Also by this author: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1), Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5), A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1), The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-#0.5), Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3), Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7), House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1), A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Also in this series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
on January 1st 1970
Pages: 707 •Goodreads
Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
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.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
*Warning: The review will contain some spoilers, mild ones throughout the general review and major ones in the noted “spoiler” section. You’ve been warned!
It’s no secret here on my blog that I am THE BIGGEST fan of the ACOTAR series. I rejoiced when I first read A Court of Thorns and Roses, thrilled that I was finally, FINALLY falling in love with Sarah J Maas’ writing the way everyone else had with Throne of Glass. I was BESIDE MYSELF with how much I loved A Court of Mist and Fury, and it even demoted Harry Potter as my favorite book. Ever. Kristin, Alexa and I hosted our own reread event leading up to the release of ACOWAR, and it was so amazing to see the community that’s been built around this series. So despite ACOWAR coming out the day after YallWest, despite working 50 hours between Tuesday and Friday catching up from PTO, despite the fact that I’m supposed to be training for my first 5K next week, I managed to finish ACOWAR by Saturday…and while I loved returning to this world and the characters I consider close as family, after thinking on it I have to admit I am a smidge underwhelmed.
A Court of Wings and Ruin picks up right where ACOMAF’s cliffhanger leaves off, with Feyre playing spy in the Spring Court, planning to undermine it from within. I LOVED this part of the novel. Seeing Feyre’s manipulations, seeing her seek revenge and sow the seeds of discord among Tamlin and the court he is so out of touch with…it felt good. I also appreciated that it didn’t drag on too long (I was afraid we’d spend like 95% of the book with Feyre stuck in the Spring Court). She returned to her role as High Lady of the Night Court before the halfway mark and I was satisfied with how the transition back to the Night Court was handled.
Though there’s not the delicious tension present that always lingered in ACOMAF surrounding Feyre’s relationship with Rhys and the Court of Dreams, I loved seeing them interact as a married couple, acting as a partnership and seeing how the power balanced between them. Returning to Velaris, to the inner circle, was so comforting despite the ever-present threat of war, especially now that Feyre’s life had come full circle, with her sisters now Fae and living among them as well. Seeing their familial bond stretched and strengthen was a really rewarding experience, especially since they shaped SO MUCH of the girl Feyre was before she crossed the wall. They also came to play at the end of the book, proving that all of the Archeron sisters are badasses in their own right.
I think what most readers were eagerly anticipating most in this installment was the opportunity to see the other courts that had not yet been explored. I was a bit disappointed to find that Autumn and Winter were passed through so quickly, but I LOVED getting to see the Dawn Court, especially under the circumstances: a meeting between ALL 7 of the High Lords (yes, all 7, including Tamlin…I could barely read that scene the pain and tension and awkwardness was so REAL and yet so well done). It was truly stunning to see each High Lord, all kings in their own right, and the dynamic and unique aesthetic that each one cultivated, from their attire to their power to their crowns (I’m a huge fan of Helion, BTW). I also LOVED seeing Feyre among the other High Lords as a High Lady, an equal, a queen. It was probably my favorite part of the entire 700+ novel and really helped pick up the pace that had started to slow for me in the middle of the book.
Most of ACOWAR focuses on plot and action, no surprise considering the impending war with Hybern. However, Maas managed to insert some important and complex character development that was HIGHLY interesting. There was Eris, who does not seem to be what we’ve been led to believe, there’s the tragic truth that comes out regarding the dynamic between Mor and Azriel, there’s TAMLIN…Tamlin who I believe is probably number one on everyone’s you-know-what-list, but who Maas weaves into the story as both a villain and a hero at times, making him a fascinating shade of moral grey. The characters in this series are so nuanced, so intriguing, that I know there stories will stick with me for a LONG time…especially considering there were a LOT of loose ends regarding the secondary characters (who I believe will get more attention in the upcoming companion novels! I’ll take a Cassian+Nesta novel, please).
While I cherished every moment I got to spend again with these characters with fresh eyes, there are some aspects that I have to admit were underwhelming for me, which knocks that fifth star off of the rating for the first time in this series. SO MUCH of the book focused on war, especially preparing for war, that it began to drag for me. I guessed a lot of the major plot points at the end (Amren, Rhys, etc. which didn’t make them less enjoyable, but I was hoping to be more surprised). I also felt like magic was used to patch a lot of plot holes without a lot of real explanation (like what exactly Nesta and Amren were doing in their training…it was all so vague!) I also really felt like this book suffered from some lack of editing, as I started to get caught up in the repetitive phrases and expressions used. Overall though, these are minor quibbles compared to how much I loved the book and love this series in general.
Overall: While this book didn’t make me cry real tears that way its predecessor did, ACOWAR pulled me back into the lands and stories and characters that I love more than any reading material I’ve come across in years (maybe ever). Though I had some minor issues and wish it had made me feel as strongly as ACOTAR and ACOMAF did, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading ACOWAR and can’t wait for the companion novels set in this world.
- I feel like there weren’t really any deaths that would evoke a huge impact from readers. I was expecting someone from the inner circle to die, and while I was glad they all survived, it also didn’t seem very realistic…
- Speaking of death, the whole Rhys thing at the end…it was emotional but I feel like I already knew he would be brought back to life because I feel like that’s the new THING in YA novels (also, I want to know more of how his resurrection worked, liked how has it changed his powers, why didn’t he assume the other High Lord’s powers like Feyre did, etc.)
- The Bone Carver’s form turning out to look like Feyre and Rhys’ son…I WAS SCREAMING. I was hoping so much for a baby between them but SJ Maas took my suspicions in a totally different direction.
- Poor, poor Azriel. I feel for Mor but I feel like she just wasn’t very nice in this book and I still think she needs to settle things with Az. Also, anyone else feeling a vibe between Azriel and Elain?
- Lucien being Helion’s son was BRILLIANT. HELLO HEIR TO THE DAY COURT.
- I’M REALLY UPSET WE DIDN’T GET AN ACTUAL ANSWER TO WHAT THE CREATURE IN THE LIBRARY WAS.
- Sarah said on tour for ACOMAF last year that ACOWAR had Snow White vibes, and it was cool to see those elements (the apple Hybern gives her, Rhys dying and being resurrected, even the 7 High Lords sort of paralleled the dwarves when you think about it…)
- I have 1000% never been as pissed at a character as I was at Tamlin when he was throwing shade at Feyre during that High Lord meeting.
- Vivaine is sassy and perfect and I literally burst out laughting when she asked why she couldn’t be a High Lady. I’m down for a novel about the Winter Court, please.
- Cassian and Nesta are my new ship. #Nassian