A Court of Wings and Ruin Review by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings 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

 

 

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin is Sarah J. Maas’s third foray into Prythian, the continent upon which the ACOTAR series takes place. The first two books in the series (A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury) were both engaging reads for me, and I counted down the days for ACOWAR to be released so that I could see what happens next to my favorite literary couple. I read through the book twice because there was just so much to take in, and I also wanted to make sure that my feelings were validated a second time around.

 

From here on out, there will be major spoilers. I highly suggest that you do not read ahead unless you are prepared.

The Good

I really enjoyed getting to see more of Prythian and being introduced to the other High Lords. I was happy to see Tarquin again, and I loved Helion. I felt that all of these new characters each had their own depth, and I wanted more. Maas says that other ACOTAR books will be released which focus on characters other than Rhys and Feyre, and I find myself holding my breath in hopes that we will get to see more about the courts outside of Spring and Night.

I adore how Maas handled Tamlin’s character. I love to hate Tam, and I relished seeing his court ripped apart by Feyre’s devious mind. The best part about this storyline, however, was not her actions… it was the way that Maas wrote the consequences of Feyre’s actions. The fact that Spring is left with very few defenses is important, as they are the court that borders the mortal lands. It would have been easy to just let Feyre merrily run amuck, but instead we are faced with the realistic difficulties of war when one of your allies is weaker.

I also appreciated the fact that Tamlin didn’t have instant redemption. Indeed, the book’s plot does still not redeem him; though we see signs that maybe he is taking steps in the right direction. It’s no secret that Tamlin exerted every piece of the Power and Control Wheel (aside from using children), and that the relationship in both ACOTAR and ACOMAF was abusive. It would be unrealistic for Tam to suddenly have this epiphany and suddenly be a good male. I really appreciated that Maas didn’t let him off the hook for his previous deeds. Tamlin is hurting, but the way that he had handled the situation was never a positive.

THE MONSTERS. Y’all, I loved the monsters in this book. The Bone Carver, Bryaxis, The Weaver, and my old bestie The Suriel really made this book so much better. I adored every minute that I found them on my pages, and often spent time wondering when I would see them again.

I was very happy to have Lucien around so much in the beginning of the book, though I wish that he had remained one of the central characters. I thought that his character development through all three books was very strong.

The Bad

This book had much less character development than the previous books. It’s always a gamble to finally let the two main characters get together (because that’s when readers get bored), but this book skips over Rhys and Feyre getting to know each other more. I missed their sly remarks and their antagonistic flirtation. Instead of further developing other characters (The High Lords, Azriel, Cassian, Mor, and Amren), Nesta and Elain receive undeserved focus. I hate these characters for being both abusive and neglectful to Feyre for so long; instead, they’re easily forgiven and made into major players in ACOWAR. I haven’t forgiven. I haven’t forgotten. I am still angry. I also felt that Elain’s seer abilities were super obvious from the start, and it annoyed me that no one else could see it.

Along the same lines of the lack of character development, I felt that there was too much action packed into the pages. It seemed that the characters never caught a breath – and neither did I. At the same time, I grew bored of the constant running around from one dramatic moment to the next. Potentially powerful moments lost their luster because I just didn’t care anymore. This is particularly true in the scene where Rhys dies. I should have choked up. I should have felt more emotion about this moment. I just… didn’t. In my heart I knew that it wasn’t permanent. There seemed to be little to no consequence to this war. I knew she wouldn’t let this happen to him. When I read the fateful sentence that should have made me stop and sob, I just kept turning the page.

The Ugly

I’m going to get on my soapbox here.

Sarah J. Maas has been criticized for the lack of diversity within her writing. I agree with the sentiment – I wish that her other books had more LGBTQ+ characters in particular. The pressure was intensifying for her between ACOMAF and ACOWAR, and so she decided that Mor is a lesbian – suddenly, with no prior warning. I feel comfortable about saying “with no prior warning,” as I specifically reread the first two books after finishing the third to make sure that I didn’t miss anything.

I honestly feel like Mor’s character is completely incompatible with this revelation. I don’t feel that she would hide her identity from Rhys, Az, Cassian, and Amren – they are basically the only family that each of them has. I don’t foresee a situation where any of them would feel that she was any less for her sexuality, and I can’t make myself see a space where she would think that they would either. I also don’t think that Mor is a big enough jerk to lead Az on for 500 years. I just can’t see that in her.

I’m also pretty bothered by Maas’s portrayal of bisexuality in the book. As much as I adore Helion, I am frustrated by how stereotypes are being enforced here. Helion is almost hypersexual – he wants to have sex with everyone regardless of who they are or what is in between their legs. He doesn’t seem to want to commit. He is almost the exact portrait of the “greedy slut” that so many people claim bisexuals are.

I’m glad that Sarah J. Maas saw that her fans were missing out on some diversity and she tried to rectify that – props to her for being able to acknowledge her lack – but I am supremely frustrated with both of these portrayals.

Overall, the book was not what I wanted it to be. It felt rushed, shallow, and it left me with many questions and negative feelings. When I read through it for a second time, I did so in order to make sure that I just wasn’t disappointed because I had built up the story to be something that it wasn’t… but I still just felt empty after the reread. I feel like ACOTAR and ACOMAF ramp us up, and then ACOWAR let us down.

I’m sorry, readers. I tried.

