Hardcover, 705 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 (aka “D-Day” or “Disappointment Day” )
Well 2017 is canceled because … what a fucking disappointment!
Wow … ok I struggled with this rating FOR REAL! Flip-flopping between 2 and 2.5 and even toying with the idea of a 1 when my ranting reminded me how pissed I was at this utter catastrophe of anticipation and hype!
But I’m going to try to keep a cool head here and rate it at a 2 because this is not a bad book? … but I have a shit tone of rants so be prepared to question my usage of that statement.
DON’T READ THIS REVIEW IF:
- You love this book and cannot handle a differing opinion
- Are easily offended
- Can’t stand cursing especially the over-usage of the word FUCK
- Plan to try and convince me this was an amazing book
Furthermore … this review CONTAINS MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR SERIES AND BOOK SPOILERS! I tried to mark them all with a red ⇒⇐ and light gray lettering but I may have missed a few so continue at your own risk.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
(Goodreads synopsis possible series spoilers): “Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings 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.”
War has come to Pythian and blah de blah yeah … by now you know the story so let’s just skip this part ok.
What I Liked
Perhaps we will call this section “what I hated less than other things”?
My favorite holiday is Christmas … how is this relevant? Stick with me here and I promise all your questions will be answered (unlike this book that left pretty much all of my questions unanswered).
Ok so … my favorite holiday is Christmas because I adore gift giving. More specifically I enjoy winning at gift giving. Like that moment when you know you have chosen the perfect gift for someone and you want to fist bump the gods for allowing you to be so awesome! Well … if I was gathering around the yule-tide tree, hot mug of fresh cocoa in hand, singing “Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze!” with the Maas family … I would feel pretty confident with my gift to Sarah (yeah we are on a first name basis for the fantasy) … which would obviously be a brand new thesaurus.
At this point, having read all of five Sarah J Maas novels, she has managed to irrevocably ruin the words “mate” “male” “female” “crude gesture” “clicking his/her tongue” “velvet” and many more with her overly repetitive usage of these terms/phrases. I believe there are professional editing programs that are designed to alert you when you are using the same shit too often in a distracting and irritating manner … I am assuming Maas has some sort of religious aversion to the usage of such programs because holy fuck if she obviously doesn’t use them.
All that being said. This book definitely highlighted Maas writing growth since the disastrously hideous writing days of A Court of Thorns and Roses. So yeah, this book was well written from a strictly academic standpoint. The sentences are nicely formed, the phrases well formulated. BUT IT LACKED HEART! The proverbial tin-man of the series. After A Court of Mist and Fury, I will admit that my expectations were astronomically high! Unfortunately this book conveyed exactly none of the magical storytelling elements and brilliantly painted emotions of it’s predecessor. I would even go so far as to say that this book was far less enjoyable to me than A Court of Thorns and Roses (which I despised with a burning passion).
Ok Frankie … but like … I thought this was where you were going to say nice things about the book.
Ugh I’m trying here people!
Ok fine, in the spirit of “keeping is positive” … there were some lovely moments in this book that had me swooning.
While Feyre obviously underwent some sort of holier-than-thou bitch etiquette training since the last book because I swear she knows best and is perfect in all the ways? Except she came off as sounding conceited and snobbish. Most of the other characters showed some emotional growth promise. Nesta was the shining star in my opinion. Yeah ok she is a bitch … but she knows it and owns it and it absolutely works for her. She has grown so much since ACOTAR and I am honestly so proud of her *round of applause*.
