A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Grab your copy: BOOK DEPOSITORY
I have A LOT of things to say, including some rants. They can be found at the bottom of this review. (I have labeled where the spoilers end below, but continue at your own risk)
Ill get this out of the way first though- there are very steamy scenes in this. My opinion is that they can easily be skipped, but just FYI. Also, there are triggers and such in this book that might upset /hurt some people. I’d recommend going in with caution or making yourself aware.
The plot was insane, and I’d expect nothing short from Sarah. The beginning was obviously at the Spring Court. I didn’t agree with everything that Feyre did, but holy crap it was a fun first bit of the book. SO MANY AMAZING LUCIEN MOMENTS AHHH. I am a hardcore shipper of the Feyre/Lucien being best friends ordeal. Also Lucien is like.. my fav.
I’m not going to go over many other plot details because it is SO much better if you go in blind- but wowza, so much happens. We get to see several of the other courts and meet ALL the high lords. New characters are introduced, and old ones (like the Suriel and the Weaver) come back too! This book focuses mostly on war/political maneuverings and honestly I LOVED that. It was so interesting watching the dynamics and plotting between the courts.
Now, since I’m exhausted for typing out the rants below, I’m just going to share a plethora of points that made my heart skip a beat.
2. Feyre + Lucien destroying the twins with the Bogge
3. Amren’s sass
4. Cassian/Nesta dynamic literally the whole book
5. The library scene
6. THE COUNCIL/COURTS MEETUP AHHH (and all the High Lords omg – and Tarquin!!)
7. Azriel punching Eris in the face
8. All the banter. All of it.
9. Feyre taking out Ianthe and how she did it OMG
10. The final battle omg. And the three creatures that show up 😉
11. I CRIED ANGRY TEARS WHEN THE DAD SHOWED UP
12. Nesta screaming for Cassian
13. Elain stabbing the – you know who
14. AMREN OMG YOU GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK WOMAN
15. And when Amren was slapping Feyre to snap out of it LOL
16. MIRYAM / DRAKON / JURIAN AHHH
17. AMREN BEING UNLEASHED
18. WHAT RHYS DID AT THE END. I STOPPED BREATHING. I CANT TALK ABOUT THAT STILL BECAUSE I AM NOT OKAY.
19. Tamlin and what he did ‘Be happy Feyre’. I LOVED how Maas handled him in this book. Realistic, believable.
20. The Court of Dreams (I’m sobbing)
21. REALISTIC CHARACTER ARCS AHHHH
Okay, so yeah, that was not a coherent review. I’m hoping for a Miryam/Drakon book, a Lucien book, and maybe a Vassa book?! I’m still crying over Mor/Az and I do think he deserves to know. That whole thing is just so sad. I’m still holding out for Az + happiness and Lucien + happiness. UGHSDLFkj;ladksfj.
The biggest issue I had with the storyline was that there’s so much left open. My heart is having a hard time coping with that. I know we’re getting more books/novellas (that aren’t apart of Rhys/Feyre’s pollen) but still. I just feel empty and sad for some of the characters. I almost considered taking off a star because of my bleeding heart. (You can see more of my issues below.)
Last note- this does not trump ACOMAF at all. Nothing will. But it was just so much fun (and stress).
************END OF SPOILERS************
First and foremost – Sarah isn’t the author for everyone. People either seem to connect with her or they don’t. But hear me when I say this. The amount of hate, bullying, and backlash absolutely has to stop. Being critical of a book is a GOOD thing. We should never stop calling out books on any potential harmful material. But what I’ve seen on twitter/goodreads/tumblr is beyond that.
Stop stop stop judging people for what books they connect to. You can love something and see its flaws. You can be CRITICAL, and yet find some good, and be tactful at the same time. I’ve never seen this amount of hate towards an author or fans in my years of reading. Never. So I’m going to open up and try to explain what I feel the best I can. Please read all of this before you try to jump down my throat.
(If you have something hateful to say, please do it elsewhere. I don’t mind if people disagree with me- and I have ZERO problems with people who don’t like Sarah’s books UNLESS it is approached in an attacking manor. (I do not believe calling out is an attack, btw – its an extremely important part of reading.) But her fans (me included) have been lumped together, called many names, insulted, and harassed. I’ve been labeled as privileged and ignorant, all because I found something that I connected to in her books. Does it go both ways? Yes. It has to stop.