3 Bards

 

Top Ten Tuesday



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is

Top Ten Books I’d Love to See in a Movie/TV Show


1. The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross
Steampunk, steamy romance, and wonderful writing and costumes? Sign me up. 

2. The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
Probably some of the best fantasy novels I’ve read since Lord of the Rings. Imagine the scenery. 

3. Losing It by Cora Carmack
Sexy, titillating, and perfect for enticing older teens and twenty-somethings to their TV or the movie theater. 

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Another excellent fantasy series that could be turned into a classic and epic movie

5. Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
I think this would be best served as a TV series just because each novel is basically the basis for an entire season of the show. 

6. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Quite possibly some of the most fun and romantic novels based off of Greek mythology that I’ve read. Plus, imagine the casting: Gorgeous. 

7. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning
This is just  my guilty pleasure. I want to watch Barrons and Mac on screen, whether it is small or big. 

8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is an excellent basis for a feel-good geeky comedy with just the right amount of emotion. 

9. Partials by Dan Wells
The next Science Fiction/Dystopian hit. 

10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Another great fantasy series that has an epic love story and a kickass heroine…I’m going to need you to make this ASAP Hollywood. 

What are some of your suggestions? 

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is


Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition


1. Karen Amanda Hooper
I’ve loved her books Tangled Tides and Grasping at Eternity, and I am currently in the middle of reading Taking Back Forever.  She has flown somewhat under the radar, but her writing is clear, creative, and one of a kind. If you haven’t read any of her work, then you are definitely missing out. 

2. Susan Ee
If you haven’t read Angelfall yet, then go and download a copy as soon as possible because it was one of the best ebooks I had read in a long time.  It was well plotted and the pacing was excellent.











3. Melina Marchetta
I’m fairly certain that Marchetta is outrageously popular, but I still find that a majority of average readers don’t know her name or any of her titles.  Therefore, she needs more recognition! 


4. Jennifer Echols
I came across Echols in my reading last summer, and her novel Such A Rush quickly made the climb into my list of favorite books.  Did I mention that the setting of that novel is actually the beach I go to with my family each summer?  Either way, I have been anxiously waiting for her next novel since! 










5. Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park was one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I have a copy of Fangirl burning a hole in my book stack.  She deserves all of the recognition as possible. 


6. A.G. Howard
A paranormal novel with a twist on Alice in Wonderland? Not only did Howard use excellent world building but her word choice was beautiful and the story world wonderful. I look forward to more novels by her!










7. Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass was brilliant, and I cannot begin to say how excited I am for Crown of Midnight.  If you haven’t found a fantasy world that you love, then pick up Maas’ novels. 


8. Kady Cross
She is definitely famous under other pen names, but Cross’ Steampunk YA novels are such fun reads and I really think they are not as popular as they should be.  So go buy some of her Steampunk Chronicles!  3 of them are currently published, and (I hope!) there will be more to come.










9. Kristin Cashore
Bitterblue was published and then it seems that Cashore kind of fell off the scene. I still constantly recommend Graceling to people looking for a good Fantasy read, and I really am looking forward to anything else Cashore publishes! 

10. Cora Carmack
I totally just discovered her, but I think that she is a rising star and I think she deserves even more recognition than she is getting so far! 



What are some authors you recommend?

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. 


 Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 


Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 


Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


Release Date: August 7, 2012

Even though I know that Maas has been working on variations of this novel for years (although I’m not going to pretend that I followed her progress, but I do think it is an admirable idea), I can’t help but think that maybe it wasn’t necessarily Maas’ readiness to produce a strong heroine…but that in a time where young adults look up to Katniss, Hermoine, and many other strong female leads….the readership wasn’t necessarily ready for a female assassin as capable as Celaena.

I’ve seen reviews calling Throne of Glass “fantasy light,” which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing, but there are very well developed elements of modern life interspersed throughout the narrative.  First, Celaena herself has endured a lot of hardship in her life, but she does manage to find time to read and enjoy frivolous novels (even though she does read more serious literature), admire fashions, and play the coy game of “back and forth” with those around her. Hell, she is even somewhat vindictive to other girls that encroach on what Celaena would consider “her turf.”  What high school aged girl DOESN’T think of these things?  Not only does this make Celaena more relatable, but she seems more realistic.  As for those who have found Celaena “shallow,” I just challenge you to look through the eyes of a young assassin who was forced into the profession, and how would you choose to “escape” from the hard work of killing?

I do agree that the world building was somewhat lackluster in this novel, but since the majority of the narrative takes place in either Endovier or the Castle it is completely understandable.  I expect that in the subsequent follow ups there will be extensive detail concerning the kingdom.

Yes, there is a love triangle, but I wouldn’t say it is an equilateral triangle like Tessa, Will, and Jem in Cassandra Clare’s wonderful Infernal Devices trilogy.  This relationship between Westfall, Dorian, and Celaena is more like an obtuse triangle…two entities are much closer throughout this story.  And the third developed much slower.

Overall I found Throne of Glass to be exceedingly enjoyable and I couldn’t put it down.  In fact, when I finished the novel (a day after I started it) my mother immediately scooped it up and read it. (She liked it a lot too).

Four Bards.


Waiting on Wednesday

Every week over at Breaking the Spine hosts a book meme where all of us book bloggers can get together and share the books we are desperately waiting to be released!


This week I’m waiting on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: August 7, 2012 

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


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