If you haven't already read A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) or the previous books in this series read this post at your own discretion. I will discuss what I consider major spoilers for this novel/series towards the end of the post and try my best to avoid spoiling it for anyone. But be warned, there will be little bits of information spread throughout that might be considered verging on spoiler-y territory.
To begin I love ACOMAF more than I do ACOWAR but that's only because it’s the novel where the readers were introduced to the Night Courts inner circle - and I fell in love with all of them. We got to learn more about them in this instalment but I don't feel like they developed massively. The only two characters that were 'fleshed out' more were Amren and Mor (I will talk about that later.) Azriel's background was mentioned again but no further development, the same with Cassian.
However, the world itself exploded in this novel. We saw so much more of the world and of the other characters inhabiting the world. We met more of the High Lords and their mates/wifes/partners. Helion, the High Lord of the Day court was one of my favourite new introductions to the series. I love that Sarah J Maas had created him as a bi-sexual character and mentions it so casually whilst I was reading all I could think was 'duh of course he is. How could he be any other way?' Diverse sexuality is without question important in a novel, as is race, religion, disability. But when it comes to characterisation and sexuality I find it feels forced when its 'announced'. The way Sarah weaved this fact about Helion into the novel was done masterfully in my opinion. There was more talk of the history of the world too. What happened in previous wars and who was involved in them.
The Dawn Court was my favourite setting in this novel. It was the antithesis of the Night Court and I absolutely loved it. My favourite detail was without question the Peregryn legion - The Dawn Courts answer to the Illyrian legion. The white winged angelic warriors to the bat like warriors of night. The attention to detail in all of Sarah J Maas' books is incredible. I need to know how she manages to keep it all straight in her mind.
The relationships within this series I feel are quite a positive for the most part. Ignoring the first book, as that was in essence a set up for the later ones. Feyre and Rhys are such a well matched couple. They confide in each other but occasionally make mistakes. They hide things from each other and though its usually for a noble reason it still causes tension between them which I think is fantastic. I have yet to meet a set of people, fictional or otherwise that have a perfect relationship. It doesn't exist. I also like how (correct me if I'm wrong) that Cassian and Nesta aren't mates and don't get on for the vast majority of the books. They have a really love to hate or rather hate to love relationship and I adore it. Honestly, I could have a book of Nesta sniping at everyone and would read it in one sitting. Lucien and Elain. My heart breaks for both of them and it still does.
The sexy times were few and far between in this novel and I know that they often get a lot of criticism for being unrealistic. People, please. We're reading a book about Fae, immortal creatures and people with magical powers. Let them have their idealistic intimate times. If you want to talk about unrealistic sex lets cast our minds back to Avatar...THEY LINKED PONY TAILS. However, when you're sat in Starbucks and get to the fondling of wings and the shattering of ones self I felt like everyone could tell what I was reading.
With regards to the overall plot I felt like there were a lot of mini arcs and that many things that were set up from ACOMAF (from what I can remember) were followed through. I have seen reviews from people who re-read ACOMAF that have said the contrary but thats what I think. Some of my favourite creatures and characters returned in this and there were introductions of many new ones that aided in furthering the plot.
Flaws and all I adore this series and thats why I gave it Five Stars.
I adored seeing Feyre back in the Spring Court at the beginning of this novel. Watching her grow and become such a strong person was incredible. I was so proud of everything she'd achieved. Seeing how she manipulated and outwitted Tamlin was so satisfying. After seeing her fight off the great big nasty worm thing, request to go out alone and then deal with the 'horrible' consequences of her bargain with Rhys. Tamlin still treated her like glass. So afraid that she'd break he held on so tight that he was the one causing her the problems. Then she used his uncanny ability to underestimate every woman around him to her advantage him and sow her seeds of discord.
Learning more about Amren's background was so interesting though I don't feel like it was fully explored. However, considering there is this promise of companion novels I'm hoping that it's explored more in one of those. Now, though I didn't wish death upon any of these characters and wanted them all to survive... I'm shocked that they did. At least four, including Amren had life threatening injuries/experiences and yet they were always saved. It got to the point where I no longer began to fear for them which is great because I wanted them all to survive but then there was no tension. The only character that did was the Archeron sisters father... and even then I didn't feel a massive amount of emotion towards it as he didn't feature much. Instead, he was only mentioned in passing and usually it was rather scathingly.
I know there has been a lot of controversy about the reveal of Mor's sexuality. I identify as CIS straight woman so my view on the matter is from that perspective but if anything I say is offensive please let me know. I'm always wanting to further my knowledge on such matters and how to handle them delicately. Whilst it makes sense that her aversion to a relationship with Azriel is as a result of her preferring women it did feel somewhat shoe-horned into the novel. Yes, she went to the pleasure house (I think it was pleasure house/dance place) a lot but that doesn't automatically suggest that she's gay. From the outset I thought her reservation about Azriel stemmed from her having slept with Cassian and not wanting to cause any friction in the group. Also, yes she is allowed to sleep with whoever she wanted but I would've been like 'of course she's gay' if there had been slight suggestions of this. I.E Feyre could hear more than one woman's laughter from her room, new dresses that weren't actually hers appearing... etc. Though she was only ever seen with men. I don't think it was mishandled but I was off put because, like I mentioned earlier, it was announced.
Finally, the ending. I now wish there had been more chapters in Rhys' perspective I thought it was such a lovely way to end the novel. After all the time under the mountain with Amarantha he got his happy ending.
This series was absolutely fantastic.
'A gift. All of it.'
Name: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J Maas
Have you read A Court of Wings and Ruin? What did you think?
Thank-you for reading,