Point number one: Stop assuming you know who is on the other end of a screen just because you’ve seen their profile picture. You can’t tell someone’s health, financial situation, sexuality, or mental well being from a username or a profile picture (most of the time.) When you lash out, you are talking to a HUMAN BEING on the other end. Hateful comments get nothing done.
Now, I am by no means a blind follower of SJM. I don’t agree with every little detail in her books. I don’t worship the ground she walks on. Yes some of the writing is a bit ridiculous at times. But she’s given me (and so many other readers) something important in these books. Here’s a little bit of my story (that I’m not even that comfortable sharing, but whatever. I want people to understand that there is more to a ‘reader’ than meets the eye.) I have a disease that robs me of most of my physical function. 2-3 days out of the week, I’m in an IV room. I can barely eat, I’ve lost my dream job because I’m too sick to work, and I have about 2-3 hours of energy in the day to where my brain is properly functioning. That’s only the beginning of my symptoms. When I read ACOMAF, I was in tears the entire book. Feyre’s brokenness and PTSD – I saw myself in that. I’ve been there. (I’m shocked people have the balls to make fun of a character going through that. You know who you are.) And there’s about a billion other things I could point out about why I connected so deeply to this series- but most of all, it was the choosing to fight and choosing hope. And it was about me waking up in the morning knowing my body wasn’t going to allow me to do anything, but there was something to look forward to in my day – something I could read that would be inspiring, hopefull against all odds, and also just plain fun. Something bright in my day. Sometimes that is a huge deal for someone in my position.
I also appreciate that Sarah makes a point to write a relationship where the guy is all about the woman’s independence. I’ve seen reviewers say Feyre’s character arc and healing was tied to Rhysand which means she’s ultimately weak for that. Let me tell you something. Having someone help lift you out of the dark does not mean you are weak, whether it’s a lover, a friend, a parent, etc. He ended up being her mate, sure, but does she pine around all day for him? Is she broken without him? Nope.
One of the biggest complaints I see about SJM is the lack of diversity. I totally agree, but she ramped it WAY up in this book. (Most all of the new characters, including the High Lords. Skin color is clarified for the Illyrians AND Amren.) Yes I’ve seen the comments about the ace stuff but I think it was entirely misinterpreted because the twins are very obviously sexually active with each other, and Feyre knows this. I took it as she was referring to their evilness/incest, but I think the editors made a huge mistake in that. I understand if people have interpreted it different ways. The stuff about Mor, I honestly can’t react to – but I have two friends already that cried and hugged the book after that saying that they have never related to a character more. Was it good representation? I don’t know, honestly I don’t. These are great discussion points so everyone can learn. But SJM is trying. Listening. And that’s better than nothing.
There are some great points for discussion in the book – how she could improve/etc. There was some sketchy wording that the editors really should have caught. Some of the things I disagreed with aside from feeling unsure about the above – I wasn’t fond of Feyre doing everything for revenge in the beginning, but she does admit the flaws in this later on. I wasn’t crazy that Mor hid those things from Az, even though her situation is really sad. There’s a few more I can’t remember at the moment.
Everyone is so hell bent on pointing out every single flaw – like her books are supposed some kind of ‘moral code’ or something, but they refuse to acknowledge the really good/important aspects too. Like accurate PTSD representation. Female friendships. Abuse/Recovery. And whether or not you agree with Feysand, I can tell you this. Every girl that reads this series is thinking more critically about their relationships. THAT IS A GOOD THING. And quite frankly, the people that I’ve seen hating her are the same people that rave about books like ‘Everything, Everything’ and ‘Me Before You’ – both I consider deeply deeply problematic – but yet these authors (and other ones) are not held to the same high standard SJM is. Again, PLEASE understand that I am not condoning problematic issues here. My rating reflects the positive connections I had to this.
So what I’m trying to say is this- NEVER stop pointing stuff out. If you hold one author to such a standard, hold them all to that standard. Let’s have discussions. Let’s talk about what did and didn’t work. But most importantly: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.