Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings 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.
*Mild spoilers if you haven’t read A Court of Mist and Fury or A Court of Wings and Ruin*
There’s nothing that quite compares to getting your hands on a book that you’ve been waiting for for over a year, amiright?!
I literally could not wait to dive back into Prythian and find out how Rhys and Feyre’s epic story would play out, knowing that this would be the last ‘proper’ book in the series that would focus on the High Lord and Lady of Night as the central characters. Sad face.
As always with a SJM book, there’s action, magic, fight scenes and sexytimes aplenty. The High Fae are still beautiful, the High Lords still growl and snarl like wolves and Cassian and Azriel are still precious baby Illyrians. ‘Maleness’ is still SJMs favourite adjective and Tamlin is still the world’s worst loser. So, the question is, why did this final instalment fail to knock my socks off?
After setting the bar so incredibly high with ACOMAF, I was expecting something just as electric. Like third albums, third books are tricky beans, especially when they’re the final in a well-loved and much hyped-trilogy. The ability to balance readers’ desire for a relatively happy ending with a realistic plot resolution and faithful, fulfilling character arcs is HARD and in this case, I don’t think Maas got it 100% right.
I still love Feyre and I love Rhys even more than that. The Court of Dreams is still kick ass, and I am once again firmly back for Team Lucien. The world building is as gloriously rich as ever, and we’re treated to visits to the Autumn Court, the Hewn City and the Day Court, as well as a vengeful holiday in the Spring Court. The idea of the courts and the different realms was always a big pull for me as far as this series is concerned, and SJM shows absolutely no signs of running out of ideas for places I’d like to live. Sometimes with other fantasy books, I struggle to visualise the settings or places, but the description in this series has also been so vivid, and continues to be, that I almost feel like it’s more real than my living room. I’m usually very sad when I remember that isn’t the case.
The continuation of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship makes my heart happy. Even with war approaching, Tamlin being Tamlin and enemies multiplying at an alarming rate, there is no drama between them, which is good because there isn’t really the time for it, even in this 700 page monster. ACOWAR represents a turning point for the series and now at its half way point, Maas makes a conscious effort to begin to focus more on the budding romantic relationships between some of the other characters; including Nesta, Elain, Lucien, Azriel, Cassian and Mor. Despite the ‘settled’ nature of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship in this book, I was hungry for them to have more page time than they did. Much of the success of ACOMAF was down to the brilliance of the development of Rhys and Feyre’s friendship and subsequent relationship, and the chemistry that Maas created between them is lacking in any of the new partnerships, which I feel very much are powered by Maas’ trademark desire to push characters together and avoid having any single characters as opposed to anything else. It’s something that really peeved me in Throne of Glass, and I’m not keen on it here either. SOME PEOPLE ARE SINGLE. SOME PEOPLE EVEN LIKE IT. Crazy, right?
As we’ve all come to expect from this series, the plot is absolutely jam packed, which made it very difficult to put down for any length of time. There are some flashes of utter brilliance, like Ianthe’s very satisfying demise, Lucien’s first meeting with the Court of Dreams gang, Feyre’s return to the Bone Carver and the scene where (without saying too much) Rhys and Feyre reveal their own game-changing bargains on the battle field.
On the other hand, some important scenes weren’t quite as long as I would have liked, such as Feyre pulling the strings of Tamlin’s court in the very beginning. I was SO up for Feyre being the wolf in spring clothing, and although it go some way to satiating my appetite for revenge over Tamlin, I would have liked it to be a little more drawn out. For me, badass Feyre took a bit more of a back seat in this book, especially when it came to the real down and dirty action that took place on the battle fields. I understood what Maas was trying to do, but I missed her fire and her rage, and I found myself longing for another epic ‘Defender of the Rainbow’ scene, which sadly never came.
The stakes for the characters are never quite high enough in ACOWAR, and despite the battles raging around our cast of characters, I never truly feared for Rhys, Feyre, or even Tamlin. Whilst I love Maas’ storytelling, and I applaud her insane skill for writing adventure and building rich, vivid worlds in which those adventures exist, ACOWAR never fully gets off the ground. The chemistry oozing from the pages of ACOMAF is missing here, and with the focus shifting away from the High Lord of Lady of Night, the series has lost its spark. I hope Maas can rekindle it.
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
- Pages: 699