A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas – SPOILER Review, Art, Questions & Theories
*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon*
Hello everyone! So last year I wrote a very not-calm, insanity, fangirl-filled review for A Court of Mist and Fury* by Sarah J Maas. This year, and in this post, I’m writing a hopefully more calm but still just as dead but also more numbish filled review for A Court of Wings and Ruin*, ending with questions-theories I still have. Before we start, I thought I should warn you: this is all spoilers. Every bit past the “Read More” section will be spoilers upon spoilers (for ACOWAR, Allegiant* and the Throne of Glass* series) so if you’ve yet to read the books/don’t want to read spoilers, I suggest you bookmark this post to read AFTER you’re done reading ACOWAR/Allegiant/Empire of Storms*. If you’re already done the books or don’t care about spoilers then read on. Also, stay to the end to see a design I drew and made inspired by ACOWAR! Let’s go to the review/discussion……
So for this review, I’m kinda gonna go in a random order and will mainly be talking about the characters that we saw and major events that happened, rather than in sections of the book like my ACOMAF review. Because of that, this review might be everywhere in terms of sections of the book so yeah, just warning y’all….ok let’s get into it:
Feyre & Rhys
So all three of the A Court of Thorns and Roses books are mainly from Feyre’s POV so of course, we’re gonna get to know her and I quite respected her by the end of ACOMAF but I think it was ACOWAR that made me respect and like her even more. Like we see her fully formed in ACOWAR as a combination of the warrior and sneaky huntress she is with the queenly attitude of a High Lady etc which was pretty awesome to see. In the beginning, I was legit like YAS GIRL as she turned the Spring Court on itself, got revenge on Ianthe and surprisingly (but also not surprisingly) saved Lucien and took him with her. Then, later in the book, you could see she grew up a ton emotionally and mentally as she talked to her sisters, the Inner Circle/Lucien and the rest of the courts. I definitely was proud of how her character has grown.
For Rhys, I thought it was really great how we get to see more dimensions of his character and personality and just actually see him because in ACOTAR you don’t get that all and in ACOMAF, you only get to start seeing more complexities at the end so it was awesome he was more explored in ACOWAR. Also, I loved loved loved loved the fact that we discovered more about his home and the fact that Velaris has an amazing library (more on that later) and it was just cool to see his character & personality in various settings/with various people. I was mad at him kinda betraying Mor in the middle with Eris, even though he was needed. I mean they made up later and I do understand his side and why he couldn’t tell Mor but I was hurt for Mor when it happened. Just ughhhhh. As well, as much as he’s amazing and feminist though, I’m still hesitant to fully love him bc he did drug Feyre and mess with her in ACOTAR. Again I can see his side, that he had to protect Feyre from Amarantha, but drugging someone and messing with them is never okay and there’s definitely other ways he could have protected her.
The Inner Circle
Amren: Okey dokeys so in ACOMAF we’re introduced to Amren as the her-equivalent of a firedrake who hoards jewels and we see her as snarky and cool and interesting and we certainly got more of that – though not as much I wished we would have seen – in ACOWAR AND WE SAW HER UNBOUND LIKE WHAT?!?!! Let me first start with the snarky/cool/interesting: her banter with everyone in the group was absolutely fantastic and I loved every word she said but I’m kinda disappointed that we didn’t see that much of her. Like ya, she was reading & working on the Book and helping Nesta which was awesome but still, I wish we’d seen more of her. A benefit of seeing her work on the Book and help Nesta was that she felt more otherworldly in ACOWAR. Like she just felt *more* in general for everything and I liked that even though we didn’t see much of her, every encounter with her was heightened and better.
My favorite parts though are that she knew Bryaxis – the monster in the library – by name, her reaction to/love for Varian and that she was unbound and became herself. The first part was awesome because it was, again, a nod to her otherworldlyness, plus more monsters are awesome to have in any book. The second part was awesome for the opposite reason of the first: it showed her human/FAE side where she loves. This was big especially as it was wrong/forbidden/not a thing in her realm so it was cool to see her just love. The third part was AMAZING bc WE FINALLYISH SAW HER AS HER REAL SELF #SHOOK. I mean we don’t get to see exactly what she turned into – she has feathers and wings and kind of hair?? – but like she’s only described as “the thing that was inside Amren” (659) which is so not helpful at all. Judging by the description though, she sounds like she is a firedrake but of course, we don’t know so raghhhhhhhhh.