Cass and Az were perfection as usual and we were able to see a lot more Cassian in this book which has me pretty pleased. Now if only we could have gotten Az some more well deserved screen-time … it might have saved this entire book for me. Better yet … make it a book about Azriel and we are all set here. Because Azriel is all that is pure in this world and I love him SO MU-HU-HUCH! *cries* ⇒ But he totally got shafted and I’m a lot pissed off about it tbh.⇐
I also really loved the added backstory and character development this book delivered for Lucien, Eris, and Mor. ⇒Tamlin had a roller coaster of appearances in this book and I’m not 100% sure exactly how I feel about all of it, but one thing is for sure … I love a redemption story and the moment when Tamlin gave his power to save Rhys and told Feyre to “be happy Feyre” I sobbed big ugly tears! It was beautiful … but like also a little too easy if you know what I mean.⇐
There were also many relationships that underwent some major development in this book. Can we say ALL.THE.SHIPS! This was a love hate theme for me … on the one hand, why is everyone pairing off and mated-up when shit is about to hit the fan! Keep your fairy hormones in check guys … war is coming! And yet on the other hand … I love a good ship! ⇒Cassian and Nesta were the glue that held my interest and this book together at all. Without these two and their tension ridden shippy goodness I would have dnf’d this piece forever ago. BUT I AM HERE FOR THESE TWO!!!⇐. I will save the sunken ship rant for the second half of this “rant-view”.
*turns the page*
Nope nothing good there …
*turns the next 500 pages*
Ok … oh there’s … oh ok no that was nothing nevermind
*turns to page 600*
Holy crap things are happening! WHAT?! Ok I’m going to be honest here, there were some really awesome moments around this general location in this book. Shit went down, emotional things took place, there was blood … lot’s of blood. I panicked for a moment. ⇒And it all wrapped itself into a happy fairytale ending … sort of.
Unlike this review which does not have a happy ending.⇐
Oh goody … ranting time (Ha! Like I wasn’t ranting already)
What I Did Not Like
The following is a list of words from Sarah’s new thesaurus (you know the one I gifted her) for the word “boring”:
dull humdrum lifeless
monotonous mundane stale
stodgy stuffy stupid
tame tedious tiresome
tiring trite uninteresting
bomb bummer cloying
dead drab commonplace
drag drudging flat
nothing nowhere spiritless
I think I made my point?
Basically this book was bogged down with an overwhelming amount of useless plan making and plan re-making and talking about possible plans and who they were going to invite to talk about plans and … JUST DO SOMETHING ALREADY! Because nothing happened. If I were to draw a linear graph of this book’s story arc it would look like a slightly less than perfectly straight horizontal line (until the very end that is).
Ok I recant … things happened … and yet even when things were happening the overall mood was mediocre and anticlimactic. WHERE WAS THE TENSION?! WHERE WAS THE ANXIETY?! Where was the spirit and the heart to this story?! Because Maas I read ACOMAF so I know you have it in you! You can make deep emotional brilliance if you try … so what is this crap?
The very first chapter of this book had me SO hyped! First off, Maas gave us a new POV which I loved! Secondly, the mood of this chapter was … dark bleak and oh so bloody … which I also loved! Basically I was duped into believing this book was going to adopt a similar atmosphere and possibly even answer my prayers for an alternating POV throughout. Nope. Turns out the rest of the book takes on a more upbeat normal everyday sort of mood with very few major ups and downs. Also nope … no alternating POV which means we were stuck with an even more annoying Feyre than we saw in ACOTAR as our sole narrator for this underwhelming adventure.
After this useless teaser, we start the real story with a section I have subtitled Feyre being a hypocritical and spiteful bitch. ⇒Apparently no one taught her that 2 wrongs don’t make a right … because damn does this girl spend way too much of her energy and brainpower continuing the cycle of hateful behavior when she could be doing something important like spying on Hybern like I thought she was supposed to be doing? Instead she is focusing solely on humiliating and discrediting Ianthe and Tamlin with detailed intricate plans, some of which put innocent people in harm’s way and even torture.⇐ Honestly none of her plans serve a purpose besides revenge which was not really a Feyre I was hoping to see. I get that she is angry, but I thought she grew beyond that like a book ago?
⇒I did like that we didn’t have to wait too terribly long for Feyre and Rhys to be reunited!⇐ The Feysand reunion was a totally undignified and unapologetic fangirl moment for me!!! Unfortunately I didn’t get the same Feyre and Rhys that appeared in ACOMAF?
