I don’t often mention it but, as this is a highly anticipated new release, beware. Spoilers and foul language to follow.
This 700 page monster was touted as the most anticipated fantasy release of the year. Maas collected quite the following after her Throne of Glass series and the first two books in this series, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. Somehow, I’d been living under some kind of reading rock for the last few years and had never heard of her. I’m so glad I came out from under that rock. While some people knock A Court of Thorns and Roses I actually enjoyed it very much but it could hardly compare to A Court of Mist and Fury. That one sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. In hindsight it was probably all of the sexual tension and Rhysand’s cocky swagger. I pre-ordered A Court of Wings and Ruin while I was still reading the second book and dove into it as soon as it was delivered in high hopes that it would pull me in the same was Mist and Fury did. Let’s find out if it met those expectations, shall we?
“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”
We return to Feyre’s story while she is residing with Tamlin in the Spring Court with him and Lucien. After Mist and Fury we are predisposed to think of Tamlin now as an agent of evil. He continues to solidify that thought as he invites members of Hybern’s court to his home to aid them in their quest to bring down the wall between the Fae and humans.
Among the party to come to Tamlin’s court is Jurian, the human general from the last war that Hybern brought back to life using the cauldron. He comes off as a cocky bastard but I found him oddly likable. I think that is in part because of how pussy whipped Rhysand became. I loved Rhys in Mist and Fury. He was snarky and a little rude. Now he is so over the moon for Feyre that all of his bad-assery disappeared and it was nice to find some of it again in Jurian.
Blah blah blah, Feyre is vindictive and tosses the Spring court in a salad spinner and screws everything going on there up and then runs away. She and Lucien then both find their way back to the Court of Dreams. It was nice to see Lucien making his own choices instead of just following Tamlin blindly. However (and I feel like I’m going to have a lot of “however”s in this review) he ended up being completely pointless for the entire book. Sure, he showed up in scenes and apparently went and did things but the story would have been the same with or without him. Seriously. If every mention of him was removed from the book absolutely nothing would have changed other than perhaps being a few pages shorter. That is disappointing. I wanted him to have a moment of redemption and his own glory but he was still little more than a background player in everyone else’s games.
Let me be honest here, I could “blah blah blah” about 3/4 of this book. Most of it really felt like it had little point. The entertaining sexual tension from MAF was gone, the “men” were all pussy whipped, and the story just drug on and on and on with nothing of consequence happening. Don’t get me started on the incredibly awkward intimate scenes. At one point I’m pretty sure Feyre was having a naked chat with Rhys with her legs up over his shoulder or something. Who does that? Uncomfortable and, again, awkward. When reading or watching a movie the target audience has to have their reality suspended and become immersed in the story line and characters for the book/film/whatever to be good. The addition of these painfully awkward scenes brings the audience back to themselves and thus the story is interrupted.
I also got the distinct impression that Maas threw in an LGBT character just because that seems like the thing to do right now. Don’t jump down my throat, let me explain. I love alternative sexualities and diverse cultures having inclusion in literature. In fact, there should be more of it. However, they need to be presented in a believable and appropriate manner. If you haven’t read the book yet I won’t ruin this part for you, but, it seemed to me that the author just tossed it in because it was “the thing” to do. It didn’t feel right for the character’s previous set up and story line. I was not on board. Good for you for including an LGBT character but credibility and believability are also important. Don’t just hop on the band wagon. And for God’s sake, don’t make them appear ashamed of their sexuality. Ridiculous and completely out of character. Okay, rant over.
“It is a new world, and we must decide how we are to end this old one and begin it anew.”
The final battle in this book is something I think fans have all been looking forward to. The big tete-a-tete with the evil Hybern when the world of man and Fae will either be saved or doomed. I’m not going to get too far into this because it was the absolute best part of the book. However (I told you there would be a lot of howevers) this was also a bit of a let down. It goes back to the suspension of belief in your own reality in order to be immersed in the presented reality. Once more, it just didn’t work. Sure, the battle was interesting and it was quite honestly the only part of the book I truly enjoyed but it did not live up to the expectations set by TAR and MAF. Everything was too convenient, too easy. This was supposed to be the be-all-end-all fight to the death and it just didn’t have the pizzazz for that. Parts that could have been truly interesting were cut painfully short while we go back to the expected and dull “I don’t want (insert name here) to die because I love them so!” BORING.
This is legitimately the longest review I have ever written and thank you all for sticking with me through it. I wish I could say that I loved this book and it was everything I expected it to be. I wanted to adore it. I was prepared to worship this book for years and re-read it time and again. Sadly, I’ll probably never pick it up again. Maybe my opinions on this book aren’t popular, I don’t know, but there they are just the same. A Court of Wings and Ruin, you let me down.