Mor: oh what can one say about Mor but dangggggggggg girl!? By that I mean, it was awesome to see Mor being a soldier/warrior and going into battle and taking down people and that was just awesomeness!!! I also thought it was interesting to finally know why Mor and Azriel weren’t a thing and I respected her a little more and felt bad for her, for her not wanting to hurt him and for having to keep such a big secret. Lastly, I thought it was really nice to see her friend/kind side with how much closer Feyre and Mor got and the fact that Mor was friends with Vivianne. Like I’m pretty sure Mor and Vivianne squealing with happiness and just acting like besties when they saw each other was really sweet and wonderful and I was just like awwwwwwwwwww
Cassian: okay can we just stop for a second and think about how insane it was to see Cassian just be like “I WILL TAKE YOU DOWN AND LOOK DANG SCARY WHILE DOING IT MWAHAHAHAHHA” at that one commander in the last battle?!?! Like WHOA that was so amazing and the writing for that scene was on POINTE because I saw that so clearly in my mind and I’m just like woooowwwwwww. I would feel bad for the commander but he kinda deserved it and it was cool to see Cassian take him down that way so also #sorrynotsorry. Another fave part of reading Cassian was how he acted with Nesta like dang man it was banter and tension and “imma give her space” and respect and feels and ugh yesssssssssssss like men should aspire to be more like Cassian.
Azriel: of all the Inner Circle, Azriel was the one I was the least happy with-ish. Like I love him and it was so cool to see him training Feyre, how he acted with Elain with the garden and Truthteller and his takedown of Eris but I’m salty that we didn’t get to see more complexities behind his character. I mean most of what we know of him is all ~ooh look shadowsinger~ BUT I NEED MOREEEEEEEEEEEE like Azriel isn’t just Shadowsinger and in love with Mor. That can’t be/isn’t it so I’m kinda mad we didn’t get to see more of who he is.
So in ACOTAR, we were mainly involved with the Spring Court and didn’t get to really see much else which is quite limiting – maybe foreshadowing Tamlin’s restrictive/possessive side? -, then, in ACOMAF, we saw the Night Court and Summer Court too which was pretty cool. However, in ACOWAR, the real fun began when we got to see ALL the courts! This was pretty cool for 2 reasons:
- There are more people to know about and questions are finally answered about who is who – so I’m a huge people person IRL and apparently this transfers over to when I’m reading because I love knowing about more characters and who they are. Now, considering how many people are in each Court and how many were introduced together, it could have been a bit hectic and too much info, however, I think SJM spent a good amount of time talking about each Court and making you remember who was who, and what they meant in the Court.
- The various relationships and honesty between the Courts were WOW – One of my favorite parts of reading about all the Courts was seeing the progression of information and honesty with each other, and also seeing the various relationships everyone had with each other. Like it was AMAZING getting to see all the other courts and that’s definitely one of my favorite parts of the book but I think the coolest part was getting to see the chemistry between them all, especially between Rhys/the Inner Circle and the others.
The Sisters & The Mates
Elain: SHE IS A FREAKING SEER AND I SO CALLED IT WHEN SHE STARTED GOING ALL TRELAWNEY LIKE YA I READ/SAW HARRY POTTER I KNOW HOW THIS GOES DOWN! On a more serious note, I feel sooooooo bad for her because she seemed to be affected the most emotionally by becoming Fae which makes sense for her character: she was shy and sweet and innocent before, and engaged to a guy she loved who also hates Fae, and now she is a Fae which she’s always thought of as otherworldly and wrong. Like how would you deal with that? I just feel so bad for her but I am happy that she got a bit better by the end of ACOWAR – DID YOU SEE THAT SCENE WITH HYBERN LIKE YASSSSSSSSSS – and she’s getting closer to Azriel (I ship them more than Luclain tbh) and going out in the garden more so I’m hopeful we will see her better and happier in the coming books.
