Disclaimer: If you have yet to read A Court of Thorns of Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury then I suggest reading those before you read this review of A Court of Wings and Ruin
Coming off the heels of a well put together sequel (A Court of Mist and Fury), A Court of Wings and Ruin had much hype surrounding it ahead of its release. The end of Mist and Fury forced Feyre into an interesting position that would have her deceiving a past lover in order to protect her new one. This is how ACOWAR opens up, and despite my concerns about a love triangle taking up priority over the ongoing war between Prythian and Hybern, this first part of the book is enticing.
While Feyre is back at Spring Court we get to see another side of her sometimes bland character. We see her become more resourceful in her actions and she appears to act with more logic than she’s ever shown before. We also get interesting scenes with other key characters that have been built up and who also have a big stake in the war that has been brewing.
As we get to the middle of the book, Feyre is reunited with the characters she values the most. It’s at this point where the book begins to drag slightly. There are numerous chapters where I feel nothing is being added to contribute to the feel of a serious life threatening war. There are some scenes sprinkled in that are interesting and feel like they’re adding to the endgame, however, you get the feeling that the book is lacking the same miraculous world building that the second book possessed.
It was the final act that put A Court of Wings and Ruin at 3 stars (instead of a 4 or 5) for me. The final battle had no feeling of intensity and everything felt too conveniently placed. For a war that had been building up since the first book, there was no feeling that this was a serious life threatening conflict for our protagonists. I have no problems with happy endings if it feels like the characters have been stretched to their limits, but ACOWAR didn’t make me feel as though the stakes were high enough. I was hoping for a stronger ending that would have made the entire series worth recommending to others. Unfortunately A Court of Wings and Ruin was unable to live up to the remarkable second book.
My assessments of the book may come off as too harsh, but it should be understood that there is an audience for this book. I’m not exactly the target demographic, but even so, there are books in the same category that I have read and appreciated nonetheless. I believe this series has moments where it can convert readers who don’t dabble in the YA fantasy genre often, but then there are also moments where all originality is lost to the common tropes that are associated with these types of books. These are the moments that make the difference between this book being something special or something standard.
Without a doubt, there are ideas here that could have satisfied a mass audience, but in the end it all seems like lost potential.
One thing I can say for sure is that I am in love with the author’s ideas and imagination. I believe Sarah J. Maas is on her way to developing a strong author brand that will produce some great works of fantasy in the future.
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