A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

*This review will contain some spoilers if you haven’t caught up with this series.*

“It’s a rare person to face who they are and not run from it – not be broken by it.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsFeyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings 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.

Feelings: I seriously, seriously love Maas’ writing style. She always uses just the right amount of detail and I’m not even mad that this book was 699 pages long. NOT EVEN MAD. I always look forward to her stories and read them fairly quickly, all things considered (with a tiny exception with this one).

I feel like this world is finally rounding out. We have information on ever sector of this land, historical background to explain tensions and relationships, and the major conflicts make sense. While it IS all coming together, there are a still a couple of story arcs that don’t feel necessary right now, but I could see how she may develop them moving forward.

Issues: From the beginning, this story felt different from the other two. The first quarter of the book felt really, really rushed and it wasn’t making me want to read. I wasn’t as drawn in as I was with the previous two books; it took me a lot longer to really get going. However, once I hit the 200 page mark, I flew through the rest of it!

I have been SO conflicted about Tamlin from the very first book. It wasn’t just that my feelings were changing as the story developed, but I felt like Tamlin as a character hadn’t been nailed down yet; the writing felt like he was supposed to be good, then bad, then good…and I have reading whiplash. By the end of this book, I think we’re starting to get to know the real Tamlin and I’m hopeful about where his story arc is headed.

The way the huge battle at the end of the story gets wrapped up kind of felt like it came out of nowhere. Sure, the allies that showed up were great and well explained, but that ONE character that we haven’t heard from or seen in a while…then he was gone…and I just didn’t jive with that choice.

On that note, I really feel like if the whole “human queens” plot line wasn’t a thing…this series could have ended here and I would have been mostly satisfied. I worry that the next book will feel like this story is dragging on and on…which is how I feel about Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

Characters: FINALLY a reason for Mor and Azriel’s awkward love (dis)connection. Poor guy has loved her for 500 years and I was feeling frustrated about her lack of resolution. I felt like she was just stringing him along…for 5 centuries! But near the end of this book, Mor finally confesses what’s going on with her. And honestly, I think the way Maas wrote Mor’s feelings and conflict here was well done; I think a lot of people will be able to see themselves in Mor and relate to what she’s going through. I’m hopeful that she tells Azriel the truth in the next book, so we can see her live her best life.

I was really happy to see that Lucien was stepping back from Elain and letting her adjust to her new life, rather than pushing himself and their mating bond onto her. She had a handful of major life changes to figure out and I feel like by the end of this book, she’s starting to act like her true, new self. So I think the next book will be interesting between both her and Lucien AND her and Azriel.

I feel like Feyre and her two sisters really grow together in this story. Yes, they have some issues to navigate through but this book just felt like we really saw them as sisters and I love that. They’re finally seeing, accepting, and loving each other as they are.

How can I NOT menton Feyre and Rhysand? (Also, is ANYONE pronouncing his name correctly? I should probably google it, but I’m afraid I’ve been saying it wrong all along…like Voldemort.) ANYWAY…I love them. A lot. I love that they’re imperfect. And I love that even though they’re mates, they’ve still got a lot to learn about each other; that helps me believe that they could spend centuries together. I love the way they see each other and support each other. I’m just a fan, I have to say. I loved Rhys from the beginning, so I’m all about this duo. Feyre bothered me in the first book and into the second, but I think she’s really developed at this point. I loved the scene with the Ouroboros mirror; seeing her true self and loving the good and the ugly.

Final thoughts: After I got through the bumpy start, it was smooth sailing. If you’ve been reading this series and you’ve felt hesitant about book 3, my advice is to continue reading. As always with Maas’ books, I worry about the following story, but I’m still onboard! Great characters, beautiful writing…there’s a reason Maas is one of my auto-buy authors.