Lucien & Elain: HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM so like I said above I ship Elain more with Azriel just because they feel more right but I’m also interested to see why Luclain is/should be a thing. I feel sorry for Lucien in all this because he doesn’t get to have fun with his mate and be all lovey dovey unlike the other two but Elain is heartbroken and going through ish so I mean I’m not that sorry for him. Again, I really want to see them in the coming books figuring themselves out because even if they are mates, they may not actually be right for each other (#TeamAz) and they could just be friends which would certainly be interesting to see.
Nesta: I LOVE NESTA I WANT TO BE NESTA YESSSSSSSSSSS she is so wonderful and so commanding and bad*** and I just want to cosplay her and I love how sure of herself she is but not to the point of being arrogant. Like she wants to protect her sisters and she’s trying to figure herself out as Fae and now she has the biggest puppy in the world (aka Cassian) to figure out too so I absolutely loved her character arc and who she is. Other than the monsters, I think Nesta is my favorite character. As well, can we please talk about how Nesta is/was connected to the Cauldron like dang girl, she really did demand for something and get it! I loved that! Now that the Cauldron is “gone” though, I wonder what her actual Fae power is because I think someone was saying something about it being death but I don’t think that was confirmed so I definitely want to know more about that.
Nesta & Cassian: these two are by far my favorite ship because they are the wittiest, funniest ship ever and I ship them together so much, they are so perfect for each other I love them ahhhhhhhhh I’m so happy that they were a kind of thing at the end of ACOWAR because they were both struggling against their feelings – well Nesta was, and Cassian didn’t want to push her – and it’s nice they finally kind of owned up to their feelings.
I LOVE ALL THE MONSTERS SO MUCH AND I AM SO DRAWING THEM ALL AND I NEED MINI REAL LIFE VERSIONS OF THEM TO HOLD (like baby Groot!) BECAUSE OMG THE CUTENESS AND WONDERFULNESS OF THEM ALL AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I NEEDS MORE OF THEM LIKE MORE STORIES I LOVE THEM OMG ok let me talk about each sector of the monsters:
The Suriel: OMG CUTENESS AND WHY DID HE DIE?! I nearly cried at that part. Like his was the only death or happening I came so close to crying about because MY HEART IT HURTS WHYYYYYYYYYYYY we needed more!!!!!!!!!! He went to go help Feyre and was a dreamer and just wanted the world to be a better place and then FREAKING IANTHE (I HATE HER) GOES AND KILLS HIM and just *sobs* HE DIDN’T DESERVE TO DIE NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
The Bone Carver and The Weaver: sooooo like I said, I love all the monsters and these two are no exception. The Bone Carver is so old and sweet and a bit of a savage like “bro I want bones”, “get me some special mirror that will make you go mad” – kudos to Feyre btw for getting through that, I was proud of her for it -, “haha that was just a test to see if you’re worthy LOLZ I’ll help” LIKE BRO OHMYGOSH SAVAGE and the fact that he turns into Rhys and Feyre’s kid when they see him and Rhys is like AWWWWWWWWWWW and we’re all like AWWWWWWWW and the Bone Carver is like LOLZ MATCHMAKER OVER HERE hahahahaha anyways, I was sad when he died however I’m still hoping he’s not dead, is actually immortal and will just reappear somewhere, in some other way, in like 500 years (hopefully sooner). Same goes for The Weaver. Like kudos to her for straight up taking down Ianthe and then looking beautiful and crazy when she goes to fight like same girl same. I was also really sad for her dying and was affronted on her behalf for Hybern just snapping her neck like that like WHO DOES THAT and just UGH I loved though that her last moments were to take the attention away from Feyre and Amren like #realfriend I hope she also reappears as she died way too early. also, THEY’RE SIBLINGS WHAT?!?!!?!? AND THERE IS ANOTHER SIBLING (KOSCHEI) WHO IS UNDER A LAKE SOMEWHERE OMG MAYBE HE’S THE OWNER OF VASSA??!?!?!? THE ONE WHO CURSED HER?!?!?!? OMG GUYS CHECK MY THEORIES SECTION BC I’LL TALK MORE THERE BUT OMG I THINK THAT’S IT OMG
