A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas (2017)
NA Fiction | Fantasy
“Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Rosesseries.
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.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.”
pooled ink Review:
Note😬: Be prepared for a very long post! Sorry! I’m not going to spoil anything but as this is the nail-biting conclusion to the trilogy there is a lot I want to gush about.
I pre-ordered this book because I knew I had to read it the moment it was released. I just had to know how it all ends. And of course like the crazy booknerd I am I was keeping an eye on the window for the postman and sprinted to the mailbox when I saw them drop off my beloved package. I tore through this book despite life, chores, and duties trying to get in my way and now at last I am posting my thoughts on the final book of Feyre’s trilogy. I can’t believe it.
I was SO incredibly nervous to read this book. I mean I was extremely excited but definitely nervous. So many horrible heart-crushing things could happen! And some of them did. I didn’t cry when reading this book like many other fans and friends (although it was a close call with one particular scene), but there are some really epic and emotional moments to be sure so prepare yourself.
Let’s start with our lovely protagonist, Feyre Archeron, High Lady of the Night Court and mate of Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court. When she returns to the Spring Court it is a starkly different time compared to her first arrival in ACOTAR. She is a fox in the chicken coop to perfection. The games she plays, the lies she spins, the truths she manufactures…oh it is an utter delight to witness.
Seriously. It is so crazy just how different Feyre is at the end of ACOWAR compared to who she was at the beginning of ACOTAR. Her character is so changed physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, politically… I mean, her character arc was so gradual and natural that the realization didn’t come until it hit me all of a sudden as I reminisced over the trilogy as a whole. I really like Feyre, always have, and I’m both proud and impressed with who she’s become.
I wasn’t surprised but I was definitely excited that this book shed some more light on the other Archeron sisters. Nesta and Elain have always been there, just not nearly as important as Feyre, and also they’ve been stuck below the wall. But in this book we get to really see who they are as their lives have been turned upside down.
For the past two books Elain has been so sweet she was irrelevant. And Nesta was so cold she was a happily forgotten thorn. But in ACOWAR we get to spend a bit more time with them, watch them flesh out into full-blown characters. Be ready. Nesta wields some epic power and Elain is a surprise completely.
I doubt you were worried but Feysand is still strong and they literally fill my soul with joy every time they smile at each other. Why can’t there be a Rhysand in this world?? Haha
As for all you fans rooting for Nessian…I won’t deny it has a long, drawn-out formation in this book. Honestly by the end of this book there’s no question about Cassian and Nesta loving each other.
I’m pleased with how their relationship played out in this book. It was something visible but not focused on. A lot of Nessian fans are complaining about this but I honestly feel that to have solidified Nessian within this one book would have either ended up a rushed event and done their complicated story a disservice or it would have been exciting but totally detracting from the proper focus of the book. I mean, they have to prepare for war against Hybern. Not even Feysand got as much page-time as in ACOMAF.
So does Elain accept the mating bond with Lucien? Does she still love her human fiancé? Does she connect with Azriel? Yes and no to all of those. It’s really not the focus of this book but I’ve no doubt it will be addressed later on. (Personally I really love Azriel so I would be quite pleased if he and Elain ended up together)
Romance-wise things are left pretty open-ended, except for Feysand (married) and Nessian (starting to accept their feelings *cough* Nesta *cough*). I’m cool with this because trying to tie in an all-inclusive happy ending for everyone would have shattered the excellent focus of this book and simply ruined it. I think Maas knew this too and it’s at least partly why she wants to write the extra novellas or novels. There are stories that are not yet finished and deserve to be.
My only complaint is Mor. And it’s a small one. But she really got on my nerves for a bit in this book. 500 years, Mor. She just couldn’t stop being snippy and mean to Nesta once it started becoming clear that Nesta cared for Cassian and it annoyed me. These moments seemed unnecessary to the story especially when you read Mor’s confession to Feyre. I still like Mor, she’s an awesome character, but that whole stringing them along and being mean to Nesta irked me, even though I sort of get it. Like, I get it Mor, but come on, 500 years.
We get to travel all over Prythian in this book and meet all the High Lords. This book by far is the least geographically limited. I loved ACOTAR as it eased us over the wall into the faerie lands with the contrasting loveliness of the Spring Court and the horror of Under the Mountain. Then in ACOMAF we get to visit the Summer Court, the Night Court, the Prison, and the Weaver’s wood. And finally in ACOWAR we get to see all of Prythian in all its gore and glory.
