Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J Maas
Release date: 2 May 2017
As you know, the A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) series is one of my favourites so I was excited about the third book A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR). Did it surpass my expectations? Yes and no.
ACOWAR continues on with Feyre infiltrating the Spring Court and fulfilling her revenge on Tamlin and his Hybern allies for what they did to her sisters and friends. When she returns home with unexpected company – Lucien, everyone is preparing for war and must decide whether to be a united front or face the near invincible Hybern armies alone.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I love it but not a lot. I’m living in between love and hate, and I’ll tell you why soon.
The writing is beautiful and plot wise, ACOWAR is good. It hooked me in from the first chapter. I thought the prologue from Rhys’ PoV was unnecessary nor did I care about it. There’s a lot of filler and sexual tension that it slowed down the plot and almost bored me to tears. Much of the followup after the climax and resolution was summed up – I found that annoying. We only get glimpses of the minor and new characters like Vassa, the firebird queen and Nephelle the winged and lesbian scribe-warrior. A lot of things are left unsolved.
The characters were fleshed out a bit more, but I found Feyre kinda annoying as she keeps telling us that Rhys is all good, selfless and has suffered a lot. Like….shut up, I get it, you’re suffocating me with your praise and overglamourising your relationship. Rhys is his usual self but matured anyway. He needs to stop “purring” though. He purrs a lot that I lost count on how many times I rolled my eyes. I thought he was an overgrown bat, not a cat.
Lucien switching sides endeared me to him even more and the scenes between him and Elain made me all mushy. Elain and Nesta…I love them and their own story arcs were interesting – perhaps more interesting than Feyre’s.
Tamlin….still a terrible person but he overcomes his selfishness and rage to fight against the enemies. I admit I did tear up a bit when he saved Rhys for Feyre and wished her happiness. I thought that closure was perfect.
Amren. I fell in love with her more that I panicked when she sacrificed herself to end the war – because she’s the only main poc character and the most powerful. But no, she’s still alive. I wish she had more scenes though. She always gets left behind to solve things from afar.
I ship her and Nesta because they just click and also because…I’m tired of all these straight characters. The alpha male and territorial thing and mating bond the most of all. I don’t mind one or two couples being mates, but almost all of the characters pairing up and are very straight? NO. And are there any soft Fae males other than Lucien?
The villains. I still found the King of Hybern hazy. His minions Ianthe and Jurian were more interesting characters and threatening. Jurian turns out to be good and fighting against Hybern all this time. I rolled my eyes. Are there villains who just stay villains in this series?
Now on to why I half-hate ACOWAR…
The diverse representation was okay but mostly shit. There are more poc characters with more of Summer Court and the other High Lords appearing. But their roles and scenes are still small – with glimpses of their inner selves. I was irritated that Feyre and the Inner Circle saved Summer Court. You know, a story needs white saviours apparently. Glad that Amren was there to be the ultimate saviour though. There are times where Feyre observes division and says “Like them and yet Other”. And I thought, “Funny, you’re still white and straight”.
But the issue that really boiled me up in anger was the LGBTQIA+ representation, in particular bi, ace and aro. The representation is hurtful.
I felt like Maas was just throwing token characters in and tried to flesh them out but they were stereotypes. Mor is the only LGBTQIA+ main character – not exactly progress in my opinion. She is revealed to be into women yet also into men, but written off as a lesbian who must thwart and spare Azriel hurt feelings by having sex with other men. EXCUSE ME, WTF? The word you’re looking for, Maas, is bisexual. STOP HYERSEXUALISING Bis and lesbians.
There’s another bi character Helion who flirts constantly, is hypersexual, and sleeps around with several people at once. Not only that, he’s indifferent to previous lovers and doesn’t take things seriously relationship-wise. He’s a warrior and loyal in a way, but that doesn’t negate the mostly shitty stuff about him.
I was pissed off.
The twins Dagdan and Brannagh don’t show romantic or sexual interest. Maybe because the person in their presence is Ianthe who’s evil? Yet they’re not showing any passion and are soulless for it? Maas might be ignorant but this is harmful for ace and aro readers.
Relationships don’t have to be all physical and hot, revolving around sex. That applies to LGBTQIA+ people too. Why is that hard to understand?
I hope Maas does listen and makes an effort to do better – also get sensitivity readers and better author friends/CPs to help her on representation.
I am interested in the next book. There are a lot of things that need to be explored and resolved. But I’m also wary.
I’m not going to recommend ACOWAR. Let’s face it, Maas and Bloomsbury don’t need my help.
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 and a half