Feysand is one of the most beautiful pillars of healthy strong monogamous relationship representations I have ever seen and this book tried to vandalize it with the over sexual nature of everything. Sex is good … I love sex … but emotional connection is better hands down no matter what. And you can have deep binding emotional connection without sex. ACOMAF gave me that … this book tried to sell me a knock-off version and I am not buying!
Does every conversation and interaction between Feyre and Rhys have to contain sexual innuendos? I mean, we do realize there are other ways to show affection within the confines of a healthy committed relationship I hope? Honestly Maas makes it seem like Rhys’ inner monologue sounds something like the lyrics to “Get Low” by Lil’ John. He’s not a rutting stag for cauldron’s sake! Give the boy some credit! I saw him in ACOMAF! The boy has emotional stability game on point!
Ok honestly, I love smut as much as the next reader … but this book had smut smeared all over the place in the most inappropriate moments! ⇒The library scene has to be the most atrocious example of inappropriate hard-on I have ever fucking seen in my life! Rhys literally has just chronicled how the library is a sanctuary for many women who have suffered traumatic sometimes torturous sexual abuses. Obviously the perfect time to take out little Rhys for some playtime. Nothing like a good sob story about rape victims to really get your genitals lusting. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!⇐ Basically every conversation has a sexual remark laced playfully within which was cute a time or two … not a hundred. Find another way to show endearment Maas … because reverting to hormonal desires to convey affection constantly is shallow.
It. Cheapens. The. Relationship.
⇒There is one scene where Feyre expresses that she is not in the mood for sex at this time laying out a full explanation as to why, whereas Rhys responds with an appropriate “I wasn’t expecting anything”. Great! But … why was this scene even necessary? Why was there a need for Feyre to provide an excuse for not wanting to have sex? She could have just gone to bed without saying anything at all if there were no expectations. SHE SHOULDN’T NEED AN EXCUSE! Again … this cheapens the relationship!⇐
To be honest, there was a shit ton of overkill when it came to Rhys and Feyre’s relationship. Maas definitely beats us over the head with the constant “look at me and how much I’m not Tamlin” dialog. Basically every time Feyre asks for Rhysand’s opinion he responds with some variant of “you are your own person and I respect your opinion because you are a human who deserves respect and admiration”, ok great but like this is a fucking conversation where I asked for your opinion. I don’t want a relationship with an overly agreeable pile of mush! I mean fuck … I get pissed off when my husband won’t tell me what he’s in the mood for when it comes to dinner. A healthy relationship does not mean that one partner has to always default to the opinions of the other lest run the risk of being characterized as an abuser. There is a happy medium here! FIND IT!
Unfortunately, the whole relationship felt uncharacteristic as did many of the characters themselves. Rhysand lacked most of his confidence and swagger and biting humor. Feyre was pretty much running the show which is great and all except that she is actually far less qualified than anyone (again the conceited “I am awesome” attitude). And Rhys (aka the feminist icon) was so WEAK. I mean, I can be a strong female … and honestly, weak men in my life get trampled. I need a man who will let me be my own woman but will fight me on things from time to time. I need an EQUAL PARTNER NOT A DOORMAT PLEASE! ACOMAF game me strong but equal Rhys. He was powerful but allowed Feyre to grow into her own power … to let her know she was his equal. This book gave me doormat Rhys who was by far less attractive than the previous ACOMAF version. Now is not the time to be emasculated “I’ll take the backseat and let you take the lead here” Rhys. YOU ARE A WAR VETERAN SHE IS NOT! Why are you even asking her? Its sweet and all but damn YOU ARE FIGHTING A WAR!! Put the pants back on dude (in more ways than one).