Bryaxis: THERE IS A MONSTER IN THE LIBRARY AND I JUST WANT TO LIVE IN THAT LIBRARY WITH BRYAXIS AND BE BESTIES OMG LOVE HIM like the first thing he asked for was for someone living to come down and talk to him about life and then his request – in return for helping Feyre et al – was to have a window at the top of the mountain like HABIBI YOU ARE SO CUTE AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Also, can we please talk about how he’s straight up made of shadows and nightmares???? Like DANG! He reminds me of Azriel in that way – being that Az is the Shadowsinger – and I wonder if we’ll get to see more of them together and if there could be any connection between them. TBH I just want more Bryaxis *sighs*
The New Oldies
Miryam, Drakon and Jurian: Okay so since ACOMAF (at the very least), we hear about this love triangle between a human and two Fae. It’s a long story nor do I totally remember everything but I do remember that Miryam is a Made Fae like Feyre (ish – Miryam is just immortal) which was stressed a couple times in both ACOMAF and ACOWAR but it doesn’t seem really important in either book plot-wise so IDK what that has to do with anything and if maybe we’ll see more of that in the coming books. Anyways, so those three are a story and Jurian then is alive at the end of ACOMAF and we know Miryam and Drakon ran off to some island with a bunch of people and lived happily ever after. During ACOWAR, everyone in the Inner Circle tries to find them so they can help end the madness but no one can find them. Then, at the end of ACOWAR, they come to help and are like “sorry dudes. We were there the whole time, we just hid it so no one can see us, and didn’t realize that included you….whoops” which I found incredibly annoying and not such a great actual first impression. I am interested to hear more of their story though after everything went down in the first war.
Nephelle: Let’s just talk about Nephelle’s Story and how she had little wings and wasn’t that great at flying and then when the time came, she saved Miryam and the day and was just awesome and ahhhhhhhhh I so want to meet her!!!!
Also, this is random but, did anyone else think of Throne of Glass (specifically Empire of Storms) when you read about Miryam & Drakon’s island and then everyone coming in via ships?? I mean 90% of Empire of Storms was on ships and there was an island so everyone coming to save the day by ship just felt very Empire of Storms-y.
So in ACOWAR, we get a couple surprises in terms of frenemies where Tamlin is apparently half a good guy – he’s on the good guy side but is still a horrible person – and is apparently a spy??? And then there’s Eris who is Mor’s ex-fiance who pretty much left Mor for dead when they were together, can be absolutely horrible to Mor (and the Inner Circle tbh) but it on their side and says there’s more to the story than they know. I hate Tamlin with a passion so I’m not even going to consider him a friend – he’s just someone who can be helpful at times – and he’s nowhere near redeemed in my eyes. As for Eris, I don’t think we know enough about anything to actually make a judgment on the entire Mor & Eris situation, however, I don’t trust him nor do I think I’ll be on his side when the full story comes out.
There’s also Jurian – I keep writing Julian and thinking of King Julian from Madagascar – to talk about as he is apparently a friend who was a spy on the inside (of the bad guy circle). He made Hybern think he wanted revenge on Miryam and Drakon – I can’t stop thinking about him as the guy from Kim Possible! – and was evil too. I was happy when he turned out to be good and it didn’t feel wrong for him to be good (unlike Tamlin) which I’m not sure how to explain.
Hybern Is UGH & I Hate Ianthe
I loathe both Hybern and Ianthe so much, Ianthe more so. I mean she is supposed to be good – she is a High Priestess for goodness sake – and instead she sexually assaults people and hurts them, both of which are disgusting. I’m so happy she’s gone because, just, *shudders* but I’m not so sure about how I feel in regards to what happened with her hand. I mean I get the meaning of it – she will have always been reminded not to touch people without consent – and I think that that’s definitely a good stance(???) to take however Feyre just went straight up brutal on it. Plus she manipulated her so much and it just felt a bit disgusting to me.
As for Hybern, I’m glad the dude is dead because he was such a nuisance and legit was evil for no reason as far as I remember.
The Father Redeemed??
