After the whirlwind that was A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF), I had to finish out the trilogy with A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR)! Fortunately for me, I read the first two books right before the third one was released, so I didn’t have to wait too long for my Rhysand fix.
Spoilers are below - blah blah, you know the drill. I don’t review SJM books without spoilers.
War has come to Prythian, and Feyre is back in the Spring Court gathering intel on the King of Hybern. In order to save her continent, the humans, and Faeries, she must work with the other High Lords to create an army - an army that must be able to defeat the greatest threat the world has ever seen. Feyre has to enlist help from unexpected sources, all while continuing to develop her powers and understand her role as Rhysand's High Lady.
Overall, ACOWAR was fun to read. I enjoyed seeing Feyre strong again and actively working to save her family. There were many lovely Feyre and Rhysand scenes (not talking about some of the cheesy sex scenes) and I thought their relationship developed really well. I’d be happy with a whole book of just their interactions, but other things had to get done.
The strongest parts of this novel were the small moments. Flying lessons with Azriel. Tamlin’s assistance in many dire situations. Lucien’s sacrifices when he didn’t know what good they would do. Feyre becoming a warrior. The Inner Circle becoming a larger team and embracing the new members. All of these made the novel worthwhile.
I actually enjoyed the dynamic Feyre had with her sisters, as it made for more entertaining reading, but I roll my eyes so hard when people review this series and say “OMG these sisters love each other sooooo much!” What the hell? Are we reading the same series? I HAVE two sisters, and I love them more than life, and I can assure you the Archeron sisters don’t exactly have a healthy respect for each other.
ACOWAR kept my attention, even if it was a bit long, and I had no problem seeing these characters through to the end. I'll read pretty much anything with Rhysand in it.
All right. Now for my complaints.
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet in my ACOTAR reviews is Maas’ writing style, which is very love it or hate it. Usually, I quite enjoy it. It’s a nice change from the other books I read, but occasionally there are chapters where I get tired of it - like the last third of ACOWAR. It felt like every! Single! Line! Was a Dramatic! Cliffhanger! And I just wanted her to get on with the story already.
Another thing was all the couples. So many couples. This was a big problem of mine by the end of Throne of Glass, too. Why did both of Feyre’s sisters have to have mates? Why have a constant Cassian/Mor/Azriel thing going if it wasn’t even an actual thing? Why did Amren, of all beings, have to have a partner? Why can’t Maas just focus a little more on the plot instead of throwing all these relationships in our faces?
I was disappointed none of the Night Court’s Inner Circle died. Maybe I watch Game of Thrones too much, but it just seemed like too perfect of an ending. There were so many moments when someone was in mortal peril and yet they all miraculously survived. I was relieved when I thought Amren died, because her sacrifice seemed appropriate - but nope, she came back. All was obnoxiously well. And do not even get me started on that Rhysand...twist. What was the point?
It’s things like too many relationships and painfully easy resolutions that always make me slightly frustrated with Maas’ work. Both TOG and ACOTAR had okay beginnings, strong and emotional build-ups, then they kinda left me feeling a little unsatisfied by the end. Her stories are always entertaining, but never steady.
Finally, I would also like to acknowledge that SJM made an effort to make this book more diverse than the rest of the series. I appreciate that she actually listens to readers who want more color and LGBT+ characters, even though I thought Mor’s coming out to Feyre was forced. I truly love having diverse characters, but I got the feeling that wasn’t where Maas originally intended to take Mor. It’d be better if she just made the characters open with sexuality from the beginning.
ACOWAR was a let down after the brilliance that was ACOMAF, but overall it was entertaining so I give it 3 out of 5 stars. All of my complaints were things I experienced in Throne of Glass, so I guess I was kind of expecting it this time.