Besides Rhys and Feyre, Mor had some weird moments (One of which I will rant about in a few). Mor is a strong woman, but she had some super out of character moments in this book which bothered me. ⇒She completely self-deflated into a shivering mess when Azriel fought Eris for talking shit about her. And she remained as such for well into the night. It was a weird behavior and not one I would expect from Mor … the warrior. Elain, yes … not Mor.⇐
Speaking of Elain …. ELAIN. WAS. SO. EXTRA. Who even needed this mess around? She is only even mentioned as moping in the corner or locked away in her room … also moping. ⇒Until she randomly saves the day by killing Hybern?⇐ It’s like Maas kept losing track of all her million characters and just put some on the backburner doing absolutely nothing but being mentioned for no reason. I mean seriously. Amren goes missed from the plot for like half the book as well ⇒while she is trying to decipher the book to find yet another way to stop Hybern that becomes inconsequential.⇐
Basically, Nobody felt like themselves. And don’t even get me started on the 93852935 new characters added to the roster and my issues with them!
Too late … I’ve already started.
This book hands us a whole lot of new characters as well as reintroducing us to many characters we have seen before. I will start with the new ones because that will give me a chance to rant about the overwhelmingly unnecessary and poorly executed rep problem in this book!
A rep over here … a rep over there … who else needs a poorly inserted awkwardly written representation? Because it’s reps all around!
I am TRASH for representation and diversity in books. I love all types of sexual preference representation because I wholeheartedly believe that we fall in love with a person’s soul and not their body. The body is lust the soul is where the heart binds us. So basically gender issues feel like a personal preference thing to me. I support you as a person on the inside no matter your exterior. This goes for race issues as well. Souls don’t have races. Let’s just move past this judgmental crap thing already world! I’m so over it!
So yeah … I support the rep! But not when it makes no sense in the story, forces the story in a weird direction, or is represented in a harmful way. Basically Maas covered all her bases here because all three of those do not’s can hereby be marked completed. Look, I’m happy that Maas listened and tried … truly I am. But I would have preferred one really good well thought out and integrated rep instead of the rep-tastrophy that was cramming a thousand pointless characters and situations down our throats in order to put check marks on the “diversity included” checklist. All of the reps felt forced which says to me that none of these characters were developed into their representation naturally. They were a second thought. It should feel natural and a part of the story. There are enough bright and shining examples of perfectly developed and integrated reps out there that I know it can be done right. This felt lazy.
⇒LIKE MOR … WHAT THE FUCK! I swear to you I am the first one on the stage to grab the microphone and scream “MORE LESBIAN REPRESENTATION IN FANTASY BOOKS” omg for real though! But this was OUT.OF.THE.BLUE. No alluding to it, no natural progression into it. 1000% forced and obviously not originally intended. It doesn’t work that way! Ok yeah … I’m fucking bitter about #morial (aka the Titanic), but this rep was all wrong regardless. I’M PISSED. Ok let’s pretend for a minute that we listen to her full explanation and believe that she was intended to be gay. Well that just makes her a raging bitch and a total waste of fictitious oxygen for the way she has been fucking with Azriel’s emotions for over 500 fucking years?! That’s supposed to be better? And her explanation, the one that does NOT exonerate her at all, is just totally accepted by Feyre. Oh you have been dicking this sweet innocent precious cinnamon bun around because you are too afraid to tell him you prefer female company? Ok cool. Um! Selfish! Or here … you know how you said you loved him but only as a brother. Crazy idea … but WHY DON’T YOU FUCKING SAY THAT?! Then you don’t even have to mention the gay thing. If that is not further proof that Maas was simply pandering to the fans on this one I don’t know what is. Honestly, I will protect Azriel with my life! I liked you Mor and now you are dead to me. Bye.⇐
We have a bi rep who is introduced as a threesome loving sex fiend … like I literally remember nothing about this guy except the 5 pages talking about how much he loved threesomes. Ok but … being bi is not interpreted as “loves threesomes”. I found this rep to be a bit offensive?
We also have a poc rep who is … pretty unimportant. *shrugs*
But honestly it boils down to Maas trying to make too many characters more important than their role in this book actually called for. It was a waste of words and pages in my opinion and could have been a stronger book if some characters had served their purpose without the push to tell me more about them than I needed to know.
Infact … the “more than is necessary” was a common theme throughout.