So in the last second, the three sisters’ father comes riding in like “whooooo I have saved the day” with Vassa and then he dies several pages later because of stupid Hybern and in between, we learn from Drakon that the father:
“calls himself the Prince of Merchants….Apparently, discovered the human queens were traitors months ago, and has been gathering an independent human army to face Hybern ever since. He managed to find Queen Vassa – and together they rallied this army…..He told [Drakon] that he’s got three daughters who live here. And that he failed them for years. But he would not fail them this time.” – page 634
And he also named his three personal ships after Elain, Feyre and Nesta which is all pretty cute however I’m still not too forgiving of how distant a father he was. I understand the circumstances – he had to go sell things to provide for his family – but he also left the duties of the house to his pretty young daughters, one of whom had to hunt just for them to find food. Also, the time we see him in ACOWAR is incredibly short and he only really talks for a few sentences before he dies by Hybern’s hands. Again, I’m not sure how much he was needed and honestly, I don’t really care for him. I’m sad he died, on behalf of his daughters, but I still don’t like him nor do I think he was redeemed for helping the good side.
The Freaking Cauldron
I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you too that is all.
WHO THOUGHT RHYS DYING WAS A GOOD IDEA AND WHO BROUGHT VERONICA ROTH TO THE PARTY?!?!?!?!
Okay let’s just discuss this very insane thing for a second because RHYS FREAKING DIES FOR A HOT TWO SECONDS LIKE WHAT THE WHY?!?!?!?!? Like okay, he gave Feyre all his strength to put the Cauldron back together and in the end, we get Rhys and Amren again but like still, the dude didn’t need to die and you could’ve figured out how to bring Amren back in a similar but different way. Also, it was a bit awkward to read I guess as it’s like 3 pages max of the dude dying, being dead and then coming back to life. It’s very quick and it’s also the exact same thing as what happened with Feyre in ACOTAR but it doesn’t really seem to have a purpose. I mean, fine, Tamlin is like “I wish you happiness” but, to me, he’s still not redeemed and, again, Amren could have come back another way. Also it kind of lessens the impact of Feyre dying then turning into a Fae.
Also, can we please discuss how much Rhys’ POV at the end scared me? Bc I saw that and immediately got Allegiant flashbacks and thought either Feyre was gonna die, or someone was gonna die or just in general something bad was gonna happen. Like BRUH WHY DO YOU SCARE ME LIKE THAT?! Legit was holding my breath the entire way through, up to the last sentence, because I was like “ok now the bad thing will happen. No, NOW.” and it was too much for emotions like whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy I will say, though, it was cute to see Rhysand’s love for Feyre and how lovey dovey and optimistic he was. Still got scared though and I’m not sure how much his POV was needed…..
Questions & Theories
So of course, I have questions and theories after reading this book, some of which I already asked/talked a bit about earlier. In this section though, Imma list out my questions and go into a bit more detail about my theories….let’s go
- Is there an actual link to ToG? – everyone is thinking it and trying to find out if there’s a link to ToG, especially considering there are Fae in both books. Now Piera, a lovely person and friend of mine, thought that maybe Aelin/the ToG books come before ACOTAR in terms of Fae timeline and that they have something to do with confining the monster bro ???? in the lake. If you want to check out why she thinks so – and just generally wants to watch an awesome person with an awesome YouTube channel – then I suggest you watch her review and theories discussion here. Now, I feel like that’s a pretty good guess, and I feel like it would be cool if that’s true. Also, I’m wondering if Amren and her true form – which kinda get to see but don’t really get to know about – also might link to Aelin and their Fae world? Maybe in terms of something from that weird Fae-monster void in the first books or as something the ToG gang will have to fight? Who knows. Either way, I wonder if there is a link to ToG and, if so, what is it????
- What happened to Alis and the boys? – so Alis essentially figures out that Feyre is a spy, is not really back in love with Tamlin and is probs gonna take down the Spring Court so she says that she’s going to the Summer Court with her nephews I believe. By the time Feyre leaves the Spring Court, I think Alis is gone (or almost gone) however the Summer Court is later “trashed” by Hybern’s armies which begs the question: what happened to Alis and the boys?? Are they okay? Are they maybe in some other Court? What happened???