Goodreads rating: 4.54/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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A Court of Thorns and Roses

*Contains some spoilers*

“If you’re wise, you’ll keep your mouth shut and your ears open. It’ll do you more good here than a loose tongue. And keep your wits about you – even your senses will try to betray you here.”

thorns and roses

Can we talk for a second about Sarah J. Maas? Ok. Let’s.

She is a master of her craft. Her characters jump off the pages and I always find myself lost in the stories she weaves. She is a goddess of world building. I love the books in the Throne of Glass series that have been released so far and I can easily see myself rereading those books…multiple times…forever…and ever.

Synopsis: Inspired by the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is about Feyre, a 19-year-old girl who kills a seemingly normal wolf while out hunting for meat to feed her family. What she doesn’t expect is that Tamlin, a beast of mythical proportions, will come beating down her door demanding to know who killed the wolf. To pay her debt, Tamlin takes Feyre to the forbidden land where faeries still live. Tamlin is a High Fae, living in a world that’s on the brink of destruction. Feyre has to find a way to save Tamlin and the other faeries of his world, or risk losing them all forever.

Feelings: I have mixed emotions about this book. Other readers have raved about this story, throwing out 5 stars left and right. I had a couple of tiny issues with this book, though. For one, there were a few phrases that were super repetitive, such as characters “clicking their tongues” and Feyre’s “bowels turning watery.” These are phrases that stick out…and stick out…and stick out, the more they’re used. Again, tiny issue. Other people probably wouldn’t notice it.

Issues: Another issue I had was the romance. (Maybe “issue” isn’t the right word.) Feyre and Tamlin went from 0 to 60 in a matter of paragraphs. It’s like their romance put the pedal to the metal, then it was gone. Then a hundred pages later, they’re at it again. (I get the circumstances of the second romantic fling…I get it.) I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting their romance to be so crazy sexy, either. Maybe that’s just me.

Another tiny issue: Those from the Spring Court were cursed to wear masks for almost 50 years and I understand that being a remnant of the curse, but it just didn’t seem necessary. It happened because humans are so obsessed with beauty and it’d be harder for someone to love Tamlin, but he ended up looking just like Feyre imagined he would…so what was the point?

Keeping up with the various faerie courts and their powers forced me to tap into my Game of Thrones character organizing skills. I had a lot of questions about the faerie courts and their powers, but I feel like that information is coming in the next book. We’ll see.

Characters: I don’t always love books about fairies/faeries. For some reason, though, I really enjoy reading Maas’ version of faerie worlds. I imagine them like elves in Middle Earth – very Legolas-y. Her characters are very strong – Feyre, Tamlin, and Lucien, are the three main characters and I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t morph into a love triangle. Thank you, Sarah J. Maas. Thank you for sparing my emotions. I don’t know who I would have rooted for.

Speaking of character confusion – I loved Rhysand. There. I said it. He’s somewhat evil and terribly confusing, but I loved him. What did he see when he looked at her in the end?? What did you see, Rhys?? Did he just have a faerie love connection? It’s all going to hit the fan in the next book, if he did. I smell a new love triangle coming on.

Comparisons: This book is inspired by Beauty and the Beast…and I enjoyed comparing it to the original story. The beast is feared by all, but shows a softer side while courting her. He’s awkward and stumbles over his words, just like the Beast in the Disney movie. There’s a magic curse and a running line of reading/books through the story. One major difference (other than the whole faerie realm thing) is that Tamlin can control his beastly shifting. I think this was a great interpretation, keeping some similarities with the original while being totally unique at the same time.

Final thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t just fawn over it like others have, but I thought it was a good read. I couldn’t help compare it to Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, which is also a Beauty and the Beast interpretation. I think I liked ACOTAR more, though. It’s also worth mentioning that this book has some more explicit content than your average YA novel…so heads up.

Pick this up if you liked:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (magical realms, similar writing styles, and strong female leads)

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (another interesting interpretation of Beauty and the Beast)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (same author and same glorious world building)

Goodreads rating: 4.36/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn