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?

Court of Mist and Fury Appealed to my Dark Side

*Some spoilers for book 1*

court of wings and ruinWell hello again! I cannot believe it’s already May!! And because it’s May, we all know that means the release of Sarah J Maas’ next novel, Court of Wings and Ruin.

 

court of mists and furyNow if you saw my review of Court of Thorns and Roses, you’ll know, I really wasn’t sold on the first one. BUT boy, did this book change my mind. Though it was not without its faults, it was an *astronomically* better book.

One of the first differences I noticed in this book was that the remaking of Feyre, the main character, had given her a spine- and thank goodness for that! Sure, she was still a little whiny, but this time she had a reason to be *and*, what’s more, she grew out of it by the end of the book!!

And oh-my-days did I prefer the love interest in this one! I know I am far from the first person to say this, but Rhys is just *the best*. In fact he’s definitely my favourite of Maas’ love interests to date (admittedly I am a total sucker for secretly-a-sweetheart characters). Also, I really liked his Circle- not only were they so much better as secondary characters, but the relationships between them reinforced my impression of Rhys and endeared me to him all the more. And EVEN BETTER, this book leaves me free to hate Tamlin as a part of me has always wanted to.

I also preferred the setting in this one. Perhaps it was just on a subconscious level, but I found spring court a little sickly, but *loved* the court of dreams and nightmares. It was far more immersive, interesting and lent much more to the plot.

Now, it’s no secret I was bored in a lot of the last book, but this was a complete change of pace. There was never a dull moment and I was always left wanting more. Highly addictive, so fast I constantly had to catch my breath- I barely even noticed the flaws in the plotting. Of course, it was not perfect, and had I been more in love with the story going in, I probably would not have noticed the issues. But it was blindingly obvious to me that some of the plot devices- like there’s this magical thing that can destroy the universe, but don’t worry there’s this other magical thing that can stop it– were just lazy. Plus, it didn’t help that Feyre went from being a minor thorn in the side for setting the story in motion, to *SUPER SPECIAL-SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE*. There are always some plot points I can do without, because nothing takes the tension of a story out more than “oh don’t worry, the protagonist can do all the things now”.

As for other issues, I’ve said this about Maas before, but she’s not the best at erotic scenes. Admittedly this was better than whatever that weird scene that shall not be named in Empire of Storms was… but I still could have done without a lot of it. But I have to be fair that, while there’s a lot of people annoyed at pornographic elements, there are warnings for mature content on the blurb. If that kind of thing bothers you, then don’t read this series. And even if you do like it- well, don’t expect too much.

But when all’s said and done I am now- finally– looking forward to the finale. Despite all the gut-wrenching chaos and calamity of the ending, I actually enjoyed how it setup for the next book. I seriously cannot wait to see what happens next.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Alright, enough fangirling for today! Have you read this book? Did you like it? And what book are you looking forward to getting released this month?