- What’ll happen with Lucien & Elain???? Could Elriel be a thing??? – so they are mates however they’re going through some rough times (understatement) AND we know that the mating bond isn’t always totally right AND mates can still kinda dismiss each other and be with other people. SO is that what’s gonna happen here? Will Elain dismiss the bond and go for someone else or will Luclain be a thing? Also, what’s happening with Elain and Azriel? Bc, personally, I ship them (#Elriel). They’re cute and they seem to be good for each other…..
- Where’s my bae Bryaxis?? And is he somehow connected to Azriel?? – after the battle, Bryaxis kinda disappears on us so what’s gonna happen with him? Where’d he go? And does he no longer want a window in the Night Court mountain thing??? Is he already there???? Who knows…..(I need to know). Also, he’s made of shadows and nightmares and fear kinda like Azriel the Shadowsinger so are they connected in anyway? Could Bryaxis maybe be like Az’s friend-thing, kinda like the Suriel and Feyre?? I needs answersssssssssss
- Does Amren have powers and what’s she gonna do in general??? – so at the end of ACOWAR Amren is a High Fae meaning she might (probably does) have powers of some kind and no one knows what they are. Is there possibly remnants of her true form left in her and maybe she becomes some kind of winged fireball/firedrake or…….????
- What’s Nesta gonna do now too??? – so Nesta had the power to connect to the Cauldron but know that that’s broken, that’s not really a thing I don’t think so does she have any powers?? What are they??? Could it be death (as other people are saying I think)???
- What happened/will happen to the other queens? – we all know they are traitors and that the young, beautiful one turned into an old crone bc of the Cauldron, however, we don’t really know much else of what happened to them. Where are they? And what’s gonna happen to em?
- Does that old crone have powers too? – I mean, though she turned into an old crone, she also went into the Cauldron, so could she also have some unknown power or no?
- Who owns Vassa??? – So the queen who is brave enough to stand up to Hybern is exiled to somewhere over water where she becomes owned by someone and is cursed to turn into some firebird. Who is the owner?? Like I said a way long time ago, I think it could be the monster bro Koschei who lives underwater as we don’t really know what his monsterness entails, and he is in some water-y place, just like where Vassa is so could he be trying to create an army of his own? Also, on that note, I feel like we’ll be seeing a lot more of monster bro considering he was mentioned in the book which is a pretty big thing to mention.
- What’s happening with the treaty renegotiating? – At the end of ACOWAR, all the Courts and some human peeps all get into one room (how the even??) and try to renegotiate the peace treaty between them however not much else is said on the subject. Like what is happening with the Treaty? What do people want and what will happen?? Is it basically gonna be the same or will there be more interactions or…….?
- Will Lucien ever figure out that the Lady of Autumn Court and Heliorn had an affair and that H is his real dad? What’s he gonna do with the info? What will his family and the other Courts do with the info? – aka is this gonna turn out like in Throne of Glass with Aedion and Gavriel or what??? And, is there gonna be some mini battle thing happening just because Beron isn’t Lucien’s real dad?
- What’s up with Eris? What’s the real story behind Eris abandoning Mor? – I mean, the dude says there’s more to it and that he’s not all that bad so what could be so good of a story that Eris could be redeemed?
And that’s all for the review/questions/theories/discussion. I know it’s a TON however it’s a pretty insane book with a lot to talk about. Please tell me:
- What did you think of ACOWAR?
- Who do you ship more: Luclain or Elriel?
- What do you think of my review?
- What do you think of my questions/theories?
- Do you have any additional questions/theories?
Please let me know in the comments below!! I love hearing what you think and getting feedback so anything is appreciated!! I know that’s a lot too but I mean it’s a lot of book and review in general, plus you don’t even need to answer all the questions…..just the ones you want to answer so *shrugs*.
Now for the design…….
Now, If you haven’t read ACOWAR yet or you don’t have a hard copy version of it, I highly suggest you get it (it’s legit $12 on Amazon*) because the book is insanity and you definitely need a hard copy to mark up however you want (pencil or highlighter or post-its). Overall, thank you for reading this insane post, I hope you have a great day/night and tata for now!!
*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon 😀