Court of Wings and a Teensy Bit of Ruin

*Minor spoilers and snark*

court of wings and ruinSuperfans of the series look away- actually- on second thoughts- come back!- what with the spoiler warning there’s probably no one left. Ah well, I guess I can say what I want then…

So let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start…) At first, I have to say I was a little… disappointed. It was slow to start and there was not much ruin in the opening section– at least not as much as I’d hoped. Call me old fashioned, but I was hoping for some grim and gritty revenge fantasies. Instead we got some minor punking. Not really what I had in mind.

Okay, so now that we have established that my soul is as black as the night, we can move onto the action. Oh no, wait we couldn’t. Because the pace was slooow. I wrote in my notes that it started speeding up around 45%- 45%?!?- in a book this long??? You’ve got to be kidding me.

What gets me more than anything though is that on paper (obviously not the paper this was written on) this should have been good stuff. I mean revenge and planning for war- that’s dramatic, right?! WRONG! They spend *so long* planning for war, plotting who’s gonna be involved, where it’s gonna be at- never mind that going to war was a foregone conclusion. Add some posturing, where the strong masculine manly males show off with their “look how strong I am” poses, and it felt like reading the bickerings of a high school prom committee.

Okay- so not a great start- but now I’ve got to talk something else that bothered me (I swear after this, we’ll get to the good bits- probably…): the writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Maas writing in general. Still as you may be able to tell with how long it took to get to the action, this book felt bloated and like it could have done with a bit of a trim– I usually try not to complain when an author lets their freak flag fly and really goes for it with the word count, but there’s no way of getting round this one: sometimes less is more! Ultimately, while there were some gorgeous points to the writing, I’m kind of bored with being given “what I want” in the form of unnecessarily chunky books and would rather someone took an axe to the boring bits. Plus, even though there were some truly lovely, inspiring parts, there was the occasional corny line that can get under my skin when I’m in a crankier mood:

“Leave this world… a better place than how you found it.”

(Yeah sometimes I’m not into that level of cheese)

Okay *deep breath* that’s over- let’s hope I never have to critique Maas again, cos that was not fun. Let’s get onto what I liked- the characters! Now unlike Throne of Glass I’ve always found the characters in this to be a mixed bag– some I love, some I’m meh about. I’ve often found I’m a bit uncertain about Nesta and Elain, cos let’s face it, they can be whiny and difficult. Funnily enough Nesta, for all her prickliness, is growing on me more. On the upside, I’ve forgotten why I disliked Feyre in the first book, cos I really liked her in this. Of course a lot of my babies from the Night Court were back and some magnificent new additions from the other courts. And, major plus, I have a new favourite in Helion.

I have seen criticism from people that she shoehorned in the LGBT part- but I will say that I disagree cos it makes sense for the character she spent a book building up. Although I didn’t guess it, I had been wondering about what was up with them. To be honest when people complain about stuff like that, it just feels like a no-win situation for a lot of authors- damned if you do, damned if you don’t. (And for the record I never would have even thought of this non-issue, if not for seeing it in a ton of other reviews).

In terms of world building- well the aforementioned additions in terms of characters, and consequently courts, were some of the best parts about this book. Not only did Dawn and Day add an interesting dynamic to the story, we also got hints of things going on beyond the realms of the story. I felt like details such as the the Nephelle Philosophy added interesting layers and, while Nephilim are old hat for a lot of people, this will be a slight change for Maas. Plus despite the fact I’m not usually a fan of off-topic myth building, I did thoroughly enjoyed all the little Easter eggs for the rest of the series and I like the sound of where it’s going (possibly swan lake?).

In terms of the conclusion, however, I don’t want to hold too much stock in this being the first Maas ending I’ve read. It was good and shit went down, but it was only an ending of sorts and a lot was left hanging. I’m going to hold onto that feeling that it’s not really over- because to be honest, the ending was not as dramatic as I wanted, because *spoiler warning* it was a mirror image of the ending to book 1. And because of that, it didn’t feel like there were any real stakes and was far too predictable. As exciting as it got, I was never too worried about what would happen. It was just not the hammer blow I wanted it to be.

At this point it probably sounds like I didn’t like it, but I did. I know, I know, I’ve just spent this entire post moaning. There were some really exciting bits and I couldn’t fault it for grabbing my attention at times. Yet… looking back on this “trilogy” as a whole, I still feel like Throne of Glass is the more cohesive story and I find the twists more convincing. And yes, I shouldn’t really be comparing this so much to throne of Glass, but ah well. I guess I may only ever be a TOG Superfan…

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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Hope you enjoyed that- even if I did peeve some of Maas’ fans :/ This actually turned out to be an appropriate book to review tonight, given that it’s the summer solstice and magic is in the air, so my question tonight is- WHAT’S THE MEANING OF STONEHENGE?

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40 thoughts on “Court of Wings and a Teensy Bit of Ruin

  1. TwinBookmarks says:

    TOG is how we were introduced to Maas and it’ll forever be our fave series (even though it’s not finished yet😉)!

    To be honest – when ACOTAR came out it was a bit of a let down compared to what we had received from her other books, soooo we concluded that Maas’ first books are more of an intro to a new world she will explore! ‘cuz 2nd book = 😍👌🏻❤❤

    It’s crazy…but we totally agree that the first quarter of ACOWAR was a drag… And finding out about Mor was a surprise and we were only put off ‘cuz AZRIEL!!!

    And Helion😍😍😍….and Lucian😉

    As always awesome post!👌🏻❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ahh I get that- I’m so in love with the characters in that series that I’ll always love it, no matter how it turns out!!
      Yes I felt the exact same way about book 1 but book 2 more than made up for it!!! It was just so awesome!!
      Ahh I totally get that- someone else said that- I guess the only reason why that didn’t bother me was cos I wasn’t shipping them and just wanted an explanation as to why she’d behaved like that to him when she wasn’t interested.
      Ahhh yes!!!! I really want to see where that goes!!
      Thank you so much!!! 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • TwinBookmarks says:

        Totally agree!! We were there since she debuted and we sooo could not forsee the effect it would have on us in just a few years!!

        Book 2 was 👌👌👌 until the end if you know what we mean…😭😭

        We were more annoyed she did that to Azriel rather than the fact they didn’t get together (though we did want that to happen but can understand) – plus Azriel still does not know so…💔💔

        They will be an epic fam- uhh pair…😅 but it is a bit weird that Mor and Helion…you know….and Mor and Lady of the Autumn Court..uh…let’s just stop…we still haven’t figured out the age thing with everyone…uhh this is an awkward paragraph…

        You’re welcome 😊💖
        P.S. sorry for the weird ending that you had to painfully read..😅

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          Ah I know right!!
          Ahh yes totally agree with you- but even then I liked the drama of it and how it pretty much ripped me apart!!
          I totally totally get that!! But at least she had a good reason for acting as she did- it made the character make more sense to me.
          haha yes!! Ahh yes!!! So true!!
          hahaha no worries!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • TwinBookmarks says:

            Well who doesn’t like to be RIPPED apart!?! 😉 😉

            Yes we agree – it does make sense why it took 500 years? But how long will it take for Azriel to know the truth – another 500 years? But that’s character development for you!!

            Glad we didn’t scare you away! 😉 XD

            Liked by 1 person

            • theorangutanlibrarian says:

              hahaha yes!! 😉 😀

              Oh you are totally totally right- I kind of forget how long the stuff goes on for in these books cos of how young they seem and how they all seem to chat about things as if it was “last weeks’ drama”. Maybe Maas should have gone into why it took so long/maybe it shouldn’t have been that long.

              hahaha no problem!! course not!! XD

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Nel says:

    Nesta grew on me too. The first two books go around I wished she would killed off, she was so annoying. I was also disappointed overall. 700 pages and we got 650 pages of buildup and 50 pages of war and it didn’t even end! I saw the ending coming because you’re right, it was mirror image to book 1. I didn’t understand how all of sudden Feyre was a badass with her powers yet when it came down to the nitty gritty she couldn’t really save anybody…? I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. Mor was a super surprise but it still made me upset because she’s always been so mean to Azriel! Loved Helion though and would love to see a Lucien and Elaine spin off. We better get a Nesta and Cassian spin off or I will rage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehe yes!!! I was the same!! YES!!! I totally agree with you there- there was wayyy too much buildup and it all ended up feeling like we were robbed of a proper conclusion because she wanted to continue the series :/ And yes- when I got to that point I was a bit miffed to be honest, because it took all the drama out of the conclusion, cos I knew exactly what was gonna happen and it did. No- it’s not just you- I really agree with you!! Oh I get what you mean about Azriel- I really liked him and was so sad about how he was treated- but at the same time I was waiting for some justification from her character- and that had left me wondering from the previous book- so I was glad we got a logical explanation. Oh gosh yes!! I really really wanted to see more of Lucien in this boo, especially with that reveal about Helion- I want to see where that goes! Oh gosh yes!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bookstooge says:

    “it felt like reading the bickerings of a high school prom committee.”

    This is a serious question I am about to ask, with NO snark intended. The above quote typifies YA in the majority of reviews I see by lots of people who read YA. So, why do you keep going back? My guess is that it is not a big enough problem but I am really interested in a reasoned answer to the problem of irrational drama.

    As for Stonehenge. That’s a real stumper. My guess is that some guys just got bored and were like “hey, lets put some big stones up dude. It’ll be so much fun. And chicks like that kind of thing, right?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Great question! It’s gonna be a pretty long answer, so *cracks knuckles*.
      Firstly, if this had actually been a prom committee bickering, I wouldn’t have complained about it- my complaints are generally genre specific- so since this *wasn’t* the kind of place I’d expect to read high school problems (given this is actually a New Adult series and they were discussing a war) I got cranky about seeing that in this context- because it should have been more “rational” drama.
      With YA contemporary (or even sometimes fantasy), where this kind of thing comes up a lot, I take it as a “get what you paid for” sort of thing- and I don’t tend to review those books anyway if I read them. There is also the fact that every single “bookish problem” can be done well somewhere (there are books that I’ve read that I’ve thought “wow this is a walking cliché but it’s done so well that I love it and don’t care”). I let my emotions lead my choice of books, so if a book genre can still make me feel excited, then I’ll keep going back to it. As you said, it’s just not a big enough problem to give up on an entire genre and to be honest, sometimes silly problems can be entertaining to read (like I said, this wasn’t supposed to be a silly problem though)
      The main reason why I keep going back is that books aimed at a younger audience can be so much more imaginative than adult books- and that is something I value very highly. So even though a lot of YA is plagued by a lot of similar problems they can be worth reading anyway. Besides, all genres have “genre specific” problems- so if I was going to hold a flaw against an entire genre, I’d have a lot of trouble finding anything to read.
      And finally, there are always those books, in any genre, that somehow manage to avoid tropes and clichés altogether- so I’m always on the lookout for those.
      (Sorry for the super long response- I probably went into a lot more detail than you intended for your pretty innocent question!!)
      Hahaha you’re probably right about Stonehenge! Though my theory pretty much comes down to the idea that they were playing a prank on future humans…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. LizScanlon says:

    I actually fingered this book in a bookshop the other day.. I was like whooaaa that book is thick! I haven’t read anything by Maas and doubt I will.. it’s the commitment to aaalll those pages that makes me run away 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    Oh drat… I can smell the disappointment. I liked how you go through the bad stuff first and then TRY to spill some good stuff about this book. Sounds like the size and pacing of this one were a big con for this sequel. Definitely enjoyed every single bit of criticism you had for this adventure. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elena Hawthorne says:

    I actually love the ACOTAR series so much and this book actually disappointed me SO MUCH. I kept wanting more and SJM refused to give, haha. I agree when you say it was slow and the ending was a little anticlimactic. I did enjoy the book, a lot like you, but not as much as I would’ve liked!

    Liked by 1 person

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