A meeting with all the High Lords takes place in the Dawn Court and it made my blood boil. FREAKING TAMPON. Ughh and BERON. Ugh it was absolutely disgusting behavior and if it weren’t for the dire threat of Hybern upon their shores you know Rhysand would have gutted them right there.
Enemies and Allies.
Tamlin…he is a complicated character. He loves Feyre. That is made clear with his every major decision, even in his hate. But he’s also damaged and allowing that pain and fear to twist him into a monster. He’s not redeemed in this book, but he doesn’t become some one-dimensional villain either. He’s…complicated. He is not forgiven per say, but he does do some things right. He does show that there is some goodness still buried deep within him even if his anger and fear and pain and hatred led him down foolish dark paths that could have torn apart their world. Yes, Tamlin is an annoyingly complex character and as a character I liked him, but as a person, nope, I still hate him and will forever probably refer to him as Tampon.
IANTHE. I don’t think there was even a second where I trusted her. Okay maybe a second at the very beginning of ACOMAF but literally just a second and then my lip curled in distaste. I am sad/glad to tell you that she doesn’t change in this book, she only gets worse and reaps what she sows.
Jurian is an unexpected character. Yes we saw him re-Made by the Cauldron so we obviously knew he’d play some role in ACOWAR, but the part he plays in this book is constantly surprising and adds a nice twist. Is he good? Is he bad? What does he want? He plays a dangerous game indeed. Jurian gets little page-time and yet every time he enters the page I get curious, excited, I lean in a little bit further to find out what he’s about to say or do.
So many cool ancient gods and monsters are introduced and explored in ACOWAR, which I loved! Amren is awesome, as usual. And her part in the final battle…EPIC. Bryaxis, the Bone Carver, the Weaver, and the Suriel are all so cool. They’re such unexpectedly distinct and captivating characters. Yes they’re useful plot devices to aid the characters, but they’re surprisingly more than that. I mean, how often do characters with such tiny pockets of page-time end up with such dynamic mystery, personality, epicness, and importance? I’m telling you. That final battle…be ready.
Okay. Confession time. I admit I was so invested in these characters that when this book finally sat in my hands I did something I normally chastise others for doing. I flipped to the end of the book. GASP. I didn’t read anything exactly, all I needed was a headcount. I needed to know. My gut honestly twisted in anxiety until I could do that quick headcount of the Inner Circle and emotionally prepare for what was to come. I think the only other time I considered flipping to the end of the book was when I read Crooked Kingdom (perhaps I’m getting weak in my old age? Lol). But I didn’t, and I suffered for it (I’ll never forget what you did, Bardugo! Ha ha…ouch.) and I think it was that emotional hurt that convinced me to finally break my rule and skim through the final chapter to do a headcount.
So few series absorb me so wholly but this, very surprisingly, was one of them. I had no idea when I bought ACOTAR on a whim that it would be so… But yeah, I know there are people out there who hate these books or hate Maas and all I can say is that I’m not one of them. This trilogy was epic and even knowing how it all ends I still can’t wait to grab that first book and go through this journey with them all over again!
BUT WHO DIES??? I’m not going to spoil who lives or dies in this book, but I will say that Maas will terrify you and may wring some tears from your eyes and utterly play with your emotions and she also pulls a Potter.
So much happens in this book. Plans are made, plans are shattered, love is found, love is lost, lives are forged, and lives are discarded. The whole world changes.
There are so many soul-squeezing moments where I couldn’t breathe or I swooned over the moon and stars or all I saw was red fury or I squealed like a child in delight or I roared in fierce camaraderie. This series has definitely been a progression. The development in the characters, the expansion of the world, the ever-undulating trials, challenges, surprises, and riddles of the universe they dwell in. It’s incredible. And yeah, there are LOADS of epic battle scenes. Some small and some huge, but many fights are fought and every time it’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking to witness.
A Court of Wings and Ruin ends perfectly. It perfectly wraps up the trilogy of Feyre’s story while simultaneously leaving just a few casual loose threads to be explored in following novellas or novels (and the ending to this book will leave you excited and curious for those next stories). But yes, this is the last book in the trilogy. It is the epic conclusion to Feyre’s story: human huntress to High Lady.
Purchase here: A Court of Wings and Ruin