In my opinion, this book brings back way too many of the old characters … but I don’t think I would have felt this way if it hadn’t been done in such random disjointed snatches of narrative. It really comes down to this. The plot spent way too much time meandering on about plans that were never used, sexual stuff, and boring Feyre monologue. And not enough time weaving a story around the “too many” elements Maas tried to throw into this book. ⇒Like the weaver and the mirror and the bone carver and the creature in the library. All of these interactions and moments felt way too abrupt and under developed!⇐
Honestly so much of this felt like a CRAZY WASTE OF POTENTIAL. As my girl Rachelle said … this book should have been called The Court of Wasted Potential because that is exactly what we got here with these elements. Again … CRAZY ANTICLIMACTIC!
And thank God for that convenient plot! Or else everyone would be dead. Literally everything that happened in this book had about 37 other super ridiculously convenient moments to attribute their success to. And thank the Cauldron we had know-it-all Feyre to figure it all out for us! ⇒I think one of the biggest examples of this is the creature in the library, who became super important to changing the tide of the battle with Hybern. Good thing when Feyre met this creature she knew to make a bargain with it and knew exactly what to bargain. Good thing Hybern’s goons managed to break into the library at the exact moment Feyre was there. Good thing Feyre knew the perfect thing to do was to lure them to the creature so that she could make the bargain and the creature could show up and change the tide of the battle with Hybern! Phew what would be all do without Feyre in our lives!! One more example for you BECAUSE I’M RAGING ABOUT IT NOW! Good thing we spent 37 hours discussing the ouroboros and the potential of retrieving it so the Bone Carver would join them in their fight. Good thing we abandoned that idea then randomly … again … Feyre knows what to do at the moment of truth and goes and gets the mirror after all, bringing the carver at the last moment to help win the day. Phew Feyre our savior!⇐
Convenient plot, pointless narrative, insignificant monologues and discussions, abandoned plot points that we invested way too much time into. Yeah IT IS A MESS! I mean did she write this with NO planning whatsoever.
AND EVERYTHING WAS TOO FUCKING EASY!
Like … Holy crap I think Sarah J Maas is Jesus because fuck it if she didn’t just forgive everybody for their sins with the swipe of a keyboard. Literally everyone is forgiven in about 50 words or less … and then explanations are accepted without the blink of an eye. Rhys is a nice guy and all, but I have to believe he would be dead by now if he always accepted everyone’s “it was just a misunderstanding” sob stories. You know what I love … I love it when a character does a shitty thing … and instead of turning it into a misunderstanding … the author writes a redemption story that does not excuse the shitty thing but rather develops a character who is shades of gray like normal people are. Maas again taking the easy way out here and it drives me crazy! ⇒I was seriously hoping that Rhys forgiving Tamlin and Jurien without a second thought would come back to bite him in the ass because it was SO EASY ARG!
Then “the moment” happens towards the end and Maas, lazy again, simply regurgitates her ACOTAR plot. I actually didn’t hate this moment … but it irks me at the same time? There are things about this that I loved. Tamlin resigning to give Rhys his power as a show of his growth was beautiful to me (but again too easy because he was not really given the growth … just had it in the time of convenience). I also do like when a story comes full circle. But again it irks me because it was too fucking easy!⇐
Nothing felt fresh. Nothing felt tense. Nothing felt natural. The entire plot was forced and disjoined and uninteresting. Everyone was underdeveloped and not what I would have expected from my ACOMAF babies! THIS BOOK WAS A FUCKING MESS!
I HAVE FELT MORE PASSION WRITING THIS REVIEW THAN I FELT IN THE ENTIRETY OF READING THIS BOOK!
I’M GOING TO END MY RANT HERE … because I have a feeling this is becoming a monster in my soul! The more I write the more I want to host a book burning party in the backyard.
FUCK THIS BOOK! FUCK THE MONEY I WASTED! FUCK THE TIME I WASTED! Fuck the fact that I now own a Kindle copy of this book as well as a hardcover and it pisses me off to no end how disappointing this crap was.
AND FUCK THIS RANT BECAUSE IT’S ATROCIOUS …
There is literally no flow and structure to this review at all … but you know what … that somehow seems absolutely appropriate.