Sunday 25 June 2017

#CBR9 Book 56: "A Court of Wings and Ruin" by Sarah J. Maas

Page count: 720 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Spoiler warning! This review is going to contain spoilers for earlier books in the series, and possibly some mild ones for the content of this book too. If you're not caught up, you probably want to skip this review for now. Come back when you've read the books, they're worth your time if you like action-packed fantasy.

The beginning of this book finds Fayre back at the Spring court, after Tamlin made a bargain with the the High King and had her bond with Rhysand broken. What only a select few know, is that Fayre is now High Lady of the Night Court and only pretending to have been spell-bound and traumatised for all her months away. She's back with Tamlin to gather as much information as possible about his alliance with the High King and the future invasion of Prythian and the human realm. Using all the cunning and guile she possesses, she slowly manages to undermine Tamlin's standing with his own men, in order to destabilise the forces of the Spring Court. She also ends up neutralising some rather unpleasant emissaries of the High King, before returning to her home at the Night Court to further plan for war.

Unless Fayre and Rhysand can rally more of the various Faerie courts to their side, they are badly outnumbered and in no position to save Prythian and the humans who are all facing destruction. The ruthless, uncaring and cruel facade that Rhysand has presented to the world for most of his adult life isn't exactly helpful in trying to curry favours and win allies. Even if the many different minor courts lay aside their differences and unite against the High King, they may be outclassed. To gain stronger supernatural allies, Fayre may need to risk her very sanity.

Fayre grows and changes so much over the course of these three books. She was always brave and tenacious, willing to risk herself for those she loves. In the first book, she learned that maybe not all fae are vicious, cruel and untrustworthy, she fell in love and had to go through hell, even sacrificing her own life to save the man she loved. In the second book, she learned that sometimes your first love doesn't last forever, and trauma and hardship can kill a relationship that isn't strong enough. She discovered supportive friendships and rebuilt herself into a stronger, more resilient person, learning to use her new and unexpected powers and growing comfortable with who she had become. She found a new, stronger love and a collection of people who were just as close to her as her human family had once been. In this third book, it's nice to see that no matter how far she's come, Fayre isn't always infallible and she makes a couple of judgement calls early on that come back to have serious repercussions later in the story. She's forced to admit that she was wrong and readjust her views accordingly.

In the second book, it is obvious that war is coming, but in this book, it's mostly all about how to fight it. As well as trying to help Rhysand and his inner circle gather allies, Fayre needs to tend to her sisters, who are deeply changed and traumatised by what happened to them at the end of the previous book.

After so much build-up, it felt a little bit convenient when the final battle was pretty much solved by a deus ex machina, with very little emotional or personal cost to anyone. While it wasn't that I desperately wanted anyone to die, it felt a little bit too convenient the way everything wrapped up. Apparently, while the main storyline of these three books is finished off in this book, there will be other books to follow, and since I'm very interested in seeing a lot of the supporting characters find their own HEAs, I suspect I will be reading them as well. As I mentioned in my last review, I'm enjoying these books so much more than the Throne of Glass books, and will happily revisit Prythian in future instalments.

Judging a book by its cover: I really like the shade of green they've chosen for the background of this book, but otherwise they've stuck to the central theme of having Fayre front and centre. Eagle-eyed readers may notice that her tattoo is on the other hand - which to those in the know is significant. Even wearing a fancy dress, this Fayre is not going to go about unarmed, hence the wicked-looking dagger.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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