A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Before I say anything else about the actual story. I just need to share my word woe with my fellow readers. Share just how much I despise the term "mate" as used in these books. It's a little inane and a lot petty and completely my own problem but sweet baby Jesus I just wanted scream everytime Feyre said or thought "my mate." That word makes me think of British guys kicking around a football and/or lesser life forms connecting in a sexual manner on instinct that helps insure the survival of their species not. (By lesser I mean having less capacity for emotional cognition than the humanoid peoples in this story. Not that they are worth less. I love animals!! ) Ok, I'm done with my rant. It had been building up for many chapters and it just had to be released. Now I will continue with an actual review covering more than a single word.
Ok, so I've had a complicated relationship with the ACOTAR trilogy... series. I loved the first installment thought it was a great story all around. Now, I didn't begin reading book one until after book 2 had been published and ACOWAR would be on its way pretty quickly. Anyway my point being I went directly from finishing ACOTAR to diving straight into ACOMAF. To say the least it was not an easy transition. I believe my brain was half trying to read the current story as it unfolded while simultaneously rhetorically questioning WTF? WTF? WTF? It didn't help that I had also read all the main novels in the Throne of Glass and was feeling some déjà vu going on only to a much larger extent.
Seriously though I was so annoyed and pissy while reading ACOMAF. In my opinion Ms. Maas is a very talented story weaver in many ways and I think I would have liked book 2 as much as I liked book 1 IF the novels had been completely unconnected and anyone but Feyre was the protagonist. Unfortunately Feyre was the protagonist and I was just so annoyed and appalled with her character. I mean we invest hours into this epic loves story where Feyre's love for Tamlin is so pure and true she's willingly fights through test and tribulations of biblical proportions. She's literally willing to go through hell AND back for this man, kill innocent people to free him. She fought through a demon hellscape and went up against lLady Sadist of Evil Mountain. After being absorbed into this story we then open book 2 and the author is all like JK. Feyre and Rhysand are soulmates. Me: WTF WTF WTF!?!?!
It left me feeling like Feyre was fickle and a completely unreliable narrator and kind of a really terrible disloyal person and I I felt like poor Tamlin's character was completely thrown under the bus in order to provide the reader with a way to justify Feyre's actions and have her still look like the victim. That there is an example of the one real issue I have with the author's writing in this series. In my personal opinion the sign of a great novelist/storyteller is to present the events and the characters in a realistic manner or at least a manner that flows naturally with the story. Flows without feeling the author's presence. If that makes sense. Sometimes when reading a story you can feel the author trying to manipulate the story and if Maas has one flaw as a writer it's that I felt her writing pushing me to see the characters in a certain way. I think I would have respected Feyre so much more if she had called a spade a spade and admitted that her feelings started changing and she started falling in love with someone else and she was selfishly fickle at times because she was human(ish) she was kinda a bitch because sometimes that how life pans out. Nope instead if felt like it was being shoved down our throats that Tamlin was a bad bad High Lord who did lots of bad things and treated Feyre in a manner the was degrading and completely out of character with his behavior throughout the entire first book. Just in case we still didn't accept that nothing Feyre does is out of her own imperfect moral character we get a beautiful obnoxious high priestess who really adds nothing to the story other than to show just how awful the Spring Court is when it's not cursed.
To be honest I also felt like this book was like 20% substance and 80% filler. That's not even necessarily an awful thing. When a writer is talented enough their storytelling can be entertaining even when it's not vital to the story. By the end of ACOWAR I did kind of feel like books 2 and 3 could have easily been one novel. As the author mentions at the end of the novel and must have announced at some point there will be spin off stories coming in the future and in my opinion that’s the real purpose this book served. Letting the author build backstories that eventually she will finish up in a novel(la.) Which would have been fine if it hadn't felt so forced and at times out of place. There's a section right before the stories climax really begins to kick in and I swear to God it went on for 20 pages. I have to assume the purpose of this section was to pave the way for Mor's story to be told but all I really got out of it was the author destroying my fondness for a character I was totally fine with one page earlier. Once again the author tries to force the reader to excuse someone's abhorrent behavior with a justifiable reasoning but it didn't fly with me at all. There's literally dialogue in this scene (paraphrasing) that goes down like this.
Mor: you must think I'm so horrible.
Feyre: not at al_
Me: shut up Feyre yes more I do think your awful. Everything you just blathered over the last 20 pages sounded like a self absorbed bs excuse to be a selfish bitch. I wish those 20 pages never happened.
I feel like I just spent this whole review complaining which is probably confusing since I would give this ACOWAR 3.5 stars if Goodreads would just set the 0.5 stars free. So I'm going to clarify that in spite of the little beefs I had with the overall story line here and there I still voluntarily read every book and looked forward to reading the following installment. The author creates a wonderful world that fun to get lost in. Her characters are interesting and complex and funny. I think she just needs to learn to trust her readers to interpret the characters behavior in their own way rather than dropping explanations upon the readers that feel forced and distract from the story.
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