Goodreads: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Published: May 2, 2017
The Court of Thorns and Roses series has been a roller coaster of emotions for me as a reader. Maas knows how to keep her audience on their toes and consistently bring out drama and surprises. A Court of Wings and Ruin is no exception. I do think this book is more muted than its predecessor, but that also means that it’s more consistent, in everything from pacing to plotting to character development.
Although this book opens with sort of a sub plot featuring Feyre at the Spring Court, once she returns to the Night Court, there’s a focus on getting Prythian prepared to deal with a war, and I liked that there was a clear overarching plot with a clear stated end goal. A Court of Mist and Fury was fun but a bit chaotic, and this is a nice break for readers and a good chance for Maas to show off her skills writing a more unified book.
I’ve made it clear that Feyre has been irritating to me throughout the series, though, interestingly, for different reasons in all three books. Here, Feyre has finally grown into her powers and confidence (though perhaps she’s so powerful and unique that it’s a bit overkill), and that’s really great to see. She has had a clear character arc over the three novels. However, I found her fairly hypocritical in this book. She looks down on her enemies using tactics and powers that apparently are perfectly fine for her. Somehow, when she’s doing it, it’s different. (Example: She is horrified that the enemy would break into priestesses minds and make them see something that was not true. She thinks it’s an abominable violation. But she does this all the time. To friends. To enemies. To neutral people she embroils in her plots. And generally concludes that it’s fine. ) I thought Rhys was a magnificently complex character in A Court of Mist and Fury, but he too starts to fall off into a bit of a trap of thinking “Well, I do what I must, so no point dwelling on it.”
I complained in my review of A Court of Mist and Fury that Tamlin really got the short end of the stick when it came to character development, and I think that remains true here. To be frank, I don’t even know what’s going on with his character, and Maas seems determined to make him do and believe whatever is most convenient for the plot. He becomes just sad in this book, rather than a straight-up villain, but the change seems fairly abrupt and probably could have used more development. It’s a 700 page novel; I think Maas could have worked it in.
In reality, it’s the secondary characters that shine in this installment: Feyre’s sisters, the Night Court, Lucien. All of these people have layers of personality and history that are slowly unfurled during the course of the novel, and while much of the plot was neatly wrapped up, it’s clear there’s more to learn here, about Elain and Lucien especially. I would love to read more about them in the future.
I have minor issues with this book, but they’re issues I’ve had with the entire series. The bottom line for me is that Maas seriously knows how to entertain. I just need to know what happens next in this series, and to me, that’s a very successful form of writing. I’ve loved watching the characters grow and the plot unfold for these three books, and I’ll be interested in reading more about Prythian.
Aside: If you want to know my take on the question of “Are there too many sex scenes in this book?” my answer is yes. Though Feyre does have a kind of sexual development over the series (which seems weird to say, but her attitude towards sex really transforms over time), I think there was a bit much here. It’s realistic to note that some couples do have a lot of sex, but I think Maas could have gotten the feeling that Feyre and Rhys are really passionate about each other with fewer sex scenes. To me, the real problem is that they seemed to bog down rather than forward the plot in a few cases.