”

Well, yes Feyre, what was your grand plan for Lucien? He would have been fine? Really? IS THAT REALLY WHAT YOU THINK??!! Fine while Ianthe rapes and abuses him, fine while Tamlin hurts him, fine while his only home is destroyed? Nope, no he wouldn’t have been fine and you know it! I think it’s exactly the other way around; Lucien is a better friend to her than she ever was to him! Also Feyre’s holier-than-thou attitude! She’s disgusted by the idea of Lucien being intimate with Elain, because her sister is such an oh so precious flower and he’s got autumn fire in his veins? Really? Seriously? You and Rhys romp around the entire book and you’re disgusted by the idea Lucien might have sex with Elain?!! WTF?! And all that talk about Lucien’s mind being a miserable place to be? Well, you certainly didn’t give him any reason to feel better! GRRRR!!! I’m just angry, really angry at Feyre and I still think Lucien deserves a better friend than that! #FightMe! #I’llNeverGetTiredOfDefendingAndLovingLucienVanserra

”Well? What was your grand plan for me before Ianthe interfered?”
I pulled at a stray thread in the bedroll. “You would have been fine,” was all I said.

”I wish I had been there to stop it. I should have been there to stop it.” I meant every word.
Lucien squeezed our linked arms as we rounded a hedge, the house rising up before us. “You are a better friend to me, Feyre,” he said quietly, “than I ever was to you.”

Lucien loosed a heavy sigh and slid an arm around my waist, the other threading through my hair to cradle my head. “I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I’m sorry.”
He held me, stroking soothing lines down my back, and I calmed my weeping, those seawater tears drying up like wet sand in the sun.

Mor, Az & Cassian:

”And … I think it might shatter him if I revealed afterward that… I’m not sure I can give me entire heart to him that way. And… I love him enough to want him to find someone who can truly love him like he deserves. And I love myself… I love myself enough to not want to settle until I find that person, too.”

And since I’m already in such a ranty mood I’ll tackle the next topic that made me angry af! *lol* I do understand why Cassian is Mor’s and Az’s buffer and as it seems he doesn’t really mind to be in this particular position, what I really disliked was the fact that Mor strung Az along for centuries! CENTURIES! Guys, we’re not talking about only a few months or years here, we’re talking about centuries!!! O_o Just because she was scared to tell him how she felt?! That she’s bisexual and likes both female and male? And what the hell is all this bullshit about not being able to give her entire heart to him?! She didn’t even TRY!!! What if they would have worked out?! What if they would have been happy? I love Sarah’s books but this is such a bad bi rep that it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Just because you like both that doesn’t mean that you can’t be in a serious relationship with only one!!! Just say that you don’t see him as the person you want to spend your entire life with. There’s no shame in admitting that you love a person but don’t love her/him THAT way. If there ever was an example of “how not to do bi reps” it certainly would be this one. Reps like that are the reason why everyone thinks we only want the good things from both sides and can’t settle down. Why people think we can’t be in a serious relationship. Sure sooner or later you’ll have to decide but if it’s the right person it’s not even a decision it’s just LOVE!!! No matter the gender! *sighs deeply* Okay, I’m done with my rant. If you’re an author and read this: Make sure to reach out to beta readers that represent the characters you want to portray. I think this could have been prevented if anyone would have counter-checked the bi rep. (Also bisexual Helion – as much as I love him – was portrayed as a person who only wants fun and can’t have a serious relationship. Ouch, just ouch.)
I’m not okay with Sarah using Mor’s bisexuality in order to explain why she strung along Az for centuries. I’ll never be okay with this. Period! *shakes head*

Elain, Azriel & Lucien:

”It has never failed me once,” the shadowsinger said, the midday sun devoured by the dark blade. “Some people say it is magic and will always strike true.” He gently took her hand and pressed the hilt of the legendary blade into it. “It will serve you well.”

Haha! Okay, as it seems I’m still not done with my rant because here comes the next topic that left a nasty taste in my mouth. (Can we just agree that the relationships in this were kind of maddening? *lol*) I hate how Elain treated Lucien and I’m not okay with Sarah introducing Az as a possible love interest. Not because I think they’d make no good couple, believe it or not, I think they’d make a way better couple than Elain and Lucien, but because this love triangle is so unnecessary! If Sarah wanted Elain to be with Az, why not go in this direction right from the beginning? Does Lucien really need another reason to feel unwanted and unloved? Was it really necessary to hurt that poor man even more? Elain and Az have a harmony Lucien and her will never have, because they are both quiet and rather introvert characters. I’m all for Azriel and Elain, but not at the cost of Lucien’s feelings! And I swear if Lucien doesn’t find another mate and gets a decent HEA I’ll be soo mad! Gosh, I just want him to be happy, is this too much to ask for?!!! T_T

”Well, I never want to fight in another battle as long as I live, but … yes, I’m in one piece.”
A faint smile bloomed on Elain’s lips.

Nesta & Cassian:

”Cassian’s eyes did not leave Nesta’s; nor did hers leave his. There was no warmth, no tenderness on either of their faces. Only that raging intensity, that blend of contempt and understanding and fire.”

And welcome to ranty round four! *lol* I think we can all agree that Cassian deserves better than her, right?! Why does Nesta of all people have to be his mate?! Yes, I know no one ever confirmed that she is his mate but seriously, after all that icy chemistry I’m about 99,9% sure that she is. Or will become in the following books. I just hope that Sarah will give us an amazing and most of all believable character arc, because otherwise I won’t be able to ship this ship! If Nesta doesn’t change her attitude and stays the way she is right now, I don’t see myself boarding this ship. Ever. I know to redeem her character will take a lot of work and I sincerely hope that Sarah is up for this challenge. I want to ship them… the way things are at the moment I can’t though. But hey, miracles happen! So let’s see if this will be the case here. ;-P

”You went off to battle for a court you barely know – who barely see you as friends. Amren showed me the blood ruby. And when I asked you why… you said because it was the right thing. People needed help.” Her throat bobbed. “No one is going to fight to save the humans beneath the wall. No one cares. But I do.” She toyed with a fold in her dress. “I do.”

Cassian grunted in pain, but lifted his bloodied hands – to cup her face. “I have no regrets in my life, but this.” His voice shook with every word. “That we did not have time. That I did not have time with you, Nesta.” She didn’t stop him as he leaned up and kissed her – lightly. As much as he could manage.

4

I really hoped that I’d love this more after my reread, but if anything to read ACOWAR a second time around only helped me to be able to point out its flaws. I’m glad I decided to go for a second round though. There were so many details that got lost when I read it for the very first time because back then my focus was rather on paging through the book instead of appreciating its many details. This said ACOWAR was a fun ride with quite a few flaws and even though I love most (if not all) of the characters I still believe that a lot of things should have been handled differently or at least could have been done better. It’s just my opinion though and who knows? Maybe Sarah will work on all those flaws in the next three books? I’m definitely ready to find out! ;-P